Daydreaming about getting away again? We are in the midst of the best week for travel bargains just about all year.
The most competitive part of the travel business is hotels. If you don't travel a lot, it's so hard to figure out if the price you're getting is really the deal it seems.
Here are my favorite ways to find a deal on hotels
When I'm on a long road trip, I like using the Hotel Tonight app because it lets me drive and stop wherever I want and get a discounted room when I pull off my exit for the night. Last time I used it, I was with my son and we got a nice hotel room for $47.
I also use Hotwire and Priceline. Over time, I find I'm using Priceline's Express Deals more than I'm bidding. Maybe I'm just getting lazy! Express Deals works like Hotwire where they tell you the star level, the part of town in which you'll be staying, and what you'll pay -- but not the hotel's name.
They also tell you if what they're offering is a favorite of people with really good reviews. My formula is 4/8: 4 stars and getting an 8 out of 10 on average from reviews. That is a tough formula. Usually the best you'll see is 4/7, but I try to avoid those because they mean about a third of people were unhappy with the hotel in some way.
But I know that most people won't buy hotel rooms the way I will. Many people want more certainty about where they're hanging their hat before they're committed to paying. So I want to tell you about HotelWatchDog, which is a side service of AirfareWatchDog.com.
HotelWatchDog surveys a market where you're interested in staying and they will call 20 places and give you the best deal they're able to find for a given date and destination. So you get the name of where you're staying and a great deal, but it won't be as cheap as one of my preferred methods.
But again, I understand many people won't do one of my ways. So consider this as a compromise.