Great ways to get low cost hotels:
h4. Airfares
Use "Fare Chase":http://farechase.com, this is a meta search engine. As an example, tomorrow I'm flying back to Seattle. Rack rate on Alaska is $451, it is$251 on Jet Blue and $165 on Delta. That's quite a spread! There are a couple of tricks. First, always check the website of the airline after Fare Chase recommends something. For instance in planning a flight for next week, it said that onetravel.com had Delta flights for as little Jet Blue at$278 and then had American flights from priceline.com. I found that in both cases, going directly to Delta and American, they had the same price and it you could select seats, etc. I ended up booking directly with American and even got to choose seats.
h4. Hotels
Go to "Expedia":http://expedia.com to a location and find a decent 3-star hotel that you could stay in. This gives you the bid you should have on Priceline. Add $10 to the room rate, go to "Priceline":http://priceline.com for a 4-star hotel and bid that and see what you get. If you get one, you've basically paid a 3-star rate for a 4-star hotel. I saved on a room at the Marriott Marquis that is$299 for $200 tonight, so it seems to work 🙂 Go to "Trip Advisor":http://tripadvisor.com, have it search the major sites for a low priced room. It will do a search against Orbitz, Hotels.com, Travelocity in addition to Expedia which you just did. If the price is lower, then go for it. I just did this and saved$200 from a hotel where the expedia rate was high as was the hotels own site, but hotels.com had it for less. Nice thing is hotels.com doesn't require a complete prepayment. Just a $5 service fee that is non-refundable. The big tip is that if you fail in the bid, make sure you try the hotel website. Many times, they will make the meet the expedia price *without* requiring you pay in advance. In trying again for next week, it didn't take my bid for a 3.5 star hotel (the Algonquin is at$229 and I big $239), so Priceline didn't take it. Rather than booking with Expedia, I tried the Algonquin site directly where they had the same room for$244. That give you a tradeoff, pay $229 now or$244 with the option to cancel. In that case, I took the Expedia price.