Travel Tip: How we save 20% or more on hotel rooms

You can get a lower price on just about anything with a bit of research and patience. Without a doubt, this goes for hotel rooms, too!

We save a lot of money on our quest to see the country by using Priceline’s Express Deals. Express Deals give you a pretty sizeable discount on hotel rooms — but you don’t know for sure what hotel you are getting until you finish booking.

Matt is great at finding amazing deals using this and the bidding tool ($104/night, including taxes and fees, to stay at a brand new, trendy hotel in Manhattan? SIGN ME UP.) He’s also great at figuring out which hotel we’re getting before it’s booked.

I’ve been planning a one-night stop in my college town of Athens, Ohio; a city with remarkably few affordable places to stay. Sorry, not sorry — I am not willing to pay $100/night for a 2-star hotel with mediocre reviews and within walking distance of nothing.


Anyway, I was browsing Priceline’s regular deals and getting ready to just suck it up and spend the cash — when I ran across this glaringly obvious Express Deal that saved me about 20%.

Here’s how they show up on the website. I knew the ‘secret’ Express Deal was the Baymont because the descriptions and stars are the same, and when I clicked on the deal, a popup told me “someone else just booked this room for $91!” Case closed.

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There are websites that will help you when it’s not this easy. Matt prefers ExpDeals, but we have also used Better Bidding. It just takes a little bit of reading and research and time, but the savings add up (especially if you’re booking for multiple nights).

Below is the end result: The left is what we would have paid, had we not bothered with the Express Deal — for the same exact dates and room. On the right is my receipt. A difference of about $20 I can now spend on delicious beers in Athens!!

A tip (From Matt): You might notice our taxes/fees are more expensive. With Express Deals, they’re calculated from the total *regular* cost of the room. With the bid tool, they’re calculated from your winning bid.

Happy haggling!!

19. Louisiana

I ALMOST forgot about our very fast and very WET trip to Louisiana! We visited New Orleans in August, adding the leg onto our last Minnesota visit for about $40 extra per ticket. We had a sweet Air BnB, lots of recommendations, and were excited to drink our way down Bourbon Street!


That was… until the torrential rains started the second we landed. Very long story short, most roads were totally underwater because pumps weren’t working. We ended up on a grassy median in the middle of nowhere, surrounded by rivers of water. We couldn’t get to our Air BnB because the roads were closed… and we were all but stranded.

So, we changed in the car and did what we do best… found a BREWERY!! In our two days in Louisiana, we visited with my sorority sister, Ella, and stuffed our faces with beignets.


We also wanted to take a bayou tour, but didn’t want to pay $60 for an ultra-touristy one close to New Orleans. So we drove about an hour away to Houma, had some po boys, and took a tour with Annie Miller’s Son’s Marsh and Swamp Tours. We highly recommend them! The guy who took us on the tour had been doing it for decades and called the alligators by name up to the boat.

Before we left, we made it up to Baton Rouge for Matt to run the LSU track, and he ended up meeting the insanely nice Senior Associate Athletic Director. He showed us all around the inside facility and gave us a preview of the new track they were putting in at the time.

We loved our very rainy stay in Louisiana, but never made it to Bourbon Street. I think that means we’re due for a trip back!!