Every travel blogger on the internet has their own tips for saving money traveling.
Stay at a hostel! Rent an apartment! Become a couch surfer! Camp out in your car! Sneak in to a stranger’s backyard and sleep on their patio furniture! (Joking.) What about when you want to stay in a nice hotel, close to all the action, but you don’t want to spend a fortune? My very first stop for booking hotels is always Hotwire’s Secret Hot Rate Hotels, but I don’t book blindly. I use a website called BetterBidding.com, and their sister site: BiddingHelper.com.
** NOTE: I am not affiliated with these websites in any way. They’ve just saved me so much money (and heartbreak) over the years that I’ve decided to share this information with my subscribers. When you book using their website, they do get a kickback from Hotwire. This does not affect your price in any way! It just allows them to continue offering their resources and help for FREE. **
These websites are not shiny, pretty, or easy to navigate. They are, however, completely full of useful information for booking through Hotwire, and I’ve never booked without consulting them first. Without further ado, here are my tips for navigating these websites to predict Hotwire Secret Hotels before you book!
1. Create an account. Sometimes your detective work isn’t, well, working. This website has a spectacular forum with friendly folks to help you out – but you’ll need an account!
2. Know exactly where and when you’re traveling, and be prepared to book immediately.
Hotwire updates its hotels and prices by the minute. More than once I’ve been mulling over booking a hotel, only to hit “book” and find that the deal I found yesterday isn’t available today. To avoid disappointment and confusion, have your credit card handy.
3.Your browser is about to get a little messy. Suck it up: it’s for the money! Open the following two tabs in your browser:
4. Click to your first tab: Better Bidding Hotels List. Find the state you are traveling to on the list, and then select the region.
5. Go back to the Bidding Helper tab and fill out your travel info (where, when, etc.). Click “Search,” and then select the “Hotwire Easy View.”
It will then give you an opportunity to select or deselect a “zone”. Deselect all zones, and then click JUST ONE ZONE. You can repeat the following steps for each zone! Don’t try to look through more than one zone at once. Or do try…and fail. Just know that I’m laughing at you from behind my computer screen.
6. Go back to the other tab and select the corresponding zone to the one you’ve just selected in the Bidding Helper. Now the detective work begins!
7. Now that you’ve got both of your zones chosen in each tab, click back to the Bidding Helper (you’ll be clicking back and forth a lot, sorry!) and sort the hotels by star ratings (my suggestion), price, or zone. When you see a hotel that you think looks good — meaning a great star rating with a low price — click “Full Amenities, Click Here”.
8. Read over the amenities, and then click back to the Better Bidding Hotel List. Find one that matches: same star rating, same amenities. Sometimes it’s hard to tell just by glancing: you need to really compare the amenities you’re viewing on the Bidding Helper to the ones on the hotel list. This isn’t easy. At this point you may be wondering if the money you’re saving is really worth all this effort. IT IS! $$$$
If you’re stupid or lazy or just can’t figure it out, choose a few hotels that look good to you and post a thread on the forum asking for help. Each state has its own forum, so make sure that if you’re booking a hotel in Los Angeles, California, that you aren’t just posting in the section for Houston, Texas. Your plea for help must be posted in the right area. So to post for Los Angeles, CA, you’d need to scroll down to “Hotels – United States Priceline and Hotwire Winning Bids” (on the home page), then select California, then select Los Angeles.
Pro tip: It helps to read the recent threads in the section for where you’re traveling. Sometimes people have done the work for you, and figured out the names to the Hot Rate Secret Hotels. Not always…but sometimes!
9. If you’ve managed on your own (or with help from forum members) to figure out what hotel you’re looking at, and you’d be happy with that hotel, go back to your tab on Bidding Helper and click “Continue.” Please use the link from Bidding Helper or Better Bidding. It doesn’t cost you a cent more, but they get a tiny portion of your money. It keeps them in business and they’re saving you money! Affiliate links are the bread and butter of free resources like these.
10. Go ahead and book the hotel! Keep your fingers crossed, because there is always a chance that it will be another hotel than the one you think it will be. That’s the whole premise of Hotwire: blind booking. You know the star rating, the amenities, the area, and the price, but the name is a secret. It’s how hotwire gets its deals without compromising the reputation of the hotel.
11. If you did receive help from other members OR you’re just a rad person, post your result in the forum. Someone else may be considering the same deal, and your outcome could help them out!
12. This is the fun part: go find the website of the hotel you’ve booked, and act as if you were going to book the same room for the same nights. Compare the price on their website to the price you just got through Hotwire and pat yourself on the back (or spend the difference online shopping on Amazon because you have no self control –that’s what I do, anyway).
I really hope this saves you some money; it’s so helpful to predict Hotwire Secret Hotels before you book, even if it’s a little time-consuming. I’ve saved over $1000 in the past year alone using this strategy. Unless there is a very specific hotel I want to stay in, I use Hotwire. But I also use the off-brand, comparable-ingredient lotions at Target instead of the name brand ones…so maybe that’s just the kind of person I am.
Good luck! 🙂