I’ve written before about using Priceline’s Name Your Own Price service, but many families are still nervous about using it for family travel. But Priceline can be a fabulous way to get a great deal on a family vacation. I’ve used it a few times and while it’s not always a good option, I’ve been thrilled to get some really amazing deals on very nice hotels. In fact, I’ve been happy with every single hotel I’ve booked on Priceline – and I can’t say the same for other booking sites. Before you “name your own price” though, make sure you have a good plan in place.
Here are a few Priceline bidding tips and tricks that should help you feel more comfortable using Priceline to plan a cheap family vacation – and will help you get the best deal available.
Tip 1: Start out accessing the Priceline site using BeFrugal.com, Upromise, or Ebates. You’ll get anywhere from 1%-4.5% back depending on which site and which types of travel you purchase – in addition to the savings from Priceline.
Tip 2: Research your prices elsewhere first. Know what a good deal is.
Tip 3: Look at the vacation packages. You’ll know which hotel you are going to be in, and will have no booking fees, no cancellation fees, and a best price guarantee. However, you won’t be able to choose your flight times. If you do some research on another booking site (like Kayak), you should have a good idea of what flights are going to be the cheapest.
Tip 4: Start with a super-low price, and because you aren’t guaranteed a room that will accommodate more than 2, try for multiple rooms. But don’t get caught up in the bidding. Set a price limit and stick to it. If your price is too low, Priceline may encourage you to increase it – but only do that if you really feel it’s a good deal.
Tip 5: Start early. You won’t be able to increase your price that day, so make sure you leave lots of time to gradually increase it.
Tip 6: Priceline on occasion may tell you that while you haven’t gotten the deal, you can increase your price slightly to have it accepted. Again, make sure this is a good deal.
Tip 7: Only bid when you are ready. Almost everything you book on Priceline is non-refundable, so don’t bid if you aren’t absolutely ready. Also, review the fine print – you usually can’t get frequent guest points or other perks when booking on Priceline.
If you follow these tips, there’s a good chance that you can put together a great, cheap family vacation that’s perfect for your family.
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