How to get the best hotel deals possible

What can you do to get the best hotel deals possible? We have all been there. The family says yes to a vacation, but the budget says no. Or maybe it’s late, you forgot to make hotel reservations and the prices are outrageous. That’s what happened to me when I was on a girlfriends getaway. The three of us were traveling along the Gulf Coast area thinking there would be plenty of rooms. Instead we were stuck driving in circles late at night. Finally,  we scored a room at $30 less than the discounted rack rate.

How did we do that? First, let’s cover the basics in how to get hotel deals.

Hotel room with two beds and a lamp
Snoozing yet?


Think beyond AAA and AARP for discounts. Are you in the military, a teacher or work in another government job? That may qualify you for a government discount in some hotels even if  you are on vacation.  Do you belong to a student discount program or wholesale club like COSTCO? Get ready to pull those cards out of your wallet. Some hotels offer discounts for those members too.  Ask at check-in.

Is online or offline pricing better?

Don’t get caught off guard. Check both for the best prices. It only takes a minute for an online search to yield a range of prices for the area you need. Those prices only tell part of the story. Call the hotel directly to compare (especially if discounts for any of the above aren’t listed). Keep your eyes open for coupon books at rest areas and on billboards if you are on a road trip.  Ask for an adjustment if you see a better price listed for the hotel you booked.

Think outside the box

Staying outside of a tourist area or away from an interstate may mean less expensive rooms. Look close to where you want to be, but check outside the area also. If you’re flying, check the hotels that are away from the edge of the airport. They often have lower prices and a complimentary airport shuttle – plus you may get a better night’s sleep.

These tips help you get off-peak travel and “dead week” deals

  • Weekend rates in business areas
  • Weekday rates in tourist areas
  • Off-season prices in tourist areas.

Places like Walt Disney World are packed during the holidays. A January marathon drives prices up and then Valentine’s Day business starts kicking in. What happens in between the marathon and holiday travel? Nothing. Prices during this ‘dead week” are a fraction of what they are during the peak season.

Vacation travelers can get the best hotel rates in cities like Washington, D.C. by traveling on the weekends. I have personally stayed in a top notch downtown hotel for around $100 per night on a Friday and Saturday. That same room was upwards of $300 per night during the week.

Now that we have covered the basics on how to get the best hotel deals around, let’s go back to my dark night along the Gulf Coast.

How my girlfriends and I saved $30 and change – off the already discounted room.

My girlfriends and I were exhausted by 11:00 pm. Each of the hotels that we checked were way out of budget or booked. It looked like we were going to spend the night in the car when I decided to try negotiating with the hotel. The decision was a game changer. We found an affordable room in about 10 minutes.


We looked online, saw they still had rooms available and got a AAA rate of just over $130 plus tax. Ouch!

The desk clerk quoted the same price over the phone.

We had nothing to lose from trying to negotiate. The company had budgeted $100 per night with tax for the three of us. I told him that, pointed out that it was late and asked if he could help. His response? “How soon can you be here?”

The parking lot was about halfway full. We saved over $30 and the hotel rented what might have been an otherwise empty room.  Negotiation has worked for me several other times. Hotels must fill rooms to stay in business and will sometimes decide that lowered revenue for a night is better than no revenue.

One thing about negotiation is to be nice. Desk clerks are people that you want to have on your side. If you want their help, then be nice. That friendly smile and positive voice tone may go a long way to helping you get the best hotel deals around – especially after midnight.

Bodacious Broads Travel Blog has a vlog

The Bodacious Broads Travel Blog Vlog is now live on You Tube. Go ahead and say that five times fast! Traveling me is convinced that you will enjoy find the new, developing channel to be packed full of the travel tips you want. The videos are lighthearted and fun, but tackle some of the finer issues of the travel industry.

One of the best things about this channel is the embodiment of fun. Taking care of family and friends takes its toll on us gals.Every woman deserves to have some down time so she can relax. Gathering the girlfriends on a weekend getaway is a good way to let those stresses roll off of our backs.

Some of the topics we will cover include…

  • Road trip tips!
  • How to pack vacation make up.
  • Where (and when) to find the best deals on you name it
  • How to find cheap vacation options in your home town
  • Cheap ticket secrets
  • What if something goes wrong with… the car, airline tickets, hotel reservations
  • Girlfriend getaways
  • Family trips…

Watch the video to laugh and learn more. After viewing it, please like it and share. In addition to sharing a great video, the likes and shares really helps me out with You Tube. 🙂

The new vlog is set to highlight of travel life for women who want to travel. How we define our voyages can say a lot about how we define ourselves. Do we look for the bold and adventurous or stick with the mundane? Do we anticipate what lays beyond the next curve with excitement or fear? Are we the type of women who enjoy poking around every corner of our nation in our RV or do we prefer to fly to the exotic or drive over the state park for a day?

When it comes to travel the only wrong answer is one that leaves your tail at home and your heart on t

How to put the budget in travel for cheap trips

Putting the budget in travel is easier than you might think. This is January and since November, I have traveled to Myrtle Beach, New York City and Pigeon Forge, Tennessee. Budget trip, cheap trips, travel on a shoestring, whatever you call it, saving money is the name of the game. Planning goes beyond the online search for deals. I have gotten the cheapest prices and deep discounts by planning ahead, changing my thinking and taking a few risks.

Woma n at shopping court
Caption: Gayle in New York City.

Consider my total round trip costs for these travel destinations:

  • My budget travel took me to New York City for less than $350.
  • Athens, Tennessee to Pigeon Forge, Tennessee was about $450.
  • Home to Myrtle Beach cost less than $550.

And, I never felt deprived despite the low budget.

I stayed in hotels or campgrounds, dined in trendy restaurants and bought souvenirs. At no time did I feel deprived or sad because of trying to spend as little money as possible. A budget vacation doesn’t mean that you are short on fun. Your mindset and willingness to take bold travel moves is what sets an adventurer apart from a tourist, and helps you cut costs.

Let me give you some ideas on how to make a cheap trip happen. I’ll give a breakdown for the above destinations in upcoming articles. In the meantime here are some tips I use to get the best vacation deals possible.

Scope out wholesale clubs for discount gift cards to restaurants and attractions.

Taking a road trip in a car can be cheaper than airplane travel.

A bus can be even less expensive than a car.

Hotel prices are generally better during the off-season, but best during dead week.

Tourist destinations tend to have better deals during the week.

High tourist destinations tend to have the best deals on the weekends. (Ever heard the term “great weekend rates”?)

There are free attractions in every city – if you know where to look.

Shop clearance racks in souvenir shops, or tread off the beaten path for the best souvenir deals.

Clip coupons for national restaurant chains and take them with you.

Use your AAA or AARP card at restaurants. Get a list of participating restaurants from your club.

No AAA or AARP? Some hotel chains extend a government discount to teachers. Military personnel may also get a reduced rate.

Checking in late at night? Try negotiating with the hotel. I have received as much as $20 off when checking in after 10:00 pm.

PT Cruiser on a map.
Caption: PT Cruiser on a map.

Are you reaching for your atlas yet? The only cure for the travel bug is a vacation. Be careful though! It can take anywhere from a few days to a couple of weeks to recoup after the budget travel bug virus hits. The disease goes into remission, but never fully leaves. Once you start itching for the next road trip, the only thing you can do is fill the gas tank and grab the suitcase.

A bodacious vacation is right around the corner. Are you ready for the adventure?

New Year, New Logo

Greetings travelers! We are celebrating the New Year with a new logo. This snappy design was created by Milena Luzanin. She is a freelancer at Upwork who specializes in graphic design. She looked at a sample sketch and immediately caught the spirit behind the design. Milena understood that I wanted something to represent women who travel as bold sojourners to distant lands or in our backyard. The result is before you.

Stylized logo of woman wearing a boa.
Our logo.

Now that we have a logo the question is simple. What do we do with it? Well, I’m glad you asked. It will appear on our blog, across the net, on Pinterest and on all of our official products.

Interested in mugs, totes, umbrellas or other logo emblazoned travel gear? Mugs and other merchandise will be available from our  Zazzle store soon. I receive a 10% profit from the mugs, totes, journals and the other items that are up for grabs.

The logo will also be used at meetups (called Celebrations). Not sure which conference room or table? No problem. Just look for the Live Bodaciously logo. You’ll know that you’ve found the right place when you see it – or just listen for the raucous sound of women who like to have fun.






Travel dreams really can come true

What is your travel dream? This blog is as much about fulfilling your road trip hopes as it is anything else. Is there a place that you have always wanted to go but never could? Maybe it’s across the world or around the block. Dreams aren’t always big. Sometimes they are that happy idea that gets us through the day. It could be a moment of yearning to be at the beach (or the mountains) as you down that last drop of coffee on the way out of the office door.

Lonesome soul on the Dalton Highway.
Walking for peace on Alaska’s Dalton Highway.

Even as a young child, I stared at the street in front of my house in wonderment. My grandmother caught me looking at it one day and asked what I was doing. I told her that I was looking at the road. Asking her where it ended was the wrong question. Her reply was typically her. “Stup!” (Short for stupid, her favorite word). You can see it right there at the foot of the hill.” followed by “shut up”. Hot, humiliated tears where choked back as I did just that, but my dream didn’t fade, I simply decided to wait until I was a grown-up to pack my suitcase for real.

My school principal’s daughter regaled my kindergarten class with tales of the Alaska Highway. She raved about the vastness of the journey, of mountains that touched the sky and the glorious sunsets. We sat spellbound, stopping to breathe only in between the photos that were being passed around. Hers seemed like a grand journey and my five-year-old self wanted to go.

The moment that the school bus stopped my feet were flying home. Mom listened enough to pronounce it a “pipe dream” and say “Well, you ain’t never going to get there.” She said the same thing about Walt Disney World. What she didn’t, couldn’t understand was that a passion to see the world was ignited that burned as brightly as any fire.

She could not have been more wrong. It was 2009 when my college aged daughter and I headed for the open road of the Alaska Highway. She reveled in being the navigator, DJ and part-time photographer for our 11,000 mile adventure. Hubby drove home with us when our time at the mission site was completed. I returned in 2015 and may return in 2016.

Fulfilling my travel dreams didn’t end there. I’ve been across the country and across the state. I’ve also been to Walt Disney World with my Prince Charming and had breakfast in Cinderella’s castle with my two favorite princesses.

It’s all proof that wishes really can come true.

Don’t let that unrealized road trip go to waste. Your adventure is waiting. Over the next few weeks this bodacious broad will be sharing how my travel dreams came true. We’ll talk about the good, the bad and ugly of travel, what some of the obstacles are and how to overcome them. We’ll talk about saving without pain, planning, how to put the “budget” into budget travel and more.

You are encouraged to leave comments along the way. Where would you go? What would you see or do? Let’s journey together and find out just where that road goes.

Ta da! Introducing the Bodacious Broads Travel Blog

Introducing Bodacious Broads Travel Blog! What’s in a name? This one has attitude, fun and boldness! Bodacious Broads Travel Blog is for women who take the world on their own terms. They are bold, adventurous women who know how to relax and have fun. Just like you and me.

Women in front of Shenandoah National Park sign.
Bodacious women, Gayle and Allie at Shenandoah National Park.

Are you a bodacious broad? Do you believe in living life loud? Then come, follow us on our journey where the unexpected is around every curve. Every road trip is an adventure whether crossing the continent or the street. Life is out there waiting for us. Bodacious broads are on the way. Cast off conformity and hold on tight!

Posts will be about travel, journeying and generally making our way through life. From time to time, we will highlight bodacious women who are either living or dead, known or unknown – women who make a difference in their own corner of the world or globally.

Writers on Bodacious Broads Travel Blog know that life is experienced to be lived well. We are not women who will go silently into stereotypes but constantly redefine who we are. We form our world into what it can be and refuse to complacently settle for less.

Hello world!

This is our first post. We are excited to begin the Bodacious Broads Travel Blog and look forward to lots of interactions. Our plan is for this to be a community for women who like to travel, have fun and enjoy life.

PT Cruiser on a map.
PT Cruiser on a map.

Posts may be quirky, bold, serious or just plain fun. Come join us as we take the world by storm. Bookmark the site so you can return often. Spread the word about us on Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest or your favorite social media platform. Some things are just too good to keep to ourselves.

Happy traveling!