R ecently on vacation I used Priceline twice to book rooms. I was pleased with the results. But it seems like there is way more to this than I know. It was purely trial and error for us.

I thought I'd like to share some tips and it would be nice if any of you who do this successfully could plz do the same.

We would book a room when we got to town because we didn't know where we were going to stay before then. We traveled with a laptop but needed internet access. We went to Starbucks and if you put $5 on a Starbucks card you can log on and get 2 hours of free internet each day of that month. If you are going to do this I suggest getting the card before you leave. You have to call and get the card authorized which slowed us down. But the card worked in Illinois as well as Texas so I assume it works everywhere. When we were in Muskogee though we couldn't find a Starbucks, amazing I know. We pulled in behind a Fairfield Inn and could get online from the parking lot.

The nice thing about the Priceline site is that we could see a lot of hotels and what they charged without searching individual sites. Nice when you just want to get a room and settle in for the night quickly.

I used the 'make a deal' feature and got probably 50% off the rooms. I don't know if that is good or if I could have done better. Both rooms were nice. My criteria for nice is when their pillows and linens are nice or nicer than mine.

Question: Do the deals get better closer to the date? If I had offered the same amount two weeks before the trip would I have gotten the room, or not? I have heard that if you offer a low ball offer and don't get the room that you cannot bid again that day. I don't know if that is true or not. But that kept me from going too low. I thought if I didn't get a room then John could bid but I didn't know if another person using the same IP address would not get in.

A friend suggested that I not go lower than 3 stars but I did 2.5 stars and was pleased with the 2 rooms we got. I suppose the stars could depend on the city. In Springfield on Priceline they only had 1 hotel that was 3 stars. In Texas I used 2.5 stars and was bumped up to a 3.5 star room. That may mean that I could have gotten a room for less. But then there were some hotels in that area I didn't want to stay at. That may have meant that I could have ended up there.

Anyway I am still trying to figure this out, but was very pleased with the deals I got. Any suggestions from anyone would be great appreciated.