Bidding for holiday travel

When the phone rings in the Priceline commercials, it's William Shatner to the rescue.  But in the real world, how do you find a hotel deal on travel sites?

Clark Howard, HLN Money coach says, "What I do with Hotwire and Priceline is I go to Hotwire and see what they're offering a four-star hotel at, and I go to Priceline and I start my baseline bidding 30% below that."

Hotels use deep discounts to attract last-minute travelers, so wait it out if you can.

"I get my best deals on Priceline and on Hotwire when I'm looking less than 20 days out. The closer you get to your arrival date, the better the deal you're going to be offered, if they've got vacancies," explains Howard.

And remember, price isn't everything.

"I limit my bidding almost always to four-star hotels or higher. Even if it's not truly a four-star, I'm never unhappy."

Bidding can be a hassle, but the extra work may mean big saving.