January 25, 2019

How to find the BEST hotel prices and BRG deals using our search engines!

If you're new to comparing hotel rates for finding BRGs, metasearch engines are truly a great way to get started! They exist for one reason - to help you find the cheapest hotel price by searching hundreds of travel websites around the Internet. For those of you who aren't familiar with metasearch engines, these sites are essential for finding BRG leads! We're extremely pleased to have them here to help us save money on travel .. more specifically, hotels!

 Here's how they work for hotels, step-by-step:

 Step #1 - You'll start off by selecting your travel destination and preferred dates.

 Step #2 - These websites will gather the hotel rates from literally hundreds of major (and fairly unknown) travel sites from around the globe. Then, once you are shown the various prices for a particular hotel, you simply click on it and it will bring you to the actual booking page on the website where it was found (sites such as Orbitz, Travelocity, Expedia, Booking.com and plenty of others .. including a large variety of booking sites that you will discover for the very first time!).

Step #3 - These search engines will compare the hotel prices from all of these travel sites, displaying each rate side-by-side for direct comparison. 

Select the banner links below to compare dozens of booking sites! Simply select your search criteria .. and you're set to go!

Find the best deal with HotelsCombined.com

You needn't be a pro. It's easy to skim cities to look for these rate discrepancies, especially if you have a keen eye for saving money!

Folks, this is how you will spot price discrepancies, identify who offers the lowest, and pursue a potential BRG lead!

Finding BRG leads is all about comparison!

With these websites at your fingertips, we've pretty much got you covered! There is no better (or quicker) way than this to spot a potential BRG opportunity! Even if you aren't able to find one, these search engines will tell you what the cheapest hotel in town is. They will search literally dozens of different websites, often very obscure ones, and provide you with some killer rates.

I encourage everyone to check them out today! They are essential for what we do here, and are truly a great resource for the hardcore traveler!

One thing I must stress ..

Always be sure to click the displayed rate, then the "Book Now" button. Doing so will verify that the rate has not changed from what you were originally shown.Good luck! .. and if you find a BRG deal, email me with the details and I'll gladly check it out. Once verified, we'll even post it on the blog with credit going to you!

April 29, 2018

Riding Amtrak: Sleeper Accommodations ... Is It Worth It?

Growing up, I'd always been fascinated by train travel. Seeing the countryside by rail has a certain appeal to me, even now. The advantages of riding include less stress, chatting with people from all walks of life, and having the time to reflect on life as you gaze out at the seemingly endless, beautiful landscape! If you haven't tried it, or perhaps it's been on your bucket list for awhile, I'd highly suggest you toss aside any reservations you may have had about train travel and give it a try - at least once. As soon as you're onboard and settled in, I think you'd quickly understand why this is my preferred method of travel. It may not be the quickest mode for getting from Point A to Point B, but for those with a fair amount of patience, you won't likely be disappointed!

The cost of riding Amtrak doesn't have to drain your wallet, particularly if you plan ahead. When I travel, getting the best price on a ticket is a must. I'm sure most anyone would feel the same way. And let me tell you, the key to getting the lowest fare possible is to book your trip WELL IN ADVANCE!

Generally you have two options: purchasing coach class (for shorter trips) or a first-class sleeper car accommodation (my preference) for those longer, overnight journeys.

The sleeper cars include the roomettes, Amtrak's least expensive option. This type is perfect for the solo traveler and is more than adequate for a couple. In this accommodation, two seats will face each other during the day and fold together into a small, but cozy, bed in the evening. An upper bunk releases from the top for when there's two of you. (Since I travel alone, I use this upper space to store my baggage!) The majority of roomettes, with the exception of about 4 units, are located on the upper level.

While not by any means spacious, the roomette gets the job done for one or two!

Also perfect for two, with the addition of your very own, private self-enclosed restroom, Amtrak's Superliner Bedroom is a nice upgrade. It offers a bit more space and comfort. If you're okay with the uptick in price, I would recommend choosing this room type. With this accommodation, you also have your very own shower - right inside the room!

Amtrak also offers a Superliner Family Bedroom (perfect for a couple with 2 kids) and a Superliner Accessible Bedroom. Both of these room types are found on the lower level (on opposite ends) and span the entire width of the train.

The layout of the individual sleeper cars may look something like this:

In my experience booking online or on my phone's Amtrak app, a room number will be randomly assigned to you (with the obvious exception of the accessible unit down below). The upstairs roomettes depicted (rooms 1-10) will have one restroom for passengers to share (T=toilet). Not to worry though - there are several additional restrooms, plus a community shower, located on the lower level of the train near the train's entrance. (Note the "H" in the chart, that's the handicap, or accessible unit which I spoke of.)

So what's included in the price of your sleeper?
  • FULL MEALS (Breakfast, lunch AND dinner, served in the train's dining car!) If your traveling as a small group or family of 4 or less, the dining car staff will seat you at the same table. Solo travelers and couples will be seated with other passengers (usually until 4 fill a booth). You'll have many options to order off of a full menu. Folks in the sleepers may order sides (such as a salad for lunch or sausage/bacon for breakfast), beverage and dessert as well - at no additional charge. (I recommend the chocolate/raspberry tart, if available - delicious, but fattening for sure!) 
  • Breakfast usually offers a choice of pancakes, omelette, cereals, oatmeal, etc. 
  • For lunch, diners can order an Angus or Veggie burger served with kettle chips, a entree salad, pasta dish or kids' meal (usually featuring mac 'n cheese or a hot dog). 
  • Dinner options include the Amtrak 'Signature Steak' and/or seafood (crab cakes usually), various pasta and low-cal dishes. 
Eating in the dining car is a great opportunity to chat with your fellow passengers! On my very first Amtrak trip, I felt awkward at the idea of sitting with perfect strangers. Now, I find this to be one of the highlights of my trip!

Please note: breakfast is usually done on a first-come first-serve basis. Lunch and dinner is offered by reservation only. A staff member will go room to room to present you with time options for your meals.

  • PERSONAL SERVICE - Beds are made up by your own personal attendant. Whenever you choose to retire for the night, they'll make up your bed! Upon waking, they'll prepare your room for "day mode". The bed will be converted back into seats so you can enjoy the view out your window.
Your attendant will also bring your meal to your room, if you choose, allowing you to dine in total privacy! (I highly recommend giving the dining car a try, at least once, before opting to go this route.)

Many folks will choose to tip their attendant once departing at their destination. A good rule of thumb is to tip $10 for every night spent on the train. Most of my trips keep me on the train for 2 nights, so I will usually carry an extra $20 for that purpose. No pressure though - just give whatever you can, depending on your budget. The service you receive will dictate how much you tip - if you decide to.

And speaking of cash, it's always a good idea to carry at least some of that green stuff with you on the train. Tipping is customary at the end of each meal in the dining car. A few bucks left at the table (and perhaps a bit more for dinner) is standard practice. Whatever amount your budget allows is certainly welcome and the service is usually top notch. Treat the meal as you would if you were dining at your favorite sit-down restaurant.

Here are a few tips on riding:

1. It is required that you wear shoes at all times when you exit your sleeper car. You may be able to get away with wearing flip flops in some cases, but this is usually frowned upon by the staff. Your footing may be compromised when you encounter those occasional rough patches of track, so it's important not to fall flat on your face when you wander to the restroom or through the train cars. Socks or bare feet are permissible while in your room. Use common sense with this one!

2. Keep your voice level to a minimum while in your sleeper. Using earbuds on your devices and keeping phone conversations low will keep your fellow sleeper car passengers from giving you dirty looks!

3. Pack a power strip or extension cord. Your sleeper only has 1 outlet so you'll really appreciate not having to swap out all of your devices that need to be charged! This way you can plug in your portable DVD player and charge your smartphone at the same time.

4. Never smoke ANYWHERE on the train! (if you think you can get away with taking a few puffs in the bathroom, think again!) You will be warned initially, but do it again and expect to be escorted off the train at the next scheduled stop. Getting to your destination from there will be at your own expense! Along every Amtrak route, the train has specific "smoking break" stops. The Sunset Limited, for example, will make stops in Tucson, El Paso, San Antonio, Houston, etc. where you can step off the train for a time and indulge in your nicotine needs.

Follow these simple tips and rules and I guarantee you'll have the best overnight train experience one could hope for! Give it a try! Sit back, relax and enjoy your journey.

February 9, 2015

"Nearly Free" Hotel Stays with Expedia Promo Codes! (Multiple-Night Bookings Only)

EDIT: This deal appears to have been terminated early!

You'll love these new coupon codes from Expedia.com! They don't work with all of the major hotel chains (Expedia codes never do!), but they do work well with many properties out there.

I just booked 3 nights in Vegas for about $10 (total cost) using one of the codes below. I booked a $30-something room and pretty much only paid the tax .. getting the room "almost free!"

Make sure you select Expedia's "Pay Now" option when booking. The code only works for qualifying prepaid hotels. .. Enjoy!

Book by 3/15/2015 / Stay by 8/31/201

Edit: Expedia has requested that I remove these codes, since this deal has died.

August 29, 2014

How YOU Can Help Support The BRG Deals Blog

This blog receives a small compensation for completed hotel stays that are booked through our affiliate links directly. The same holds true for searches (and bookings) made through our metasearch engines. These include Hotelscombined and Bookingbuddy. This allows us to keep the BRG Deals Blog online in this format. 

For hotel stays, we highly recommend booking your getaway with Booking.com. This hotel-only booking site provides the very best available rates on the Internet, many of which are the "Pay-at-Hotel" variety with free cancellation (up until the hotel's own cancellation deadline). Supporting them also helps support us! - We are proud to have them here for YOU!

You, our readers, help to keep us going strong!

I can't say it enough - I appreciate your support! And remember, all the tools and information on this site is for YOU! I hope you enjoy reading all there is to read and have plenty of successes with your claims!

If you enjoy this blog .. search, file your claim, and book .. all in one place!

Thanks Again,


Email us your BRG contributions, questions and comments here