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Free apps help you save money on last-minute hotels

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Clark Howard |
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If you’re far from an advanced planner, a couple of free apps could save you up to 35% on same day hotel bookings.

Here’s how to save money on hotels without a lot of advanced planning

Tonight-Only Deals is part of the free Priceline Negotiator app. Unlike the normal Priceline thing, you know the name of the hotel before you book with Tonight-Only Deals. The app simply helps deliver what Priceline says will be up to 35 percent savings at the last minute.

Another app that offers similar last-minute booking deals is called HotelTonight. Again, you’ll know the name of the place where you’re going to stay. Visit to vet the hotels you’re offered before you say “yes.”

In addition to these 2 apps, so many websites can save you on hotels. There’s one that I haven’t used but I’ve heard good things about. tripBAM is a site that apparently works a lot like Yapta. Once you make a reservation, they’ll track it for you and automatically alert you if a lower price pops up.

Then, of course,  you have the free members-only portal called (formerly This site offers deals on profiled resorts, hotels, and destinations and you have so many days to book. If you’re a registered member, you can click on their calendar and it will show you what dates the special you’re interested in will be available. That eliminates the frustration of calling a hotel up and finding there are blackout dates.

And then there are always the old standbys: If you are willing to book nonrefundable and not find out until after you book where you’re staying, I get at least 80 or 90 percent of my bookings through Priceline and Hotwire. They save me a fortune. Just be sure to only bid for hotels that are 4 stars or higher. You’re asking for it if you bid below 3 stars!

For more on hotels, be sure to read my hotel booking guide.

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