The Bearded Iris

A Recalcitrant Wife and Mother Tells All

How to Find Great Hotel Deals with DealAngel

One of my biggest regrets in life is that my husband and I didn’t travel more before we had kids.

San Diego, 1995…weekend vacay with my parents (how romantic!) Yes, I’m wearing overalls. Shut up.

We both worked in social services and didn’t have a lot of money. (But how cute is HE?!)

Then we pinched our pennies forever to buy our first house.

And then along came kids, pets, and a big ol’ suburban prison lawn to mow every damn weekend.

We still pinch our pennies. Every time we think we are making some progress, someone needs braces (Nature Boy), or has an umbilical hernia surgery (Mini-Me), or forgets to close the rear hatch of the van and snaps it completely off while exiting the garage (ahem), or swallows a piece of string that bunches up their intestines and threatens to kill them (our cat.) Yeah. I don’t really remember any of those scenarios in the game of Life by Milton Bradley.

And yet, that IS real life, isn’t it.

So a weekend getaway would really be awesome once in a while.

But in order to do it, I absolutely have to know in my bones that I’m getting a good deal. If I feel like I’m getting fleeced, I will curl into the fetal position and just “staycation” in my Snuggie with a Criminal Minds marathon.

(Not great for the marriage, I tell ya.)

That’s where DealAngel can help. It’s a new free service I just discovered that searches over 30 hotel booking websites to present the best hotel deals on the web. And unlike Expedia or Priceline, they only focus on the hotel portion of your trip. This is critical for an easily overwhelmed trip planner like me!

Hey, I don’t want to name my own price, because frankly, I don’t travel very much and I’d be afraid that I’d overbid and get screwed, or grossly underbid and end up staying in a cardboard box under a bridge. I want to see my choices side by side, in an apples-to-apples comparison.

I decided to test drive DealAngel and see if it was something I could use the next time I try to book a little getaway.

First I tried to search for deals in the Key West area, but there weren’t any great deals to be had there, and I wanted to see what a “great” DealAngel deal looks like. (Love that! Numbers don’t lie, folks. If there are no great deals, they tell you right off the bat!)

So I picked a bigger destination: Miami Beach. We went there once for a work function and it was fantastic. I’d love to go back for fun!

Here’s what DealAngel looks like when you enter your destination city and trip dates:

It’s clean, uncluttered, and totally not overwhelming to the eyes like some of the other travel sites. It even shows me which days are more expensive so I can avoid traveling then (brilliant!)

Then you click “Go” and voila:

…you get an interactive map! And it shows all the locations of the great and good deals! You can see the hotel choices listed at the bottom and if you hover over them, it shows you where that hotel is on the map. (Very user friendly.)

The only caveat is that you really have to know exactly what part of town you want to be in before you shop for a hotel. If you are unfamiliar with a town, you could end up in an area that isn’t ideal or where you could wake up in a bathtub full of ice, missing one or more of your major organs. So do your destination research first. But that’s probably true of any travel booking site.

Here’s what you get when you click on one of those hotels listed at the bottom. I picked one of the “great deals” just to see why it was so great:

Oooh, pictures of the hotel! Nice! A listing of amenities. Yes, go on. If you scroll down from there you get this:

…it’s DealAngel’s signature Deal Rank Analysis. TADOW! No more stress about whether or not I’m getting a good deal! They order the hotel rates from “great deal” all the way down to “rip off,” with tons of choices for any budget. I love that kind of honesty, don’t you?

Speaking of honesty, this is a sponsored post by DealAngel. But I only offered to do it because I love what I saw there and I fully intend on using them to book my next hotel. Hey, the only way I would ever sell you a pile of poo is if my kids and I made it with our bare hands. You know that about me by now, right?

But try DealAngel for yourself and see what you think. (It’s free!) Better yet, they are running a contest on their Facebook page where you could win a free two night stay in the dream hotel of your choice! I entered it. You should too! (Or vote for me and help me win if you’d rather stay home in your Snuggie with Supervisory Special Agent Hotchner and friends.)

And that’s not all. To help spread the word about this cool new service, DealAngel has graciously offered to give one of my deal-savvy readers a $50 Amazon.com gift card! To enter the giveaway, just jump on the Rafflecopter below:

a Rafflecopter giveaway

This giveaway ends Friday, July 20th. Good luck everyone!

 

33 Comments

  1. JD @ Honest Mom

    July 13, 2012 at 7:21 am

    Great review, Leslie! Probably one of the best I’ve read – ever.

    I tried out DealAngel and it’s awesome. Never heard of it until your review. Hubs and I are due for a night away from the little monsters, so DealAngel will come in handy.

    • Awesome! Thanks JD! They are brand new so I’m just helping them to get the word out. So glad you enjoyed their site as much as I did when I tried it. Pretty revolutionary technology, isn’t it?! I’ll never book a hotel blindly again.

      Oooh, a night away. That’s an idea! Even one night makes such a huge difference in the old marriage and mental health, doesn’t it?! And much easier to find a willing family member to babysit for one night instead of two (or 7). 🙂

  2. Thanks for sharing this site. You’re up to 6 votes now, most recent one from me! (As a single mom of 3 kiddos, it’s highly, highly unlikely I’ll be able to afford enjoying some traveling anytime soon… even if the hotel were free! lol)

    • Thank you Melissa! And thanks for the vote! My mom was a single mom. I totally understand where you’re coming from. Hang in there sister, there is light at the end of the tunnel! It gets better. There will be vacations someday. 🙂

      • Thanks, I needed to hear that! Luckily I’ve been having a little more light lately as I’m currently dating the most wonderful, charming, handsome, intelligent man who is a beacon in my tunnel. (Er, umm…) 😉 lol

  3. Wonderful post Leslie, thanks for sharing the love! And thanks for the nice feedback readers, we’re a new start up (Launched April 17th!) and we’re really excited to hear your feedback. We’re constantly improving and hope to end painful hotel searches!

  4. OMG, finally an easy site to navigate…so clutter-free! Love it!!! Thanks for sharing.

  5. Oh- I looked and I like it a lot. I travel a lot and hate using the other sites- way too confusing- this is nice. Great review Iris! Please get away soon- you deserve it.
    Good luck.

    • Aw, thanks Janey! You do travel a lot! I hope this site can make your travel easier. Sure wish you’d have to travel to Atlanta sometime. (We could catch a matinee like the good ol’ days!)

  6. Since goats cannot stay in hotels due to serious misconceptions about our diets I voted for you. Good luck!

  7. Now I want to go stay in a hotel, thanks to you. I love hotels. I am a travel whore.

  8. LOVE IT! Thank you Leslie, only YOU would do us all a solid like this!

  9. I was really excited to check it out but it’s not iPhone or iPad friendly! So frustrating!

    • Excellent feedback, Monica! Thank you! 🙂

    • Sorry about that Monica, I know it’s really frustrating – but we’re working on it! We’re a fresh new start up just entering the marketing, and travel is a tough market! So we’re getting user feedback and improving the site and then will have it both mobile and iPad friendly. I will come back and update you on this thread once it’s ready 🙂

  10. Wow, does this sound familiar? I am such a vacation loser that I entered Chicago…2 hours from my home!
    Thanks for hosting!
    kerry at HouseTalkN

    • Ha! Hey, at least you don’t have to worry about booking flights too. I’d call that smart! Good luck and thanks for entering the giveaway! 🙂

  11. Um, awesome. Where are we going???

  12. Jen at PIWTPITT.com

    July 13, 2012 at 8:30 pm

    Great review! I’ve never heard of Deal Angel, but I will definitely check it out next time I need a hotel. We’re always looking for a good deal. I entered the drawing too! I hope I win!!

  13. O.K. – I voted for you, that was one sad story. And (great way to start a sentence) I will use DealAngel next time I need to book a room (soon, I hope!).

  14. I will definitely check it out!

    AND, I totally get the whole suburban prison (lawn) concept. We spend a lot of time mowing, picking weeds, etc. It seems we spend most of our time preparing our yard for a nice place to do something, but we never actually “do something” in it because we used all our leisure time already doing all the yard chores. What stupidity!

    • YES! That is exactly how we feel. After all that yard work, we just want to drink cold beverages INSIDE, in front of the TV. We call ourselves “Grass Farmers.” Sad.

  15. Great concept this Deal Angel is. I’m going to have to use them for a desperately needed getaway. Because my family is driving me nuts. And because the few days at Haven listening to your vagina talk (hey – if you read that a certain way, it sounds like your vagina actually TALKED at Haven) were not long enough. Did I mention that my family is driving me nuts?

    • Hi Carole! You are a special lady to have put up with my talking vagina and then to come back for more. Book a ticket to ATL and let’s go antiquing! Or get matching Haven tattoos on our chests.

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