holy excrement, I win!

So BOTH convention hotels were full in DC.  I dreaded the thought of finding another hotel and going over my proposed budget.

I feel like I hit the total jackpot ‘cuz I found an awesome Bed and Breakfast through tripadvisor.com.

And it was the same price or less than the convention hotel, as well as being only half a mile away (which hopefully is a lovely walk in the early summer morning right past the national zoo and not too hot yet, I hope!).

I WIN!!!!!!!!!!!

tripadvisor.com is my new BFF, sorry #2.
What do you all use to help plan trips?

17 Responses to “holy excrement, I win!”

  1. Steph Says:

    The heat shouldn’t be too bad in the morning, although the evening could be more unpleasant.

    If you get the chance, try to walk through the zoo starting around 8; at 8-8:30 they start letting the animals outside and feeding them, and they’ll be lively and cute rather than hiding in the air conditioning. I went that early years ago, and it was my favorite trip there.

  2. First Gen American Says:

    The last time I was there I used Priceline for my hotel. You can get pretty specific in the neighborhood you want to stay. Loved the zoo. The other museums seemed dated and in need of a refresh. I was also expecting the landscaping, etc to be better kept up given it was our nations capital but items during the beginning of the recession so maybe inks changed.

    • First Gen American Says:

      Stupid auto-correct. Last line should read that I went during the beginning of the recession, so maybe things have changed since then.

  3. Pamela Says:

    B&B’s beat hotels by a mile–hooray!

  4. hush Says:

    For trip planning, I love TripAdvisor, and Yelp – I use these primarily for learning about restaurants – I’ve found both to be extremely useful for deciding between 2 choices. They can be seas of negative reviews, but for me they work.

    VRBO is my favorite way to find travel accommodations, and will probably prevent me from ever buying a vacation home of my own. Like @1stGenAmerican, I also love Priceline – we’ve used that a bunch for scoring downtown hotels in big cities on the cheap.

    I was like the last person on the planet to hear of PBS travel guru Rick Steves and his great guidebooks, which I only recently discovered and found very helpful on my recent trip to Italy. I also enjoy the Lonely Planet guides.

  5. bogart Says:


    Another big fan of VRBO. And yes, I use trip advisor and google reviews. I sometimes turn to rvparkreviews (.com) for our camping plans but it’s as much or more to rule stuff out, as in. Generally others are fans of game rooms, lazy rivers, and so forth, which is totally a clue to me that that is not where we want to be (camping in state parks eliminates this problem, anyway). I do wish it were possible to get more detailed site-level information about campgrounds, but usually just make my best guess using the campsite map (prefer to be away from others and near waterfronts, if any, though of course those 2 goals are often at odds with each other for understandable reasons).

  6. Leigh Says:

    Woo! That’ll be way better than staying in a hotel anyway :)

  7. plantingourpennies Says:

    We stayed with friends who live near the zoo last summer. It’s a really nice area! Depending which direction you’re headed, check out the Melvin C Hazen trail for a walk/hike. It’s one of those places where you actully can’t hear any street sounds the nature around you is so dense.

  8. Susan Says:

    I used VRBO exactly once, for an apartment near the DC convention center. We arranged for the place in June for a 25,000-person November conference. Less than 24 hours before the conference, the owners emailed & said “Sorry, not available!”. It was a bad time and I’ll never use VRBO again. I can’t imagine having that happen internationally – just no recourse, and no place to stay. I like the idea, but once burned …

    • bogart Says:

      Oof! I haven’t used it for urban centers, more a (semi)rural destination kind of thing. And I do prefer to pay with a credit card, when possible, because while I haven’t had any bad experiences (knock on wood), well …

    • hush Says:

      Yes, flakes happen. That’s unfortunate. We’ve had good luck with VRBO 6 out of 6 times. In one case, they had to switch the property on us 2 weeks before, but it ended up being like a free upgrade. That said, we always have a backup hotel plan in place.

  9. Linda Says:

    Oddly enough, I’ve been sneaking in some time this morning to check Tripadvisor, VBRO, and Airbnb for places to stay around Morro Bay, CA for an impromptu trip with a friend. It’s been a while since I’ve used Tripadvisor and I don’t recall having annoying popups every single time I click on the calendar features to enter my dates of stay. Grrrr!

    VBRO seems like it would be great for families. Most of the properties I’m finding are 3+ bedrooms, and my friend and I only want to 1-2 bedrooms. We really want separate beds, which is the problem I’m having with Airbnb, though, which seems to feature mostly rooms with a single bed. We also want to find a place where she can do some food prep because she has special dietary restrictions. Oy, this is a headache!

    I’ll follow this thread to see if anyone has recommendations on other sites. I really need them at this point!

    • hush Says:

      Yes, VRBO is great for families and/or for longer term stays, particularly where one wants access to a kitchen and laundry (and a piano and a backyard swingset). We’ve rented 6 times via VRBO, and in each case we had 4+ adults and 2 kids. Much more comfy than getting a block of hotel rooms.

  10. oilandgarlic Says:

    I used booking.com for hotels but I always check out TripAdvisor for reviews and bookings as well. I like Priceline if I don’t have a hotel in mind. I love Kayak and Farecompare for airfare.

  11. EMH Says:

    I like airbnb and hotels.com a lot. Hotels.com has a rewards program that I love. After your accumulate 10 nights using Hotels.com, you get a free night at any of their hotels. The rules have changed a little but for a while we were able to stay at Holiday Inns, Red Roofs, etc. and then turn in our free night for the Four Seasons or Ritz. Now, the maximum value of the free night is the average daily rate of your previous 10 hotels booked their site. Still, as much as we travel, it has been beneficial.

  12. jlp Says:

    Ooh! My mom and I used Trip Advisor to find a B&B — which was right near the zoo — when we went to the March for Women’s Lives. (Oh my, I just realized that was nearly 10 years ago.) Anyway, pretty sure it was the WPGH, which was immaculate, comfortable, well appointed, and overall just lovely. It was also well located for transportation, zoo access, and was unquestionably in the city. We also ate at the nearby Lebanese Taverna (the only meal I remember from the trip), which had excellent food (albeit 9 years ago), and handled the influx of people there for the march with ease.

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