After months of dreary winter and now storms that make Dorothy’s tornado look almost cute, I’m putting my mind towards sunshine & some upcoming travel in my future. I’ve always considered myself a savvy shopper when it comes to traveling but I’ve got to admit, Priceline and Hotwire have always intimidated me. I’ve heard all the stories from folks who’ve stayed in fabulous hotels for a fraction of the cost so I’ve decided that it’s time for me to get in on this blind bidding.

Clark Howard, money guru, is one of the biggest proponents of travel bidding and he recommends checking out Bidding for Travel if you are going to work with Priceline and Better Bidding if you are going to try your hand with Hotwire. Both are great forums where travelers help each other and share knowledge — including tips on how to bid multiple times a day.

Now if you want to bypass some of the research but still glean many of the same benefits, check out The Bidding Traveler! This new site allows you to simply enter the desired city, dates, hotel zones and star ratings; view recently rejected and accepted Priceline bids; and enter a “lowball” bid and your “final offer” after reviewing bid-price recommendations. Then you can choose manual bidding or AutoBid.

Dennis Schaal of USA Today took this site for a spin and within roughly two minutes after selecting Buy Hotel Room, AutoBid had enabled him to submit multiple bids on Priceline, which ultimately accepted a $59 bid for a weekend night stay in early April at a 3-and-a-1/2-star DoubleTree hotel in Fort Lee, N.J. The retail rate on the DoubleTree website was $109. (After Pricelines’s taxes and fees, he saved nearly 40% on the Priceline deal.)

So make a bid, pack your bags & we’re off!