Travel Hack: Determining Hotwire.com Anonymous Hotels

If you’ve done any travelling in your life, you’ve likely heard of Hotwire.com. The website sells hotel rooms at an extremely cheap rate, with one condition. The condition is, you won’t know what hotel you’re reserving until after you’ve paid for it.

This is done purposefully, because it allows hotels to dump some of their hotel rooms that otherwise might not fill, without pissing off anyone who purchased a hotel at full price from their personal website and not a third party booking site.

So, purchasing a hotel room when you don’t know what the hotel is, sounds risky right? Well, if you like to live dangerously then it probably sounds like an added piece to the adventure. If you’re like me, and you like a deal but also want to make sure you don’t end up in a shitty hotel, you’re likely going to think ‘there’s got to be away around this’. And you would be right.

Here’s how to figure out what hotel the Hotwire Hotel Deal is for. Please note that this “hack” is only for people who have time to figure this out. If you’re in a hurry, this hack really isn’t for you.

(For the purpose of this post, I’m using some details I recently used for booking accommodations in Denver Colorado for a work event

Go to HOTWIRE.COM and select the location and dates that you’re looking to stay.

Hotwire will display a map of the city to display areas with hotels they have deals for. Select the area of the city you want to be in.

In my case, the work event is downtown Denver. So, I’m going to select that vicinity of the city in hopes that I don’t have to Uber everywhere, and hopefully can just walk.

By selecting the area of the city which I wish to stay in, the list changes to show only hotels in that area.

That $145 per night deal (showing second on the list in the above photo) looks like a good deal. It’s down from $219 per night. Let’s look at that one.

When you open up the $145 deal, there are three things you want to pay attention to: The ‘sample photo’ provided, the general review of the hotel, and the individual categories of which the hotel is reviewed for. It’s worth noting that all reviews on Hotwire.com are from Expedia. As Hotwire sells anonymously, they cannot accept reviews on their own site, or that would give away the anonymity. ALL REVIEWS come from Expedia. Pay attention to what I’ve highlighted with green boxes.

Overall hotel rating of 4.3/5 – Rating from Expedia as noted in Green Box.
Individual categorized ratings for Condition, quality, comfort and cleanliness. Also noted to be coming from Expedia.ca.

Now that you’ve seen these reviews on Hotwire, it’s time to go to Expedia! Select the same dates and locations to ensure you’ll get the same results.

Expedia will give you a long list of hotels in the vicinity with their nightly rates (not the Hotwire rate) and every hotel shows the overall hotel score. In the case of the example I showed, it was ranked 4.3/5. So, I know I’m looking for a hotel with the same general ranking. I highlighted the 4.3/5 in green in the following photo.

Now, if I pull up the Hampton Inn & Suites Downtown Denver, I see this:

The rooms have the same headboard as seen in the ‘sample photo’ from Hotwire.com. It also says, on Expedia, that rooms are sold out for the dates I’m looking for, which would make logical sense as to how it wound up on Hotwire, because hotels are known to dump their remaining rooms on Hotwire to try and fill their rooms at cheaper rates, rather than having empty rooms.

Hotwire says this hotel is 1 mile from Coors friend in Denver. Expedia says the Hampton Inn and Suites in Downtown Denver is 1 mile from Coors field.

Here’s the individual guest ratings from Hotwire

Here’s the individual guest ratings from Expedia

Condition of Hotel: Both say 4:4/5
Quality of Service: Both say 4.4/5
Room Cleanliness: Expedia says 4.6/5, Hotwire says 4.5/5

At this point, I’m pretty certain that I’m looking at Hampton Inn & Suites Downtown Denver.

I ask my Colleagues if they’re good with this hotel for the work trip. They do a quick search on google and they said sure!

I purchased this hotel, and sure enough, it is!

I cannot show you my hotel reservation because it’s containing corporate information, as well as the dates of when my coworkers will be there. I don’t want creepy people to catch the attention.

Anyways, that’s how I booked $210+ dollar hotel rooms for my colleagues for $145.

Which, in the grand scheme of things, doesn’t seem like a huge difference as a one off. But, my coworkers are staying for seven days and there’s four of them going. So, saving $260 per night (four coworkers) for seven nights, I just saved $1,820 for the hotel bookings.

This margin of prices widens when you start looking at luxury hotels. As I was writing this post, I looked up some luxury hotels in downtown Vancouver and there are some hotel rooms marked down from $550 to just $220.

If you have time, and you can do the research, it does pay to use Expedia to figure out what hotel is the deal on Hotwire.

It’s expensive to have crappy vision

I have extremely poor vision. I always have. I was that baby who was wearing glasses with the elastic around the back of her head so that I wouldn’t pull them off.

So to frame my perspective (no pun intended), I’ve had glasses since I was a baby, and I’ve had contact lenses since I was thirteen years old.

Eye doctor exams in Canada run between $135 and $210, depending on where you go. To wear contact lenses, you’re required to get an eye doctor exam every year. So, if I were to low-ball an estimate of what I’ve spent on eye-exams from the time I was thirteen to now, my eye exams have cost $2,565

Every major benefit provider in this country will pay $100 for a Canadian to get their eyes checked every second year. So, I will subtract $600, as that would have been paid for by benefits.

Out of my pocket, I’ve paid $1,965 to sit in an exam chair and have a doctor tell me that I have shitty vision.

That, in of itself, doesn’t include the special treatments and tests I’ve required over the years because of my vision being so poor. I can’t even fathom how much that’s gone on to cost. Special requirements aren’t often covered by benefits providers, because apparently I just messed up and should’ve come out of the womb with good eye sight? Let’s low ball my treatments over the years to roughly $5,000.

I have a special prescription for my eyes that makes glasses between $800-$1,200 per pair when I get them. ($800 if I choose the cheapest frames, $1,200 if I try to get something a little more sturdy)

Now keep in mind here, I have no choice. I need to wear some sort of a corrective lens in my eye, or in front of my eye, in order to be able to see. Otherwise I walk into large objects, I would’ve never been able to drive, and would likely fall down stairs. I say that “I’m blind” when people ask. Whilst I’m not legally blind, the world is 50 different shades of fuzzy without some sort of vision correction.

Because I’ve prioritized contact lenses over glasses (they work better for me, my lifestyle, my mood in general), I typically get myself a new pair only once every four years. The reason for this is because I only wear my glasses at night after I’ve taken out my contacts.

If we do the math of when I started paying for my glasses at 13, to now, I’ve owned 5 pair of glasses. Let’s say, I chose the cheapest frames every single time I went (I didn’t but I don’t remember what all of the costs were). $800 x 5 pair of glasses is $4,000 spent on glasses.

To recount, I’ve spent roughly $1,965 on eye exams, $5,000 on special treatments for my eyes and $4,000 on glasses. Right now, we’re sitting at $10,965 spent just to care for my eyes and correct my vision.

Now, I have made the choice, since I was thirteen, to wear contact lenses. This has been a choice that I realize makes things more expensive, but it’s overall suited my life better and has been attainable to me, so I have willingly chosen to do it. I understand that life would be cheaper if I just wore glasses every day of my life. So this isn’t a mandatory expense, but a chosen expense to make my life easier.

The contacts that I wear cost $725 per year. The one thing that I’ve always appreciate about contact lenses is that the fee is always the same. It’s been the same since I was 13 and the price has never gone up, even when my vision has gotten worse.

$725 x 19 years is $13,775.

All major benefits providers in Canada will pay for $100 every two years. Since I wear glasses less frequently then contacts, I’ve always elected to have that $100 go towards my contact lenses. So, if we subtract an estimate of $100×10 years (to be on the fair side), I can take one thousand dollars from the total of my contact lenses. So I have paid $12,775 for contact lenses.

Since I’ve started paying for my own vision care at 13, I’ve spent $23,740.

It is extremely expensive to have shitty vision. And, it’s really a luxury that I’ve been able to afford correcting my vision all of these years. Listen, I’m lucky that for the majority of the past 19 years, I’ve had some form of benefit in some sort of way to help with that fee. But, it’s still fucking expensive with those vision benefits.

With or without benefits, these fees aren’t attainable by a lot of people. I think this is something that a lot of people don’t realize. Vision care is a bit of luxury. Granted I choose to wear contact lenses so my total is more expensive, if I wore glasses every day of my life, I’d likely need to replace them more often, so the total wouldn’t be that far off.

Now, I’ve been very lucky in my life that I’ve been able to afford this luxury.

And sadly, it is still a luxury to be able to see properly in this world.

I can’t even begin to imagine what these eye doctor visits and treatments and whatnot would cost in the United States. Probably more?

As much as I wish all kids could be born with perfect vision, that’s just not reality. There are a lot of kids in this world who just have shitty vision, for no other reason than just because. It can be really hard for their parents to afford eye doctor examinations and glasses, especially if their vision continues to change/get worse.

And for adults, you know, I’m exceptionally blessed to be in a situation where this is a feasible expense for me. I can completely understand, though, this tough for a lot of people. People who really don’t have extra money, people who live pay cheque to pay cheque, people who were laid off in the past year due to COVID, it’s hard to fathom spending vast amounts of money on this.

This is why so many people will go without.

Or, they’ll get glasses of some sort, or contacts of some sort, and just stick with that because it corrects their vision ‘enough’, despite their vision worsening.

A lot of people will just get by with what they have because it’s too damn expensive to get a new pair of glasses, or a new order of contact lenses. Can you imagine? Can you imagine having to get your driver’s license renewed and knowing you’d then have to go get your new glasses in order to get your driver’s license renewed, otherwise you can be denied? It’s an expense, on an expense.

This is something that I care very much about because I’ve always had bad vision and it’s gotten considerably worse with each passing year. It’s expensive to be blind. It’s expensive to have shitty vision. No one chooses shitty vision. Vision care needs to be made more accessible to the masses. The truth is, if your vision isn’t corrected properly, it could be made worse because of that. You could also be subject to frequent headaches, dizziness, increased lethargy, all because your eyes are working so damn hard to just see the world in front of you.

With it estimated that as much as 70% of Canadians needing corrective lenses in order to properly see (I can’t even imagine how high that stat would be around the world!), why isn’t more being done to make vision care and corrective lenses more accessible to people.

You need to see to drive. You need to see to read. You need to see to judge distances, or understand depths, or avoid hazards. Corrective vision should be way more accessible than it is, in Canada and around the world.

Paraphrasing our Wednesday meeting

Me: People don’t use Bing.

Consultant from Georgia: Software developers use Bing.

Me: Hey, software developers in this meeting, how many of you use Bing?

*Crickets*

Consultant from Georgia: Okay, but your company is the exception, not the rule.

Me: People don’t use Bing.

Consultant from Georgia: You’re wrong.

Me: More then 80 percent of the internet uses Google. Please don’t waste our time with Bing.

Consultant from Georgia: Software developers use Bing.

Me: Read the room.

Consultant from Georgia: I’ll show you.

*Consultant from Georgia shares screen with the entire meeting, pulls up Google to search for Bing.*

*Developers try to hold back from laughing.*

Me: I think we’re finished here. Thanks for your time this morning. We’ll be in touch later this week.

Meeting draws to a close so that I don’t say anything too snarky or mean.

*Consultant from Georgia proceeds to send our entire staff from stats as to how many people search for software on Bing. Also says, without statistics, that the most popular search engine in ‘The South’ is Bing.

So, you know, that was a fun hour.


I utterly despise when people cannot hear the word no. It’s like he could’ve said 2+2=5 and if I said ‘No’, he’d start to argue with me. He’s that type of person.

Actual steam was coming out of my head this morning when I ended the meeting as a measure to ensure that it stayed professional and I didn’t become mean and he proceeded to email the entire staff to tell us (mainly being directed at me) why ignoring Bing is the wrong answer.

Firstly, PEOPLE DON’T USE BING.

Second, If I’m wrong, then let me be wrong. If there are 300 million American’s who use Bing, who fucking cares? I said I wasn’t investing money into Bing. That should literally be the end of the discussion. You want to tell me once? Sure, I’ll hear you out. You want to tell me four more times, one of which is in front of our team of Developers, and then send a mass email out to all of our staff in three different countries about why I’m wrong? No way, Jose (his name isn’t Jose, it’s just a saying). That’s not going to fly with me.

Last, but certainly not least, don’t waste my time.

A YouTube channel where he slices shoes in half

On my lunch break today I found a YouTube channel in which a leatherworker slices shoes in half to teach people what their shoes are actually made of and the quality, or lackthereof, of the shoes people buy.

I don’t know why, but it’s one of the most satisfying things I’ve ever seen.

Slicing Adidas Superstars in half
Slicing real Birkenstocks and fake Birkenstocks in half to showcase the difference in quality
Slicing Timberland boots in half
Slicing Nike Jordans in half
Slicing Carhartt boots in half

Before you tell me that I’m weird, I would like to point out that you should already know that. I’ve had these videos playing, one after another, on my second screen, all afternoon. Why is it so satisfying to watch shoes be cut in half? I really don’t know. But, it makes me happy. It fills my heart with glee.

I can’t. I can’t. I cannot.

I consider myself a relatively not-stupid individual. By that I mean, if a situation is dropped in front of me, 9.8 times out of 10, I can do it, figure it out, or solve it. I’m pretty not-sucky when it comes to words (though I admit my editing is sub-par). I’m also pretty creative. I don’t want to brag or anything, but I’m going to brag about the fact that the three times in my life that I’ve taken part in an escape room, I was a part of the pair who got out first. We didn’t just escape the escape room first, we escaped the escape room with a wide margin between us and the next pair in line. So wide that we were already drinking beers by the time the next pair came along.

What does any of this have to do with what I’m about to complain about? Nothing, really. I just wanted to make myself sound painstakingly average to set the scene.

Why are duvet covers so fucking hard?

I invested in a king-sized weighted blanket about two months ago, and I’ve loved it ever since. My sleep has forever changed. To anyone who’s invested in a weighted blanket, you know there’s a giant jump in price between the Queen size (what I previously owned) and the King size. Given this jump in price, and the difficulty that comes from washing weighted blankets (because they cannot be put in a traditional washing machine) that only gets more difficult with the bigger, and heavier that they get, I purchased my stupidest purchase of 2021. I bought a duvet cover for my weighted blanket.

I know. I know. I know, don’t tell me. I’ve complained MANY times about how much I hate duvet covers. And I do. I still do. I spent $100 on a Duvet Cover (Don’t ask me why I spent $100 on it when you can literally get them at WalMart for $20) and it’s been sitting in my linen closet since the day that I got it.

I CAN’T DO IT.

I CAN’T.

I can escape the escape rooms. I can negotiate contracts with multi-billion dollar corporations. I can even eat Carolina Reapers when dared. I literally can’t think of anything else I’ve done in my life worth bragging about, but you get the point. I cannot, for the life of me, get a fucking duvet cover over my blanket. I feel like I need a degree in engineering.

I will literally pay someone $1,000,000 to come to my house and put it on. Okay, I can’t because I don’t actually have a million dollars.

See what I mean? Painstakingly average.

The entire concept of a Duvet Cover is stupid. Every time I open my linen closet I can see it there, folded so neatly, just laughing at my mediocrity.

I see you, stupid $100 that I’ll never get use from. I see you there, I see you laughing at me. You can just live there, in the closet.

Perhaps the silliest thing about this is the fact that mom used to work at a drycleaner and told me that I could probably just get the blanket cleaned for less than the Duvet Cover cost. Why am I still capitalizing Duvet Cover? I don’t know. I make a lot of poor decisions, not the least of which being my lack of desire to edit… or even use proper spelling and grammar to start with.

I’m going to go.

(*Slowly crawls back under bridge to live with the trolls where I belong)

Thinkin’ about Vancouver

It’s been a long while since I’ve been home. (For context, I consider Vancouver to be home)

I’m thinking about going.

I’m double-vaxxed. And, since we don’t really know what’s going to happen with Delta Variant, or Lambda Variant, I feel like right now when cases are lowest they’ve been in over a year in western Canada, right now is the window. I feel like right now is the time that I should be taking advantage of.

There’s a long weekend coming up. I’m considering going. My friends are there are double vaxxed.

I should go, right? Take the long weekend and do a girls trip? Obviously it wouldn’t be a trip for them. They live in Vancouver. But, it would be a trip for me, and the three amigas could be reunited for the first time since summer of 2019.

I’m thinkin’ about Vancouver.

I am also thinking about Vegas, but that’ll have to be something farther into the future.

Things I want to write about.

I’m writing this here, to hold myself accountable. I will make posts on the following subjects. If I don’t, kick my butt in gear. Remind me. Don’t let it go. (Not that anyone has that much investment in my opinions, lolololol I sound ridiculous)

  • Pretty privilege
  • Sad-fishing
  • People confusing cancel culture and accountability
  • Side effects of anxiety that people who don’t have anxiety often don’t realize
  • The dangers of influencers recommending after-pay to their audience
  • How every aspect of your digital footprint affects yours, and your company’s brand
  • Paying people what they’re worth and not downplaying the value they provide
  • The toxicity of ‘Girl Bosses’ and ‘Mom Bosses’
  • Things you should know before buying a car
  • Things you should know before buying a house
  • Why your blog doesn’t get the views you want it to get
  • Instagram is changing, will you need to change with it?
  • The sides of marketing that everyone seems to believe just magically happen
  • The importance of doing your own research for investing in stocks (to include crypto scams currently plaguing the web)
  • What is the VPC of your blog?

I have so many thoughts and ideas I want to share on this blog. I need more hours in the day.

Also, if you have thoughts on any of these subjects, please write a post and share it on your blog and tell me to come and read it. I like reading other’s opinions and seeing where people agree with me and where they don’t.

English is hard. Part two.

My office hired a consultant back in June to help with a few projects as we look to expand to Australia and New Zealand in the latter half of this year and (more so) into 2022. This consultant is from the good old state of Georgia and he REAAAAALLY likes to speak versus type. So, I wind up with a lot more voicemails than I would like.

Georgia, as we’ll refer to him as, says “Whenever” in place of the word “When”, pronounces the word ‘Niche’ as ‘Nitch’ instead of ‘Neesh’. He says ‘Y’a’ll’ when making reference to me and only me, and I’m pretty sure when he writes me emails he doesn’t even spell ‘Y’all’ correctly. I should be ‘Y’all’ not ‘Ya’ll’, right?

Anyways, in honour of my good-friend Georgia, and in honour of the South speaking a completely different language than everyone else in North America, I’ve decided to share some common words people disagree about.

  • When “Picture” becomes “Pitcher”. You know you’ve heard someone say it before.
  • When “Espresso” becomes “Expresso”. There’s actually no ‘X’ in the word, despite what half the world seems to believe. People also do this with “Especially” by pronouncing it “Expecially”.
  • When people say “Supposably” in place of “Supposedly”. Not the same words.
  • When people say “Decompose” instead of “Decompress”. Shockingly, this is one I hear a lot… largely during times when people are speaking of self-care. Can you imagine talking about relaxing and wanting to decompose?
  • When people pronounce “Nuclear” as “Nuk-you-lar”. There definitely isn’t two ‘u’s’ in there.

How do you, personally, pronounce school? How do, personally, you pronounce schedule? Do you choose the “k” or the “ch” sound for one or both? Why or why not?

How do you pronounce Acai? I definitely pronounced it “Ack-eye” until about a year ago.

Do you pronounce it “tiss-ue” or “tish-ue”?

Random things are running through my head this morning.

Thoughts of July 13

When we start to better ourselves, the improvement often comes with deep sadness. This sadness comes from us realizing what we’ve missed out on, how badly certain people have treated us and what we did deserve up until this point and never got.

Healing involves grieving. Growth involves reflection. Improvement involves acknowledgment of shortfalls. Acknowledge it. Admit to it. Own it. All of it. And don’t you ever, for one moment, for one second, feel bad for cutting toxicity from your life. Boundaries are healthy.


I’m tired. The past few weeks of my life have been nothing short of absolutely exhausting.

People are exhausting. No, actually, people are disappointing. And I say that with what little faith I put in humanity. I expect below the bare minimum of people and they always somehow seem to disappoint regardless.

I just want to escape. I just want to leave everyone and everything behind. I just want to operate a fruit stand in The Maldives.

I’m just annoyed. I need to stop whining to the internet. I’ve put an emphasis on personal growth this year and it’s been hard to face who I am, who I was and what I haven’t been doing so long. It’s also been hard, though, to realize the shit that I’ve put up with from people in my lifetime. I’ve been way too kind to way too many people who really didn’t deserve it.