There are good reasons why some people are afraid of or unwilling to bid on travel on Priceline.com. Its TV commercials, with William Shatner phoning it in for a paycheck, can be plenty o' annoying, for one. But more troubling is the idea that by using the site, you're offering to pay money for something when you don't yet know exactly what it is. But there are ways to get around that uncertainty.
The concept of the site is pretty simple. Priceline asks web users what they'd be willing to pay for a hotel room in a certain region of a city. It deals behind the scenes with those hotels, showing them your offer. Only the hotel that accepts the offer is identified, after you've agreed to pay the money. That's a good way to either unwittingly bid too much for a room or to get a place you'd rather not stay in.