After transportation, accommodation takes most of your holiday budget. I’ll give you tips and advices on how to choose your accommodation and reduce the possibility of unpleasant surprises.
I always begin my search on Booking.com (affiliate link), that I’ve been using for many years now – it’s user friendly, with many reviews and classification / 10 by the users.
After choosing a destination, date and how many people are going, I click in “Additional search options” and in the option “Price” I select low and economic price (there’s no need to look for a 200€ a night hotel); in “Property type” I choose “hotels” (for the other options I prefer to go to specialized sites); and finally in “Review score” I select “Very good: 8+” (that way we are just going to see hotels with a score higher than 8/10).
- Information: Booking.com made a few changes in its search form – now, the additional options are available after you click “Search”. You can find them in “Important to me”.
Afterwards, I look at the photos of the hotels with more than 150 reviews. There is a serious possibility of having unpleasant surprises with an hotel with a good score but with only 10 reviews. Once I have chosen the hotel, I look at the facilities the hotel offers and I click on “See all reviews” to see the positive and negative reviews on the hotel.
After all this, if I still like what I see, I make a reservation. Most of the times, I book a room of which I can cancel the reservation, free of charge, until a few days before my stay; I just don’t do that when the departure date is too close.
After the reservation is done, I go to Kayak to check whether there are other companies offering a lower price; if that’s the case I get in touch with Booking.com and send them the link with the cheapest site so they charge me the same price. They assure “Best Price Guaranteed”, so make them comply!
In this example, the lowest price is £67 per night, the same as in Booking.com.
To book a room or an apartment/house
When I go on holiday with friends or family, I often go to the site Airbnb.co.uk (affiliate link) – it is a site where people lease a vacant room or even their apartment/house.
After choosing a destination, date and how many people are going, a page with the city map will show up with the available apartments. I select the apartment based in the photos, prices and available reviews (at least 20 to avoid being a beta tester).
I’m not a big fan of hostels because I always travel with my girlfriend and we need some privacy. Sleeping in a room with six or seven people can’t be easy!
For some time now, I’ve been hearing good things about hostels: decoration and services have changed a lot and there are hostels that even let you rent a private room.
No doubt, the biggest advantages of hostels are the price, on average four times cheaper than the hotels, and, of course, the friendliness of those places.
For your hostel research I would advise you to go to the site hostelworld.com. After you have chosen the city and dates, I suggest you filter the results by rating.
On the left, in “Rating”, choose between 80 and 100% so that you can see the best hostels. When looking at the results, consider the hostels with more than 150 reviews so that the evaluation is more reliable.
Once you have chosen the hostel, don’t forget to click on “Reviews” to read the reviews from the previous customers.
Choosing a good hotel, apartment or hostel is crucial for having a great holiday. When you make a reservation, don’t trust solely on the number of stars, consider the price and especially the reviews from the travelers.
If you are travelling for a few days you should stay near the places you’re visiting, even if it means paying a little more – you will save money in transportation and gain some time to enjoy those places.