Do you want to know how to find the best accommodation deals?
Are you boggled with all the options out there and just want one simple answer?
Well friends, that is why you are here. Read on.
Let’s use an example. Say you are looking for a new mobile phone.
Would you just walk into the first shop and buy it? Or would you go to a few shops and see what the best deal is – and I am not talking just about the price, the store may offer you a screen protector, a kick-ass data package or they may even serve you within the first five minutes of entering the store.
Let’s now move this example towards shopping for accommodation on your next big trip.
Nothing changes, EXCEPT ……
You hardly have to lift a finger. Actually, this is a lie, but that is all you have to do!
There are plenty of websites that do the shopping FOR YOU. They allow you to compare different hotels, motels and holiday inns (amongst others) with the simple click of a button! Easy peasy.
But which comparison website wins the race?
The simple answer. There are a few, but it depends what is important to YOU.
Are you wanting the best price? Of course you do! Prices are very subjective, and only you will know what you want to pay for a certain roof over your head. One persons view of their $250 room in a VIP suite might sound like
hell a bad deal and they would rather settle for a $12 hostel dorm.
Are you wanting a website that is easy to use? Of course you do! There are some awesome websites out there that do all the shopping for you, and with just a few clicks and using filters, you will no doubt secure a hotel easy as.
Are you wanting a unique experience? Of course you do! Again, the word ‘unique’, along with it being a difficult word to pronounce, is very subjective, and someones stay in a treetop hostel might be an every day occurrence and they might be wanting a 3 star hotel in a big city.
We at Coming Home Strong have used a few different websites in our time, some of them have been great, some not so much.
So, without further ado, we have weighed up the websites we use to make sure YOUR next booking experience goes as smooth as possible.
And the winner(s) are.
Coming in neck-and-neck were two great websites – Expedia.com and Booking.com – they both work in a similar fashion where you type your destination, dates, use filters, and then you have a list of accommodation at your fingertips to start booking.
A little bit about each.
Expedia.com – Overall, Expedia came in as the cheapest comparison website when booking accommodation. We say ‘overall’, as most of the time we found the same room cheaper on Expedia, although there was the odd occasion that our other winner won that race. The website is easy to use and you can extend your search for flights, car hire, activities and even cruises (although, we have never used the website for these latter aspects). Sweet!
Booking.com – Although being slightly more expensive than its peer (overall), we love their user interface. The ease of use of the website means that you can load the page, plug-in where you want to go, then filter from the options and rank from cheapest to most expensive (if that is what matters the most to YOU). The booking process is easy, where you can view pictures of the room (or a similar one), click ‘book now’ then give them a few details before making the reservation only minutes after your initial search!
Try it now 🙂
Both sites allow you to search for hundreds and thousands of accommodation options in a certain city (or a suburb in a city). You can apply filters for price ranges, star ratings, guest ratings, number of beds, privacy options and heaps more so you know you are going to secure a great stay.
A lot of the options on these websites have free cancellation until closer to the time you travel, so you can book now and not worry about your plans changing. Definitely make the most of this aspect, as you can book at a good price, with the safety of keeping your options open if you find something better down the track! We have definitely used this fantastic option a few times.
They also allow you to book on the same day as you stay which we reckon is a nifty feature worth mentioning. If your travel plans are very flexible and you don’t know where you are heading, then you can rest assured that you know that you will guaranteed accommodation after a long day of sight-seeing.
We found that booking last-minute seems to come up with cheaper options. At the end of the day, hotels have constant overheads, so they want their rooms to be filled therefore will discount their rates to get people through the door! Win-win really. We booked on-the-go while road tripping in the U.S.A. We knew where we were going but wanted to be flexible with how long we stayed in each city – and it worked perfectly.
We also find using these websites helpful for when you are booking accommodation in countries that you can’t speak the language as most hotel websites are only written in their home tongue.
They both offer a points/membership program too. You can sign up for and earn earn earn, so you can stay for free.
The more you stay, the less you pay, and the more you play!
We love both of them for their ease of use, guaranteed accommodation options and great customer service.
Other websites we have used
Hotwire – is a fun one, where you can book an unknown hotel in a certain part of a city. For example, click ‘downtown Manhattan 4 star + hotels’ and you may come up with the Hilton, or you may get a decent hotel on a back street – which is still fine. Take a punt!
Hostel World – works in a similar fashion to our winners but specialises in hostels around the world. If you are wanting to share a 12 bed dorm with some strangers, this is a decent site to be looking at.
Couchsurfing – a great community where you can stay at people’s houses for FREE. It takes a bit of set up to get your profile going, and I would recommend you host a few groups of people before you start searching, but I have made many great connections throughout America and Europe travelling this way. As your accommodation is ‘on the house’, it is always a nice gesture to buy your host a present, or give back to their community. Why not, cook them a meal from your country to say tēnā koe?
AirBnB – Bed n Breakfasts are becoming the rage these days. This website is a well-known one that allows you to rent people’s houses and apartments, great for small or large groups – or if you just want some space from your travel companion. Just beware that if you do not speak the local language, sometimes the process of retrieving keys can be time-consuming. Overall a great experience if you are not after a change of bedding each day, and it normally gives you options to use a kitchen and wash your clothes. Get started with some FREE travel credit here.
We very rarely book straight through the hotel direct, in fact I cannot remember the last time this happened – maybe it was in Germany when we were out of data – why didn’t I shop around a bit more for my mobile phone?
Hindsight is a great thing.
Disclaimer: This blog contains affiliate linking, which means that if you go to the booking site from our website, then we get a cut of the profits which allow us to keep up our travels and supply you great content! Cheers.