Finding a place to stay can be a tedious and painful process. If you’re somewhat like me, sleep is possibly the most important feature of your trip. Without sleep, I am useless, grumpy and unable to enjoy my adventures in the daytime.
It’s essential to look into different options, to avoid disappointments. You can never be one hundred percent sure, especially since some adds lie about what their place offers. However, after 10 weeks of travelling, I have found a system that works for me. Use the following tips for your best shot at a good place to stay.
1. Compare sites
Here are a few I like to use:
Booking.com: It shows you different hotels, hostels, homestays and villas. The perk of booking, are the rewards. Up to 10 times, you can get a reward if you book through another person. Use my link for a 15 euro cash back. You click on the link, book a place, and once your stay has completed you and I both receive 15 euros in our bank account:
The downside is that sometimes other sites are cheaper. However, with the reward it’s often the cheapest option.
Airbnb.com: ‘live like a local abroad’. Airbnb’s are owned by locals. Depending on the area and price range, sometimes you can get a whole apartment to yourself. The perk about this is that you get the chance to learn about the culture. We’ve had places where people ordered us special fruit shakes and gave us local foods. They mostly give you your privacy, and are as involved as you’d like them to be. Again a code to get a discount. When you use this link, you get $50 AUD off your stay:
The downside are the insurance policies. This affects the host more than the traveler though. If you’d break something, you aren’t reliable for the damage you’ve caused. Airbnb is American and their laws are not applicable overseas.
Homestay.com: similar to Airbnb, and again: rewards! With the following link, you get 20 euros credit to book a place: Homestay.com
The downside is that some cities or towns don’t have many homestay places. Plus, sometimes people feel guilty when leaving reviews. When the host is very friendly, people tend to give it a higher rating than it might deserve. So be wary of biased reviews; your experience may differ.
Hotelscombined.com: compares many sites like booking and agoda. They show you the cheapest option for every hotel, hostel etc. Perks: there are less sites you have to compare.
Downside: sometimes it’s more expensive to book through Hotelscombined than through the actual website they make you book with. Also, be wary of the taxes. Sometimes they are only added at the final booking page. This site doesn’t give you reviews.
2. Put a filter on your search
After you enter the city and the dates, you have an option to filter your search. This is very important, as sometimes it can be like finding a needle in a haystack. Especially in the bigger cities.
You can filter all your preferences. Maybe you want a private bathroom, you prefer free WiFi or you only wish to check out places with a review score of 8.0 or higher. This makes it a whole lot easier to quickly find your favorite spot.
3. Read the reviews
Reviews are biased of course, but they can clarify whether the place is really as good as the advertisement makes it seem. Some places advertise with things that aren’t there. I have had quite a few places that claim to have ‘free bottled water’, but make you pay for it. Or I’ve read reviews that explain how the pictures of the beautiful hotel rooms are actually fake. If it seems to good to be true, it probably is.
Two things to keep in mind while reading reviews:
– Every person is different, and so are their needs. If you’re travelling with children, you will want different things than a young couple. And if you like partying, you won’t require a quiet place as much as a 10-hour sleep person.
– Focus mainly on the most recent comments, as they will tell you what’s going on. Maybe there are constructions going on next door, or it has information about staff members that most likely still work there. Make sure you read a few negative and positive ones, to get an overall view.
4. Select favorites
Select your three favorites, based on the previous steps. Most sites have the option to put a star or love heart to find back your highlighted places. You can often categorize them by trips, if you’re the planning-in-advance kind of person.
5. Book your place, and enjoy your stay!
I hope these tips have helped you. If you have any comments or feedback, please let me know in the comments below. Safe travelling!