Everyone deserves a relaxing shower and a comfy bed to sleep after exploring a new city, enjoying the beach, or facing a crazy adventure in the mountains. It can be a luxury hotel, a cozy guesthouse, or a friendly hostel. It doesn’t matter what type of accommodation you choose, the important thing is that it matches your needs, desires, and pocket.
Booking the right accommodation can be easy and fun, but also rather challenging and tiring. We know that as we’ve been to all stages of searching, booking, and staying. Sometimes we successfully achieved our target (good shower and bed), others we missed it horribly (bed bugs and cold water). The positive outcome is that we’ve learned how to avoid pitfalls, and now it’s time to share our tips on how to book accommodation worldwide.
Regardless of your budget or your style of traveling, you can use the steps below to book any hotel, hostel, camping site, or resort. By doing so, you’ll avoid the risks of getting stressed during the booking process and, worse, staying in a bad place that can ruin your entire travel experience.
Looking for more travel advice? Read these two travel resources:
Travel planning 101 – all the tools you need to plan your next trip
Costs of traveling – how to save and organize your travel expenses
So, how to book the perfect accommodation?
#1 Tip: Know what you want
The first thing you need to do when planning a trip is to know what type of experience you want to have. You should be very specific here. Would you prefer a 5-star hotel, a room with a bathtub and gorgeous views? Or an artistic hostel with a lot of activities and events going on? A mountain hut with a fireplace or maybe a budget hotel? Allow yourself to dream about the perfect room, hotel, and experience, but also be realistic.
Now comes the tough part. After knowing what you want, you have to think about what you can have. It’s time to ask yourself how much money can you spend on accommodation. Is the accommodation the most essential part of your trip? Should you save on accommodation to spend more on experiences?
These questions will help you visualize what you want and what is possible. Then you can move on to the second advice on this accommodation guide.
#2 Tip: Search and book your hotel on trustworthy platforms
If you google “best hotels in Istanbul“, you will be flooded with information. Posts from travel bloggers giving you tips on the best places areas to stay and the best hotels in that city. Then you will find booking platforms suggesting their best sellers and most reviewed properties. And then hotels’ inviting you to book directly on their websites. My suggestion is to collect useful information and select trustworthy platforms.
We (and many other bloggers) write posts about where to stay and hotel recommendations – you’ll find ours below. This means that travel bloggers are a good source of information if you’re looking for places to stay with detailed reviews. You will notice that if you click on a hotel name while reading our reviews, you will be redirected to another website. This happens because the booking process itself is done on a booking platform or directly on the hotel website.
Here comes the first doubt most travelers have: is it better to book directly with the hotel or Through a booking platform (i.e., Booking.com)? I would tell you to book directly with the hotel only if it’s a trustworthy, well-established brand and if it would make you get an excellent deal. If it’s a hotel you have never heard of before, in a country you’ve never been to, I would say book via an international booking platform. In the end of the day, it is all about trustworthiness. It’s essential to know how the payment is processed, have a clear cancelation policy, and receive the booking confirmation via email, preferably written in English or in your own language. Little details make a huge difference.
We listed below the hotel booking websites we use and trust, so you know from where to start. Keep reading and don’t forget to bookmark this page for future reference.
- Booking.com: one of the biggest accommodation platforms in the world. You will find any type of hotel, hostel, resort, guesthouses from super expensive to budget ones.
- Agoda: this booking website is not so popular in Europe and in the Americas, but they do have excellent hotel deals, and most importantly, they are trustworthy. The hotel prices for Asia are usually unbeatable.
- Airbnb: we love this booking platform because of its concept and the style of properties they offer. You can rent a room, a house, a boat, a castle, or a tent on Airbnb, from budget to super luxurious. We use it a lot when choosing a place to stay for the long term or if we want to have the feeling of a home away from home. Sign up to Airbnb here and get a discount on your first booking.
- HostelWord: no doubt it’s the biggest hostel listing in the world. You can find on this hostel booking website from shared dorms to private rooms worldwide.
- Couchsurfing: the name says it all, you can get a couch or a spare bed in someone’s house, have a good night sleep, and meet new friends. The platform connects travelers who want to travel spending little. A perfect option for budget travelers.
There are many more booking platforms out there, but we like to keep things easy and under control. That is why we choose the best ones and always use them to have benefits as frequent users (another good tip here). It doesn’t matter where we are traveling to, we always search through all these booking websites we mentioned and compare the results. Now we are ready for our 3rd booking accommodation tip.
#3 Tip: Compare before booking
Some travelers say this is the most complicated part of booking a hotel. Yes, it can be, but if you follow our first tip – know what you want, need, and can afford – the comparing phase will be easy. Trust me.
Using the accommodation platforms we mentioned above, search for the hotel, hostel, resort, apartment, or villa you want. When the results show up, you can use filters to make your life easy (Booking.com filters are my fave). Filter by costs, reviews, location, amenities, how many stars… you know your taste, your necessities, and your budget.
Then it’s time to open each of the properties that are a good fit and start comparing them (20 tabs open at the same time, we know LOL). So what should you look for? Apart from the photos, here are a few things you should take in consideration when choosing the perfect accommodation:
- Price: check if it fits your travel budget and if it’s a good value for money (price x what is offered). Keep in mind that hostels might not be the cheapest option. Airbnb offers great value when booking a room in someone’s house. Couples, families, and groups of friends might find better prices by booking a private room (family or group rooms) in a budget hotel rather than booking single beds in a hostel dormitory. Booking a luxury hotel? Compare all the rates, as they usually have amazing perks included in their executive rooms, it’s worth checking. ?
- Stars: remember, we can’t compare a 3-star guesthouse to a 5-star hotel. What they offer is different, so it will be the price and the experience. Be fair with your hotel contenders.
- Reviews: this is a crucial factor for us. Read the newest reviews and comments, check the number of bad vs good reviews. Notice if they mention anything in particular that can be important to you like a good bed, or only-adults hotel. Or something that you want to avoid, like too many stairs or low pressure showers.
- Location: is the hotel location good for you? Sometimes it can be in a nice area but not good for the purpose of your trip. Keep in mind that in expensive cities or popular destinations such as Paris, Amsterdam, or London, hotels far from the city center or from famous landmarks tend to be cheaper.
- Transportation: a hotel gets extra points when it’s close to public transportation or when it is easy to get from/to airport or train stations. If you are booking a resort or a luxury stay, don’t forget to check if they offer transfer or pick-up service.
- Amenities and services: does the hotel have a swimming pool, a gym, or a restaurant? Do you need all these? Or is it better to book a small hotel with fewer amenities and better prices? It all goes back to the first tip, what you want for your perfect stay.
- Breakfast: this is a subject close to heart. I love a good breakfast, so if it’s included in the room rate, I’m a happy traveler. If you are concerned about your travel budget, my advice is to think about how much it would cost to have breakfast outside the hotel and compare it to the price difference between a room with breakfast included and one without. You can have a look at the cost of traveling to some destinations here.
- Cancelation policy and payment: things can change, trips can be canceled, and I’m sure you don’t want to lose money. Check the cancelation policy before booking your room, and if it’s possible, choose a hotel that has the most comprehensive one. Payment is also essential. Check if the property will charge your credit card in advance or if the payment can be made at the check-in with their currency. Depending on where you are traveling to, the exchange rates can make you lose or save money.
#4 Tip: Contact your hotel for any specific request
Now that you chose your accommodation and hit the booking button, think if you need anything else. Simple requests like making sure you will get a double bed instead of two singles, asking for a non-smoking room, or telling them you will arrive late can be sorted via a quick message. Use the message service available on the booking platform to talk to the property and ask any special requests. The chances of getting what you want, or need when asking in advance are way higher than when you arrive at the front desk and ask for a miracle to happen.
By now, you know how to book the best accommodation for your trip, so it’s time to share our recommendations on where to stay in destinations around the world. They’ll give you ideas for romantic hotels, amazing island resorts, and city stays. Some of our suggestions for best hotels come along with travel tips and guides, helping you pick the perfect stay and organize your itinerary.
Accommodation Guide: where to stay around the world
Asia accommodation guide
Are you ready for an inspiring list of hotels and incredible places to stay? You will find hotel recommendations in Cambodia, Indonesia, Malaysia, Taiwan, Thailand, The Philippines and Vietnam.
- Where to stay in Koh Tao Island
- Best hotels in Koh Lipe Island
- Best hotels and hostels in Koh Phi Phi Island
- Where to stay in Railay Beach, AoNang and Krabi + Travel Tips
- Best beaches and hotels to stay in Koh Samui + Places to Visit
- The best private pool villas in Koh Samui Island
- 500Rai Floating Bungalow in Khao Sok National Park
- Romantic hotels in Thailand for all types of couples
- Where to stay in Bangkok on your first trip + Travel Guide
- Amari Watergate – An affordable luxury stay in Bangkok
- The best places to stay in Pattaya and Tourist Attractions
- The best hotels in Kanchanaburi and Things to do
- Hat Yai – Where to stay and What to do
Accommodation in The Philippines
Europe accommodation guides
Now it’s time to talk about the best hotels and hostels in Europe, and oh boy, there are tons of them. Our accommodation guide has recommendations for hotels in Austria, France, Hungary, Italy, Portugal, Scotland, Sweden, The Netherlands and Turkey.
- Milan – Where to stay and what to do in 3 days
- Sicily – the best places to visit and stay
- Where to stay in Alpe Cimbra in summer and winter
- Where to stay in Florence and how to enjoy the city in one day
- Where to stay in Cervia for the Ironman competition or beach holiday
The Netherlands accommodation
- Romantic Hotels in Paris with discounts
- How to book the perfect ski chalet in France
- Where to stay for Paris Marathon + Race Review
- Dornoch accommodation guide
- Where to stay in Edinburgh for Hogmanay – New Year Party
- Best Hotels & Spas in Edinburgh
North America accommodation guide
North America is vast and beautiful, sadly we haven’t traveled there yet. But we do have a great guest post about places to stay in Tampa and New York in the USA.
The United States of America accommodation
South America accommodation guide
Our guide for accommodation in South America starts with travel tips and the best hotel in Cusco, Peru. This list will soon be updated with more guides.
Oceania accommodation guide
Traveling to New Zealand soon? So read our post about Wanaka and discover where to stay there.
New Zealand accommodation
This accommodation guide is always going to be an ongoing work. We’ll try to add new destinations every month or so. If you couldn’t find the hotel suggestions you’re looking for, come back in a few weeks, or even better, drop us a comment below, and we’ll try to help you.
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