Accommodation tends to be a large expense when it comes to planning a vaycay. And while plumping for the cheapest option will save you a few bucks, it often means you’ll be majorly sacrificing on quality. A low price definitely doesn’t equal good value and a bad accommodation experience can completely ruin your entire holiday. Here’s how to secure a great pace to lay your head without breaking the bank.
Keep your options open
For various reasons, many people don’t explore all of the available options to them. But it’s important to realise you’ve got far more choice than just standard hotels. Ignore any preconceptions you might have and consider these alternatives: Airbnb: The online reservation site has changed the face of accommodation booking in recent years and opened up a new world of possibilities. Renting a private room in someone’s home is a fantastic way to get a local insight into a destination and usually extremely cheap.
You can also book an entire house or apartment to yourself, often for less than the cost of an average hotel room. While the platform gets a bad rap in some circles it’s certainly a great way to save money without forfeiting quality and can give you a totally different experience to a hotel.
Hostels: You might find the idea of a hostel horrific, conjuring visions of sweaty dorm rooms and bed bug ridden mattresses. But that image is firmly outdated. In reality hostels now range wildly in quality, and while you’ll still find your bog standard backpacker variety, you may be surprised to know there are lots of upscale, boutique hostels these days as well.
And if you’re not into sharing your space with other people, you can always get a private room. Aside from cost, another benefit of hostels is they tend to have a social atmosphere which allows you to meet new people.
Read reviews in detail
One of the biggest mistakes people make when booking accommodation is to not read the reviews properly. Instagram-worthy photos might look appealing, but actual guest reviews will provide the best clues to exactly what you’re letting yourself in for.
Don’t skip straight to the negative 1 star review either - people generally love to moan so take bad write ups with a pinch of salt. Instead look for reviews that talk about the things that are important to you. Location, atmosphere, amenities, helpful staff, whatever it is you value, scan the reviews for positive mentions of those things.
Check multiple booking sites
We always check a minimum of three booking sites before picking where we’re going to stay, for a couple of good reasons. Firstly, not all sites have the same accommodations listed on them so you may be missing out on something great by not checking multiple places. And secondly, different sites list the same accommodation at different prices.
Our go-to sites we start with are Booking.com, Airbnb and Hostelworld, but there are tonnes out there we use for comparison such as Expedia.com, Trivago or HotelsCombined. It’s down to personal preference which ones you go for but don’t plump for just one.
Book as early as possible
Booking early won’t necessarily get you a good deal on accommodation, and in fact many hotels will drop prices last-minute to fill rooms. However, it will absolutely guarantee you have the most amount of choice, and choice is king when it comes to securing good digs.
While waiting until last minute might allow you to get a fantastic deal, it could also mean you end up with the dregs of what’s left on the market. After all, the best places tend to get booked up pretty quickly. Save yourself the headache and start looking in plenty of time. It’s also less stressful when you’ve not got a deadline looming.
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