Finding a place to stay when traveling is something that sends me into a spiral of panic and second guessing. If it’s in a place that I’ve never been to and I can’t stay with a friend, finding a hotel, hostel, or AirBnB is almost like choosing blindfolded. There are so many what ifs. Will it actually be nice? Will it be easy to use as a homebase to get to everywhere I want to go? Will it feel like I’m going to be murdered once I get there? Thankfully there are websites and little tricks that can lower the overwhelming options and help find the most affordable place while also finding the best fit for you.
Book the hotel last:
You can’t know where you’re going to stay until you know what you want to do. Pick the top four- or even just top– places that you want to see no matter what then make sure the place you’re looking at is close to there. A lot of times I use TripAdvisor to look for places that I want to go even though I usually never book anything, such as tickets or tours, on them. Then once you find a place you really like and wish to see if it’s near the places you wish to go, I reference it with a website called Rome2Rio. Rome2Rio has gotten me through trips Overseas or road trips across the US. It is very accurate and can also help with budgeting transportation costs as well.
Take an account of your Surroundings:
When deciding if you’re going to be staying in a hotel, hostel, or AirBnBs make sure you know how many people will be in your party, and where you will be in your journey. More people will allow for the cost of a hotel to be warranted, but if you’re going to a place where the possibility of a hostel or AirBnB suddenly canceling on you leaves you in the lurch in the middle of nowhere then it’s better to play it safe with a hotel. If your AirBnB costs you more money to take a taxi in the middle of a suburb then it can be more advantageous to spend more money for a better located hotel/hostel.
Look at the reviews:
Scroll down and read all the reviews. If people are stating that it’s unclean, there’s no lockers in the hostel, the AirBnB hosts are creepy, the location is awkward, over and over again, listen to them. If there is only one bad comment then you should be fine. Know what your expectations are.
Have multiple tabs up at once:
If you haven’t decided what your best option is and are in the beginning phases of trying to figure out where to stay then it’s okay to have ten tabs open.
AirBnB: Locations for AirBnBs can be hit or miss so always be careful when booking them and make sure they are located with easy access to what you want to see.
Hostels: There’s two websites that can be used. I usually use HostelWorld to look up the hostels that I wish to go to, because more hostels tend to pop up on there and they’re easier to find for me. Then, whatever I find on Hostelworld I put it into Booking.com and look at the reviews and book places on there. Booking.com allows for easy and free refundable places and it tends to be more user friendly when looking up locations and reviews.
Hotels: Booking.com again is an amazing website, especially for those on a budget. If you have a specific hotel brand that you must have, go to that hotel website instead to make sure you can have the greatest deal with the brand that you enjoy. A lot of times if you have to go to the airport the next day, make sure you grab a hotel close to the airport. It can alleviate stress from the day of flying and some hotels offer shuttles to the airport.
- In hostels if you’re a women traveling alone or in a group of all women always pay extra for women only dorms. There are some exceptions, but for the most part they are better than coed rooms.
- Always book refundable rooms just in case your plans change or a deal on a different place pops up. Even if the place is less expensive, but non refundable, go with the refundable option.
- Booking.com is your friend.
- Spend more for your security.
Even if you aren’t certain you’ll stay there, but there’s a deal, just book it. Since you should book refundable rooms it’s better to have the reservation and cancel it then kick yourself later.