When you travel for a short or long time, one of the most important questions you ask yourself is: where will I be spending the night? And if you start searching on the internet, the choice is (often) huge. You can choose a hotel via Booking.com, Expedia, Agoda, or Trivago.
But you can also choose to rent an apartment for a longer period through Airbnb. If you want cheap, you can take a room or a bed at a hostel via Hostelworld. For each type of accommodation, there are several things that you should pay attention to, that’s why we share our Travel Tips for Accommodation with you!
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Booking.com is pretty standard; you search for a hotel, you select the from-to-date, you select a room and you pay. Finished! But keep in mind that Booking.com is sometimes more expensive than the hotel itself.
Many hotels pay a little extra to publish on Booking.com. They also pass these costs to customers who book at the counter. Still, it pays to look up the website of a hotel itself and see how expensive a room is. Sometimes it ‘only’ saves you a few Dollars. But if you do this for 10 hotels, you’ve already saved up 20 Dollars. That’s 2 dinners in Thailand!
This also applies to other booking sites such as Expedia, Trivago, and others.
Airbnb is currently the largest provider of apartments, guest rooms, and other non-hotel accommodations. We have used it a lot, especially in Asia, because the prices are considerably lower and you sometimes get more space and luxury for the same price than at a hotel. Spending the night in an Airbnb gives you more space and quietness. But there is no breakfast or other facilities.
A big difference between a hotel and Airbnb is that you can sometimes negotiate the price. Especially if you want to stay for a longer period. For example, we had an apartment in Kuala Lumpur for 35 Dollars per night, which normally costs 55 Dollars per night. A host would rather see people in the apartment than have it empty. With this information, you can negotiate a bit. If the negotiations don’t work out you can still book the accommodation for full price if you would like.
Our Airbnb in Kuala Lumpur where we “lived” for 2 months:
Negotiating and looking up the prices on the websites also applies to hostels via Hostelworld. What can work as well to get lower prices is to first book 1 or 2 nights and then ask to extend. You can often get a lower price per night.
Unfortunately, this can also work against you and the hotel/hostel is full. Or the prices have just risen very fast, which we experienced in Hong Kong. We had a very bad hostel and we immediately went to a beautiful, more expensive hotel. The next day we wanted to extend, but the prices were 3 times higher due to an event and the fact that it was the weekend. The hotel was almost full and the last rooms went online for the ridiculous prizes.
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Besides the prices, the reviews are also super important, and this is probably one of the best tips that we can give you. And we don’t even mean the reviews on the websites of hotels (they are always positive). It turned out that Booking.com has the most reviews, but whether they are always good is the question.
For example, people sometimes give tips about the area, but they are not always correct. We also regularly saw 1-star reviews because a hotel did not have bathrobes, the slippers were broken, or there was no prayer mat available. The latter was especially in Malaysia and the bathrobes and slippers were very important in China.
We therefore often only select the reviews and tips in English, German and Dutch. These people usually have the same standards and the reviews are a little… More normal. Also, read reviews and tips on TripAdvisor.
If 1 person complains about a broken air conditioner and no one else, you can ignore that review; that’s a one-time problem. If 9 out of 10 people complain about noise, then you can assume that it is a problem with the hotel/hostel/motel.
Location, location, location
Have you found a hotel, hostel, or apartment? Check out Google Maps to see where it is located. If you have a heavy backpack, you don’t want to walk up a mountain for miles. You may also want to have certain facilities nearby. For example, think of a supermarket, metro station, bus, or parking lot.
We spent 2 months in Kuala Lumpur and paid close attention to what was in the area. Don’t assume that Booking.com or TripAdvisor shows the correct location; we regularly found ourselves lost at the location indicated on Booking.com. Sometimes the environment was not really what we expected either.
Our Travel Tips for Accommodation:
- Do not assume that prices at Booking.com, Expedia, Trivago, etc. are cheaper or the same. Check the website of the hotel/hostel to see if the prices are lower there.
- You can try negotiating the price with hosts on Airbnb. Sometimes they go along, sometimes they don’t. Stay tidy and do this if you want to stay somewhere for a longer period of time.
- First, book 1 or 2 nights and then extend. Often you can get a discount, but not always.
- Look critically at the reviews; not all reviews give a good picture.
1 complaint about a specific part often means that it was a one-off.
- Look on Google Maps for the area and facilities.
Do you have any travel tips about finding cheap & comfy accommodation that others can use? Let us know!
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