I used to always book the cheapest hostels around, but nowadays I’m definitely more picky about where I stay. Plus with so many search sites around, it’s easy to find a great stay at an affordable price.
These are the sites I normally visit when I’m booking accommodation:
Hostelworld specialises in hostels (obviously) and it’s the best site for this type of accommodation. Their search engine is really good, allowing you to select things like the type of room you want (I normally stay at hostels but in an ensuite room) and rating based on user reviews.
You normally only pay a 10% deposit when you book, and the cancellation fees are minimal, in case you change your plans.
There are annual awards for the best hostels, a list definitely worth looking at before you book.
TripAdvisor is hugely popular but it can also be unreliable – some complain that many reviews are actually left by the businesses themselves.
But it is a good place to compare prices and also to get a general feeling about a place. I normally do my research through TripAdvisor and then book straight from the hotel website: some places offer special discounts if you book directly.
The first time I used Airbnb was because I didn’t have any choice: we were going to Ukraine for the Euros and the only places available were 5-star hotels costing hundreds of pounds per night. We ended up finding a nice little flat that was within walking distance from the stadium!
Nowadays I go to Airbnb as a first choice: I can’t wait to find an apartment next to a canal for my upcoming trip to Venice!
And I always like having my own kitchen: it’s a great way of saving money and it makes life easier in places where veggie food is not widely available.
The main thing with Airbnb is checking reviews from other users. There is always a risk that a host may cancel your stay with short notice, and choosing a host with good reviews makes this less likely.
Where are you staying next?