Getaway Compass

The Best Sites for Booking Your Stay

Tuscany Airbnb

Finding where to stay during your trips can be overwhelming. You want a good location, but need to stay in a certain price range, and don’t even know where to start searching. This list of sites for booking your stay and when to use which site should help you get started. An important step when determining where to stay is to decide on your budget: are you willing to spend more money on a luxury accommodation, or are you just trying to find the cheapest place to stay that is still clean and in a decent location? When I look for accommodation I typically search for the cheapest option where I still feel comfortable, and always prioritize location. There are certain destinations where I will decide to spend more for the experience: such as a house on a vineyard in Tuscany, or a cave house with a breathtaking view in Santorini. Below are the websites that I recommend for booking your accommodation, when to use which website, and tips for booking with the site.

Booking.com

Booking.com is a great site for booking hotels, guesthouses, and hostels. If you are looking for affordable accommodation across Europe, South America, Central America and Southeast Asia this should be your go to website. Booking.com shows your price for the total number of nights, and gives you the option to filter by many priorities such as location, amenities, budget, review score, and more. I always look at the reviews and filter to only accommodation with a review score of 8 or more.

Tips for Booking with Booking.com

  • Make an account in order to be eligible for deals on accommodation, called genius discounts.
  • Download the booking.com app which saves all the accommodations you booked. This is especially helpful for long trips to keep track of all your stays.
  • Search by sorting by lowest price and select “Only Show Available Properties” on the left hand menu. Restrict the review score to 8 and above to make sure that you are looking at the most highly rated options. Continue looking through the properties starting with the lowest price until you find an option that you are comfortable with to ensure you get the best deal.
  •  Save the accommodations you are interested in by selecting the heart icon next to the property name and creating a list for your trip.
  •  Make sure to read the cancelation policies as they vary by accommodation and some have strict policies.
Santorini Cave House
Our cave house in Santorini booked with booking.com
Santorini Balcony
Our terrace outside of our cave house in Santorini booked with booking.com
Booking.com

Airbnb

Airbnb is a service that features a variety of accommodation options owned and managed by individual people. Airbnb gives you the experience to stay in areas where there might not be hotels or there are limited hotels, and offers a range of accommodation options for every purpose. The options can vary from an entire apartment or house to a shared room in a house. If you are looking for unique options you can even find tree houses, RVs, cabins, tents, and more. Airbnb is a great site for booking your stay if you are looking for a bigger space for more people, as it is often cheaper to rent one house instead of a few hotel rooms. Many properties have kitchens, which allow you to save money so you don’t have to eat out your whole trip. We have stayed in Airbnbs throughout the United States, Italy, and in Mexico, and have had a good experience most of the time. Since you are renting from individual people you don’t have the same consistency as hotels, but the unique experience is worth it. Airbnbs we have stayed in include: a house on a vineyard in Tuscany, an apartment across the street from the ocean in Hawaii, and a small boho style house in the desert in Joshua Tree.

Tips for Booking with Airbnb

  • You should book far in advance to secure the best options (at least 1-2 months). The price doesn’t decrease last minute like hotels, and most of the good options sell out early.
  • Focus on the overall price, not just the nightly price, because the additional fees can add up significantly and vary by property. 
  • Look for a property with a lot of reviews and make sure that you read the reviews and that the reviews are recent. We stayed in an apartment that had great reviews but didn’t realize they were from over 8 months ago. Turns out that 8 months prior the family had twins! Needless to say, we had to find a hotel.
  • In the United Sates, Airbnb is most cost effective if there are more than 4 people to rent an entire property. If you are two people or less, it is usually cheaper to either rent only a room and bathroom in a house, or go with a hotel instead.
Airbnb Joshua Tree Outside
Our cute little Airbnb in Joshua Tree
Airbnb Joshua Tree Inside
Inside of Airbnb in Joshua Tree
Kauai Airbnb View
View from Airbnb in Kauai
Airbnb that we stayed in near Ridda
Airbnb in Tuscany

Hotels.com

Hotels.com is a great website to book your accommodation you are only looking for a hotel, particularly in the United States. There are often last minute deals in bigger cities in the US.

Tips for Booking with Hotels.com

  • Make a free account to get better deals on hotels and collect 10 nights in order to get one free night.
  •  Hotels near the airport are often a lot cheaper than within the city, so if you are arriving late you can save a lot of money booking your first night at a hotel near the airport.
  • There are frequent coupon codes available which can be found on their website.

HotelTonight

HotelTonight is the perfect site and application for booking last minute hotel deals. It usually has better deals in cities. I used this in Honolulu to get a great last minute deal at a Courtyard Marriott Hotel.

Hostelworld

If you are trying to save money and looking for hostels, Hostelworld is a great place to search. Here you can find a large selection of hostels with many reviews. 

What is your favorite website for booking your stay? Comment below!

Disclosure: Please note that some of the links above are affiliate links for products and services I recommend. At no additional cost to you, I earn a commission if you make a purchase. As an Amazon Associate I earn from qualifying purchases.

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