How To Find the Best Value Accommodation
I consider myself a bit of an expert when it comes to holiday planning, and I pride myself on my ability to narrow down the highest quality accommodation for the lowest price. I am an obsessive planner, holiday research is a nervous habit I have. The trick is to be strict on your budget parameters but thorough in investigating the quality of a potential hotel or hostel.
And there's one website that through hours and hours of scrutiny I've confirmed consistently has the cheapest prices: booking.com.
Booking.com has the best prices on the Internet, and I wouldn't go through anywhere else. Prices listed on booking.com are typically lower than on competitor sites and lower than the hotels website. And the bonus is the many, many special deals for frequent bookers they put on!
Take the worry out of travel and guarantee you only stay at tried and tested accommodation, minimising your risk of re-enacting something from a horror movie. Here's how to nab the highest quality place to stay at the lowest available price per night.
1. Set your budget. Don't be too generous, be realistic. You're looking for value and saving money, not being lured into overspending.
2. Select free wifi in facilities. I would never stay somewhere that didn't at least provide free wifi! If they don't offer it, don't give them your money.
3. Set the review score parameters to 7.5/10. I usually start searching at a rating from 7.5, then if there are too many options remaining I have the flexibility to raise my standards. In expensive areas you may have to compromise on the review scores and stay somewhere rated only 7.5/10 because you can't afford the highest quality. However, more affordable locations with an abundance of accommodation like Bali allow you to set the parameter to 9 and still have enough options to shop around for location and your preferred styled room!
4. Google search the hot spots and use Google Maps to locate the best area to stay in your chosen city, then select the correct Districts in Filters to narrow your search down to the most relevant listings. If you are unsure, you can skip this step and just use the Map view to see the layout of available listings once you've completed the search. Knowing where to stay in relation to the hot must-see's is a cost-saver by cutting down transport time.
5. Check the box for Free Cancellation and if you need one, Double beds available.
6. Once you've set all your search filters, organise the listing under 'Sort' by selecting 'Review score'. This brings the websites' highest rated listings to the top and banishes the worst quality listings to the bottom of your list. Now the best accommodation listing within your personalised price range is at the top of your screen! This is your starting point so you can work down the list from the top quality and will ultimately find the right place for you with the best reviews possible.
7. Once the relevant listings are on your screen, you can use the maps view to check where each listing is in relation to where you want to see while visiting, and also to check for free breakfasts. (Depending on your planned activities free breakfast may be essential or it might not be of any interest to you.)
8. Read the reviews. Take a scroll through the review section to look for anything that jumps out at you. The hotel may rank high generally in reviews, but perhaps you're personally looking for location and the 5 star comments explain that the hotel is good except for the location. It may have pretty rooms with good service, but it might just not be what you're looking for. That's OK, and you can just move down to the next place on the list!
By following this process and practicing it so often it's now muscle memory, I consistently book affordable, high-quality accommodation in great locations, always with free wifi and often all-round great service.