This might actually be the trickiest part of putting all your travels together. There are SO many different search engines and booking platforms on the internet, all of them with different offers, promises and guarantees, that one who is new to the world of this can only get confused. The following should help you find a solid guideline on where to look for purchasing accommodation around the world.
There are some general differences you should know about booking platforms. Essentially, there are three different types:
- Metasearch engines (such as Kayak or Trivago)
- Search engines (booking platforms or online travel agencies such as Booking.com or Expedia)
- The provider itself (hotel chains such as Hilton or Anantara)
We are guessing this sounds a little confusing, so let’s go through a simplified example:
A hotel (e.g. Hilton) offers its rooms directly to you, so you can purchase it straight from the hotel.
They also offer rooms to online travel agencies (e.g. Expedia), normally at a lower price, because they (Expedia) buy a lot of rooms at the same time, which they then sell to you. They will offer rooms from lots of other hotels (Radisson, Marriott, etc.) as well, so you can compare the prices of lots of different hotels.
Then the metasearch engines (e.g. Trivago) compare all the different offers from all the different online travel agencies (Expedia, Booking.com, Amoma, etc.) so you’ll definitely get the best overview there. However, due to the enormous amount of data, not everything is always perfectly accurate.
After learning a whole lot about this just through our own experience, we can give you solid advice on what to use, so that you can quickly get the best price for what you’re looking for:
If you want more advice on the actual process of booking and comparing, read our full start to finish instructions on how to find the cheapest or best value hotel here.
This is a quick overview of our favourite websites and platforms that we like to use:
- Trivago: This is definitely our favourite website for hotels. It’s a metasearch engine that compares all the different booking platforms and sometimes also the hotel website itself.
Most importantly though, it has a fantastic interface, with everything being very neatly arranged, great, quick filter options and the possibility of searching a whole region (e.g. Oceania or Thailand) instead of having to go through all the different cities.
- Kayak: It does the same as Trivago, although while Kayak is good for flights, we prefer Trivago to search for hotels. Nevertheless, in the end you should take a quick look, because it does sometimes take other booking platforms into account than Trivago.
- Cheaptickets.com: This is a booking platform owned by Expedia. While they generally have the standard Expedia rates, there is almost always a code which you can use to get 16% off. That is about as much of a general discount as you can get outside of big promotions which usually only last a few days. Have a look here for the current code!
- Hotwire / Priceline: These two are a bit different from the others. While you can use both for just a normal booking, what these platforms are known for is the bidding option. Yeah that’s right, you basically say what you are willing to pay, and then a hotel can either accept your offer or not. Of course you get the best deals shortly before your stay, because then a hotel knows, whether it’ll be full or rather empty. Because they don’t want to officially sell their rooms under market value, they rely on these platforms, which is good for you! Click here for our full tutorial on Hotwire and Priceline.
For hostels there are basically two different options. You either book through the hostels own website, or through a hostel platform like Hostelworld / HostelBookers.
- Hostelworld: There’s not much more to say here. Hostelworld has the easiest, most user friendly website and app. And almost every hostel in the world is listed on it.
In fact, most hostels even use it as their primary booking channel, so you’ll be sure to always find up to date availability and prices, legitimate reviews and your hostel will get your booking through the second you click the button.
Do you agree with our list? Or you have some other great websites to tell us? Comment below, we love hearing from you guys! 🙂
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