Congratulations! You’ve decided you want to go on holiday, and it’s the first time you’re booking it yourself. Seems like you’ve got a bit of a daunting task ahead of you – but not to worry! Here are my top ten tips for finding yourself good value accommodation, and to ensure that you have the best possible time on a budget. Take it from me – all this comes from experience.
1. Book in advance! I know how it feels to be booking flights and accommodation just one month – or one week – before you’re supposed to leave. Although there are great sites like lastminute.com on which get you cheap deals, if you already have a place in mind, then leaving it this late is a terrible idea! Book over 90 days in advance to get the best deals, and to ensure you get the accommodation you want. You don’t want it to be fully booked, after all!
2. Price filter. If you’re travelling on a budget, you don’t want to waste your time sifting through hotels like the Ritz and the Hilton when you’re actually trying to find a budget option. Most accommodation booking sites (hotels, youth hostels, campgrounds, B&Bs etc.) will have a filter, which enables you to choose your price range. Try not to go above £40 a night per person, unless you can afford to splash out that little bit more!
3. Once you’ve applied your price filter, instead of viewing the options by lowest price first, sort them into map view. A hotel might be super low price, but when you dig a little deeper, you’ll find it’s about 20 miles outside the city centre. Not cool! Instead, zoom into your desired location on map view, and then look at the options you have. This will save you lots of time looking at campgrounds in the middle of nowhere!
4. Also on these sites is usually some form of rating system. A problem you might find when looking at city centre accommodation is that although there are a fair few budget options where you want, the ratings are a little bit iffy, or just plain bad. Take some time to sort through what other travellers have said, and set the bar at 60%ish approval and above. Even if it means looking a little further out, or in a different area to what you’d originally wanted, it’s worth it.
5. Tripadvisor is your best friend! This is probably the world’s most comprehensive review site for travellers, and people often leave detailed reviews of hotels, restaurants and other attractions in an unfamiliar area. It’s also the most trusted website, so really read through the reviews on here, and make your decision based on that. It also gives you some price comparison when you’re booking, so use this and other sites (like Trivago) to make sure you get the best price. Why not leave reviews for other travellers on here, too? Somebody just like you might be wanting to know about your experience in a particular place, so they can follow your advice and guidance.
Wow! So much to say – check out part 2 for more!
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