Finding the best hotels or apartments for your budget is thanks to internet just a matter of minutes!
The best platform to find the best hotels
Before the pandemic started, June and I used to travel quite a bit.
All in all 4 to 6 months every year. We have been all over the world.
After years of trying out a dozen of comparison websites to find the best hotels for our budget, we prefer only one.
We always use Booking.com, which is by far our favorite online reservation website.
What I really like about their website:
• lots of good quality pictures of the hotel and the available rooms
• a very accurate map of where the hotel is located
• very detailed and useful information about the hotels
The available filters to fine tune search results are numerous. It allows you to find a hotel where internet is included in the price. We never go to a hotel without internet connection and yes, those hotels still exist.
Booking.com also allows you to read comments from previous clients.
Customer reviews are extremely valuable in finding the best hotels.
These reviews are very reliable because they come from people who actually stayed in that specific hotel. If you haven’t booked a room there through Booking.com, you simply can’t leave a comment online, unlike Tripadvisor.
Real reviews make it easy to discover the hidden flaws of a hotel you can’t see on pictures, like not being able to sleep because of paper thin walls, a noisy outdoor pub or restaurant next door, bad service or poor housekeeping.
All of which you can only know if you have spent a night there.
How to choose the best hotels
We can always choose the best hotels based on ratings and reviews.
Experience has taught us to choose hotels with a minimum 8.5 rating and above, a list you can easily get by choosing the right filter. After that we compare prices and room pictures.
What is also important to mention is that the Booking.com website is extremely fast and that there is an application for Android, iPhone and iPad.
Making a reservation takes less than a minute if you are a registered client and have your preferred payment method saved to your profile. Reservation speed is indeed critical in places where internet is not great.
We have always been able to find the best hotels, even a last minute reservation one hour before getting there.
Excellent customer service
You don’t have to print anything either, Booking.com communicates directly with the hotel you are staying in. Their customer service is brilliant and very efficient.
We once booked a room that apparently was double booked and not available anymore. The hotel notified Booking.com who immediately contacted us by phone about the matter. Booking.com took care of a room in one of the best hotels in the same area for the same price.
Perfect customer service, Booking.com is very reliable!
But the best news is their prices!
Whenever we find a good hotel, we will compare the price we get on Booking.com with the price we get on the website of the hotel itself. We are always stunned to see that in most cases Booking.com prices are lower than the actual hotel price.
And it is not always a matter of a handful of euros. We have found room rates on Booking.com that are 30 to 40% cheaper.
Quite often you can get free cancelation up until a few hours before check in. The pandemic has shown how important it is to be able to cancel your reservation last minute is something comes up.
We will never choose a hotel anymore that does not offer free cancellation. It is again another filter that you can select if you are looking for the best hotels on Booking.com.
There are often last minute deals as well, which you definitely will not find on the hotel website.
After some time if you regularly book through Booking.com, you will become a ‘Genius‘ client.
In that case you will receive extra updates about special discounts, last minute offers or attractive upgrades.
2 additional tips to find the best hotel
-Sign up for a hotel loyalty system. It is just like collection airmiles. You will receive reward points that can easily give you restaurant discounts, free nights, upgrades, free welcome drinks, etc.
-Pay your hotel expenses with your credit card to collect extra airmiles!
Are you tired of hotels?
Do you need your own space while traveling? Or just enjoy a good cup of coffee in the morning without having to go down for breakfast?
Why not consider staying in a rental apartment?
How to find an excellent rental apartment
Short term and medium term apartment rental has grown extremely in recent years.
Even though we love to stay in the best hotels, we also enjoy to relax in a rental apartment or studio for a couple of nights.
You would be surprised how many travelers prefer to have a little private place to stay. We do love to being able to cook from time to time with local products that are not available at home.
But even if you are not into cooking, living in an apartment allows you to get much closer to the culture of the country or city you visit, much more than staying in a nice hotel.
5 reasons to choose a rental apartment
The first and best advantage is that renting an apartment is much cheaper than staying in a hotel, even if it is a very cheap hotel.
If you can save a part of your travel budget on accommodation, you have more money available to spend on your trip.
There are also less hidden costs, which is often inevitable even in the best hotels.
And not only are apartments cheaper, you generally get much more space than a hotel room which is also important.
Another important advantage to consider, especially when you are a digital nomad like us: renting a place somewhere gets cheaper the longer you stay. Living a month in a rental apartment is cheaper than staying in a hotel for two weeks.
Renting your apartment allows you to choose the neighbourhood you would like to live in.
Very often the best hotels will all be in the same area or in city centres, while you can find rental apartments all over the city.
June for instance loves to cook with local ingredients for her recipe website, so for us it is important to find a place to rent close to a local market and decent supermarket.
Whether to just want to make a cup of coffee in the morning, a simple breakfast, or take a break from eating at restaurants and cook a light dinner: all this is possible in a rental apartment that costs far less than a hotel room.
Even if you do not want to cook at night, a simple breakfast in your apartment can make you save dozens of euros a day. Some hotels sometimes ask absolutely outrageous prices for a breakfast.
Do you like meeting people?
Your chances of meeting local people really increase if you rent an apartment. These interesting encounters hardly happen if you book in one of the best hotels in the same area.
The longer you stay in a rental apartment, the easier it gets to bump into your neighbours. Even restaurant owners and staff or market vendors will quickly start to recognise you if you visit them often.
Social contact with the local population is often what makes our stay twice as enjoyable.
Rental apartment amenities
You will generally find that a rental apartment is well equipped.
Way better of course than a hotel room. Think of a washer and dryer, an ironing board, a coffee machine, a microwave, water boiler, a fully equipped kitchen, large fridge, comfortable couch etc.
How to find a rental apartment?
Use the same specialised websites you would search for the best hotels.
For quite some time now, those type of websites have soared.
The most popular of all is undoubtedly Airbnb.
We used it quite a couple of times in the past and we were satisfied by the numerous choice of rental apartments. Also the fact that Airbnb allows to immediately contact the owners and get your trip organised quickly.
Many filters make it possible to refine your preferences, and prices are clear. Very nice as well: the selection of apartment themes.
What do you think of living in a place built by the great architect Frank Lloyd Wright, in a selection of train wagons transformed into a studio, or in an igloo?
The best hotels are often rental apartments
The success of Airbnb is massive.
However after a while we were not satisfied anymore. We moved to Booking.com, because they are absolutely great and reliable.
Many Airbnb clients went to Booking for 5 reasons:
- better service
- better conditions
- making a reservation is a breeze
- no administration fees or hidden costs to pay
- fast and efficient client registration system
Getting registered as a client on Booking.com is really easy while on Airbnb the procedure is much more complicated. Many complain about the fact that in some cases people had to scan their identity card or other official documents to prove it is you, which raises questions about confidentiality and privacy.
In addition, their registration system is complex and doesn’t always work.
What really made us switch to Booking.com for good is the fact that there is no one to contact when there is a problem with a booking or an owner.
It happened to us once in Europe. We had to call a number in the US to talk to someone.
We now always book a rental apartment on Booking.com rather than on Airbnb.
Booking.com also has a specialised section in best hotels, apartments and bed and breakfasts.
If you want to book the best hotels or rental apartments, use Booking.com.