We seem to be constantly booking accommodation, and have tried many different websites to book through. Although we often change up our travelling style and go for something more luxurious, or extremely budget, the website we use the most is Booking.com.
Why is that then?
First off, there are over 1.1 million different properties worldwide, in 227 countries and territories. You will find somewhere to stay anywhere in the world on booking.com, with the convenience of a quick search in their easy to use search engine.
All you have to do is type in where you want to go, what date you want to check in and check out, how many rooms and how many people.
The search results come back almost instantly, with a handy map to show how close they are to your desired area. This is especially important if you are attending a specific event, or have no access to transportation. You don’t want to be stuck somewhere miles away from where you need to be. You can even zoom in to street level.
I also like the fact that they tell you how much the dates you are planning to visit are booked up already, as this normally results in higher than average pricing. Therefore, if your dates are flexible, you should look to change in order to save a decent amount of money.
Start to narrow down your options
Once you have your original list, you can narrow it down with an almost bewildering amount of options. Here is a brief guide to what they are, and when to use them.
a) Your budget – use this to remove accommodation that is out of your price range. On the flip side, get rid of the cheap options if you are looking for something extra special.
b) Fun things to do – this should be used if having gym facilities or a spa is important to you.
c) Availability – definitely tick this to remove sold-out properties.
d) Star rating – not really a concern for us, but if the star-rating matters to you, then tick away.
e) Deal – shows only discounted accommodation
f) 24-hour reception – important if you are arriving in the middle of the night, say. You don’t want to be waiting around for hours before you can access your room.
g) Pay your way – this shows options where you can cancel without a charge, or book without a credit card. These would be important if you are wanting to remain flexible and not feel tied to a booking. Alternatively, if you don’t have a credit card, or are having issues with yours.
h) Meals – tick these if you would like to have breakfast, or evening meals, included.
I) Landmarks – if it is important to be as close as possible to a major landmark, then you can select it as an option here.
j) Property type – the amount of options on booking.com is unbelievable. They have every conceivable type of accommodation, from apartments and hotels, to hostels and homestays.
k) Bed preference – If you insist on a double, or twin bed, then get rid of the hotels that don’t offer your preference.
l) Review score – Reviews can only be left by verified bookings done on the website. Therefore, they can be more trustworthy than other sites. If you want to filter out those with a lower average rating, you can do so here.
m) Facility – this is another handy list of things that you may need on your trip, such as free wifi, parking, or hotels that accept pets.
n) Public transport – if you are reliant on public transport, you can filter out options that are not nearby transport links.
o) Room facility – In humid countries, you may insist on air conditioning, or tea making facilities for us Brits. If you think you will spend a lot of time in the room, you may want a TV in the room. You can filter out options that don’t provide what you need here.
p) Chain – if you have your favourite hotel chains, you can easily find one of their properties by clicking the options here. Alternatively, it is easy to remove chains that you dislike.
A one-stop shop for booking accommodation
See what I mean? It is extraordinary, and definitely a one-stop shop for booking accommodation anywhere in the world. We are going to show you how to find the perfect place to stay using booking.com using an imaginary example.
Let’s say I want to stay in central London for one night in three months’ time. The website tells me that it is busy on that date in central London. However, let’s say I’m not flexible on the date, as I am attending an event at Buckingham Palace the next morning, and don’t want to risk being late due to tube strikes or suchlike. Initially, there are a staggering 746 properties in central London shown. The way to narrow it down is to go through the filters one by one, concentrating on the ones that are important to you.
My budget is $160 for the night, so I tick all of the options up to that price. This reduces the search to 338 options. I like to go to gym first thing in the morning (told you it was imaginary!) so I tick fitness centre on the ‘fun things to do’ tab, and then exclude sold-out properties. Already I am down to just 20 options.
I am arriving late at night, so make sure to select 24-hour reception, which being London does not reduce the number of options, but when I click on the landmarks tab to select Buckingham Palace, there is only one option left, the 4-star Grange Wellington Hotel. It has fabulous reviews, is in the right area, has a gym, a 24-hour reception, and even better, is offered at half price!
Booking.com tells me that this hotel is in high demand, and helpfully shows me how many other people are looking and booking the hotel at the moment, as well as the fact that this hotel, like many others on this site, offers free cancellation options. Therefore, I can get it booked now, knowing that it is perfect for this stay, but with the safety net that I can cancel the reservation if my plans change.
If you only use one website, then booking.com does it all
As you can see, it couldn’t be easier to find exactly what you are looking for on booking.com. Yes, there are plenty of other sites you can check out, and if you have a lot of time and patience, then you should check them out. However, for the ultimate in convenience, safety, and price, you could easily get by with booking.com alone.
If you found this guide helpful, then please use the links we have provided to access booking.com when you make a booking. They are affiliate links, which will give us a small amount of commission on the booking that helps to keep our website up and running, whilst not affecting the price you pay at all.
Do you use booking.com? Do you agree that it is the ultimate accommodation booking website, or have you got your own favourite?