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Best Places to Find and Book Hotels and Other Travel Accommodation Online


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Nowadays with the presence of the web, booking accommodation online is an easy task. You’ll find countless providers available offering an easy way to find your accommodation through interactive maps, vast search results and plenty of filters. Whether you’re after a beautiful luxury hotel, a quirky gem, an eco-hotel or a cheap dorm in a hostel, there is something for everyone. To help you find a great place to stay when you next travel we have found some of the best providers to consider.

Here are some of the best places to book hotels and other travel accommodation online.


Booking.com

Starting with Booking.com which are an online giant for travel accommodation. They offer a vast selection of properties in pretty much every corner of our world (that you can travel to). They list over 6.2 million places including 30 different property types.

A few things we like about Booking.com includes the map view for finding accommodation, the filters that allow you to narrow down your search, the speed of the website and searches and the booking journey once you find a place that you like. They also offer a loyalty programme called Genius which gives you some discounted prices and other benefits.

Benefits and Features

  • No reservation fees and free cancellation options
  • Easy to use website with features such as a map view
  • Helpful filters
  • A huge 43 languages
  • 24/7 support
  • Over 189 million customer reviews
  • Benefits through the ‘Genius’ reward programme

Screenshot for booking.com

Vrbo

Vrbo (previously HomeAway) are a top place to find and book self-catered accommodation. They offer 2+ million properties including apartments, houses, cottages, villas and other options. To find a great place to stay they provide a map and tile-based design. This makes it easy to find accommodation in the best areas of your destination. As well as this you’ll find filters allowing you to choose your desired property type, filter by price, features and amenities and other useful options.

Benefits and Features

  • 2+ million holiday homes around the world
  • Map view
  • Helpful filters to find the perfect property
  • Part of the Expedia Group

VRBO screenshot

Hostelworld

If you’re looking for low budget accommodation then Hostelworld is a good place to look. Hostels generally offer the cheapest accommodation and these are normally dorm rooms (where you share with others). Launched in 1999, Hostelworld list over 17,000 hostels across 179 countries. When searching for accommodation you’ll find nice easy to read property results detailing key features for each place, as well as a map view so you can see if the location suits what you’re looking for.

It’s worth noting that some hostels offer private rooms as well, and it’s not always just shared dormitories.

Read more about features and what hostels are like.

Benefits and Features

  • 17,000+ hostels around the world
  • Dorm rooms perfect for budget travellers
  • Various filters that allow you to adjust your requirements
  • Over 13 million customer reviews
  • 24/7 customer service and in 19 languages

Hostelworld screenshot

PlumGuide

PlumGuide list some of the most beautiful and highest quality apartments, houses, villas and cottages. They offer quality over quantity and rigorously vet all the properties that they list to make sure that they meet the high expectations of travellers. To be listed on Plum Guide as a minimum the property needs to pass three out of four of the stages of their tests. They also use criteria consisting of over 150 tests. These include such things as the noise in the bedrooms (decibel levels), shower pressure, WiFi speed, design and lots more which would have an impact on the quality and enjoyment of a guest’s stay. Read more about their testing and award process.

Some of the things we really like about PlumGuide include the design and user experience of their site, which is visually beautiful, fast and easy to navigate. As well as the property pages which come with great detail on the property as well as plenty of photographs.

Benefits and Features

  • High-quality properties
  • Helpful filters for you to narrow down your search
  • Free cancellation on some properties

PlumGuide screenshot

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Airbnb

Whilst booking.com are the giant of hotels, Airbnb is the giant of self-catered with 5.6+ million listings worldwide, across 100,000+ cities in 220 countries and regions. Airbnb works by allowing property owners to rent out spare rooms or complete properties to travellers. As well as this they now offer more standard accommodation too such as hotels and hostels.

When searching you’ll get to enjoy a beautifully designed site with the user experience at the forefront. Once you’ve started your search you’ll find the accommodation listed on the left and a map view on the right (desktop) which helps to find a place to stay in a great location much easier.

Once you’ve found a place where you’d like to stay you’ll then often find detailed information on the property, including its amenities, house rules, cancellation policy and more to help you decide if the property is right for you.

Benefits and Features

  • Map and property tiles to help you search
  • Customer reviews
  • Filters for amenities, facilities and other criteria
  • Free cancellation options
  • 24/7 customer support

Airbnb screenshot

Tripadvisor

Tripadvisor is a well-known brand for being a source where travellers can help each other. This is through forum based user-generated content. As well as this you can now start your search for accommodation, activities and more directly through their website. They serve as an aggregator/metasearch service which means they search across the market and through various suppliers (including booking.com) and then present you with results and filters to help you make your decision.

Benefits and Features

  • 1.4 million places to stay
  • Filters to narrow down your search
  • Millions of customer reviews
  • Also find, compare and book tours and attractions

Tripadvisor hotel search screenshot

Trivago

Trivago is a metasearch engine for accommodation. They help you find and compare properties from 300 different booking sites, including providers such as booking.com. Expedia, Vrbo and lots more. They list over 5 million properties across 90 countries meaning they are a great place to start our search for a place to stay.

What we really like about Trivago is the visual experience that is presented. This is in the form of a map view combined with nice property tiles. You can also easily filter down the results by price, property type, rating, location and lots of other helpful options.

Benefits and Features

  • Compare properties from multiple online providers and booking sites
  • Over 175 million reviews and ratings aggregated from various sites
  • Helpful filters to allow you to narrow down your results

Trivago screenshot

Expedia

Expedia is a giant booking service and a bit like a one-stop-shop for finding and booking much of your travel. Including holiday packages, hotels, flights, cars, transfers and activities. Regarding accommodation, you’ll find 80,000 options in many destinations around the globe. As well as this you can use filters to help change your criteria and narrow down your search.

Benefits and Features

  • 80,000 accommodation options
  • Various accommodation types, including hotels, apartments, villas and more
  • Helpful filters to adjust your search criteria
  • Map view to help you understand the location
  • The option to search and book flights, car rentals, activities and more

Expedia screenshot

Hotels.com

Hotels.com is a top choice for finding hotels. They list properties around the world and offer both a list view and a map view to search for accommodation. As well as this you’ll find all the filters you need to find that perfect property for you. A cool thing about hotels.com is their reward programme which gives you a reward night for every 10 nights you stay, as well as special prices and other perks.

Benefits and Features

  • Lots of property types including hotels, apartments, guest houses, even houseboats
  • Useful filters to adjust your search
  • Customer reviews to help you decide
  • Free cancellation on many properties
  • Rewards nights for every 10 nights of stay
  • 90 local websites in 41 languages

hotels dot com screenshot

HotelsCombined

With HotelsCombined you can search for accommodation in 225 countries. They list over 235,000 hotels and search across various booking websites such as Hotels.com, Expedia, Booking.com, Agoda and more. The site helps you compare prices and property types as well as use filters and a map view to narrow down your results. You’ll also be able to see useful information such as whether there is free cancellation, free Wi-Fi and also customer reviews.

Benefits and Features

  • 235,000 hotels across 225 countries
  • Showing you hotels from lots of top booking websites
  • Filters and a map to help you find your perfect accommodation

HotelsCombined Screenshot


Try our interactive map to find travel accommodation

Below you can start your search for accommodation and find places to stay in destinations around the world. You use filters to narrow down your search and you’ll see results for both booking.com and Vrbo.


Common Questions

What are important considerations when booking accommodation?

A few things to consider when booking accommodation includes:

  • Property type
  • Location
  • Customer ratings
  • Facilities and amenities
  • Check-in and check-out time

Read more How to Choose the Right Accommodation for Your Trip

How important are customer ratings and reviews when booking accommodation?

Customer ratings and reviews are definitely important when choosing your accommodation. This is because you can read about other people’s experiences with the property, be it good or bad. On big sites where accommodation has been established, you’ll likely find a huge number of reviews and an average rating. This can really help you make an informed decision on where to stay.

Generally, we would look at the number of ratings and would only stay in a property that is 7/10 or higher.

What kind of rooms and properties can you get?

Depending on the type of accommodation you stay in you’ll find various room and property types including:

  • Single/ double/ twin rooms
  • Suites
  • Private apartments
  • Dorms
  • Villas
  • Chalets
  • Cabins

…and much more.

Read more about different types of accommodation.

Do you get free cancellation when booking accommodation?

Many providers offer free cancellation up to a certain time before your arrival. However, this really varies from service to service and also from property to property. We would always recommend checking the cancellation policy when booking your accommodation in the event that your plans change. Should you book a property with a free cancellation policy then make a note and set yourself a reminder close to when it becomes non-refundable so that you cancel without hopefully losing any money.

Should you book accommodation direct?

Absolutely, if you find a property or chain of properties that you really like then definitely consider booking direct. Sometimes they offer additional benefits and rewards by doing this too.

By booking directly with the accommodation provider this would also help them as they won’t have to pay commission out to another service. However, you certainly don’t need to book direct, and should you prefer then definitely book through your favourite service such as one of those mentioned above. It’s up to you and it’s all about choice!

 


Summary

We hope that these suggestions help you find a great place to book when travelling. There are lots more great options out there too besides those listed above. A good thing about this large number of online services is that it increases competition and encourages brands to up the quality and standard of their offering and the user experience on their site.

We personally book across different providers depending on which type of accommodation we’re looking for. Of course, the location and customer reviews should always be an important factor in your decision on where to stay, as well as the cancellation policy (especially with issues around Covid). Good luck searching and happy travels.


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Author

Written by

Mike Clegg

Mike is a traveller, photographer, WordPress developer and the creator of TravelAndDestinations.com. He started this website so as to share his experiences and tips with travellers. He is from the UK and has travelled to many places around the world. He loves to shares his pictures and stories through Instagram and this website... [Read full bio]

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