Before I started travelling , I always wondered how can so many people afford to travel around the world and see so many interesting places? Friends and acquaintances were talking about booking cheap hotels abroad, at a time when I couldn't even imagine spending one night in a hotel in London. How could I do it? where would I begin?
With time, I learned plenty of tips and tricks about finding the cheapest prices for my needs, in a destination of my choice. Traditionally, I had to get a package holiday to save money, but after years of travelling the world, I found a way to book flights and hotels separately and get to save a tonne of money.
In this article, I'm going to show you step by step how I find the best hotel prices without the need to compromise on quality. Whether I travel solo or with my partner, I tend to avoid hostels because I really like my privacy. So how do I do it and afford to find an epic place at a low cost?
My best friend has always been booking.com. I use it for any destination because I love some its features and usability. I always start by booking my flights first. I check them out on Kayak and Skyscanner.
One I have my flights and know my travelling dates, here is what I do to find the best cheapest hotel.
To get started, I go to booking.com.
Step 1 - Search for your destination
Say I was going to Tokyo. I type in Tokyo in the destination field. Add the check-in and the check-out dates. I then, select the type of travelling (work or leisure) so I can get better-tailored results for my needs. Finally, I add the number of rooms and number of travellers and press Search!
Step 2 - Filter your hotel results
To me, filtering the hotel results is the most important part. Firstly, I go to the property type. As I mentioned before, I avoid hostels or rooms with no private bathroom, hence I tick only what is suitable to me. I usually go for hotels, apartments (my favorite), aparthotel, bed and breakfasts (some offer private bathrooms) or ryokans (since we're talking Japan).
I always select the Review Score 8+ (no exception). In my personal experience, any accommodation which has less than 8+ as rating on booking.com didn't turn out to be as great as I would have hoped.
Step 3 - Lowest price first
This may seem obvious, but a lot of people actually forget that booking.com offers the option to sort everything by lowest price first. After I apply all my filters, I click on "lowest price first" button located at the top of the page (see image above)
Step 4 - FREE cancellation
Things can go wrong and you may decide to visit a different part of the city, or worse, you may need to cancel the entire holiday. Because of unforeseeable changes of plans, I always go for an accommodation which offers me the option to cancel the booking prior to my arrival. You can't imagine the amount of times I had to change my travel plans and the sheer amount of money I saved just by being able to cancel my reservation online. A hassle free service is a great service.
Step 5 - Open all hotels in new tabs
Now it's time to right click on all hotels that grab your attention and analyse them individually until you find what you are looking for. Stop when you see the prices going over your budget. The search is not over yet, there is plenty more to consider.
Step 6 - Check out the hotel location
You want your hotel to be in a great location. The cheap hotels will probably be located further away from the city centre, and this is why you need to ensure you have means of transportation. I try to get something which is either minutes away from the subway, train or bus station, or no more than 30 min walk from the city centre. Trust me, after a long day meandering through the streets of a new city, you will not want to walk or ride a bus for an hour. At the top of the page, you can see how to check the hotel location on the map.
Step 7 - Look at all the rooms options available
In Tokyo for example, I wanted a non-smoking room with private bathroom and a double bed. To check the pictures for the accommodation, click on the title (where black arrows point in the picture above) to ensure the room is indeed up to standards.
Step 8 - Tripadvisor is your next best friend
So you found the room you need, in the place you wanted for the lowest available price. Excellent. Now booking.com might say this is an 8+ accommodation, but always double check the hotel name on Tripadvisor too. Chances are, you will find even more reviews from people who booked the accommodation via all sort of different mediums. As a golden rule, I never book anything that has less than 4 stars on Tripadvisor. Remember, quality doesn't mean expensive. There are good, honest hosts out there which offer you basic, but clean and nice accommodation for reasonable prices.
Step 9 - Book the room
Now that i's all great, I select the room I need, then press continue. I fill in the forms with all the necessary information (name, email) and I always tick the box next to "Make changes to your booking online". I click continue, then click on book now! That's it! Now I have booked my most awesome accommodation!
Step 10 - Manage your booking
To manage your bookings you need to be logged in. Up at the top of the page, you will find a tab called bookings (see images above). Click on it to reveal the list of all upcoming reservations.
Go to the reservation you need and click on manage booking.
And that's it. You are now ready to enjoy the perfect adventure suitable for your budget and needs. It's a super simple booking hack which enables me to enjoy the best possible accommodation tailored to my budget.
Click to get started on booking.com
Do you have any hotel booking hacks you would like to share? Please let me know all about it in the comments section bellow.
Please note that this article includes affiliate links which means that if you decide to book a room with booking.com I will get a small commission at no extra cost to you. This commission allows me to run this website and keep it free and fun for everyone!