Hotel Booking Sites

The best hotel websites for booking rooms and finding cheap hotels

Updated: April 26, 2018

Hotel Websites

  • Booking.com has the best hotel rates. It’s safe, reliable, and easy to use. It’s my favorite website for booking hotels and planning a trip.
    Using Booking.com to Book Rooms
  • How far in advance should you book hotels? As soon as possible. Rates almost always go up (not down) and I rarely save money by waiting. Advanced booking is even more important for kid-friendly hotels.
  • What days have the best hotel rates? Generally big cities (that are popular with business travelers) will have cheaper rates on the weekend. Resorts and holiday destinations (that are popular with tourists) will have better prices on weekdays.
  • I’m not a huge fan but here are my tips for using Airbnb.
  • My single best hotel tip: If any problems arise about your booking (the room type, the cost, free breakfast), threaten to leave a critical review on TripAdvisor or Booking.com. Don’t be mean, rude, or dishonest – but make it clear that you will be writing about your stay on a travel forum or hotel review site. This is huge for hotels and a bad review can really affect future business.

On This Page

The Best Hotel Sites

1. Booking.com – The best site for finding hotels

Booking.com Phone Number: 1 (888) 850-3958
Booking.com Email: [email protected]
Booking.com Website: Booking.com
Booking.com App: Download
Booking.com Review: The most reliable hotel booking site. Easy to use and convenient for trip planning.

Reviews of Booking.com

These opinions are a mix of my personal experiences and what I hear from readers and online customer reviews.

  • The best prices of any online booking site.
  • Good customer service when something goes wrong.
  • Be aware that there are different types of reservations: most can be canceled with no charge, but some have cancellation fees or charge the full amount upon booking with no ability to change or cancel.
  • Booking.com’s “Verified Reviews” (only confirmed guests can leave a review) are more reliable than what you’ll find on Tripadvisor but fake reviews are still possible. Be sure to read as many reviews as possible.
  • The maps on Booking.com are better than other sites but they can still be incorrect. If precise location is important then double check on Google Maps.

Why and How to Use Booking.com to Book Hotels

  • Booking.com has a super handy calendar view for all the hotels you’ve booked. Now you don’t have to search through your emails to find out where you’re staying on your last night in Paris – it’s all right there in your “Bookings” tab. (This sounds like a minor deal, but it really makes a big difference.)
    Best website for booking hotels and planning a trip.
  • Reviews on Booking.com are from verified guests (people that actually booked a room through the website at that hotel). Every hotel is graded on friendliness, comfort, location, facilities, staff, value for money, and wifi-quality. I have found a score of 8.8 and above means the hotel will be excellent (pretty much 5 star or exceptional value for money). 8.0 and above is basically a 4 star. 7.0 and above is a good quality 3 star hotel. I never book anything below a score of 7.
    User reviews for booking hotels online.
  • Booking.com has the clearest descriptions of the idfferent rooms. Though it’s still far from perfect so additional research is often required to be sure you’re getting the exact room you want.
    How to find the best rooms at luxury hotels while booking online.
  • Booking.com has nice large pictures so you can see what the hotel is like. Also has lots of photos of individual suites and room types (but you need to enter potential dates to see these room pictures).
    How to use Booking.com to find the best hotel rates and best rooms.

2. HotelsCombined.com – Good site for last minute hotels

Hotelscombined Phone Number: 1 800 001 041 (toll free only for Australia)
Hotelscombined Email: [email protected] (this usually gets the fastest response)
Hotelscombined Website: HotelsCombined.com
Hotelscombined App: Download
Hotelscombined Review: Good for last minute hotels and often great for family reservations as it has a larger selection of rooms than Booking.com (and displays those options in a clearer manner).

Using hotelscombined.com for booking hotels online.

3. Agoda.com

Agoda Phone Number: +44 20 3027 7900
Agoda Email: [email protected]
Agoda Website: Agoda.com
Agoda App: Download
Agoda Review: Specializes in Asia where it can find some great discount hotel deals.

Using Agoda.com to book hotels online.

4. TripAdvisor

Tripadvisor Phone Number: 1 (781) 800-5000
Tripadvisor Website: [email protected]
Tripadvisor App: AndroidApple
Tripadvisor Review: Good for hotel reviews but not great for finding the best rates.

Using Tripadvisor for booking hotels online.

5. Hotels.com

Hotels.com Phone Number: 1 (877) 903-0071
Hotels.com Email: [email protected]
Hotels.com Website: Hotels.com
Hotels.com App: Download
Hotels.com Review: Hotels.com is good for finding cheap hotels but it’s the site I get the most complaints from readers about canceled bookings or overbooked hotels.

Using Hotels.com for booking hotels online.

The Best Hotel Websites for Top Destinations

Here are direct links for some of the most popular destinations in 2017:

Hotels in Europe

Hotels in Asia & South Pacific

Hotels in the USA & Canada

Hotels in Mexico & the Caribbean

How to Get the Best Hotel Deals

  • 1. Start your hotel search as early as you can – hotel rates only go up and rarely go down.
  • 2. Visit cities on weekends, visit resorts through the week (for the best deals).
  • 3. Use Booking.com or Hotelscombined.com to find the best rates for your destination – filter by review rating.
  • 4. When you find 2 or 3 highly rated hotels, contact the hotels directly and ask if they can beat the rate you found online – they often can and will.
  • 5. Book the hotel that has the best rate.
  • 6. Email the hotel after booking to confirm stay, make any special requests, and ask for a free upgrade.
  • 7. When you check-in ask again for a free upgrade.

When is the Best Time to Book Hotels?

Here’s a huge generalization that works pretty well for most situations: For hotels that have a business clientele last minute booking can offer good deals. For hotels, resorts, and vacation rentals that have tourists as their primary guests then booking 3 months to 6 months prior to your stay is likely the best plan.

Why? Business travelers are much more likely to arrange and make last-minute (or last week) travel plans. A month before a given date, a hotel in the financial district of London might not have many bookings but will not start discounting those rooms yet. It will still expect to make a lot of bookings in the week or two before that time frame.

Often it’s not just about the price. Early booking will get you the best rooms at a similar price to the less coveted rooms. E.g. A huge family room that is only a little more than a cramped double room.

A hotel in Cancun, Phuket, or Bali that has a lot of openings in a month will start to worry. Most of its guests should have already booked those rooms so the hotel will start to aggressively discount those rooms.

What Day of the Week Has the Best Hotel Deals?

It depends what type of hotel you’re booking.

Business hotels will offer bigger discounts on the weekends (when business clients are at home). Budget hotels will have empty rooms (and discounts) through the week because the people that stay there (weekend shoppers, concert goers, university students) come on there weekends and return home Sunday night.

Why Do Hotels Use Booking Sites Like Booking.com?

Here’s where it gets tricky for hotels. Yes, they want to fill some of those rooms. Even if a guest is only paying half the rack-rate it’s still a lot more than zero. At the same time hotels do not want to establish the practice of rewarding guests that wait the longest to book. Then everyone will book last minute expecting (and probably getting) discounted rates.

Hotels offer those rooms to hotel consolidators so that the price discounts don’t reflect directly on the hotel itself. A hotel guest that learns from another guest that they got a 50% discount by booking through Booking.com would probably shrug their shoulders and try to remember the name of the website. But if that same guest learned that their friend simply booked through the hotel’s website and got a vastly cheaper rate, they’re likely to be upset and displeased with the inconsistent way the hotel charges customers.

As well, when guests book through 3rd party websites they often book other travel options (travel insurance, airfares, rental cars). These serve to obscure the true cost of the hotel room so a direct comparison to the rate another guest paid can’t easily be made.

What’s Included and Are There Extra Fees?

When you’re comparing different rates from different websites be sure to check what’s included in the quoted price. Are there extra fees and taxes?

Extra costs could include an of the following:

  • City, State, and Country taxes
  • City, State, and Country surcharges and other fees
  • Booking service fees (often disguised as hotel charges)
  • Hotel energy surcharge
  • Hotel resort fee
  • Spa or swimming pool fee
  • Phone or internet availability fee
  • Short stay surcharge or room cleaning fee
  • Parking
  • Credit card surcharge

Clearly it’s not easy to compare 2 rates with all these extras to consider. Taxes and booking fees are the biggest ones so if you’re feeling overwhelmed focus on those and you should be fine.

If you’re staying at a big resort it might be wise to check the hotel’s official website to look for extra fees that may be applied (e.g. a charge for using the spa).

Most websites have search options for the following specifics:

  • Swimming Pool (Indoor and Outdoor)
  • Spa
  • Fitness Center
  • Kitchenettes
  • Wi-fi
  • Parking
  • Location (and vicinity of the airport).
  • Airport Shuttle
  • Non-Smoking Rooms
  • Rooms or Facilities for Disabled Guests

Be sure to use these if you’re looking for a hotel with special features or characteristics as in my experience they’re accurate.

A final tip, is to check whether breakfast is included. When you arrive at the hotel you can even ask (with a tone of voice that expects that it is included). It’s often of little cost to the hotel to serve another buffet breakfast but this can be a huge savings for you especially over the course of a week or extended stay.

15 Tips for Booking Hotels Online

This is the cheat sheet for booking hotels online.

  • Important! – Like airfares, hotel prices go down and go up. Unlike airfares, you can (usually) cancel hotel bookings and book a different hotel – or book the same hotel through a different website. So if you see a decent deal book it. And then keep looking for a better deal.
  • Important! – Verify directly with the hotel after booking through an online booking website (e.g. booking.com). This is easy to do and well worth it. Occasionally, you’ll get an even better room than if you hadn’t contacted them. For example, if you send an email saying something like this, “I just booked a room with your hotel on Booking.com. I wanted to confirm my booking and make sure you didn’t need any more information. We’re a family of 5 so really need this to go smoothly. Thanks.” At the very least it lets the staff know you’ll need a bigger room. Maybe it won’t change anything but occasionally some of the time it will.
  • Important! – If you belong to a hotel loyalty program and want to get hotel points by booking directly through the hotel you can still benefit by using 3rd party hotel websites. Simply look for deals for your chosen hotel then phone the hotel and state exactly the deal you found online. They’ll often offer you the same price on the same room.  (Though not always, as sometimes they have sold these hotel rooms as a block and are not looking to discount the remaining rooms they still have booking access to.)
  • When booking a hotel for a family of 4, family of 5, or family of 6 then booking two hotel rooms will often be cheaper than booking one large family room. The catch is that when you book two hotel rooms hotels usually won’t guarantee that they are beside each other – so if you do find a large family suite at a good rate that’s often the best choice.
  • How to book luxury hotels? – Be sure to check multiple websites (including the hotel’s website) to find the best prices. Unlike budget and moderate hotels there can often be huge rate differences between different sites.
  • Print your confirmation email (or have easy access to it on your phone) to show at reception. 9 times out of 10 you won’t need it but on occasion the hotel might not have received the reservation info and the confirmation will help.
  • If you’ve already decided on the dates of your hotel stay then you’re starting from a disadvantage. Sometimes you have to travel on specific dates but if you can swing it, try to book hotels before you’ve settled on your dates.
  • Check multiple sites before you book: the hotel’s website and at least 2 hotel booking sites.
  • If you’re looking for a specific hotel and see that it’s full on the nights you need then be sure to check a second or third website as this can simply mean that the first websites’ allocation of rooms has sold out, not that the entire hotel is booked full.
  • If possible contact hotels directly to ask for deals or inquire about special offers. This is a pain and it’s become less and less effective as the online deals have become so competitive but it’s still worth a try. It can be especially effective if you’re staying for a week or more. Hotel booking sites won’t be able to offer special deals based on length of stay.
  • The biggest risk with reserving through a hotel booking site isn’t that you’ll be scammed out of your money by an illegitimate business (all of the websites that I list in here are reputable) but that they will overbook your hotel and you’ll get an email a few weeks before your stay saying that your room is not available. This is very rare, but it does happen. Contacting hotels directly after you book (I’m mentioning this twice since it’s so important) makes this scenario much less likely.
  • If you book a non-refundable hotel (read the fine-print) you will never be able to cancel so be certain before you reserve it.
  • The more particulars matter to you (e.g. special room requests, king or queen sized bed, bathtub, space for cot) the less well booking sites will suit you. That said, many sites are very good at passing along your specific requests when you book, so be sure to include any necessary needs or preferences when you place the booking (there’s usually a form when you can add extra information).
  • For budget hotels it’s often better to book directly with the hotel. Usually they won’t be listed in the hotel booking sites anyways.
  • Airbnb, Agoda.com, and Hotwire.com are travel websites that accept PayPal – if that’s important for you.
  • If booking an apartment or family run B&B through a site (e.g. Venere) don’t assume that the same apartment will be payable using a credit card. Confusing I know. The initial credit card is used to reserve the room with Venere, but when you arrive (and need to pay) the owner might only accept cash.
  • Email the hotel directly a day before arrival (regardless of how you book). It’s a pain but it’s worth the effort. If you show you care about your booking, your room, and your stay – then your hotel will too.
  • Final Tip: This isn’t concerned with hotels but it can be a big life-saver. Take a photo of your passports with your phone before you start your trip. If you ever lose your passport (or even just can’t find it during check in) this can be a huge help in getting it replaced.

Booking Hotels in Paris

Paris is busy year-round and hotels should be booked 3 to 6 months in advance if you want the best prices. May to October are the busiest months with July seeing the most number of visitors.
Best Site for Booking Paris Hotels
Best Paris Hotels
Best Paris Hotels for Families
Where To Stay in Paris
Best Time to Visit Paris
Best Things To Do in Paris

Booking Hotels in London

London is a year-round destination and hotels should be booked 2 to 4 months in advance. April to September are the busiest months with August seeing the most visitors.
Best Site for Booking London Hotels
Best London Hotels
Best London Hotels for Families
Where To Stay in London
Best Time to Visit London
Best Things To Do in London

Booking Hotels in New York City

New York City is busy from March to December when hotels should be booked 3 to 6 months in advance. January and February are the slowest and least expensive months for hotels by a good measure.
Best Site for Booking NYC Hotels
Best NYC Hotels
Best NYC Hotels for Families
Where To Stay in NYC
Best Time to Visit NYC
Best Things To Do in NYC

Hotel and Travel Guides

Paris, Santorini, Mykonos, Rome, Florence, Barcelona, London, Amsterdam, Istanbul, Dubai, Singapore, Bali, Bangkok, Koh Samui, Phuket, Hong Kong, Kyoto, Tokyo, NYC, Las Vegas, Hawaii, Cancun, Tulum

Get free travel guides as they’re updated



50 Questions and Comments

  1. Taxes and Fees When Booking Hotels Online

    I would also like to add to always check the taxes and fees before you hit the complete transaction button on any website. Unfortunately I am dealing with hotelpower.com which is in part my fault that I did not check the taxes and fees which were almost half the amount of the room itself. When I noticed this I went ahead and looked up preferredmotels.com (a play on words of a competing website) while their room rate was slightly higher, the taxes and fees were 1/6 of that of hotelpower.com and so the total was around 20% less, so I knew it was more “fees” than “taxes”. I contacted hotelpower and they stated that is the correct taxes and fees and would not try to help me at all and I kept having to contact them via email to get any result they never actively contacted me back only in reply. I am just warning people away from this underhanded “fee” practice companies.

    1. Santorini DaveSantorini Dave The Hotel & Travel Expert

      Thanks for sharing your experiences. Yes, stick with the big, well known sites and you should be fine with hidden taxes and fees.

  2. New York Hotels over Christmas Holidays

    I am thinking to travel New York on this Christmas time, where I can get good offers on hotel bookings now or is it the right time to travel? I have been checking for the suggestions but I did not get a proper response anywhere. I am not pretty sure whether will it work? Is it the right time to book hotels?
    Please suggest.

    1. Santorini DaveSantorini Dave The Hotel & Travel Expert

      I prefer using Booking.com or Hotelscombined but there are many sites for booking NYC hotels. All the big sites (Expedia, hotels.com, Agoda, Hotels Tonight) are legit and can have good deals. Not sure if that helps.

  3. Booking Hotel for Family of 3

    Hi David,
    I am traveling to Spain with my wife and 18 years old daughter. While booking hotels, it will charge additional $55 for 3rd adult. Could I book the room with 2 adults and 1 kid?
    Thanks.

    1. Santorini DaveSantorini Dave The Hotel & Travel Expert

      You certainly could. Now whether they’ll notice or care, that’s a different matter and hard to predict. If she’s not nearby when you check in they probably won’t care. Some hotels do ask for passports from everyone however.

  4. When To Book Hotels for NYC

    Hey Dave,

    I need a hotel in NYC for September 11, and 12. From what I’m seeing, hotels are already expensive for those dates and have gone up over the past month. Do you think they’ll continue to go up over the next six months or should there be a drop at some point? I’m thinking of booking sooner than later, thoughts? Thanks, Jesse

    1. Santorini DaveSantorini Dave The Hotel & Travel Expert

      Hotel prices generally only go up as the cheapest rooms get booked and supply dwindles. There can be a period that’s too early (before hotels have put all their rooms online) that’s about 9 to 12 months before your visit. But by 8 months out pretty much everything has been added. I’d book as soon as possible.

  5. When To Book Hotels Early

    This article is spot on when it talks about how tourists book their reservations months in advance. I remember a couple of years ago, my family and I booked a hotel for Zions National Park almost nine months in advance. This was a good idea because we didn’t have to fight for any last minute reservations!
    Jay Jorgenson

    1. Santorini DaveSantorini Dave The Hotel & Travel Expert

      I agree Jay. There’s often a big upside to booking early and rarely a downside.

  6. Best Time To Book Hotels for Barbados

    Hi Dave, we have flights booked to Barbados (never been there before) in September. Hotels seem quite expensive for what I thought was low season. Are prices likely to change closer to my travel dates?
    Angus Munro

    1. Santorini DaveSantorini Dave The Hotel & Travel Expert

      Sometimes (especially for low season) a hotel can wait to release all its hotel rooms. I would still recommend booking something (that was able to be canceled) as early as possible but take a second look around 6 months in advance to see if more accommodations became available and the prices dropped a little.

  7. Can You Book Hotels Too Early

    Hi Dave,

    I have used bookings.com and expedia.com for booking hotels in Europe, Hong Kong, and Bali for the past 3 summers. I would usually start my search and bookings in March for July travel and there always seemed to be an abundance of choices. This is the first time I have ever started the search process so early…January for June/July travel, and there doesn’t seem to be nearly as many vacancies and/or hotel options. I’m almost wondering if Im starting my search a little too early and more choices will become available in the next month or so? I know the usual wisdom is book earlier the better, but I’m just shocked at how few options Im getting on both sites. (And we are traveling to some of the same places we traveled to 2 years ago or in the same regions–south of France, various towns in Italy). Would love your opinion. Thanks!

    1. Santorini DaveSantorini Dave The Hotel & Travel Expert

      Yes, there can be a period that is too early and not all hotels have their stock online. But, the best hotels can and do sell out. So, in theory, if you start too early you can encounter too few rooms. But, in my experience people start their search too late and rarely too early. Plus, most bookings can be canceled so if you find something early and then find something better later, then just cancel the earlier booking. That’s a long rambling of way of saying you’re right but it’s still good you started looking early.

  8. When To Book San Francisco Hotels

    Since San Francisco is not a resort destination, when would you suggest booking a hotel? I want to go in late April (3 months away) for my birthday.
    Simone

    1. Santorini DaveSantorini Dave The Hotel & Travel Expert

      I would book soon. San Francisco is a huge business and conference destination but can have great deals on the weekend.

  9. Booking Hotels for Honeymoon in Hawaii

    I am travelling to Hawaii for our honeymoon. We have a week of resort booked already from may 5th in Kauai but I wanted to spend 3 days before that date in another island (Maui). When would it be the best time to book and how to get the most romantic/luxurious resort in Maui at the cheapest price? Daniel

    1. Santorini DaveSantorini Dave The Hotel & Travel Expert

      Booking.com is best for surveying the price at different hotels. Keep your eye on Hotel Wailea, Andaz Maui at Wailea, Montage Kapalua Bay, and Lumeria Maui.

  10. What Dates to Enter for Booking Hotel

    I am looking to book a room in Myrtle Beach for a family of 7 during the dates of Wednesday November 23 and leaving on Saturday November 26 (checking out and returning home on Saturday). When looking for a room should I put dates as Wed-Sat or Wed-Fri?

    Sonni

    1. Santorini DaveSantorini Dave The Hotel & Travel Expert

      If you’re using Booking.com (for example) then you’ll want to put in Wednesday to Saturday (for check-in and check-out dates). But different sites use different conventions. Some hotel websites can do some pretty wacky things – so I can’t comment on every type of website.

  11. Booking Hotels in United States

    I am planning on going to America this December. When should I book hotels?

    1. Santorini DaveSantorini Dave The Hotel & Travel Expert

      You should be looking now and book when you find what you like. No huge hurry but I wouldn’t wait too long. Travel is generally quiet in the first half of December (and you should get some very good deals). But for the major cities, the 2nd half of December is a busy time and could be quite expensive.

  12. Booking New York City Hotels in Advance

    Good Morning,

    I will be going to NYC, with my daughter, July 2017.

    I have booked a hotel which doesn’t have a cancellation fee but would like to find a cheaper/better hotel. However, when I put in our dates a lot of the hotels/ booking sites come back ‘dates unavailable’. Am I looking too far ahead?

    Regards

    Su Denne

    1. Santorini DaveSantorini Dave The Hotel & Travel Expert

      Yes, that might be a little too far in advance for some hotels (resorts and beach hotels tend to put their stock up sooner than a city hotel). Keep checking. I’m guessing October and November will see most availability to be online.

      1. Su

        Thank you, I’m just too eager to get it all sorted!

  13. Amalfi, Rome, Santorini Trip Planning

    Dave-Your website is fabulous and has hooked us on visiting Santorini. We are flying from Phoenix, Arizona to Rome on 6/23/17 for a week cruise on the Amalfi Coast
    and then would like to fly from Rome to Santorini on Saturday 7/1/17 for about 5 days or so and we have a couple of questions:
    1. Do you have any suggestions for airlines from Rome to Santorini as we will have luggage?
    2. We think we would also like to visit Folegandros, so how many days would you suggest we need to visit both islands?
    3. Is is possible to fly from Rome on Saturday 7/1 and still be able to catch a sea jet to Folegandros the same afternoon and spend 2 nights there and then grab
    another sea jet back to Santorini for 3 nights and head back to Rome from there?
    4. We will be traveling on our own and like to hike, snorkel and eat and drink and not necessarily in that order. What area of Santorini is the best to stay if we
    want to have access to the whole island during the day but be away from the party crowd at night?
    5. We don’t want to haul snorkel gear all that way so do you have suggestions of Dive Shops on both islands that we could rent snorkel gear?

    Madeleine O’Malley

    1. Santorini DaveSantorini Dave The Hotel & Travel Expert

      Vueling has a direct Rome to Santorini flight on July 1, 2017. It lands in Santorini at 12:25pm and there is usually a 6:30pm SeaJet from Santorini to Folegandros (no guarantees until the schedule comes out but I’d say it’s very likely that there is an evening ferry). So, lots of time to go into Fira, grab some lunch then get down to the port. If you have 5 nights then 2 on Folegandros and 3 on Santorini is what I recommend. Vueling also has flights from Santorini to Rome on July 6 and 7, so that should work. There are not many good snorkeling spots in Santorini or Folegandros (and almost no rental shops) so bring your own gear if you want and have low expectations.

  14. Booking Hotels for Family of 3

    Hi,

    I am travelling to Spain with my Wife and 2.5 years old daughter. While booking hotels – the overall price shoots up by 30-40% when I choose 2 adults + 1 child (despite not asking for extra bed) vs when I choose 2 adults. I am trying on Booking, Agoda, etc.
    Now we don’t need a bigger size room or extra bed, what do you suggest?
    Should I just book 2 adults or is there any other way?

    PS

    1. Santorini DaveSantorini Dave The Hotel & Travel Expert

      Yeah, I would try with 2 adults. Be aware they might still charge you something extra when you arrive as a family of 3 but it shouldn’t be 30 or 40%.

  15. Hotels in Spain for Family of 4

    Hi David
    we are a family of 4 adults that are planning to go to southern Spain in the middle of October for 10 days, we are planning to go through the cities Malaga, Granada, Seville, and Cordoba. we wanted to know will it be cheaper to find budget hotels with nearby parking when we are there as it is low season or will it be better to book in advance online and if so how far in advance. Many thanks for your website it is very helpful.

    Mariam

    1. Santorini DaveSantorini Dave The Hotel & Travel Expert

      If you had an unlimited supply of time and patience then yes, you’d probably get a cheaper hotel by driving around and looking for the best deal. But assuming that’s not how you want to spend your days then booking online in advance will get the cheapest prices for most people.

  16. Website for Booking Boutique Hotels

    I will have to remember to book my hotels two to six months before I will be staying there, it is very helpful to have an actual number that I can keep in mind. Verifying seems like an important step too, you want to make your plans absolutely clear and certain. Do you have any tips specifically for staying in smaller boutique hotels? Thank you for all of your helpful information!
    Brooke McAvoy

    1. Santorini DaveSantorini Dave The Hotel & Travel Expert

      There is no one easy way to find boutique hotels. Booking.com does have a star system, so you can sort by user ratings to find the best hotels (these are verified reviews unlike Tripadvisor so they do seem to better correspond to truly good hotels) – but these are not necessarily boutique hotels, just very good hotels.

  17. Best Day to Book Hotel Rooms

    Is there a particular day of the week that you can find the cheapest rates for booking a hotel? We are going to Washington DC next month.

    Nancy Koster

    1. Santorini DaveSantorini Dave The Hotel & Travel Expert

      There is an industry rumor that Mondays are the best days to book hotels as that’s when new hotel rooms are typically released (in bunches). I don’t think you’ll see much movement even with the best of luck (you won’t get the price drops that can occur with plane tickets) but it’s worth taking an extra look Monday morning.

  18. Booking.com vs Airbnb

    Hi David,

    I am looking to book a room or hotel for Santorini in the summer of 2017. Would you recommend Airbnb or Booking.com? How would you compare Airbnb vs Booking.com. Does Booking.com or Airbnb have the best rates?

    Kind regards,
    George

    1. Santorini DaveSantorini Dave The Hotel & Travel Expert

      Booking.com and AirBnb are two very different websites, with different products. Booking.com typically has hotel rooms (and sometimes villas) run by professional hotel staff. AirBnb offers rooms and houses by the owners of these properties – they typically are not professionals (though that can be the case in larger cities like Paris or NYC) and for better or worse they have a more relaxed and homey environment. This suits some people but the lack of a dedicated staff can be a hassle for others. I personally enjoy staying in hotels but I have friends who love to stay in Airbnbs and wouldn’t want anything else.

      For Santorini, there is an added wrinkle in that almost all of the best views are provided by hotels. Very few Airbnb rentals have a great caldera view and most are back from the cliff with no view or views to the east (not the caldera).

  19. Booking.com vs Agoda

    May I respectfully ask why you prefer Booking.com to Agoda? I travel to Thailand 5 times each year and have found Agoda more reliable, but not without faults! However, upon complaining they reply and offer a discount on next trip. Booking.com have a good service but let me down a few times too. Overbooking was a serious problem on one trip! I was brought to another hotel on arrival! I also think that Booking.com sometimes “chance their arm” a bit on pricing! It is not an exact science and I laud you for sticking your neck out!

    Terry Cahill

    1. Santorini DaveSantorini Dave The Hotel & Travel Expert

      Hi Terry, yes I like Agoda too but find Booking.com easier to use and typically have more selection in more cities. When travelers have a problem with any booking site (e.g. Booking.com, Agoda, Hotels.com) it’s usually the fault of the hotel. For example, overbooking is a choice the hotel makes in trying to maximize guests and is usually not the fault of the booking company. If you booked through the hotels’ website at the same hotel you’d run the same risk of being overbooked. So, you need to pick good trustworthy hotels regardless of how you book.

  20. Booking.com vs Expedia for Family of 4

    Hello,

    Thank you for the post. Our family is 2 adults (my wife and I) and 2 children under 17.

    What is a better website for hotels, Booking.com or Expedia? We are going to Koh Samui and Phuket and would like to find a really special place for our 1 week in each destination (also 2 nights in Bangkok). What’s the best website for finding a luxury hotel on the beach?

    Thank you,
    Raj

    1. Santorini DaveSantorini Dave The Hotel & Travel Expert

      I don’t like Expedia and rarely use them. They tend to have pre-arranged deals with a few huge hotel chains and promote them endlessly regardless of what you search for. Booking.com is much better at finding specific hotels (especially luxury hotels), though there are so many available it can be hard to narrow down the search. Best to do some research first and then go to booking.com to find the rates on your short list of hotels. Hope that helps.

  21. Book Hotel and Flight Together or Separately

    Hi,
    I am currently planning a family trip to Europe for our family of 4 in July and August of 2017. Would you suggest booking air and hotel together or separate? Also, would you recommend booking car in advance for London and Paris or when we get there? Should we plan on driving from London to Paris or rent different cars in each city?

    John

    1. Santorini DaveSantorini Dave The Hotel & Travel Expert

      You’ll likely get the best rates by booking your flight (use Kayak.com) and hotel (Booking.com or Hotelscombined) separately. And you’ll definitely get a better choice of hotel by reserving independent of your flight. Not only would I not book a car in advance, I wouldn’t book a car at all. London and Paris both have fantastic public transportation and having a car is far more of a hassle than a benefit – even for day trips outside the city. And for getting from London to Paris it’s far easier (and more enjoyable) to take the Eurostar than to drive.

  22. Booking Hotel for 1 or 2 People on Booking.com

    On booking.com I often notice an option to select the room type along with the number of adults while selecting a package.

    The price is cheaper for an option of 1 adult although the room can house two people (I am assuming it can house 2 based on the name of the room type, ex: deluxe double room).

    Is it okay to book it as 1 adult (to avail the cheaper price) and have my friend over to stay as well (considering the room can house 2 people)?

    Let me know what you think – thanks in advance David.

    Vigo

    1. Santorini DaveSantorini Dave The Hotel & Travel Expert

      You can certainly book the room for 1 but if the hotel knows about your friend you’ll have to pay for them. And if the room included free breakfast that would only apply to the number of people that the room is booked for.

  23. Booking Hilton on Booking.com

    Dave:
    Yep! Booking.com WORKS, but once at a Hilton they could not find my reservation and did not know anything “sorry, not in our database.” However, like you advised I produced the reservation printout (had saved the email too) and the credit card I used. Low and behold, Oh sir we have found it! So good advice!
    John

  24. Review of Booking.com

    David, I’m writing because I know you recommend Booking.com, and (after many positive experiences booking with them) I recently had an *atrocious* experience that made me think the way we think about these things is wrong.

    My family and I were going away for five nights in the summer; I booked a hotel through Booking.com. In the details section, I specified that it was for THREE adults. (In past bookings, there has been a way to specify both number of adults and number of children; for this listing, there was no option of specifying number of children–but neither was there anything saying children were not welcome.) So I specified three adults, and in the comments section, I noted that the reservation was for three adults and one child–and that if there was a problem with that, someone should let me know. This was a luxury boutique property, and was extremely expensive.

    Imagine our surprise when we got there and, upon check-in, the proprietor immediately apologized to us and explained that they hadn’t noticed the comment until that evening–and that the rooms were all for *couples*, despite the fact that I had booked for THREE adults and one child. There were no larger rooms available, and since the hotel was at capacity, there was no option to give us a second room. Instead, two of our party slept on the floor for five nights. Other than that, the property was lovely, the breakfasts fantastic, the proprietors very accommodating. We have nothing but good things to say about this establishment.

    When we returned home (a scant few days after our stay) I immediately wrote Booking.com and explained the situation. Since this was entirely their fault, at the very least I expected some sort of “$50 off towards your next stay” if not a significant refund–after all, we’d booked, through their site, for three (or four) people, and got a room for two!

    Booking.com flatly refused to do anything. They insisted that it wasn’t their fault. (Well then, why use a consolidator at all?) They insisted that the ability to book for any number of guests was fine (despite the fact that, upon inspection of the hotel’s own website, it very clearly indicates that the only type of rooms they have are rooms for couples–there are no family rooms at this establishment.)

    What irks me is not that we had a less-than-positive experience because of Booking.com — that could happen anywhere, and I certainly don’t expect Booking.com to have personal knowledge of every property they list.

    What irks me is that, having been apprised of the problem, and since it was clearly their fault, they still refused to make it right. I sent literally dozens of emails of complaint, and kept receiving the tepid, “There’s nothing we can do about it.”

    I have had good experiences with Agoda.com — and wouldn’t use Booking.com ever, for any reason. If they don’t stand by their mistakes, then what good are they? And since the prices are now ALL THE SAME at Hotels.com, Booking.com, and Agoda.com, there’s no reason for me to use a company whose customer service is so cavalier.

    Curious to hear your thoughts on this.
    /Fern

    1. Santorini DaveSantorini Dave The Hotel & Travel Expert

      That’s unfortunate. Thanks for sharing your experiences. I wonder if you entered 3 adults, 1 child in the original search – or did you go directly to the property and not select the guests. In my experience, if you have children in the search options then couples-only hotels will not come up in the results. And if they do, then the hotel has entered certain information incorrectly. From what you said, (assuming you had the child entered properly when you searched) I’m more inclined to say this is the hotel’s fault. It’s the hotel that sets the parameters for every room they offer on Booking.com – date, price, number of guests, kids or no kids. If that’s entered incorrectly then there’s nothing Booking.com can do.

      Thanks for sharing.

  25. Hotels in Bangkok

    I am going to Bangkok in a few days and have not booked any hotels, I am planning on showing up and seeing the room before I pay for one, is this a good idea? Or should I book online to make sure I get a room? I heard October is low season and should be able to still get a hotel room.

    Thanks!
    Paulina

    1. Santorini DaveSantorini Dave The Hotel & Travel Expert

      Yes, you certainly will be able to find something so no worries about sleeping in a cafe. If you’re looking for a budget hotel in and around Khao San I think this is a great way to find a hotel. But if you’re looking for moderate or luxury hotel then you’ll get a better deal booking online. Also, in and around Siam Square and Sukhumvit it’s not easy to see several hotels in a short period of time (unlike around Khao San where you can easily check out 10 hotels in 90 minutes) so if time is important to you then this might not be the best way to use your time.

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