Here are links to sites I regularly use to book accommodation, read reviews and recommend using to plan your travel mission.
TripAdvisor Love this – however don’t always be sucked in by reviews good or bad, I’ve been pleasantly surprised by places which have had bad reviews on here, remember everyone will have their own opinions and experiences. What I think is overlooked about this site maybe is that it is a really great search tool for booking flights and hotels. I’ve found flights on this site I could not find on any other flight search site, Expedia, opodo, skyscanner, included. For example I found flights with westjet from Gatwick to Toronto after they began transatlantic flights that did not show on any other search engines I looked at. The price comparison for hotels is good as well. Often you can book through tripadvisor itself and sometimes they will be cheaper than other search sites.
Expedia – Widely recognised as one of the best search engine based websites for hotels and flights, also has a good section with things to do where you can pre book tours and excursions at your destinations.
Opodo A great search engine based site with flights and hotels, often with the cheapest flights, skyscanner often refers you to this site to book your flights.
trivago – Another widely known site great for booking accommodation with a huge database ranging from the most luxurious to hostels. Sometimes run exclusive special offers in properties.
Booking.com – Hotels.com – These two sites again need no real introduction, they are good for searching for hotels and have really large databases ranging from mega bucks to shared dorms in hostels. Read the reviews first though before booking, and check on tripadvisor because there are some stinkers on there as well as some good deals and offers.
airbnb – I’ve been a bit slow getting into this, but have heard so many good stories about this site that it just can’t be ignored, the people I’ve spoken to, very few have negative experiences, most have had really great things to say about it.
For those who don’t know yet it’s a site where people rent out properties for travellers. It ranges from spare rooms to whole properties including some real different niche places. Really cool for central apartments while on city breaks. You create a profile and can contact the owners who have reviews along with their properties, has a real social feel. I’m using this in Toronto in September where we have a really chic downtown 66th floor apartment booked for 3 nights for £225.
Lastminute – Not just for last minute bookings, good deals can be found on flights and hotels whenever you are looking to travel. This sight has a few extras as well, you can book restaurants, theatre tickets and other attractions through this site. Take a chance on the top secret hotels too, everyone loves a surprise right? I’ve done this and ended up getting really good deals at Radison hotels and more.
Trusted House Sitters, Nomador, Mind My House, Animal lover? These three sites match potential house sitters with home owners. Usually it is people who are leaving their houses and looking for people to look after pets whilst they are away. House sitters stay in their houses for free and in return care for the cats or dogs or whatever other pets people have got. There are house sitting assignments all over the world on these three sites. A great way of keeping costs down if you want to visit a country for an extended period of time and live like the locals!
Hostel World – This is a brilliant site for budget travellers or those travelling in groups. Dorms can be a really great way of spreading the cost if travelling in a group. Also on this sight you will find some really cool boutique hostels, and a lot with private rooms and bathrooms. I booked the Generator Hostel in Barcelona through this site when it had just opened and the place was amazing. The room was basic, but it was stylish with a private bathroom, and the actual hostel was brilliant. Give it a go. Also used it extensively in other cities around Spain with great success.
STA Travel – The leaders in student and gap year travel for years now! They specialise in tours, around the world trips and working abroad programs. They also have really good deals on flights and accommodation in general too. I recently found return flights to Hong Kong from London for £339. Definitely worth checking out!
Canvas Holidays- Now the idea of staying at a holiday park doesn’t fill me with excitement, however I can see the attraction for those with kids. Canvas have a Europe wide network of campsites and caravan parks. I’ve booked through them twice for drive/ferry journeys to France staying in the Loire valley and couldn’t beat them for price, even booking things independently.
Actually the parks can make really good bases to go and explore the area in your own car at your own pace.