There are many options for booking hotels, from the small “boutique” sites all the way to the big booking engines. Occasionally it is possible to get some specialty hotels and even apartments from these sites, and since we focus on and spend a lot of time in Europe, we believe we have the best European alternative. We particularly like Booking.com, because there are no hidden fees, and your credit card is only used as a reference. Your card is only used as a reference, charged by the hotel depending on their rules – it is not charged beforehand, unless you choose a special deal, and those will be clearly identified. Note that this is not true for many of the large “booking engines”, so compare carefully!
We’ve been traveling for a long time, and as travel agents, we could actually make a higher rate of commission on some of the other sites! But Booking.com is easy. It is simple to use, and we like it. I guess old habits really do die hard.
Still, sometimes you’d like to see as many choices as possible for booking all the mundane parts – the flights, hotels and cars that we all need to make our trips that experience of a lifetime. More is always better, and what could be be better than the world’s #1 travel comparison site?
But if you are like us, you find that you enjoy going back to properties or even chains that treat you well and make you comfortable. Here is a link to some hotels we have enjoyed in the past.
There is another, completely different, lodging option that is quite popular with Europeans, but that many American travellers overlook. That is the holiday apartment, often referred to as “self-catering”, because they generally offer kitchen facilities. But the “holiday” term is somewhat misleading – these apartments are usually just like those lived in by the local residents. Often it is possible to find a nice one, two or more bedroom apartment, or flat, in a convenient location for much less than the cost of a hotel room. One of the best sites we’ve seen to find such properties is the new Vacation Rentals at TripAdvisor.