Travel tips: who needs hotels anymore?

October 18, 2011

Traditionally when we go on holidays, we used to go to a travel agency where they could either help us build a trip with their limited options, or sell us a package (something still interesting).

Now the biggest travel agency is Internet. We we create our custom trip, filter options like dates, type of travel and get listings of suitable options.

At the same time we can check for reviews of either the website we are using, the hotels they suggest or even the destinations.

The idea of the is post is to give you some of the tools I use and stress the idea that we don’t need to book expensive hotels anymore, that a new bree of websites where you can rent apartments wherever you are planning to, could threaten hotels in the future.

Flights

Kayak will let you search for the cheapest dates to go to your desired destination or suggest you cheap destinations for your selected dates. Kayak has an incredible iPhone app and a pretty good iPad app.

Alternatives to Kayak: airfarewatchdog, yapta, farecompare

If you are looking for a set of flights around the world, then I have to recommend you the one we used: http://www.roundtheworldflights.com/

 

Hotels…

Kayak will give suggest you hotels, and it uses the most notable hotel booking sites such as expedia, booking.com, etc…

If you want Cheap Hostels and Bed and Breakfasts, the we use: HostelWorld, it is great for that.

A cool resource for knowing if the hotel you are about to book is OK with tons of reviews, is: tripadvisor (also for iPhone and iPad).

Another cool tool for hotels (specially for the US) is room77 a website where they show you the best rooms for a specific hotel, with the views and so.

but… who want hotels?

Who wants to book a hotel when you can find a great located and flat or a room shared at an incredible spot…

We went to Paris booking an apartment with hometown, luxury apartments for a fraction of what you pay for a hotel, located at the heart of Paris (highly recommended). I also used Isabel’s apartments in a couple of occasions, also great apartments, even if the website is not that nice.

Here is where I want to go:  big websites covering apartments all around the globe.

The most notable:

  •  Airbnb (my favorite): this one is the more professional website, the one with more investment in it. It is incredible the choice you can find there, apartments, rooms, everywhere!
  • Homelidays: this one is strong in Europe. You can find a nice house in the beach, with swiming pool for a fraction of what you would pay for a hotel…
  • Lofty: similar to airbnb but smaller.
  • and one focused more in france: abritel

Now if you want to sleep for free, then you have to use couchsurfing: a huge network of people all around the globe that will let you use their couch to sleep for free.

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