Looking for the best accommodation normally comes after booking your plane ticket. There are a number of factors to consider (price, location, facilities, etc.) in booking these accommodations. These factors make it hard for you to choose which property to book. Well-reviewed & affordable accommodations usually sell up fast in every destination; so either you book super early or you look for an alternative.
In the my 5 years of travelling from one city / country to the other & from one weekend trip to another, I’ve noticed a pattern in booking my accommodations. I am happy to share that I haven’t been disappointed by the hotels, hostels & guesthouses I’ve stayed with so far. I just hope the trend continues for my upcoming trips.
In the past Tuesday Tip posts, I gave tips on how to book your next affordable plane ticket (with part 2), how to apply for your Japan tourist visa & how to easily pass through PH immigration. Today, I will share with you 7 pointers to check before you book your next travel accommodation. It’s easy, you just need to know the PATTERN.
P – Price & Location
The first & probably the most important factor in booking accommodations is the price. Rates vary from one property to the other so make sure to compare prices. It helps to have a budget solely for accommodation. You will know how to work things around & to choose wisely based on the amount you set & availability. Do not spend too much on accommodation. You’ll be perfectly fine as long as the beds are comfortable & the room is cozy. Take note that you will be out exploring most of the day so you won’t be able to maximize the facilities.
The second important factor to consider is location. Make sure to choose accommodations that are near in some (if not all) means of transportation. It has to be a few meters walk from the nearest train / subway station or bus stop / terminal. It is also helpful to choose a property with a nearby convenience store or supermarket – saves you a lot of time if you immediately need food or drinks in the middle of the night.
A – Advice
There will always be one person who has been to the place you’re going to visit. If that person is your friend, go ask him / her for possible accommodation suggestions. This person has first hand experience in some accommodation choices so he / she can give you more information about the property.
One of the Facebook groups where you can ask for advice. Make sure to head over to the group page & join!
Another way to ask for advice is to join Facebook groups like Philippines Backpacker / Traveler, Couchsurfers & Backpackers Philippines, Southeast Asia Backpacking, South East Asia Backpacking, Backpacking Southeast Asia Alone, Backpacking North & East Asia & the list goes on. These members of these groups have traveled, are currently traveling & will travel different places around the Philippines, Southeast & East Asia. A simple post asking for recommendations can give you numerous suggestions where to stay in a certain place.
T – Theme
It is also important to know the theme of the accommodation you are going to book. If you are into partying & meeting people, then you should book a party hostel. If you are on a shoestring budget & doesn’t mind sharing the room with other people but is not into partying, then you must get a bed in a normal hostel. If you think you need to relax in a luxurious way, then you should stay in a 4-star or 5-star hotel. If you are into relaxation but in a very low budget, then affordable hotels would do. Do you prefer to stay in a place where you have access to your own kitchen & dining area? An apartment / serviced apartment suits you. If you are on a budget but still want access to kitchen & dining facilities, I believe guesthouses are perfect for you. Knowing what to expect in your accommodation helps set the mood of the trip.
T – Travel Accommodation Booking Websites
Famous booking websites such as Agoda, Booking.com, Airbnb & Hostelworld help a lot in looking for the best accommodation choice in a certain place. These platforms provide the kind of room to expect, what facilities do the property have & reviews of guests who have previously stayed in the property. These booking portals are user friendly – you can sort the available properties based on review scores (made by people who traveled solo, as couples, with friends or families who previously stayed in the property), price (from most affordable to most expensive), number of stars (for hotels) & distance from city center.
Screenshot of Booking.com while I was searching for accommodation suggestions for my Indonesia trip 2 months from now – I arranged the available properties according to review scores.
Make sure to compare the prices of properties in these different platforms because they tend to vary from one to the other. You might find a hostel which is already affordable in Hostelworld but is ₱200 cheaper in Booking.com.
E – Emails & Facebook Pages
After comparing the prices of a certain property in the above-mentioned travel portals, head over to the property’s website or Facebook page & send an inquiry about your planned stay. Why? It’s because the property might have current promotions or offers which will make the nightly rate cheaper. There will also be times where it will be cheaper if you book directly with the property.
R – Reviews, blogs & vlogs
I mentioned above that booking websites provide reviews made by people who stayed in the specific properties. While those reviews can already help you decide, I believe it’s best to also check & read additional reviews from Tripadvisor. Reviews posted in this website include stays of people who booked directly to the property or through another different booking platform. You can also head to the property’s Facebook page to check on some reviews.
Tripadvisor page of Seahorse Guesthouse Coron – it’s the #1 specialty lodging in Coron based on the users’ reviews | Stayed in this property last May 2017
You can also look for blog reviews & Youtube vlogs made by travel enthusiasts. This will widen your perception of a certain property; you will also get more good & not-so-good information & experiences about these accommodations. It will help you decide where to & not to stay & also have an idea what place to avoid.
Another #1 hostel I’ve stayed with in the past – this time in Krabi, Thailand | Slumber Party Hostel is the best party hostel I’ve been to! Check out the rates!
N – Newsletters & mailing lists
Make sure to subscribe to newsletters & mailing lists of your favorite hotel chain or booking platform. These websites send out regular or weekly emails containing promotions & offers of certain properties in chosen cities or places. You can also check with your respective banks & credit card providers for possible promotions or discount codes. Who’s going to say no to discounted accommodation costs anyway?
Subscribed to Hostelworld’s mailing list so I get e-mails like this weekly.
Booking trip accommodations is not easy as easy as counting 1, 2 & 3. It’s a long, confusing & a mind-boggling process with a number of factors to consider. If you are travelling with friends, make sure to ask for their preferences, comments & suggestions to prevent unwanted rifts & misunderstandings (had one incident in the past 😂😂😂).
If you are not keen on spending on accommodation, you can try Couchsurfing. It is a hospitality & networking website where locals host travelers & visitors in their house & apartments. I haven’t personally tried it, but I have friends who said they had really good experiences with their hosts. I will definitely try this one day; I’ll let you guys know.
That’s it for today. I hope the tips mentioned above will help you decide where you’ll stay for your next trip. If you have any thoughts or questions, feel free to leave a comment below. You can also reach me via email by sending it to email@example.com. You can also send me a message on Facebook, drop a comment on Instagram or send me a tweet on Twitter.
Thank you for reading. Sa uulitin! 😊