Booking.com

Today’s Spotlight Sunday post is about making life easier at the time of booking your accommodation for your travels.

When travelling, most people prefer to have their accommodation organised before arriving in a foreign country or unknown town. Even travellers who are going away for a long time to multiple destinations and who aren’t sure of their plans often like to have at least the first few days accommodation booked.

Why Book Accommodation in Advance?

Slogging around the streets carrying heavy luggage, being turned away from already full hotels or guest houses or finding that the prices are too high for your budget is not fun at all. It’s time consuming and it’s worrying. It’s stress that travellers just don’t need.

That’s why I recommend booking accommodation in advance. If you are travelling for a long time you don’t have to book every accommodation in every place that you will visit all in one go, tying yourself to a schedule when you would rather be flexible. But you can book your accommodation a few days in advance as you go along.

After a long, hot overnight journey on a bumpy sleeper train, wouldn’t you rather just arrive at your hotel, check in and get some breakfast than wander around for an hour, feeling sweaty and grotty being unable to concentrate on where you are going because you are so exhausted and all you can think of is a nice hot shower?

How to do it

But there are so many ways to book accommodation that people find it daunting. Here is my simple guide to booking accommodation:

Use the internet

The internet is the best and easiest way to book accommodation: you can do it from the comfort of your own home before you leave for your trip at whichever time is convenient for you or, with great worldwide internet connections nowadays, you can do it while you’re on the move just a day or too before you plan to reach your new destination.

Booking online means that you get instant confirmation and you receive by e-mail a summary of what you have booked as well as terms and conditions: everything is clear and there is no confusion. That way you also have in writing what you have booked in case there is any dispute at the time of booking.

Which Website?

The internet is saturated with websites that wish to take your hotel booking. So which one should you use? Well obviously there are many choices, like Agoda.com, LateRooms.com, or Hotels.com to name but a few.

As you will have gathered from the title of this post, my favourite website for hotel booking is Booking.com.

Why use Booking.com?

There are many reasons why I prefer booking.com over other websites:

  • They have a wide choice of hotels covering all price ranges all over the world: wherever I am visiting I am generally able to find something suitable, even in very remote places.
  • The website is extremely simple to use and the layout is a delight: it’s clear, straightforward and a reservation takes only minutes to complete.
  • You can set the website to your language and currency preference. As you know, I live in Spain but I prefer reading in English. On many websites, the moment you change the language to English it is automatically assumed that you are in the UK and the currency changes to GBP too. I’m not interested in GBP, I want to see how much I am spending in euros but I still want to read it in English. With booking.com I can.
  • Once I find a property I fancy I can see where it is located on the map, read a description, find the check-in and check-out times, read reviews from other people that have stayed there and read the hotel’s policies.
  • The price displayed is the price you pay and in addition to this it tells you how many rooms are available.
  • Most of the time on booking.com there is free cancellation so if your plans change and you cancel, you know you are not going to lose out.
  • A credit card is required to secure the booking but normally you are not charged at the time of booking and you actually pay directly to the hotel in local currency when you arrive.
  • Booking.com guarantees the cheapest online prices and if you do manage to find it cheaper online they will match the price.

Booking.com

In addition to all this on the website itself there is a great easy-to-use iphone app which offers all the above while you are on the move. For instance, a couple of years ago my boyfriend and I got stranded in Barcelona airport when there was a mass walkout of air traffic controllers throughout Spain. Do you remember that? It lasted a few days and flights all over Spain were grounded. The government finished up sending the military to the strikers’ houses and practically dragging them to work! It was a choice of go back to work or go to prison. It was obviously very serious.

Anyway, we were on the way from the UK to Mallorca and we had to fly via Barcelona. Between the time we go off one flight and were to board the next flight the air traffic controllers had walked out and everything in the country was grounded.

Travellers started to prepare themselves for a night in the airport and very quickly all the quietest corners were taken up by people trying to get some sleep. We got straight on the iphone, opened the booking.com app and searched for the closest hotel. We booked it on the spot and within half an hour the hotel’s free airport shuttle was there to pick us up and take us away from the madness.

Avoid Disappointment

I have never been disappointed with accommodation booked through booking.com and I have lost count how many times I have used the website.

Sometimes the accommodation is very basic, of course, but that all depends on what you choose. But I have never expected one thing and got another; there is so much information provided to help you choose your hotel that it is impossible to be unclear about what is included.

I have never had a cancellation, overbooking or have been let down in any way (I’m actually about to make a reservation right now so let’s hope I’m not tempting fate!).

So that’s why I use booking.com and that’s why I think you should too.

Maybe you already use this website. Or maybe you have another preference. Make sure you let us all know in the comments.

Happy travelling!

I hope you have enjoyed this post. While you’re here make sure you don’t miss out on other Travel Essentials.

Filed Under: featuredSpotlighttravel essentials

About the Author: Lisa, born and grew up in England, live in Mallorca, Spain... Have visited more than 20 countries, have twice as many to yet visit, love sharing experiences....

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  1. Encarna says:

    Thank you for the advice!!!! I have used booking.com in some ocasion, I don’t remember in which trip…but I know for sure that it works.

    Are your counting the days for your next trip?????heheheheh I’m sure of that!

    • Lisa says:

      I’m glad you like this website too. I think it’s great (obviously). I can only write my own experiences and I love it. I have used it three times this week to book accommodation for my upcoming trip. Yes, I am very excited; I can’t wait to see my friends. But it was such short notice and I’ve had to prepare things very quickly. I would have preferred to have another week. As a fashion guru do you have any advice about what to take? It will be 30+ degrees, I’m going for 2 weeks and I’m backpacking (read minimal).

  2. susan sykes says:

    I nearly always use booking.com too, we have never had any problems with them. I have just booked to go to Malta this year and I have booked our first 2 nights accommodation with booking.com as you say it saves wandering around looking for somewhere especially as we have a late flight into Malta. – good info in your post.

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