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How to Get the Best Deals with Booking Portals
Updated: September 18, 2022
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Travel booking portals have been around for ages now, but the secrets to finding the best deals still remain a mystery for most people. As professional travelers, we’ve logged thousands of hours searching through all of the most popular booking websites. Therefore, we’ve pretty much learned everything you should and shouldn’t do when booking a trip.
How to find the best deals with hotel booking portals
In all of our travels, we’ve determined that the best hotel booking deals can be found on booking.com. However, the following tips generally apply to all other booking portals as well:
- If you’ve found a deal, but aren’t quite ready to go through with the booking, then do not close the page or tab! There’s no guarantee that this deal will be available the next time you load the page. We’ve lost good deals before by doing this. With that in mind, if you wait too long, you still run the risk of the hotel room being booked by another traveler. The best way to keep your spot in line, so to speak, is to initiate the booking process. With most booking portals, this generally reserves the room for you until you complete your payment. However, this will time out eventually and you will lose your spot. The time limit is different for each website.
- If you don’t plan on booking today, then you can pin the tab you’re on by right-clicking on the tab and selecting the “pin tab” option. This will keep the tab open in your browser, even if you close it, so that you don’t have to look that page up again next time you’re online.
- Search your dates and always use the search filters to find the perfect accommodation within your budget and with your preferred facilities. Personally, we always choose $0-$50 per night and a rating of 8+. All other filters depend on your situation and preferences.
- Always read the most recent reviews. Hotels change owners and adapt their policies regularly. However, the overall review score does not get reset when this happens. Therefore, it’s important to read the most recent reviews to truly know if the hotel has improved or diminished in quality.
How to find the best deals with Airbnb
By now, you’ve certainly heard of AirBnB, but if you’re relatively new to it, then you may not fully understand the ins and outs just yet. These tips should help with that:
- Contrary to popular belief amongst newer users, booking an Airbnb doesn’t mean you’re crashing on someone’s couch. Thereore, it’s important to keep in mind the different types of accommodations:
- For complete privacy, you’ll need to use the filter “entire place” to ensure you have your own apartment or house all to yourself.
- If you’re on a tight budget, then you may be more interested in the “private room” option. This is usually cheaper because you may share the common areas (kitchen, restroom) with the host or other guests. Even so, many private rooms also come with a private bathroom and in our experience, we almost never run into our hosts.
- You can also find campgrounds, tents and even barns to sleep in. We don’t do this, but if you’re into camping, then this could help you find a cheaper and more exclusive place to pitch your tent!
- Always check the available amenities. If you need WiFi or a washing machine for example, you’ll want to make sure these are available to you. If you want to be certain, you can also filter to only show results that match your needs.
- Reviews are everything. The Airbnb community is very friendly and good reviews generally come easy. With that in mind, if a place has an average rating below 4 stars, you really shouldn’t even consider it.
- What’s a superhost? A superhost is an Airbnb host who has received a 5 star review from their last 5 guests. We love booking with superhosts because they always go the extra mile to make sure your stay is as comfortable as possible.
How to get the best deals on rental cars
Finding a good deal on a rental car can be tricky. Unfortunately, rental car companies have a bad reputation for hiding fees and lying about damages or pre-booked conditions. Thankfully, the comparison sites don’t have anything to do with this.
Let’s say, for example, you’ve just opened a link for rentalcars.com or Check24 (excellent worldwide rental car comparison tool in German language). No matter which rental car comparison site you use, you’ll want to keep the following in mind:
- Insurance is not always included in the displayed price. This is our least favorite aspect about this particular comparison portal, but many of them operate in the same way. However, if you already have rental car insurance through your own car insurance company, then it’s not a big deal.
- Ratings matter. The rental company’s rating is more important to us than the price and that’s because rental car companies are notorious for scamming their customers. That’s why it’s vital to make sure you’re renting from a reputable dealer AND a reputable third party.
- Comparison websites also show offers from third parties. Even if you’re picking up the car from a well-known company, your contract usually goes through the comparison website and a third party. These are the people with whom you will take up any complaints or raise any claims. This is all the more reason to make sure there are good ratings all around! From personal experience, we can’t emphasize these last two points enough.
Want to travel like we do? Here’s the travel itinerary we use for all of our trips.