Updated: October 17, 2021
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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. Here’s our first tip:
Organize all Top Comparison Sites in One Place!
With so many different comparison websites, it’s easy to get lost in the masses and forget where you found that one great deal. Fortunately for you, we have created this resource page with all of the top comparison sites in one place. Now, you don’t have to look each of them up every time and risk missing out on a better deal! We recommend bookmarking this page, so that you can use it as your one-stop booking resource for accommodations and transportation. Note: Some of the banners are flagged as “ads” by most adblockers. If something looks funny, just turn of your adblocker for our website (we don’t use any ad services).
We’ve created this page to be a sort of all-in-one travel booking resource. Each section contains our top tips on how to get the best deals with booking portals as well as our most recommended travel comparison sites:
How to find the best deals with hotel booking portals
- 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:
- If you do not have a profile yet, then here’s a coupon for up to $50 off your first stay. See? You’re already saving money! Definitely take advantage of this. Your dollar already goes further on Airbnb and this coupon just helps you rack up the savings.
- 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.
Accommodation Comparison Sites
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AirBnB isn’t technically a comparison site, but it’s worth listing because of its popularity and practicality. Airbnb specializes in vacation homes and apartments for any budget. We’ve found some great accommodations for next to nothing by using AirBnB.
Never tried Airbnb? Here’s a coupon to get you started
This one may be new for you. Agoda is another hotel comparison website, but their prices are often a few dollars cheaper than on other websites. Either way, it’s definitely worth checking here as well before committing to a booking.
You probably know about Booking, but this has honestly been a lifesaver for us. It’s not slow like many other hotel comparison websites and all of the filters help us find the best accommodations for our small budget. This is always one of the first places we look when planning a trip.
(No embeddable search box yet, but link takes you directly to their search feature)
Everybody’s heard of TripAdvisor and there’s a good reason for that. They have tons of great booking options to help you find some awesome deals on accommodations, activities and everything in between. It’s always worth checking here when planning a trip.
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. 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.
Transportation Comparison Sites
This is a German car rental comparison site that we use to find some awesome deals on rental cars, but it’s best if you can read German because they don’t have an English website yet. Sometimes they even have deals on hotels and trips, plus they regularly send you free coupons.
Deutsche Bahn (English)
This is the German train and bus system. There really isn’t a cheaper way to travel by train in Germany, especially if you know which deals to look for. If you’re having trouble finding a good price, just let us know and we’ll point you in the right direction!
This bus company offers cheap fares to tons of destinations around Europe and now in the U.S. as well. We use them very often, as we can get super cheap rides to almost anywhere we need to go. It’s more environmentally friendly than flying and often even more convenient then taking the train!
The name says it all. We use this website to find good deals on car rental. For example, we found a great deal on a rental car in New Zealand by using this rental car comparison site.
Where did you find your best deals?
Which websites do you use to find the best deals on travel? Tell us about your favorite booking sites in the comments!
Likewise, let us know if there’s a comparison site you’d like us to include in this list and we’ll do our best to do so as quickly as possible!
Want to travel like we do? Here’s the travel itinerary we use for all of our trips.