It’s officially April, which means I’m only a few months away from my European adventure (yay!). My travel buddies and I are now at the point where we’re looking at what we’d like to do and see, which is very exciting! This also means that it’s time to start looking at how to get where we’d like to go and where to stay when we get there.
There are so many options for booking accommodations, and I’ve lucked out with a few of them – from Expedia to Hostelword to Booking.com, I’ve stayed in some great hostels and apartments. On the flip side, I’ve also stayed in some odd places (a Bed & Breakfast in Nice definitely turned out to be a spare room in a family’s apartment…we ate breakfast in their TV room and it was super awkward!). How do you know what kind of accommodation to choose? Do you want an apartment, guesthouse, hostel, hotel, or campsite? What are the benefits and drawbacks to each? Navigating all of the different booking sites and apps can also be tricky – how reliable are the guest reviews? Are the rates reasonable? And with new booking services popping up daily, how do you choose which site or app to go through?
Just like many of you, I’m on the lookout for answers. Here’s what I’ve heard from a few friends:
- Read as many reviews as possible – ratings on airbnb, Hostelworld, and independent review sites like HostelGeeks matter and are pretty reliable. Look for high ratings and positive reviews.
- A picture really is worth a thousand words – look for accommodations that include photos and get a sense of where you’ll be staying. If the photos don’t showcase nice digs, then you probably won’t want to stay there.
- Crowdsource – if you have friends who have been to a destination you’re planning on visiting, ask them where they stayed! Did they like the area? Was breakfast included? How close was the train station? Don’t be shy – if your friends had a good or bad experience, you want to know the truth. Friends of mine gave me a great recommendation for Barcelona a few years ago and I ended up staying right on the beach! But they were also honest about how the accommodations weren’t amazing. The location made up for what the hostel lacked in amenities and it was nice to know what to expect ahead of time!
That’s where you come in. I need your help – if you’ve been to Europe a couple of times and stayed in a really cool hotel/hostel/apartment etc., I want to hear from you! Comment below, write to me on Facebook, or send me a tweet – I’m officially taking recommendations!
If you’ve been following along with Hopeless Wanderer over the past few months, let me know how I’m doing by filling out this quick survey! Thanks for your help and for checking out this post. I can’t wait to read your suggestions!
Until next time, stay well!