Booking.com
Booking.com

Accomodation and Tips for finding the Best Online Hotel Booking Websites: From Hotels, to Hostels, from Homeshares to Glamping

Some of us enjoy searching for just the right accomodation; for others it’s a challenge. When you travel, you want to find the right place to stay — which might be a bit different for each of us. Here are some of the best online hotel booking websites for your accomodation.

For some of us the “right place” is a hostel to allow us to travel on the cheap so we can travel more for less. For others, it’s a luxury B&B, a houseboat, or a glamping location.

Here are some resources for finding the right accomodations and some tools you can use to help in your search. Pacific Northwest and Beyond has affiliate connections with some of these resources, which just means that if you make a purchase via one of the resources here with which we have an affiliate agreement we get a small commission at no additional cost to you which helps to offset the costs of running this website.

Of course, some unique accomodations are not listed in the major travel search engines — here’s where reading travel blogs and publications can come in useful.

Best Online Hotel Booking Websites

Here are some of the best online hotel booking websites for your accomodation, along with resources for other types of accomodations from AirBNB to RVs to glamping, if hotels aren’t your thing. Many of these resources we’ve used, some we haven’t. If you’ve had experience with any, we welcome your comments below.

Booking.com

I’ve used Booking.com many times and find that I often find the best prices for hotel rooms here. And their app is convienient and easy-to-use to boot! One of the best online hotel booking websites, in my opinion.

While I’ve gone more toward using AirBNB and the like for much of my lodging, when I do book a hotel, I often consult the Booking.com app for prices.

Hotels.com

Hotels.com is another place to search for accomodation, also with a good app for ios and android. 

You might find different accomodations here than you do at Booking.com. While there is some overlap, both websites don’t always offer the same accomodations.

Trip Advisor

I’ve used Trip Advisor for lodging a few times — they have some accomodations (such as the wonderful Forest House on Orcas Island) that you can’t book on the other travel websites.

But one of the things I like most about TripAdvisor is their user reviews and forums. I have to confess that, though I like to write here about travel, I keep putting writing reviews there for the places I’ve stayed.

Trivago

Trivago is another hotel search website where you can search and book accomodations worldwide.

I can’t claim any personal experience with Trivago. When I did a brief accomodation search for comparison, the prices quoted here were just slightly more than on Booking.com.

Lonely Planet

You might have purchased one of Lonely Planet’s many guidebooks. But did you know that their website also has a hotel search and booking engine with over 80,000 reviews?

Groupon

While I’ve never booked a vacation or tour through Groupon for several reasons, I frequently peruse Groupon’s hotel deals.

Especially if you’re willing to go at a time that’s off-season, you can find some great deals on accomodation. I frequenly look up PNW lodging here and find plenty of places that look enticing for weekend getaways on the Orgeon Coast, for instance.

AirBNB

I’ve read several articles recently questioning the safety of AirBNB. Being that you’re staying in a residence and not a hotel, the experience is not uniform and there are things to watch out for. 

The positive is that you can often find accomodations at a reasonable price that are the local style of housing and you can find accomodation for everything from a single bedroom in a home for an individual to large accomodation for families or groups.

The downside, of course, is that you need to be careful — read the reviews carefully, if you’re a solo traveler perhaps stay at established AirBNBs with many positive reviews, and heed your instincts — if something doesn’t feel right, don’t book it.

VRBO

Like AirBNB, VRBO offers lodging in homes and condos. You can find some nice local places stay like the waterfront cabin in Medina that we stayed in last winter.

I would assume that the same cautions would apply to here as to AirBNB rentals.

Couchsurfing.com

Couchsurfing.com allows travelers to stay with locals who have opened their home up. The advantage, again is local lodging, connection with locals, and affordability.

The downside again is: be cautious. Couchsurfing has their own page about safety here.

Consider an RV

If your travel is taking you on a road trip, consider a home on wheels. RVing is an experience — while my spouse and I have decided we will likely not ever live in an RV together, it was a blast (most of the time) for a family vacation.

The downside is the gas — both the cost and the environmental impact.

If you decide to rent an RV, options are plentiful — some of these are privately owned RVs as one of the ways to afford an RV is to purchase it and then loan it out through a service when you’re not using it.

One place to rent RVs is RVShare, I’ve also seen plenty of CruiseAmerica rentals on the road.

If you’re in the Pacific Northwest, I can give a personal recommendation to Northwest Adventure Rentals. They were very thorough in showing us RV newbies all of the features on our 36′ RV rental before we hit the road. I am also intrigued by GoGoCamper in Seattle that has little refurbished vintage trailers that I might be able to tow with my Subaru and Pacwesty on Bainbridge which rents refurbished Westfalias.

Camping and Glamping

For affordable accomodation on a road trip last summer, I chose to sleep under the stars (mixed with a few luxury stops along the way.) Of course, some of the best campsites can be booked through state or national parks (see Recreation.gov), but good private campgrounds and camping/glamping search engines exist as well. A few are:

Exchange Your Home

To me, the idea of swapping your home to travel somewhere else seems like a great idea to save money and travel more — but I’ll never do it because of my own arrangements at home.

Still, home swap programs offer one way to experience living like a local and traveling affordably. Love Home Swap offers one such program. Homeexchange.com is another.

Consider a Hostel

My daughter told me once that I was “too old,” to stay at a hostel! While the image that might strike your mind is of a young person on a backpacking adventure, most hostels, including so-called “youth hostels,” no longer have age limits. I’ve heard of seventy-year-young backpackers staying at hostels!

Some of the hotel search engines listed above also list hostels. And, of course, you can search for hostels through hostel-specific agencies like Hosteling International or YHA (UK based)

Posts About Lodging and Accomodation

Here are some posts that we’ve written, either about accomodations we’ve used in the past or tips on finding accomodation for your travels:

Near-City Escapes: Romantic Waterfront Retreats Near Seattle

If you’re a city dweller who needs a brief escape but doesn’t have the time for an extended getaway, it’s possible to find little waterfront hideaways near Seattle that can allow you to get away from it all without getting too far away from it all. We stayed at this small cabin on Meydenbauer Bay in Medina (graciously loaned to us for an overnight). Read on about this cabin as well as some other near-city hideaways to add to my escape list from cabins to Seattle houseboats that you can rent.

In the Trees: Your PNW Treehouse Bucket List

We visited the Nelson Treehouse Company’s B&B Treehouse point, along with a couple of other in-the-tree locations (the Forest House, Free Spirit Spheres, and — at least in spirit — the treehouse at Doe Bay) in the Pacific Northwest. Here’s a lowdown on getting high (up in the trees at least) along with a listing of other treehouses in the PNW you can rent.

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