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Trip Planning > Accommodation

guide on accommodation abroad

Once you have firm plans in place regarding tours and flights, you're ready to book accommodation. At this stage you could be 3 types of tourist/traveller:

  • You've booked a tour - most accommodation should have been included in the tour price, but you may need an extra night or two at the start or end
  • You're a traveller, moving from place to place - most backpackers find accommodation as they go, but those with less time should consider a rigid itinerary with every night booked in advance (read about intineraries here), and even the most hardcore backpackers like to at least book their first night after flying in to a new city
  • You're on a centre-based holiday, such as a city break, beach resort, language course etc - you will likely want the peace of mind of having all your accommodation booked before you go
How to find the right accommodation

The right accommodation for you will depend largely on budget - are you looking for a campsite, B&B, cheap hotel or luxury 5-star hotel? You pay for quality, facilities and location, and you'll need to decide how much you value each. For example, do you need a swimming pool, gym, parking, close proximity to tourist attractions, large beds, satellite TV, or all of the above?

There are many booking agents on the internet, many of which have a vast range that cover all budgets and requirements. To help you with your search, we've categorised these agents below, and recommend you obtain a few quotes to see how prices compare. Also, see below for some great tips for finding and booking accommodation.

Recommended Agents (for a wide range of hotels) Budget Hostel and Hotel Specialists Luxury Hotel and Resort Specialists Holiday Villas and Apartments Airport Hotel Specialists Tips for booking accommodation
  • It may be cheaper to book through an agent than with the hotel direct. This is partly because it allows the hotels to charge more to those who turn up last minute without a reservation. They may also wish to use high 'official rates' to portray them as being high quality, but in reality rooms are often sold cheaper by agents. However, this is not always the case - for the larger international chains with sophisticated online pricing systems it is well worth checking the rate directly with the hotel
  • Some hotels sell the exact same rooms to multiple agents, who will then charge different prices - if you have time it could be worth checking a few agents for the same hotel, but don't expect rates to vary significantly
  • If you have a preferred international hotel chain, it is probably worth booking direct and joining their loyalty scheme
  • Find out exactly where the place is, even if you're not too fussed about location - you don't want to be stuck on the outskirts of the city you wanted to stay in (many agents tell you the miles/km from city centre)
  • Always read the small print conditions on cancellation fees and make sure you know whether you are paying in advance online or on check-out at the hotel (often, quite confusingly, you give your credit card details online only as a form of deposit if you don't show up, and then you actually pay when checking out)
  • If you're flying long-haul then it's sometimes cost-effective to book a flight + hotel deal with an agent such as Opodo or Expedia (see the list above) because they negotiate special rates with airlines that aren't available on their own