01 Jun The Newbie’s Guide to Booking Accommodations -Part 2
Today we are continuing with the second installment of our three-part series that breaks down the choices one has in booking accommodations for vacations or holidays. We will now look at mid-range options for those travelers who want a little more comfort than hostels can provide but at a more reasonable price than hotels.
If you think you are up to the task, I would recommend trying Priceline when booking accommodations because it allows you the chance to place bids on the price of a hotel room. However, if you don’t like taking risks, then I would suggest trying aggregator websites like Home Away, VRBO (Vacation Rentals by Owner) and AirBnB. They list homes, rooms, guesthouses and cabins owned by people who want to rent them out to vacationers for a set daily, weekly or even longer rate.
Some of the aggregators will charge a service fee that will not be refunded should you cancel. However, you should always note what the owner’s cancellation policy is because you are usually charged for the full stay as soon as you book it. Most will refund your money if you cancel well in advance of your stay; some are generous enough to refund in full with one day’s notice.
I’ve noticed that some have taken to charging security deposits, I usually avoid those accommodations because it’s so much of a hassle, though I understand that prior experiences may have caused owners to resort to this. Nevertheless, all of these conditions will be clearly indicated on each listing, so be sure to read each carefully.
To get started, You will need to plug in your destination, the dates you plan to visit and the number in your party on the aggregator homepage. The website’s search engine will render a list of properties that are available for rent on those dates.
At that point, you can further specify the number of bedrooms needed and any particular amenities that you would require like an elevator (assuming that your room would be in an apartment building on a higher floor), wi-fi, nearby restaurants, etc.
Once I have zoned in on a property that interests me, I click on it to see pics of it, a list of specific amenities and to read the house rules. I find that the prices are very reasonable for most properties. In fact, most apartments rent for prices that are comparable to mid-range hotel rooms. I enjoy the extra privacy, the ability to cook meals when I just want to hang in and I get to feel as if I am just another resident of the city during my stay.
Have you ever tried to rent a private home? Would you recommend it? Share your experiences in the comment section below!