After traveling the world continuously for more than two years, we’ve learnt a thing or two about discovering the best places to stay at affordable prices. Airbnb is a personal favorite, mainly because it allows you to find a home with a local and stay in areas that are less touristy.
But if hotels are more your style, don’t fret, We’ve included a few great hotel booking apps that’ll help you nab the best hotel deals.
Couchsurfing allows you to stay with a stranger for free, often sleeping on their couch (although sometimes you might stay in their spare room!)
We’ve used Couchsurfing a number of times as guests and it really opened our eyes to how generous people are all over the world. Some of the people we’ve Couchsurfed with we’ve met up with again on future travels. It’s a great way to meet people and see firsthand how the locals live.
The best way to make sure you have a good experience is to ensure you read all the reviews first, so you are Couchsurfing with someone trust worthy.
The website and app are free to use and this is the cheapest way to get accommodation. But don’t view it as a free travel service. Instead, make sure you reciprocate, cooking your host a meal or taking them out for dinner to show your appreciation.
You can also use Couchsurfing to meet new people, even if you’re not looking for accommodation. Simply choose the ‘meet for coffee’ option and meet up with locals to make new friends!
Airbnb lets you book rooms in locals’ homes, or rent their property for the short-term, having the whole place to yourself.
We’ve used Airbnb more than 40 times and have had wonderful experiences. We’ve found that sharing someone’s place is the best deal, because it’s cheaper and you also get a chance to meet locals. Unlike with Couchsurfing, you’re paying to stay so you don’t feel obliged to owe them anything – and in some ways I prefer this.
Once again, ensure you read all of the reviews before you use the service. I often try and negotiate a cheaper deal (the Airbnb fees can make the price a lot more expensive when staying a long time!) by contacting the host directly and asking them for a discount.
Often, if you are staying more than three days or so, the host will be happy to offer you a cheaper rate. There’s no harm in asking.
To get US$25 off your first Airbnb trip, click here.
03. Roomer Travel
Have you ever made a booking at a hotel and then had to cancel it, losing your money? Now you can use Roomer Travel for a hassle free transfer to someone else who wants the room, getting the majority of your funds back.
We haven’t used it this way, but we have used it to re-book another traveler’s accommodation in our own name. Because you are scoring a booking from someone else, the price is often cheaper than you can find elsewhere.
To book rooms, you use the app like you would for any other accommodation booking service and you can hardly tell the difference between Roomer Travel and other sites like Booking.com. But I like that Roomer Travel puts the TripAdvisor rating next to a hotel, so you can check easily whether it’s highly rated or not before you book.
It’s hassle free too. If you’re the person giving up your room, you just have to send Roomer Travel the details and they’ll manage everything for you, depositing the money into your bank account if your room sells.
04. Late Rooms
This is a good app to use if you’re looking to book a hotel last minute, as you can sometimes get good deals. Hotels will drop their prices at the last minute to get people through their door for that night, and Late Rooms uses this data to find you a deal.
Sometimes I hunt around on multiple booking sites for the best deal, which can be a time consuming task. Late Rooms helps you search quickly and easily by searching TripAdvisor, Trivago, Booking.com and Hotels.com at once to find you the best rate.
Late Rooms also frequently have ‘flash sales’. If you subscribe to their newsletter you should be notified of these pushes.
05. Hotel Tonight
This hotel booking app brings a breath of fresh air with its trendy and easy-to-use design. Rather than the original bullet point format telling you what you’ll find in your hotel, Hotel Tonight uses a conversational writing style to tell you about the accommodation.
Hotel Tonight does what it says on the cover and finds you a cheap hotel deal for that night – perfect for the spontaneous traveler.
Many of its listings will be half price from what the hotel normally charges to stay there. It lists mainly higher end hotels – think $400 hotel stays being priced at $200.
My only issue with the app is that it hasn’t covered enough regions yet. Some of my travels in South East Asia weren’t listed, and in popular hotel resort towns too.
Getting last minute deals on rooms can be an annoyance for those of us who like to plan further in advance. This is where Tingo can come in handy.
You use Tingo’s search engine to reserve your room and it will notify you if upgrades at the hotel become available after you book. And if the price of the room falls – which we know happens frequently closer to the day of stay, Tingo will tell you about it and give you the difference back.
Tingo says it gives out an average rebate of about $50 a night, which is a hefty saving!
Tingo’s search engine will also compare its prices against those from other search engine websites like TripAdvisor, scouring the net for the best deal for you.
For sites that search multiple search engines, HotelsCombined is one of the best. It searches, to name a few, Expedia, Hotels.com, HotelTravel.com, HotelClub, Agoda and LastMinute.com.
Unlike other sites, it doesn’t charge you a booking fee. Instead, it makes its money by taking a commission from the booking sites that it sends you to.
Using it a few times, I have found accommodation that’s more than $100 cheaper than what is listed on the hotel’s website. That’s an insane drop in price!