Chiang Rai homestay exteriorOur recent Airbnb booking at an eco-homestay in Chiang Rai

In terms of travelling, my choices have changed a lot over the last five to eight years. In my 20s I had little qualms about staying at a backpackers or a hostel, as long as it was clean and I felt safe. I have been pretty lucky though, for the most part I have often been hosted by friends and family.

In more recent years I would definitely say that I’ve opted for more privacy. I also tend to choose accommodation with a nice look and feel, and that offers an experience. AirBnB has really profited on the notion of experience and travelling like a local. Having personally used the site, I am much more open to staying at someone’s home, particularly if the offering is stand alone/has its own quarters.

So how to research accommodation? Back in the day, I always did my research by either buying or borrowing a Lonely Planet. In fact, I still use their website, and recently bought their guide to Thailand. We often go away every two to three weeks when my partner is on days off so I am often looking for accommodation. The process is always the same, first I check Trip Advisor and AirBnb (I have both of their apps on my phone), then I start doing a broader Google search to compare prices and bring up more options. I try to save a few searches, generally 3 to 5 spots and then based on price, location and the reviews I make my decision. I have also started screen-grabbing accommodation that comes up on Instagram, Airbnb feature listed properties and some of the influencers I follow on social media often stay in some pretty interesting places when they travel, which I bookmark for future trips if within budget.

There are also house-sitting websites but these seem to often come with a lot of pets to look after as well as the home. Have you ever house-sat through an official site?

I’ve outlined some of the resources I recommend to research your travel accommodation depending on your travel style and budget. How do you research travel accommodation and what are some of the sites you use?  Would love to hear your responses in the comments section below.

JC x

 

Chiang Rai homestay morning coffeeOur hosts at the Chiang Rai homestay offered delicious coffee – they roast the beans on-site!

 

FREE/ALTERNATIVE ACCOMMODATION

WWOOF’ing – The concept of WWOOF’ing was introduced to me by a friend who’d WWOOF’ed in Portugal. I love the idea and think it is such a wonderful way to experience a country and culture. World Wide Opportunities on Organic Farms (WWOOF), link you with organic farms and growers as a volunteer. According to the site, most exchanges see volunteers working 4-6 hours a day in exchange for food and accommodation. This is definitely on my list for a future trip experience.

Love Home Swap – Home exchanges aren’t a new concept, but this seems to be a newer site targeted at younger people. The fee is $20 a month to be on the site but the home swap itself is free.

Couch Surfing – Some of my friends have used this, and though it is not my style I can definitely see the benefits in addition to it being FREE!

 

Chiang Rai Homestay hammocksMore details from our Chiang Rai home stay

BUDGET ACCOMMODATION

TripAdvisor – These guys have become my go-to when researching travel accommodation, particularly when it’s last minute. A few times I’ve booked in the car (as the passenger) on the way to our destination. I highly recommend using their filters to narrow down the options, for example WIFI and price range. Definitely read the reviews! In some instances I’ve been either instantly converted or instantly put off my booking. Also, check the dates of the reviews – if the place hasn’t had a review in several months I lose trust.

Airbnb – Love these guys! I recently made my first booking with Airbnb and had a great experience. Plus sides are that you get to stay with locals, get real local tips and in some instances can directly impact a community. Cons are that you are paying a few extra service costs.

General search  – Ex. ‘budget hotels Bangkok’ , this will lead you to the usual booking sites like Agoda, Booking.com, etc. I suggest comparing prices and tax and service costs and going with the cheapest rate.

 

Pai guesthouse breakfastBreakfast served at our accommodation in Pai late last year

 

LUXURY/HIGH END ACCOMMODATION

The Luxe Nomad – very deluxe, high end accommodation that comes with the expected price tag. Note that destinations are in the Asia Pacific Region.

Mr & Mrs Smith – gorgeous, unique and boutique accommodation options. In my experience a lot of the places are ideal for couples or solo travellers, my results for group travel didn’t yield many options.

Wotif.com – very decently priced mid to high end accommodation.

LastMinute.com – similar to Wotif.com but in my opinion gives a much better user experience.

 

 

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