Four tips for choosing the best stay for your overseas adventure

We all need somewhere to rest our head – especially when jet lag hits.

We all need somewhere to rest our head – especially when jet lag hits. Photo: Getty

Winter is coming, and if you’re currently plotting your escape to warmer climates, you’ll need somewhere to stay.

But where to choose?

Looking for accommodation online is usually easy – but it doesn’t always feel like it, especially when you’re faced with a smorgasbord of hotel comparison sites and reviews.

If you’re struggling to figure out who to trust, The New Daily went to the experts to find out what to look for when booking overseas travel accommodation.

1. Look for quantity of reviews, as well as quality

A complaint of dirty bedsheets or rude staff can easily deter you from an accommodation option, while a glowing review could have you pulling out your credit card.

But you should take the time to read through several reviews, preferably posted within the past year, and look for a pattern before making a booking.

“You don’t know who’s writing [the review], and you don’t know their frame of reference or their experience,” Torrens University hospitality marketing lecturer Sharon Hannaford said.

“What they say is awful or bad is based on where they’ve been and what they’ve done before.

“So I tend to look at the volume of reviews, and whether they’re more positive versus negative.”

2. Be clear on your needs

Before you start your accommodation search, think about your requirements.

Do you need to be close to public transport or a particular location? Do you need a kitchenette? Would you be able to handle multiple flights of stairs, or do you need to use an elevator for higher floors?

Is there good food nearby? Photo: Getty

“Different accommodation outlets provide a range of offerings on how you want to engage with the property,” Australian Travel Industry Association CEO Dean Long said.

“Probably the No.1 thing that always determines accommodation is location, location, location.

“Where do you want to be? What do you want to experience? Make sure you pick the accommodation provider that delivers on that.”

3. Pros and cons of booking direct

Booking accommodation on comparison websites has become de rigueur.

You could stand to save some money if you take the step of contacting hotels directly.

Hannaford says some major organisations encourage direct bookings by offering better prices since you’re cutting out the middle man.

Due to different company policies or pushback from comparison websites that act as the said middle man, this won’t always be the case, but it’s worth considering.

Long said while booking directly with accommodation can offer “amazing” opportunities, it can be more time consuming to manually compare options yourself.

“That’s one of the reasons why we say always use a comparison website to see what’s out there,” he said.

“They’ve got some amazing deals, and you can usually get some extra add-ons through that process.”

4.  Consider different types of accommodation

Airbnb might offer unique stays, but rising prices, demands from hosts, and privacy concerns have left a sour taste in many travellers mouths over recent years.

As a result, it’s worth looking at the more traditional hotel, motel or hostel options to make sure you’re getting the best deal you can.

“What the issue is that now they’re competing with the hotels, the prices have gone up [and] owners are a lot more ambitious about what they’re getting for their establishment,” Hannaford said.

“So sometimes the savings are going to be in the more conventional hotel chains.”

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