How to Find Accommodation that’s Right for You and Your Budget

When I discover a new place to visit I am so excited about the prospect of exploring all these new sites.  But like you, as the idea of a new travel destination starts to become reality, the research starts to become overwhelming with the number of choices you are faced.

One of the most essentials things you have to decide upon is choosing a place to stay.  As the research continues all the information begins to form one giant big confusion of facts and figures.  I have felt this way too!  So I created a step by step guide with a worksheet on how to find accommodation that’s best for you and your budget.

In this Article, You Will Learn How to Choose the Right Accommodation for Your Trip


PLEASE NOTE:
Travel and border restrictions are constantly evolving.
Please ensure you check all official government and tourism websites for openings and availability before making final arrangements and bookings.
Boy looking out hotel window at the ocean
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Your Trip Essentials

Before you even start doing your research you need to know exactly what it is you are looking for.  If on paper (website) cannot meet your needs then it is not going to be the right accommodation for you.

Who is Travelling

First of all, determine who is in your travel party, take note of age, relationships and what each member requires.

  • Do young singles want to socialise
  • Do the kids need kids clubs or activities
  • Do couples want no kids around
  • Do seniors require mobility assistance

Why Are You Travelling

The next thing to take into account is the reason for the trip. 

  • Is it for work
  • To attend an event
  • Explore the region
  • Make use of sporting attractions
  • Relaxation vacation

This helps out to determine what you need your accommodation to provide and the location.

Where Do You Want To Stay

Now you have determined who is going and why you are travelling you can now narrow down the location that you would like to be based.  This goes beyond the basics of a country, the state, even the city.  You need to nail down the suburb(s) that are your preference.  Consider:

  • How you are going to get around
  • Do you need car parking
  • Proximity to public transport
  • The location of attractions and your places of interest are located

Now we are going to start getting really specific and start filling a worksheet.  You can either do this on Excel, a scrap piece of paper or get a copy of the Tips 4 Trips worksheet

Click to Collect the Accommodation Research Worksheet Welcome Gift

What Facilities Do You Need

What exactly do you want your accommodation to provide; what are must-haves and what are wants?

If you are doing this yourself create a page with grid boxes.  The first column is for the accommodation name, the second column is the price, then list your preferred facilities across the remaining columns.

Here is a list of the types of things you might want your accommodation to provide

Accommodation amenities

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  • Pool
  • Gym
  • WiFi
  • Restaurants
  • Kitchen
  • Separate bedrooms
  • Separate bathrooms

Travel with kids

  • Kids clubs
  • Child-friendly activities
    • Playgrounds
    • Jumping pillows
    • Water parks

Travel with Pets

  • Does the accommodation accept pets

Top Trip Tip: You can also add to your list something that you don’t want an accommodation to offer for example if you are a single or couple and REALLY don’t want kids around, if the accommodation offers kid-friendly activities then there WILL be kids.

When Will You Travel

Before we move onto the actual research know your dates of travel and how much flexibility you have for those dates to move in order to find options for availability or price.

How Much Can You Afford

Finally, determine your accommodation budget.  There is no point looking at the Ritz Hotel if you can only afford a motel.

Record Your Findings

One of the reasons for setting up the accommodation research worksheet is due to an overwhelming amount of research information I discover in my search.  Very quickly I become bamboozled by which accommodation offers which facilities and for how much.

This is why I suggest recording the information you find as you go otherwise you backtrack a lot.

How to Find Accommodation

Now comes the “fun” part, the actual research to find your ideal accommodation.  These are the steps I follow each time I start with choosing to find accommodation in a new destination.

  1. Google search

I start with Google, you can use your own preferred search engine.  Type in your “destination accommodation” or you can be more specific eg.

  • “destination short stay apartment”
  • “destination hostel”
  • “destination family resort”
  • “destination caravan park”

You get the gist.  If you can narrow down the type of accommodation you would like you will have fewer results to search through.

  1. Click “View all”

Near the top of the search results, Google will show a list with about four results and a map, below this is a button “VIEW” click this. 

Search results for travel accommodations with a map
  1. The interactive map

You will then be taken to an interactive map with all the accommodation options listed on the left side of the screen and the map on the other.

search results when looking for travel accommodation
  1. Choose to view and accommodation

One at a time click on an individual accommodation.  You will be taken to a new screen that has some images of the accommodation and a small amount of information.  If you like what you see so far click the “WEBSITE” BUTTON.

Hotel accommodation search result and information
  1. Visit the website

You are now on the official accommodation’s website.  Most website will have separate pages for accommodation, restaurants and facilities.  Click on each of these options to determine what the accommodation provides.

To learn more about that accommodation click the “website” button.  Take your time browsing through the website. 

  • Check out the facilities page
  • Review the room options page
  • Browse through the gallery
    • Learn if this accommodation offers all the things that you want
  • Use the “book now” button to find out the cost and availability
    • Don’t upload your credit card details
  1. Take notes

In the first column and first row write in the accommodation name.  As you move around the website and find each of your points of interest eg pool or gym tick the relevant boxes in the first row.  Before you leave the website click the “BOOK NOW” button, enter your travel dates, submit and get a price.  Write the price in the price column.

Top Trip Tip: Compare the same dates for each accommodation

  1. Repeat

Continue this process until you have found a few accommodation options that meet your needs.

  1. Read reviews

The final step before booking is to ensure the accommodation does provide what it promises.  This means reading reviews, not just one or two but lots of reviews.

You can find reviews on

  • Google
  • Trip Advisor
  • Facebook
  • Booking sites like Wotif*

Then make a note on your worksheet if the reviews are positive or what the issue is.

Other Places to Find Accommodation Choices

Other Search Engines

Google is only one search engine, there are lots out there including Bing and Duck Duck Go – use your preferred choice. 

Tourism Websites

Also, look at the official tourism website for the destination, they will list some accommodation options. 

Social Media

Do some searches on social media like Facebook and Pinterest.  I did this for our trip to Melbourne late last year, this resulted in an accommodation advertisement with promo code, which gave me a discount when I booked.

Time to Decide

With your worksheet complete it is time to make a choice. 

  • Highlight accommodations that meet your criteria
  • Go back and review the website if need be
  • Discuss the options with your travel companions

Then it is time to book.

Click to Collect the Accommodation Research Worksheet Welcome Gift

Continue Learning About Planning for a Trip

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Sally-Ann
Hi, I'm a Perth born and bred travel tips blogger/writer with 20+ years experience in airlines, hospitality and tourism. I love sharing my travel lessons learned to help you plan for your travel dream with my travel tips for trips. Please follow along to receive all my travel planning tips, packing lists and destination inspirations.
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