Lonely Planet's guide to booking a hotel
The countdown to your trip is on. You’ve pinpointed the perfect Thai beach, dreamed up a hit-list of Paris galleries or browsed online for the best restaurants in Rio – but when it comes to hotels and hostels, making that booking can feel like a bit of a gamble.
That’s where we come in. Every single one of Lonely Planet’s author reviewed hotels is a place you can trust: we’ve been there, we’ve given our honest opinion, and we never, ever accept freebies in exchange for positive hotel reviews. When you see the smiling author icon against any of the hotels, hostels or B&Bs on our site, you can breathe a little easier knowing that one of our travel experts has visited it.
So with worries out of the way, it’s time to get on with the fun part – hunting out your dream accommodation. You might need a little help narrowing down the more than 350,000 choices on our site, so here are five essential questions to ask before you click ‘book now’:
- What’s your budget? Adjust our price range filter to suit your wallet – and remember, you can find bargains and last minute hotels in even the priciest cities. You can also save with a hotel deal in business districts over the weekend. Steer clear of glitzy Shibuya and Shinjuku if you want to bed down in mid-range Tokyo hotels, and aim for Docklands or Greenwich to find cheap London hotels.
- Are you a power tourist or an experiential traveller? If you have a list of sights longer than your arm, your top priority is being close to transport links. But if you prefer to mosey and soak up the sights, cherry-pick a neighbourhood suited to café culture or shopping – Paris hotels in the Quartier Latin and Montmartre are perfect for people-watching.
- Are you a culture vulture or a night owl? India’s frenetic markets and endless temples can leave travellers crying out for leisurely evenings – you can treat your weary feet by booking New Delhi hotels far from the madding crowds. But if you want to make the most of all-night Argentina then Buenos Aires hotels close to the nightlife are a must.
- How much time will you spend in the hotel? Beijing hotels with infinity pools overlooking the skyline sound wonderful, but power tourists don’t have time for luxury. But if you’re planning to take things slow, reach for the stars (four or five stars, that is). If you’re working abroad then quiet laptop time is essential: hunt out hotels for business with wifi. Very early and very late departures are the best option for the cheapest plane tickets. Remember, though, to factor in getting to and from the airport and, if you need it, a night in a hotel beforehand.
- Do you want to do day-trips? If you’re hoping to meander around a region, scope out digs convenient to the main train or bus station – as a bonus, cheap hotels abound in these areas, so you can save big.
So over to you: boutique hotels or cheap motels? Glamorous riads or budget hostels? Prague hotels with a view of Charles Bridge or Madrid hotels made for romance? You can compare anything from treetop hideaways to ice hotels on LonelyPlanet.com. And as if our hotel deals and trusted reviews weren’t enough, if you book hotels with us, we’ll give you 30% off a Lonely Planet guide book of your choice. Because that’s what friends are for.