Our Top 5 Websites To Use For Booking Accommodations

Updated: Feb 28


People travel to faraway places to watch, in fascination, the kind of people they ignore at home. ~Dagobert David Runes


Thistles and Coos offers relatable and relevant travel advice. We are committed to provide accessible and affordable travel information peppered with funny stories and experiences.


In our travels, we have stayed in a variety of places: castles, BnBs, hotels, hostels, a shepherd's hut and apartments. Each one had its own personality and we enjoyed our varied experiences. Below, we have listed our top 5 websites we use to reserve our stays.


www.booking.com

Booking offers a variety of accommodations: hostels, BnB’s, hotels, and apartments. A nice feature Booking offers is filters. The filters allow you to narrow your search by price, location, type of place, and amenities. Our favorite feature is to use the map. For example, you may have found the “perfect” place only to realize it is 10 miles from the city center or public transportation. Back to square one.


Pros:

  • You can also book airport taxis and restaurant reservations, in addition to hotels, flights and rental cars.

  • Easy to navigate the website.

  • Review score and price sorting option

  • It does have a price-match guarantee, however, so if you find a lower price after booking, you’ll get reimbursed for the difference.

  • Bundle flights and cars together with your hotel to save money.


Cons:

  • Lack of reward programs so no real way to earn points

  • Can't get updates about pricing changes


On the Dingle Peninsula in Ireland, we booked this amazing bed and breakfast on this website. AMAZING!

**Some policies have changed for example, the cancellation policy might be nonrefundable or paid upfront. We have made these mistakes, so we want to be sure you don't relive our mistakes.


Lissyclearig, our thatched-roof cottage, Kenmare, Ireland


Airbnb:

Airbnb is an excellent choice when you want to rent a house or maybe something unique. You also have the choice of just renting a room or part of a house for a discounted price. When renting the entire house, you have everything accessible to you: kitchen, living area, game rooms, etc. Be sure to check the fine print - is there a cleaning fee, a service fee or a minimum reservation required.


Pros:

  • The website is so easy to use

  • Lots of choices from places to stay, experiences to try, and restaurant reservations

  • Great communication with hosts

  • Helpful customer service


Cons:

  • Some require minimum stays of more than one night

  • Service fees can be high


Piper's Cove on the North Sea, Scotland


Glamping:

Glamping aka Glamourous Camping offers many unique styles of accommodations. You can rent a Yurt, Treehouse, or Shepherd's Hut to name a few. This is a major step up from what you may envision as “pitching a tent” camping.


Pros:

  • Tent already set up and it looks PERFECT

  • If it is a fancy tent you are glamping in, expect it to be furnished with a bed, chairs, fluffy pillows, the works

  • Some are furnished with food

  • Expect to have running running water.

  • You are outside with all kinds of amenities


Cons:

  • If you don't come prepared, then you may be S.O.L.

  • Some may not come with electricity


A yurt on Rock Farm Slane in the shadow of a castle, Ireland


Celtic Castles:

With numerous locations in Scotland, Ireland, England, Wales, and France, you have the option of self-catering, a room in the castle, or the entire castle. Customer service is phenomenal. Communication is efficient.


Pros:

  • Opulence

  • Feel like a queen/king for the day!

  • Most are updated for today's standards

  • Elegance

  • Attention to detail

  • Great selection of castles

  • Easy to cancel. Great communication


Cons:

  • Can feel a little drafty in places

  • Floors cans be a little uneven (watch your step)

  • Can have interesting smells.. remember, these are OLD places


Carberry Tower: The Queen stayed here when she was a child.


Hostelz:

They are known to be the largest hostel database and they make things easy by comparing other booking sites so you can get the best price. It pinpoints the area and surrounding areas for your ideal search location.


**Hostelz will pay you $10 if you provide a full review with pictures.


Pros:

  • The huge selection

  • earning money

  • huge database


Cons:

  • Some hostels would come up booked on the site and then contacting the actual hostel, it would be available

Headed to Dunblin? Check out our review of Isaac's Hostel!


Before we make our reservations official, we check TripAdvisor for reviews for other travelers. We have found most people are brutally honest when leaving a review and can be trusted. Reviewers will list the good, the bad and the ugly.


**Many times I have oohed and awed looking at a professional website and was ready to book. After checking TripAdvisor, and see the REAL pictures from travelers, like us, are posted. FTS. We have complete faith in these travelers. Dirty rooms, holes in the wall, or maybe rude owners. You will then book at your own risk.


Our hostel (in pink) on the Isle of Mull, Scotland


Hotels Combined

This website will compare prices and “save you money”. After finding the hotel you want, contact the hotel directly. See if you can save more money.


Pros:

  • Provides a wide range of pricing through other booking sites

  • Works with you to minimize your hotel search online

  • List and map results

  • You receive alerts when prices change


Cons:

  • Doesn't offer rewards

  • Cannot filter through hotel brands



Honorable Mentions:


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Comment and share some of your tried and true methods on finding the perfect accommodation.


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