But here are some things I learned throughout the process:
1) Do LOTS of research before you book a place...
- We used websites like booking.com, hostelworld.com to look up locations
- Once we were matched with places that matched our dates, we looked at the ones with the highest ratings overall and then delved into the individual ratings. Read the ratings, but start with LOWEST and MOST RECENT. I am always skeptical of high praises (cynical, I know). But the longer a rating message is also more trustworthy because it means someone took the effort to provide an honest opinion. Who knows, the praising reviews might be from the owners or someone who was paid to say those things! Again, sorry for the cynicism.
- Pictures don't necessarily speak a thousand words. Being negative again, I don't trust photos from official websites either. I used tripadvisor.com to get first-hand pictures from real people (as opposed to professional pictures from the website). This is also a great place to read some more reviews, and it will also "rank" the place you're looking at.
2) Once you've picked a place, go to the official website to make sure the price is the same as you see on the other websites. Sometimes those sites can have a surcharge!
3) This was supposed to be a list, but I can't really think of more big points. Oops!
Anywho, the process took a really long time to piece together places we are going in Italy. Errol didn't want to stay in one place for more than a few days, so we are staying in 2-3 places per city! Our strategy is to stay in a hotel the first few days we arrive and leave so that we may be more comfortable before the long travel. Then staying in hostels and B&B's the days in between. The cheapest way to do a hostel is use the dorms, but we will be staying in double rooms with an ensuite bathroom. It's still cheaper than staying in a hotel overall!
A little teaser preview of a place we are staying in Venice:
|View of the Grand Canal from our hostel!|
Next up: putting together an itinerary