No. 1 Expedia
This is hands down my favorite place to book hotel rooms. Not only do you get double points when you make your purchase through the mobile app but you can make sure you are getting what you pay for. Once on the way to Disney, Chris pulled up at a cheap hotel. After hearing the price of $150 he left and went to a different one and hotel hopped until a cheap one was found. Back in the 90s this was the way to go. But now with the Internet at our full disposal why would you do that!? This hotel smelled like feet and the kids were so scared all of us slept in a king bed. I gagged. A lot. The shower squirted out over the curtain. It was funny to look back on but not too fun for the first day at Magic Kingdom the following day. The kids and I said that Dad was no longer in charge of getting hotel rooms.
When you book through Expedia you get points. I like companies with points. There’s nothing you have to do because you are going to purchase anyway. You can save the points up to use against a stay. I liked it when you could use Plenti because then you got points for Plenti and points for Expedia. Be sure to read the reviews. Some people get mad over things that do not matter to us and leave awful reviews. I choose hotels that have 3.5+ ratings plus we tend to look for hotels that offer free breakfast (bonus!). I book ahead of time if possible but the closer you wait until time Expedia will offer discounts or lower their prices. I have booked last minute stays before, too. Since we have 5 family members we try to find two queen beds and a pull-out.
No. 2 HomeAway
If you are wanting a HOME this is the place to go. It is also a great idea for groups. I have yet to have a bad experience when booking through HomeAway. Think VRBO! This is their sister site. You have to do your homework. Research each home, the area it’s located, and look at the reviews. If there are no reviews for a home STAY AWAY! It could be a scam or just someone starting out. Either way I stay away. I have stayed at homes in St. Louis, Branson, Paducah, and for our upcoming 2018 trip I have one booked in Yosemite. I book 4 or 5 star homes only and really read the reviews. I tend to stick with homes where many people have stayed instead of just a small number of people.
Some cons about HomeAway are many people charge a cleaning fee and some owners charge a $250 security deposit. You get the $250 deposit back if there is no damage to the home but you are charged up front then get it credited back to your card. Sometimes the fee is charged by homeowners and sometimes it is not. I try to find homes that do not charge the fee but sometimes you just love the rental property too much. The cleaning fee can be a bit much especially when many of the homeowners have you do a majority of the cleaning before you leave (load the dishwasher, load the washing machine, strip the beds, take out the garbage). Be careful when booking. I have paid around $80 for the cleaning fee, but I have seen some of the homes have a cleaning fee of $150 or more. Be sure to read the check out instructions very well. The owner(s) can keep part of your deposit if you do not follow instructions carefully. HomeAway makes homeowners have a rental agreement/manual on the property and online for you to agree to. Expedia bought HomeAway but I like to keep them separate in my head. It works better for me that way.
No. 3 National Park Lodging
It is expensive but it is beautiful! If you want this type of lodging be prepared to spend around $300 a night depending on what you need. You have to book up to a year in advance. These are the places we are staying next summer: Grand Canyon Lodge, Zion Lodge, Glacier Lodge, Crater Lake Lodge and a lodge at Yellowstone. I like the fact that we are paying as we go so these places are booked and ready!
Have you ever seen the inside of these gorgeous places? They are amazing.
Now only if I got some type of discount for referring you to these amenities…
C + J