Travel Smarter With TripAdvisor: Part 1 – Finding the Right Hotel
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Many folks know TripAdvisor as THE site for hotel reviews. But you can also compare hotel prices, search for flights, as well as find interesting activities and places to eat during your next trip.
I’ll show you some tips & tricks for using TripAdvisor to travel like a pro!
Travel Smarter With TripAdvisor
Finding the Right Hotel With TripAdvisorTripAdvisor is a great tool for finding the right hotel for your next vacation, whether you’re planning an award stay or a paid stay. Searching is easy and there are plenty of filters to customize your search.
Find the Best Price for Paid Hotel Stays
Although you can’t book hotels on TripAdvisor, you can compare prices. Just enter your destination into the search box.
For example, there are ~500 hotels in Madrid, Spain. Luckily, there are lots of ways to narrow down your results.
Instead of wasting time looking through 16 pages of results, you can choose hotels based on:
- Price – Limit your search to hotels within a certain price range
- Hotel Class – Choose 1 star to 5 star hotels
- Style – Romantic, luxury, quiet, charming, and more
- Hotel Brand – Loyal to particular brands? You can choose to view only those hotels
- Location – Find hotels that are close to the airport or other important tourist destinations
- Amenities – Select important hotel features such as free Wi-Fi, restaurant, or wheelchair access
Above the filter categories, there’s also list of quick links to commonly used filters.
Sort Your Results
Next, you can bring the most relevant hotels to the top of the list.
The default is “Just for You.” This feature allows you to save search criteria to your profile, so the results will be automatically catered to you each time.“Just for You” hasn’t yet been perfected and because the hotels I’m looking for tend to vary with each trip, I prefer to use other sort options such as:
- Availability – Bring hotels with available rooms during your travel dates to the top of your search results
- Ranking – Sort by the average user review
- Price – Organize your results starting with the highest priced or the lowest prices hotels
- Distance – View hotels closest to the city’s center
I like using the map search tool to get a better idea of which hotels have the best locations. This is similar to Google Hotel Finder.
The blue circles on the map are hotels.
You can use the same filters you had with the basic list search. Plus, you can also add markers for restaurants and things to do.
For example, if you’re looking for a hotel near the pedestrian plaza, Puerta del Sol, with a popular restaurant nearby, you can view your options on the map.
Hover the mouse over the blue circles to get a quick view of the hotel name and reviews. Or drop a pin to see the hotel ranking and a sample price per night in the window on the left of side of the page.
Out of these choices, I like Hotel Europa. It has good reviews and it’s close to Plaza Del Sol. Plus, there’s a pizza place nearby, which can help me avoid expensive hotel food. I love pizza and I love saving money! So what’s not to like?!
Clicking the hotel name will take you to a page complete with reviews, photos, ranking, and pricing.
Does TripAdvisor Find the Lowest Hotel Prices?
You can’t book hotels directly through TripAdvisor’s website, but it will search for prices across several booking sites. Then you click through to book the hotel.
1. Madrid, Spain
According to TripAdvisor, the lowest price for the Hotel Europa is ~$70 when you book directly through the hotel’s website.
The lowest price on Kayak is ~$110 per night through Booking.com.
2. Denver, Colorado
3. Charlotte, North CarolinaTripAdvisor found the Holiday Inn Express in Charlotte, North Carolina, for $126 per night, when you book directly through Holiday Inn. TripAdvisor and Kayak search many of the same sites for finding the best hotel rates, including Hotels.com, Booking.com, and Expedia.
However, TripAdvisor did save $40 per night by checking the Hotel Europa website.
Choosing the Best Hotel for Award Nights
I like to use the latter to see which chain hotels are in the area and the cost per night in points.
Then I pick out a few that will work for me and visit TripAdvisor to check out reviews & photos and make my final decision.
I like to read what others have experienced to help me decide on a hotel.
However, I still recommend folks take reviews with a grain of salt.
Folks are more likely to write reviews when they’ve had a bad experience instead of when they had a nice stay. And while TripAdvisor works to prevent it, some hotels try to write their own glowing reviews or scathing reviews for competitors.
So the reviews in the middle tend to give a more balanced view.
A quick scan of traveler images can also help you choose the right hotel.
Bottom LineTripAdvisor is an excellent way to help you find the right hotel for your next getaway!
Filter and sorting features can save you time and money. Plus, traveler reviews and photos give you a more realistic look at the hotel experience.
But TripAdvisor isn’t just for hotels, in the next post we’ll take a look at how you can use it to find cheap flights.
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Editorial Note: We're the Million Mile Secrets team. And we're proud of our content, opinions and analysis, and of our reader's comments. These haven’t been reviewed, approved or endorsed by any of the airlines, hotels, or credit card issuers which we often write about. And that’s just how we like it! :)