Want to book a super cheap holiday? These ten sites will help you get the biggest holiday discounts to your favourite destinations.

Are you the family in-house travel agent? Currently trawling the web for this year’s summer holiday? Creating a holiday itinerary with flights, hotels, car hire, childcare, bike hire… it can feel like a logistical nightmare. Up there in the list of holiday headaches is the ‘am I getting the best deal?’ conundrum when it comes to accommodation.

Frustratingly when you check the same hotel/dates across a dozen sites you return a range of different prices. Some travel experts recommend contacting your chosen hotel direct and seeing if they’ll match the lowest price you’ve been quoted, or throw in any extra perks or upgrades. Hotel loyalty schemes are usually free to join and offer an incentive ‘sign up’ perk, so worth joining when you book. As a rule, ‘bundling’ as it’s known in the trade – so booking your flight and hotel together, gives you the best discounts. It’s also worth remembering that business city locations are usually cheaper at weekends, whilst tourist hotspots tend to be more expensive. If you can be flexible on dates, then it’s something to bear in mind.

It’s also worth clueing yourself in on a few key industry facts:

Namely who owns what; most online travel agencies are owned by just two companies Expedia (Expedia, Orbitz, Travelocity, Hotels.com, Hotwire) and Booking Holdings (Agoda, Booking.com, Kayak, Priceline). So it’s not really worth your time comparing two under the same umbrella as the rates will be the same, if not identical. On which note…

When searching for holiday accommodation, hotel sites fall into two categories, the ones you can book directly through and ‘metasearch sites’, which return results from a range of other travel sites across the web, rather than being booking sites in themselves – the juggernauts in this department are the likes of Tripadvisor, Kayak and Trivago. While they save you the hassle of trawling dozens of hotel search sites individually, they don’t always return the most up-to-date (i.e. cheapest) deals. There is no ‘holy grail’ when it comes to the best discount hotel websites – but here is a mix of some of the best:

Booking.com


Booking.com is routinely the best value online booking site – whether you are looking for a 5* all-inclusive resort or self-catering cottage. We particularly love the easy-to-use app, trustworthy verified guest reviews and ‘Genius’ rewards programme for frequent travellers, including an extra 10% off daily deals and travel perks such as free airport transfers and late check-out.

Wowcher.com


Sign up to Wowcher’s daily deal email and get up to 80% off travel - from spa breaks to foodie 5* retreats. Search by European city breaks, UK seaside or even sports and adventure experience breaks.

Airbnb.co.uk


Did you know you can search for hotel rooms on Airbnb.com? Find quirky gastro pubs and boutique hotels, as well as the opportunity to browse 1000s of ‘experiences’ at your destination – from surf lessons to cookery schools and even a professional photographer to upgrade your holiday snaps.

HotelTonight app


Unlike flights which go up in cost, the closer you get to – hold your nerve and use the app, HotelTonight for seriously last-minute hotel bookings. Great if you’re an impromptu traveller.

Expedia.com


If you’re going to The States, Expedia.com is still the leading hotel booking site for USA trips – it’s pretty comprehensive for the rest of the globe too. For planes, trains and automobiles (well, car hire) – it’s got it all. The more trips you book through Expedia, the more benefits kick in, with the VIP level unlocking free spa treatments and room upgrades.

Tripadvisor.co.uk


Known as a destination for hotel reviews from fellow travellers, it also works as a meta search site, drawing in the best deals from around the web - great for snapping up a hotel based on genuine reviews rather than relying on hotel blurb. Great for checking out restaurants and experiences at your destination, too.

Trivago.co.uk


One of the biggest meta search sites, it checks 200 hotel sites, all from one search. If you’re happy to trawl 1001 options and want to see the biggest picture as to what’s on offer – from serviced apartments to boutique hotels - this is the one for you.

Agoda.com


Dominant for Asia destinations, Agoda offers huge discount on two million hotel rooms across Thailand, Hong Kong and Japan. There is also the Agoda Home section, similar to Airbnb, where you can rent private accommodation. We love the traveller’s picks of top things to do, where holiday makers rate and review experiences and share their top location tips.

Secretescapes.com


Secretescapes.com is a great go-to holiday booking site if you’re lost for inspiration. With 60% off luxury hotels and holidays, you can search their portfolio of ‘extraordinary escapes’ from glass igloos in Lapland so you can watch the Northern Lights from bed, to an Italian sea fort with the waves lapping at your window. There are great budget options with ‘UK breaks under £99’ and also a great edit of ‘escapes under 2 hours of London’ for urbanites needing to escape from it all.

Tingo.com


Tingo (from the TripAdvisor family) rewards the early bird booker – offering discounts if you book your trip early and even gives you the money back if their hotel rate drops. Leaving you plenty of time to plan your holiday wardrobe…

May 2019
By Lydia Mansi

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