Booking a place to stay in the UK or abroad? Here are some top tips to avoid making any mistakes…

Whether you’re looking for a cosy cottage, modern city apartment or a weekend away in an Airbnb, it’s always tough booking the right place when you don’t really know the area – or perhaps even the country – very well.

It can be all too easy to find yourself in run-down and unfurnished accommodation that’s completely different to the brand new, luxury serviced apartment you thought you’d booked.

Here at Cotels, we’ve put together a few of our simple tips to help you avoid this from happening on your holiday this year…

Always look at reviews

Usually, you can get an idea of a place by the reviews it already has online. Take a look on Trip Advisor to see recent, honest reviews from other people who have visited the place you are interested in visiting.

It’s also handy to know that many booking sites have their own reviewing systems, so check a variety to see if the general consensus is positive. It goes without saying that there will be the odd bad review, but look for the majority and then weigh up your options; just because they had one bad review out of 200 visitors, it doesn’t mean that it’s a bad place. Remember, everyone will have different preferences when it comes to trips and holiday destinations.

Check the exact location

Using Google Maps to see the specific location of the apartment or hotel you are planning on booking is a simple way of exploring a potential holiday destination.

Photos can often be misleading, so why not use Street View to see the outside of your hotel? You’ll be able to see the surrounding area to decide whether it’s what you want for your holiday and if you can see yourself staying there. It may seem a little overboard to check the specific location of your hotel, but it’s always worth it. Even if the address seems central to all the restaurants, bars and beaches – and if the hotel claims that it is – it could still be a long walk or journey requiring a means of transport, which might not be what you want if you’re looking for a relaxing holiday.

Make sure that there is public transport close by

One thing many people want (and need) close to a hotel or apartment is a means of transport – even if you aren’t planning on leaving your holiday home or resort too often, consider journeys to and from the airport or train station. Buses, trains, and trams are great to use, and common in many cities, so check whether you’re close by to a few stops. Also, double check that there are taxi services available in the area too – you don’t want to be stranded after a meal or night out without a way of getting back, especially in a new country.

If you’re struggling to get about or find a reliable method of transportation, why not download a travel app such as Citymapper, which allows you to put your location in and then gives you a variety of public transport options close by? Uber is also popular in lots of major cities in a number of countries, so if you do accidentally miss your bus or train, they’re a great back up to have.

Compare the prices

So you’ve found accommodation that you consider to be a bargain – but, have you weighed up all your options?

There may be some deals available at other hotels on other websites and you could end up bagging yourself a chic, brand new apartment right on the beach for the same amount of money. Be sure to shop around and stay alert for bargains!

This works with flights too, so why not check out websites such as Skyscanner? This way you’ll be able to compare flight dates, times, prices and airlines and find the best deal for you.

Does it come with perks?

Complimentary breakfast, discount on local activities, beach towels and a safe are all common perks, but not all hotels and apartments will include them.

WiFi can be taken for granted and, in some countries and hotels, it comes at an extra cost. If this is the case, your bargain hotel may not be as much of a bargain if you’re having to pay extortionate prices to share your latest holiday photos online or catch up on work emails. For some people, Wi-Fi won’t be a necessity so be sure to look out for the perks that suit you best.

Get in contact with your accommodation host or hotel reception prior to your trip to see what extras come within the price – some apartments now come with unlimited broadband, Sky TV packages and cleaning services.

If you follow these top tips, you’ll be sure to bag yourself a fantastic trip. Enjoy your holiday!