|by Sean O'Neill||Real Deals, Helpful Websites, Hotels, Online Travel Agencies||53|
Everyone has heard of sites like Travelocity and TripAdvisor. But what are some of the lesser-known sites that are also helpful tools for finding a great hotel room at a reasonable rate? Here are Budget Travel's picks for five sites worth checking out.
When you want to upgrade to a hotel's best room
Some rooms are nicer than others because of their size, views, or location within a hotel's structure. To get the most room for your money, check out which rooms are best by using new site Room77, which has photos and floorplans for rooms at hundreds of hotels. Call on the day of your arrival to see if you might be upgraded. The prime time for receiving upgrades is between 4 and 7 p.m. on the evening of your arrival, say experts.
If you care about getting perks instead of a bargain-basement room rate
DealBase is a price-comparison tool for hotel packages. Punch in your destination and travel dates, and DealBase will fetch a list of Web-only deals, many of which you won't find through your favorite online travel agency. For instance, DealBase recently found a deal from Kauai Beach Resort in Lihue, Hawaii, which included a family-sized room, buffet breakfast, valet parking, free in-room Internet access, and all taxes for $145 a night. That deal compares favorably with room-only rates on more heavily-advertised travel sites.
When location matters most
It doesn't matter how cheap a hotel is if it's too far from your favorite beach, your wedding chapel, or other key attraction. If you have to be near a particular location, consider searching for hotel deals via Bedmap, a search engine that shows nightly rates and TripAdvisor reviews and allows you to filter results by common requests, such as "free breakfast."
If you're visiting one of 17 major U.S. cities or a few European capitals, the site can tell you how long it will take you to go from your hotel to your favorite destination by using Mapnificient.
If you want your hotel to be near interesting nightlife, try Hipmunk's hotel search, which gives you the option of taking a map of hotel locations and overlaying it with a map of points of interest related to restaurants, stores, and dance clubs. Plnnr will also help you see how close major attractions are from your hotel.
When you're the kind of person who is especially proud at finding the most impressive bargain basement hotel online
You shouldn't forget eBay, which lists travel auctions and buy-it-now deals for hundreds of hotels in the U.S. and overseas. As always, take common sense precautions while shopping. For instance, you should only buy from sellers with good feedback ratings from dozens of other eBay users, and you should never send money by wire transfer to a seller on eBay.
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