Tripadvisor: Plan & Book Trips 4+

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** Be one of the first to try the beta version of our newly-launched AI itinerary builder, offering personalized recs powered by traveler tips and reviews. ** As a travel guidance company, Tripadvisor brings people, passions and places together. We aim to help make you a better traveler, from travel planning, to booking, to taking a trip. The app lets you get the most out of your trip—whether you’re planning or on-the-go. Discover where to stay, what to do and where to eat based on guidance from millions of travelers who have been there before. Find deals on hotels, book experiences, reserve tables at great restaurants and discover great places nearby. No matter what type of trip you’re looking to take, the Tripadvisor app makes planning it easy and also lets you guide others on their way. GET TRAVEL GUIDANCE • Find millions of reviews about hotels, restaurants, tours, attractions and other experiences from travelers like you • Read articles and guides to discover new ways to experience a destination with tips from travel experts • Discover great deals on top-rated hotels, tours, activities, experiences and other things to do • Find great places to eat nearby and make restaurant reservations ORGANIZE YOUR TRIP IN ONE PLACE • Use the updated Trips planning tool to save hotels, restaurants, and things to do • Get personalized recs with AI itineraries powered by reviews (beta) • See your saves on your custom map • Share and collab with your travel buds • Access mobile tickets for booked tours, attractions, experiences and other things to do GUIDE OTHER TRAVELERS • Submit your own reviews and photos of places you’ve visited to guide fellow travelers • Post and answer questions from like-minded travelers in the Tripadvisor forums

Version 58.3

Improvements to the Trip planning product which allow travelers to: - Receive a custom AI itinerary backed by traveler reviews - View saves in an organized list within the saves tab - Build an itinerary by adding saves and organizing them by day - View saves plotted on a map

Ratings and Reviews

356.5K Ratings

Editors’ Choice

We wouldn’t dream of planning a vacation without consulting TripAdvisor’s appraisals of hotels, restaurants, and attractions. But this robust app does much more than that, letting you book your entire trip—from flights to museum tickets—in one place. For those who embrace spontaneity, TripAdvisor is great for quickly finding spots nearby to stay, eat, or play, and the honest user reviews frequently save us from travel troubles.

Good place fro family

I have stayed at this particular RIU twice now and have stayed at others in Jamaica; this was more fun in 2018 when they had a club on site and foam party. They have renovated now, and the property is better, but it seems the food has gotten worse and entertainment not as good. I would recommend RIU Negril, the more expensive one, since they have two; this will give you access to both properties since only one has a good pool. RIU Ocho Rios has an adult pool with a swim-up bar, but it’s a bunch of kids in it splashing water in your drink and some teenagers at the bar drinking alcohol. If you want a family place that you can have fun in, this is it; if you are not looking to be around many kids, avoid it. This property is very clean, and they keep it that way; I did not feel as harassed by local salespeople as I did the last time. The staff was friendly for the most part. There is no AC in the elevators, and the bottles of alcohol that were standard in the room have been removed. The gym is relatively small. I would rate this place a 7 out of 10. It’s a decent resort overall.

WHY keep changing things????

I knew it was a mistake to click on “update” without waiting a few days to read the reviews - which I was sure would be terrible - because they just keep on changing things and making it worse for NO REASON!! I can’t understand why they think ANY of the recent changes are improvements - they moved things around AGAIN so it’s unfamiliar! Nothing on the home page is relevant. Can’t even FIND MY OWN reviews now! Why is everything so HUGE? They’re wasting space & making me scroll way too much… This is the FIFTH time I’ve updated this review in 30 minutes - every time I try to do something I keep finding more horrendous changes. Are they honestly going to make me click on “read more” for EVERY single review? OMG!!! Now instead of just having 2 search lines so I can type in the name of what I want to see and the location directly below it, it I have to click on something else to get the location box to show up so I can type it - an UNNECESSARY EXTRA step! Then, there are multiple restaurants with the same name in this city, and you don’t show me the address anymore, they all just say the city, so I have NO IDEA which one is correct!! They have absolutely destroyed what used to be a helpful trip planning app & it’s just awful now. I’ve never used yelp but it’s time to consider it... Did the people who created this ridiculous redesign ever try to actually use the app before they released this crap to the general public?

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Tips for Booking a Hotel with Expedia

Booking the right hotel is one of the most important factors when it comes to getting the most out of your vacation. If you're looking to plan an unforgettable trip, you'll need to find the right place to stay. Learn how Expedia can help you book the right hotel for your needs whether you're taking the family on a vacation, traveling with someone special, or just taking some time away for yourself.

How to book a hotel on Expedia?

When you book through Expedia, the entire process is simple. You'll find a wide range of accommodation options and destinations to choose from, as well as a variety of search filters to help you find exactly what you're looking for. That means you can search exclusively for hotels with a pool , pet-friendly policies , or family-friendly amenities . Las Vegas hotels and New York hotels are especially popular, but you'll also find options for other destinations like  Myrtle Beach .

What are the most important things when choosing a hotel?

Finding the right hotel means opting for stays that cater to your unique needs. Quite a few factors go into what a hotel is like to experience, and you'll need to consider them all.

  • Amenities: think about what kind of amenities you need to have. You'll find options for pools or fitness centers in hotels all across the country and beyond.
  • Location: the location can also play a major role in your experience, especially if you want to be close to certain attractions like downtown or the beach.
  • Price & Reviews: you'll want to find a balance between affordability and positive reviews to get as much as you can within the budget you've set.

How far in advance should I book a hotel?

You can sometimes book a hotel as late as the day before check-in, but most of the time, you'll want to book well in advance. You can see what's available up to 40 days in advance, and even monitor the price trends if you're not ready to book right away. Prices tend to go down the closer it gets to the date, especially around the 21-day mark. 21 days from your check-in, prices are generally somewhat normal, with prices often falling, then briefly rising, then falling again. Last-minute bookings can be especially cheap since hotels are desperate to book their last few rooms.

While it varies by destination, you should generally book a hotel room between 1 and 3 months before you travel. Seasonality plays a major part in rates and availability, too. For example,  California or Florida are often fully booked during the busy summer months, so it's wise to reserve at least 6 months ahead when traveling at that time of year. You should also reserve well in advance if you're heading to major events. For instance,  Madison Square Garden Hotels  should be reserved early when there are sporting fixtures or concerts taking place. The same applies for local holidays. Hotels in New Orleans , for example, get booked out early for ‘Mardi Gras' festivities, while  hotels in Mexico  can be hard to come by for 'Day of the Dead' celebrations.

How can I find the cheapest hotels?

To find the cheapest hotel rooms, you'll need to consider several factors that affect the price. The time of year you visit can play a major role in price, with the off-season tending to be cheaper overall. Hotels with lower star ratings are going to be more affordable as well. Additionally, you'll find cheaper options in less popular neighborhoods, which can be an easy way to save since a lot of cheap neighborhoods in popular destinations are located right next to the hot spots. Keep in mind, however, that these are general trends rather than strict rules. Hop over to the  cheap hotels  page for gathering budget accommodation ideas. There, you could score the best cheap hotels in the United States of America  and countless more popular spots across the globe. You'll also see alternative cheap lodging options, including  hostels , vacation home rentals and motels .

How can I find some of the best deals on hotels?

If you're looking for the best hotel deals, you'll want to implement several filters into your search. You can sort your results by price so that the cheapest options are automatically put at the top of the list. Then, adjust your filters to match your budget, and whether or not you want to only include fully refundable properties. If you become a member, you'll find even more hotel discounts.

You can also download and book through the  Expedia app  to unlock exclusive discounts on select  United States hotels  and destinations worldwide. You could land significant savings on  Los Angeles hotels , as well as generous discounts on  hotels in Chicago  and other top holiday spots. When booking in advance, you'll often score early-bird deals. That said, don't rule out last-minute offers, especially during low-season dates . Hotels in Key West  and other American seaside resorts often have amazing discounts outside of the school holidays.

Why should I book a hotel with Expedia?

When you book with Expedia, planning the ultimate vacation is easier than ever. Not only will you be able to find a hotel for your trip, but we can take care of your flight as well, with the potential for additional savings if you book your flight and your stay together. Plus, you'll find flexible cancellation policies on numerous hotels along with opportunities for booking on short notice. You can become a member of our One Key Loyalty Rewards program for free and enjoy even more discounts.

There are also  'book now, pay later' hotels . As well as amazing deals, you'll have 24/7 access to support through the  service  page, giving you peace of mind while travelling.

Are hotels fully refundable on Expedia?

Some hotels offer flexible cancellation policies when you book with Expedia. You'll be able to see on the results page which hotels in your search are fully refundable, as each that qualifies will be marked with "fully refundable" in green letters. Additionally, you can set the 'fully refundable' filter when searching to only show results that offer free cancellation hotels .

What types of accommodation can I find on Expedia?

You'll encounter a plethora of different lodging types on Expedia, such as charming boutique hotels in Cancun and more tropical destinations. Large family-friendly and adult-only  hotels in Hawaii  and other beach resorts are popular among those seeking a relaxing break in the sun. For even more comfort, consider  all-inclusive hotels in Puerto Rico and other summer holiday spots. This type of accommodation includes all meals and drinks, so you don't even have to lift a finger while on holiday.  Bed and breakfasts ,  apartments  and holiday ski hotels  are just some of the other lodging types you can choose from.

Is it possible to filter accommodations based on specific amenities?

Yes, you'll find an array of filters that let you laser in on the best places to stay based on the amenities you need. Whether you need business facilities in your  Manhattan Hotel or are seeking relaxing  spa hotels in Miami , Expedia's many search filters make it easy to find the best place to stay.

How can I explore different star-rated accommodations and accommodation brands?

If you like to stay in a specific hotel, type the brand name into the search bar to see all available options. Expedia works with most of the major chains, including Hilton, Hyatt Hotels and Marriott. Scroll down further, and below the search field, you'll see the filters for star ratings. Whether you're seeking  5-star hotels in Nashville  or  budget hotels in New York , Expedia makes booking a breeze.

Are there accommodations located near popular points of interest or in specific neighborhoods?

One of the great things about using Expedia's hotel booking site is that you can filter search results by area and popular locations. For example, when searching for  hotels in Orlando , you can select the “Walt Disney World® Resort” filter to view properties near the theme park. There's even a handy map so you can pinpoint the best place to stay in destinations worldwide.

Are luxury accommodations available on Expedia, and how can I book them?

If you're seeking a high-end experience, take your pick from the many  luxury hotels  available on Expedia. You can locate upscale lodging by ticking filters, like 5-star hotels, or ordering results by 'price high to low' and 'Guest rating + our choice'.

Do you cater to different types of travelers, such as business or leisure travelers?

Of course. When searching and booking a hotel room, you can filter by hotel and traveller type, including:

  • Family-friendly
  • All-Inclusive
  • LGBTQ-welcoming
  • Business-friendly

Explore a world of travel with Expedia

Hotel deals on domestic destinations.

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Book hotels internationally

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  • Find Cheap Hotels & Deals
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Best destinations for All Inclusive Resorts

  • Find All-inclusive Hotels & Resorts
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  • All-inclusive Resorts in Maldives
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More ways to stay & save

  • All Accommodation Types
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Recommended hotels

  • Top Domestic Hotels
  • Top International Hotels
  • Hilton Hawaiian Village Waikiki Beach Resort, HI
  • Wilderness at the Smokies - Stone Hill Lodge, TN
  • The Cosmopolitan Of Las Vegas, NV
  • SAHARA Las Vegas, NV
  • Excalibur Hotel & Casino Las Vegas, NV
  • Golden Nugget Lake Charles, LA
  • TWA Hotel at JFK Airport, NY
  • Great Wolf Lodge Pocono Mountains, PA
  • The Venetian Resort Las Vegas, NV
  • Tahiti Village Resort & Spa Las Vegas, NV
  • Harrah's Hotel and Casino Las Vegas, NV
  • Great Wolf Lodge Wisconsin Dells, WI
  • Universal's Cabana Bay Beach Resort Orlando, FL
  • The Guitar Hotel at Seminole Hard Rock, Fort Lauderdale, FL
  • Circus Circus Hotel, Casino & Theme Park Las Vegas, NV
  • Gaylord Palms Resort & Convention Center Orlando, FL
  • Sunburst Inn, St.Petersburg-Clearwater, FL
  • The Westin Maui Resort & Spa Ka'anapali, HI
  • Bellagio Las Vegas, NV
  • Tropicana Atlantic City, NJ
  • The Mirage Hotel & Casino Las Vegas, NV

Top Hotel Brands

  • Best Western
  • La Quinta Inn
  • Red Roof Inn
  • Extended Stay America
  • Holiday Inn
  • Comfort Inn & Suites

Other useful links

  • The Best Travel Deals
  • Last Minute Deals
  • Hotel Deals
  • Las Vegas Top Hotels
  • National Park Hotels
  • Northern Light Hotels
  • Disney World® Resorts
  • Adults Only Hotels
  • Ocean Front Hotels
  • Pet Friendly Hotels
  • Kid & Family Hotels
  • Top Waterpark Hotels
  • Beach Condos
  • Ski Resorts
  • Beach Hotels

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How do I manage booking requests and inquiries?

Travelers can contact you in two ways - by submitting a booking request or sending you an inquiry.

What is a booking request?

A booking request is a quick and easy way for new guests to provisionally book your property online.  If you’re using our online booking system, travelers will be able to make a provisional payment using the ‘ Book Now ’’ section on your listing. When they do, you’ll receive an email and text alert giving you 24 hours to accept the request before it expires.

How do I accept a booking request?

Carefully review the details of the booking request to ensure that the requested dates are available and the pricing is correct. You can then accept, reply or decline the request by selecting the relevant option. By accepting a booking request, the dates become unavailable on your calendar and the guest will be notified that their holiday request has been approved!  This will not only improve your response rate, but also contribute to your visibility in our search results. The traveler’s payment is only processed when you Accept and will be transferred to you approximately 24 hours after the guests’ arrival at your property. You can find out more about the payout process here .

What if I have a question before I can accept?

If you wish to mention or discuss some additional details prior to accepting the request, select Reply and send the traveler a follow up message.  Please note, that the expiry time of a booking request still remains 24 hours.

What happens if I reject a booking request?  A booking request is generated by a guest who wants to book your property and have already authorized payment for their stay - a guaranteed booking!  Having a booking request rejected even though the property was showing as available, is a very negative and disappointing experience for travelers. Please note:  rejecting a booking request will affect your acceptance rate and can also impact your overall position within our search results. In order to ensure that doesn’t happen, keep your pricing and calendar accurate and up to date. Click here for further information on how you can update your calendar.

What if I don't respond to a booking request? If you do not accept or decline a booking request within 24 hours, the request will automatically expire . The traveller will be notified that their request has not been responded to. If a booking request expires, the system will automatically assume that the dates are no longer available and place a manual block in your calendar for those dates . To unblock them, go to your calendar , select the dates, click on available and then save.

What is an Inquiry?

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Here's what it's like to to book an adventure abroad through Viator, Trip Advisor's tour and excursion booking platform

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  • While in Croatia with my family this year, I used Trip Advisor 's activity-booking platform Viator to book boat charters abroad. All operators are pre-vetted by Trip Advisor to guarantee credibility and safety. Excursions range from $15 for a walking tour to thousands for luxury experiences.
  • Booking independently through Viator saved me significant costs compared to using a travel agency, and helped me plan my vacation in advance, with clear pricing and reviews from past guests.
  • I had a great experience with Viator and would use it again — but with a few changes. Next time, I'll make sure to ask more questions first, so I don't face any surprises. Here's what you should know to do the same.
  • Read all Insider Picks travel reviews here.

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I'm a lifestyle journalist with a focus on travel and trot the globe frequently with my husband and five-year-old twins. So I think of myself as pretty savvy when it comes to calling upon Internet resources (not to mention intuition earned through experience) to make bookings, even in places I've never before been.

This summer, I went on a two-week vacation with my family in Europe, hitting Greece and Croatia, plus bordering countries along the Dalmatian Coast. We spent a fair amount of time off the beaten path and there were a lot of moving parts. But I felt confident, and competent, that I could independently plan our trip, without the help of a travel agency. I know my way around search engines for flights, hotels, and deals.

But there was a blind spot. How would I book tours and excursions such as chartering a speedboat for our family to Croatia's famous islands?

I was relieved when I stumbled upon the activity-booking search engine Viator , which is owned by Trip Advisor. After reviewing various offerings and reading reviews, I booked two separate boat charters through the company. Both boats were clean, comfortable, beautiful, more or less as advertised, and operated by companies I would not have known how to access without Viator. 

I'd recommend the platform, especially to anyone staying at an Airbnb without a concierge like I did, or looking for cheaper options than what a hotel or travel agency might suggest. But I'd offer a caveat from my own experience: savvy travelers must make sure to cover their bases to avoid potential pitfalls such as the one we experienced. 

What is Viator?

Viator is Trip Advisor's platform for booking all kinds of activities during travel. Consider you might find 4x4 and camel tours in Dubai, a skip-the-line tour of the Colosseum in Rome, or a tour of the Grand Canyon by helicopter from Las Vegas.

Really, you'll find just about anything. The search engine includes options for a truly whopping 200,000 bookable activities in places all around the world making it unlikely that you won't find what you need. All operators listed are pre-vetted for credibility and safety backed by Trip Advisor .

Importantly, the site also aggregates millions of reviews, like what you'll find on Viator's sister site, Trip Advisor, so you have a pretty good sense of what you're getting. 

How is Viator priced?

Naturally, price points on Viator range dramatically based on the location and the excursions' complexity. A basic walking tour might cost under $20 while a day-long excursion or charter could cost hundreds more. The more expensive of the two trips I booked came in under $1,000, and the rates on the site can soar depending on what you're booking.

The site is optimized for mobile booking, offers around-the-clock customer service in multiple languages, a lowest-price guarantee, and a 24-hour cancellation policy, which makes the financial risk in booking feel low. 

In fact, I made use of that cancellation policy a few times to cancel and rebook similar activities when I changed my mind on the specifics, and also to flatly cancel a sightseeing tour I'd booked for our first day in Greece when I realized we'd all be too jet-lagged to bother.

I made both Viator bookings using my Chase Sapphire Reserve credit card  — both in U.S. dollars — and faced no trouble making these changes.

What did I book through Viator?

I'd never been to Croatia, but knew I wanted to see its beautiful islands. We were staying in an Airbnb apartment (a rare choice for me) instead of a full-service hotel with concierge, so I was on my own for finding out how to do this. 

Poking around on the Internet for tours, I discovered Viator , which was previously unknown to me. I appreciated that like its parent company Trip Advisor, Viator heavily incorporates a review system, and the Trip Advisor backing gave me confidence. I booked two tours, each about three weeks ahead of our arrival.

For our stay in Dubrovnik, I booked a half-day private speedboat tour to the Elafiti islands , which earned an impressive five stars overall, with over 100 reviews on Viator. The trip for four people for four hours came in just under $400 after I used a 10 percent discount code. 

Then, for the portion of our trip in the northern area of the country, Split, I booked an all-day private sightseeing tour with five proposed stops , including the famous Blue Cave and Hvar island. This trip also had an overall five-star rating on Viator, but with far fewer reviews, just 27 as of the time of this writing. The eight-hour trip for four people on the private speedboat charter cost $873 after the discount code.

These prices might seem steep, but consider that it's priced for four people, as well as the alternative. When I briefly felt overwhelmed with planning, I reached out to a Croatia-based travel agency. The land-only quote for a week in the county for our party of four was 12,000 euros. Booking on my own — including these two-day trips through Viator — cut our expenses to less than half.

My booking experience with Viator

After so much planning, our trip was at last underway. We spent a morning at a Dubrovnik beach club before our scheduled boat tour for the afternoon. That same day, the highly responsive tour company reached out through WhatsApp and email to coordinate transportation for us to the marina, where we'd be meeting our skipper and the boat.

They called a rideshare at their expense to meet us at the beach club and we arrived at the marina to find an impeccably clean boat and friendly skipper.

As promised, the boat was just for our family with amenities like shade cover and a USB port to charge up phones and stay ready for photo taking. 

We set out for the afternoon on the Adriatic and were able to customize our itinerary, checking out bays, beaches, and caves at our own pace. The skipper snapped family photos and offered snorkel masks and drinks.

At the end of the afternoon, our skipper called us an Uber to take us back to the hotel. Overall it was a successful, fun day. And at under $400 for four people, felt like a great value for all we were able to do.

Unfortunately, it didn't foreshadow the more challenging experience we had on our next excursion, which was the full-day boat charter from Split.

For that trip, I had more difficulty communicating in advance with the operator, who was less responsive. I didn't get all my questions answered before booking, and miscalculated by making some critical assumptions that turned out to be false.

We arrived at the marina to find a boat that exceeded our expectations. It was a rather luxurious looking speedboat with room for 12 and was larger and fancier than our previous boat in Dubrovnik.

It was also more powerful, at 250 horsepower. While some people might appreciate that, the speed of the vessel scared our young children right away.

Our skipper was a devoted and experienced older brother, so he was well equipped with strategies to help calm our kids and took pains to make them comfortable. He even let my son "drive" the boat and honk the horn, which was a huge hit. 

But my daughter was still uncomfortable as the boat sped through the open ocean. Off the bat, I wondered if this was something any ambitious American traveler would attempt with such young children had they known how rough it would be.

The skipper warned us that the Blue Cave would be backed up and crowded, and the timing might correspond to a bumpy afternoon sail. So we opted against it and chose a custom plan to mitigate the intensity. I appreciated that we were able to change the day's itinerary to better suit our needs.

Our skipper took us to a gorgeous, remote beach on the island of Vis, which was a true highlight with crystal clear water and a sense of true isolation. We swam from the boat to the beach, snorkeled, and took lots of pictures.

Afterward, we sailed to glamorous Hvar island, where we passed an hour or so with lunch in Hvar Town.

But it was after that, on the way back to the harbor in Split, when our challenges started in earnest.

It was squarely afternoon by then, and the winds had picked up; the open ocean was very choppy. That is to say, our boat caught full air and slammed back down — over and over again. There was nothing the skipper could do as this was the nature of the boat and typical conditions.

Although my kids (mercifully) don't suffer motion sickness, they were terrified. Anyone with young children and those who do suffer from motion sickness should inquire about conditions before booking any similar boat ride as I wished I had.

My son could be placated by heading back to his post as the boat's "driver," but my daughter was miserable for the full 75 minutes it took to get back to the marina and the waves soaked our family. Making matters more concerning, there was only one kid-sized life jacket on board.  

I was regretful that I'd gotten us in this position. I hadn't adequately confirmed that this was the right trip for our family.

And although I generally feel like a diligent and capable planner, I'd continued with the booking despite not waiting for the answers I needed: Would there be child-sized snorkel masks? Would there be two child-sized life jackets? Was the water likely to be rough? Will we get wet or seasick?  

The bottom line on Viator  

Overall, I wouldn't trade either of the stunning boat excursions I booked through Viator . They made for essential sightseeing experiences for any visitor to Croatia.

The operators on both experiences were professional, and the services were provided as advertised. I also found the prices to be reasonable, much more so than if I'd booked through a travel agency.

I'll book through Viator again, but next time, I'll make sure I'm asking more questions and getting the specific answers I need first.

If a particular operator is vague or reluctant to respond to the specifics of an important matter, like child-sized life vests, or typical water conditions, I will move on to another operator.  

As a now-seasoned Viator user, I'd say: book with confidence. Just make sure you ask a lot of questions specific to your needs and make sure you get them all answered explicitly before you show up on the day of your booking.

With the sheer number of bookings available on Viator, you should have plenty of options to keep moving onto another suitable tour operator until you find one that gives you all the answers — and confidence — you need.  

Book a Viator excursion, large or small, anywhere on earth .

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The Ultimate Guide to Using Tripadvisor for Booking Flights, Hotels, Rentals, and More

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Katie Seemann

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The Ultimate Guide to Using Tripadvisor for Booking Flights, Hotels, Rentals, and More

Table of Contents

What tripadvisor offers, tripadvisor reviews, tripadvisor forum, get social with tripadvisor, tripadvisor mobile app, final thoughts.

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While you might just think of Tripadvisor as the place to get honest reviews about hotels, restaurants, or things to do, it’s actually so much more than that.

First, Tripadvisor acts as a metasearch  engine , showing you prices for hotels, flights, and rental cars on lots of other websites. You can click through Tripadvisor to the other site to complete a booking.

Second, in recent years, they’ve added a social aspect to the site. You can follow other accounts, and you have a home page feed that’s similar to what you see on Facebook.

Finally, Tripadvisor has its own travel forum for you to ask and answer questions about all things travel.

Let’s take a look at everything Tripadvisor offers and how it can help you plan and book your next vacation.

You can search for almost anything that you’ll need for your next vacation on Tripadvisor.

  • Things to do
  • Restaurants
  • Vacation rentals
  • Vacation packages
  • Rental cars

Tripadvisor offers lots of reviews plus it acts as a metasearch engine, like Google Flights , Kayak , or Skyscanner .

It gathers tons of data to show you the prices for your flight, hotel, rental car, and more on lots of other websites. Once you find a price you like, it transfers you to another website (usually a hotel or airline’s website or an online travel agency) to complete your booking.

Tripadvisor Hotels

TripAdvisor Hotels homepage

Hot Tip: Check out our guide to the best credit cards to book vacations so you can maximize your rewards.

Tripadvisor Things To Do

Tripadvisor is a great tool to find activities for your next trip. To start, click on Things To Do in the main menu and then enter your destination.

TripAdvisor Things to Do homepage

Inputting your travel dates will show more accurate pricing information, but it’s not required. You can search for events and activities in several ways:

  • Search by category
  • Search popular cities
  • Search only tours and tickets or day trips

TripAdvisor Things to Do Oahu

When you’re viewing a list of available activities, you’ll see lots of options to filter and sort the results . Click Book Now to see specifics about the activity.

TripAdvisor Things to Do Oahu tour

From here you’ll be able to see all of the details about the activity including things like transportation specifics, what’s included and not included, dates and times, plus reviews.

You can check availability for your desired date and see what times the tour or activity is offered. The main price you see is per person, so this is where you can see the final price if you’re booking for more than 1 person. Click Add to Cart to complete your booking via Viator, a Tripadvisor company .

TripAdvisor Things to Do Oahu tour booking

Anytime you book an activity on Tripadvisor, the transaction will be completed by Viator.

Viator offers a Best Price Guarantee on your purchase. That means that if you find the same tour from the same operator priced in the same currency within 72 hours of booking, it will refund the difference in price. Plus if you arrive for your tour or activity and find a lower price being offered by the operator, contact Viator and it will refund the difference in price.

Bottom Line: Tripadvisor offers activities and tours for your next vacation. You can read reviews, check prices, and book your activity all in one spot. When you book an activity through Tripadvisor, the transaction will happen via Viator, a Tripadvisor company.

Tripadvisor Restaurants

Did you know that you can also use Tripadvisor to find great restaurants? Just click on Restaurants in the main search menu, and then enter your destination.

TripAdvisor Restaurants homepage

You’ll see lots of different ways to search for a great restaurant for your specific needs. There are lots of options to filter and sort the results list. You can browse restaurants based on lots of criteria:

  • Type of food
  • Type of dining establishment
  • Dietary restrictions
  • Location (using the map feature in the upper left corner)

TripAdvisor Restaurants filter

Click on any restaurant selection to see details, photos, and reviews.

If you have a specific question about a restaurant, scroll down to the Q&A section. You can see previously asked questions or ask one of your own.

Some restaurants will allow you to make a reservation online . You can find these in the Reserve a Table Online section, or just look for the Open Table reservation box in any listing.

TripAdvisor Restaurants reservation

Hot Tip: Do you eat out often? If so, use a credit card that earns lots of points at restaurants to maximize your returns! 

Tripadvisor Flights

Tripadvisor might not be the first website that comes to mind when you need to search for a flight. But, it acts as a metasearch engine , comparing prices from lots of other sites in one place.

TripAdvisor Flight search

Hot Tip: Not sure which online travel agency is best for you? Check out our guide to the best websites to book cheap flights for some guidance.

If you’re curious about the airline you’re booking, check out the Tripadvisor airline reviews. From the home page, click on the 3 dots in the main search box to open the drop-down menu. Then click on Airlines .

TripAdvisor airlines

Here you’ll see the airlines listed in alphabetical order or you can sort them by rating or alliance. Click on See Reviews to read reviews about the airline from other Tripadvisor users.

TripAdvisor airline reviews

Tripadvisor Vacation Rentals

If a hotel isn’t quite your style, you’ll be happy to know that you can also search for vacation rentals on Tripadvisor.

TripAdvisor Vacation Rentals

  • Finally, all you need to do is enter your information and credit card number to complete your reservation. Your booking is completed through FlipKey Inc. (a Tripadvisor company).

Tripadvisor Rental Cars

Searching for a rental car on Tripadvisor works much like other sites you might be used to.

TripAdvisor car rentals

  • Once you’ve found the car you want to rent, click View Deal . Unlike with flights or hotels, where you’ll be automatically taken to another website to book, your rental car booking will be processed through Tripadvisor/RentalCars.com , regardless of what supplier is listed.

TripAdvisor car rental book

Right before you complete your rental, you’ll be asked to add an Auto Collision Damage Waiver (CDW) and Theft Waiver. Before you decide to purchase this extra coverage, take a look in your wallet. Your credit card might already come with a CDW.

Trip Advisor Rental Car CDW

Here are just a few popular credit cards that come with extra car rental insurance :

  • Chase Sapphire Reserve ®
  • The Platinum Card ® from American Express
  • Ink Business Preferred ® Credit Card

Hot Tip: For more information about your options check out our guide to the best credit cards for car rental insurance .

Tripadvisor Road Trips

The Road Trip section of Tripadvisor is a fun way to check out popular road trip routes in the U.S . To find it, click on More •••  on the home page, then select Road Trips .

TripAdvisor road trips

You can search by region: Northwest, Southwest, Midwest, Northeast, or Southeast. Each road trip selection will offer tips for that route including how long it should take and the best time of year. Plus, there will be a map of the route.

Scroll down a bit to see hotels, restaurants, and things to do along the way. To see all of these things mapped out, just click on the map of the route. You can then search by location. Toggle between hotels, restaurants, and things to do by using the icons in the top left corner.

Tripadvisor cruise homepage 1

Tripadvisor Cruises

To begin your search for a cruise on Tripadvisor, select Cruises in the main search bar. Enter your destination and month of travel then click Search.

Tripadvisor cruise homepage 1

Hot Tip: If you aren’t sure about where or when you want to cruise, scroll down on the main cruise page to search by destination, duration, and popularity.

Your results page will have all of the filtering options to the left — there are lots of options to help narrow down your list:

  • Departure port
  • Cruise length
  • Cruise line
  • Ports of call

Each result will display a price, but this isn’t necessarily the lowest price available. Click on the drop-down menu for more information or click on the cruise name to see more detailed information. Clicking on View Deal will take you to another website to continue booking.

Tripadvisor cruise detail

Once you click on a specific cruise for more information you’ll be able to access traveler photos and reviews. Plus you’ll be able to see all of the deals available by clicking on View all X deals.

Tripadvisor cruise detailed

Hot Tip: The cruise deals shown do not necessarily include all deals available. You might notice that the price to book directly is often left out.

If you decide to book a cruise via Tripadvisor, don’t forget to print our ultimate cruise packing list so you’re prepared for your adventure!

Tripadvisor reviews are the backbone of the website. If you’ve ever booked a hotel, you’ve likely checked out a Tripadvisor review.

The beauty of its reviews is that they are from real people who have stayed at the hotel you’re researching. Glossy, professional photos can make anyplace look fantastic, but with Tripadvisor, you get to see authentic, unedited photos from real travelers. It’s true, you’ll have to sort through some terrible, blurry pictures, but you’ll get a good sense of what the hotel is really like.

In addition to hotel reviews, you can find reviews for activities, restaurants, vacation rentals, and even cruises.

Tips for Making the Most out of Tripadvisor Reviews

Many reviews will give you a sense of the customer service a hotel offers. Although this is a great thing, it also gives a platform to disgruntled customers who want to bash a location. These are pretty easy to spot, so take them with a grain of salt.

If you’re searching for a specific question about a hotel, you can use the search function. Tripadvisor will offer suggestions of keywords to search for or you can input the specific piece of information you’re looking for. You’ll then see any reviews that mention that keyword. Next time you’re searching for a hotel, check the reviews for keywords like “heated pool,” “room service,” or “restaurants.”

Tripadvisor review

If you’d like to search for reviews that are more specific to your circumstances, you can easily filter the reviews by traveler type (families, couples, solo, business, or friends), time of year, and language.

Tripadvisor review detail

In addition to reading written reviews, you can scroll through pictures that people have posted. You can tell a lot about a property just by doing this versus looking at the beautiful photos posted by the hotel. Those are beautiful to look at, but if you want to see what the hotel is really like, scroll through the traveler photos. To find these, just click on Traveler Photos in the upper right-hand corner of the hotel’s review page.

Tripadvisor traveler photo

Hot Tip: You can get a wealth of information about a hotel, restaurant, activity, cruise, or vacation rental from Tripadvisor reviews. You can search the written reviews for specifics like, “Is there a heated pool?” or check out the traveler photos for an unedited look at the property.

The Tripadvisor travel forums are a great resource for anyone planning a trip.

From the Tripadvisor home page, click on Travel Forums in the top toolbar.

Tripadvisor Travel Forum

If you’ve already selected your destination, you’ll click on the 3 dots in the search bar at the top of the screen, then click on Travel Forum .

If you access the travel forum through the home page, you’ll need to select a destination to search for. If you searched for a destination first and then accessed the travel forum, you’ll be automatically be taken to the forum for that destination.

There are general forums for states or countries and more specific city-oriented forums. You can easily move back and forth between all of these forums by clicking on the links within the forum.

Tripadvisor Hawaii Travel Forum

Tips for Making the Most out of Tripadvisor Forums

One of the great things about Tripadvisor forums is that you can get really specific. This is a great place to search for answers that would be otherwise hard to find. The forums are filled with local experts (other Tripadvisor users who answer lots of forum questions and leave lots of reviews) to help you out. Try asking questions like: “What bar in Miami Beach shows the NBA Playoffs?” “What restaurants in Charlotte are dog-friendly?” or “What’s the best way to get to the zoo in San Diego?” If you have a specific question, the Tripadvisor forum is the place to ask it.

If you have a question that you think might be common, check out the list of top questions to the right side of the forums. Click on a link to take you to a previous thread about your question. Pay attention to the dates, though. Some of the threads may be outdated — so you may want to ask a new question for updated information.

You may have noticed that the Tripadvisor home page has some social aspects to it now. You’ll see a main feed with the ability to like, repost, and share a post. You’ll see a list of suggested people to follow to the right.

How and Why to Create a Tripadvisor Account

To take part in the social aspect of Tripadvisor , you’ll need to create a free account. You’ll be able to create an account via Facebook, Google, or an email address. Click on Sign in in the upper right-hand corner to get started.

Tripadvisor sign in

Once you create an account, you can follow other accounts and like, repost, and share other posts. Plus you can make your own posts by clicking on Post photos or Write review in the bottom left-hand corner of your account.

Trip Advisor account -

Tripadvisor offers a free mobile app that is available for iOS  and Android.

It feels more like a social site than a travel booking and review site because the main feed is prominently placed on the home page. You can follow experts and other travelers for helpful tips and travel inspiration.

To access traveler photos and reviews, plus pricing and booking information click on the icons at the top of your screen. Here you’ll also find a direct link to Tripadvisor forums.

Tripadvisor iOS

Tripadvisor is more than just reviews! The site acts as a metasearch engine and helps you search for hotels, flights, rental cars, cruises, things to do, vacation rentals, and restaurants.

You can also get social on Tripadvisor. Create an account to share your photos and reviews, and follow other accounts to see their posts in your home feed.

Through traveler photos and reviews, Tripadvisor excels in giving you a glimpse into the true nature of every aspect of your vacation.

For rates and fees of The Platinum Card ® from American Express, click here .

Frequently Asked Questions

How do i write a review on tripadvisor.

To write a review on Tripadvisor, go to the listing page of what you want to review and scroll down to the Reviews section. You will see a green button labeled Write a review . Click this to write and submit a review.

Or, if you’re already logged into your account, click on Write review on the lower left side of your screen under your profile information.

How do I claim a Tripadvisor page?

To claim your business’ page on Tripadvisor, locate your page and scroll down and click on Manage This Business? in the Details section. Then fill out the required information to contact Tripadvisor about your business.

Is Tripadvisor owned by Expedia?

At 1 point in its history, Tripadvisor was owned by Expedia . However, in 2011 these companies split to form 2 separate entities.

Tripadvisor now owns its own group of subsidiary companies including airfarewatchdog.com, cruisecritic.com, flipkey.com, seatguru.com, and viator.com, among others.

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About Katie Seemann

Katie has been in the points and miles game since 2015 and started her own blog in 2016. She’s been freelance writing since then and her work has been featured in publications like Travel + Leisure, Forbes Advisor, and Fortune Recommends.

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The 13 Best Hotel Booking Sites

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Megan Johnson

Megan is a Senior Editor, SEO for SmarterTravel Media.

Megan started with SmarterTravel Media’s Airfarewatchdog way back in 2008, moved over to FamilyVacationCritic, and finally SmarterTravel in 2021. Originally from Massachusetts, she has lived in Nova Scotia, London, and New York City. She has spent nearly every summer (or at least part of it) on Prince Edward Island. She has started to go out of her comfort zone while traveling- most recently exploring caves and boogie boarding on a FlowRider.

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As with the best flight booking sites , there’s no shortage of resources available when you need to book a cheap hotel room. From metasearch engines (aggregator) that send you to company sites, to bookable OTAs (online travel agencies), to corporate hotel sites, the options for the best hotel booking sites can be overwhelming. But when doing your search, deciding which hotel booking sites to compare should depend on how often they offer the best hotel deals, and how you prefer to view and filter search results.

The Best Hotel Booking Sites for Comparing Prices

For most travel planning, the best overall strategy is to compare prices from multiple sources including the hotel’s own website, as it will sometimes offer deals not shared with third-party sites, or offer the same rates as third-party sites minus pesky booking fees. Hotels sites will also offer package deals—bundled amenity inclusions and the like—that aren’t shared with third-party sites.

Bottom line: Whether you search with a hotel site on this list or a preferred hotel search engine of your own, always check the hotel’s actual website as well, or call its reservations line, to make sure you really are getting the best hotel deal. Don’t forget to check the cancellation policy as the best hotel booking site is one that has a flexible policy in case your plans change.

If you’re trying to figure out how best to search for cheap hotels: First, scan this quick list of the best hotel search sites, in no particular order. Then, scroll down to read in-depth summaries of each or click to jump to a particular site.

Booking.com

Bookingbuddy, hotelscombined.

  • Expedia (which owns Travelocity and Orbitz )

Tripadvisor

Mr. & mrs. smith.

No list of the best hotel booking sites is exhaustive, but these 14 represent a combination of great crowd favorites mixed with some newer, similarly performing hotel search options that you might not know about.

All of them fared well in tests: Prices for the same dates and destinations were fairly consistent from site to site, but the volatility of results may vary based on your destination, how far in advance you’re looking for the best hotel deals, and the time of year you visit (i.e., high season vs. low).

With that in mind, here are the best hotel booking sites to compare prices with for your next trip, plus the best feature of each one.

The 16 Best Car Rental Booking Sites

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  • Insofar as keeping your options open goes, Booking.com returns the most eclectic search results by far, with a healthy mix of hotels, motels, b&bs, apartments, and hostels. But whether this is a good or bad thing depends entirely on your preferences. If you’re not a fan of hostels, for example, hotel search results like this mean that you have to filter them out, creating an extra step that other hotel booking sites don’t require. That said, Booking.com offers something for everyone. 
  • Its handy hotel search engine displays the total cost up front (except taxes) which is helpful when comparing cheap hotel rates; being able to see the total hotel cost up front helps you quickly determine which hotels actually fit into your budget.
  • Its filtering options are extensive, from price, cancellation policy, sustainability, specific neighborhood for that city, fun things to do nearby, amenities, room accessibility and much, much more. With this filter feature, you will be able to find exactly the kind of accommodations you want. 

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  • Like its flight search, Kayak ‘s hotel search offers a clean, easy-to-use interface with many available filters.
  • Shows other hotel booking sites’ rates so you can compare them all in one place. But the first hotel price result is often higher than better rates farther down the list, unless you specifically filter by price. Kayak’s hotel search results are automatically sorted by the vague factor of what’s “Recommended,” which is true of many hotel booking sites. Often, higher rates populate first while scrolling results, and sometimes that lead price is much higher than other comparable hotel options. Be sure to change sorting to price, so you can find the best deal. 
  • It’s search calendar is color coded to show you cheap, average, and high prices, which comes in handy if price is your number one priority when booking a hotel. 
  • If you are someone who likes to book by ratings, each hotel page on Kayak has the rating in a large box just next to the hotel pictures. It’s easy to find, and may help you to make your decision quickly. 

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  • Priceline has one of the more visually appealing design layouts of the major hotel search engines, and is definitely among the easiest hotel sites to navigate. None of these hotel search sites is dramatically different from the others in terms of rates or price comparison, so usability can go a long way toward improving the experience of searching for the best hotel prices.
  • Unsurprisingly, Priceline’s prices are on par with the other online travel agencies (OTAs), and its results are largely focused on downtowns and tourist-friendly areas. A big draw of Priceline is their “Express Deal” option: a flash deal that hides the name of the hotel until after you book. While somewhat gimmicky, this hotel search option can offer significant savings.
  • The handy map that is featured on each hotel page, which will show you other hotels in the area and the prices. This is particularly useful if you want to stay in the city center, by a specific landmark, or are visiting friends or family and want to be nearby where they live. 

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Editor’s note: BookingBuddy is owned by SmarterTravel Media, SmarterTravel.com’s parent company.

  • Compare multiple hotel booking sites with one click to find the cheapest hotel stays on BookingBuddy . This site lets you quickly compare prices of as many other search sites (like VRBO or Trivago) as you want, without having to do a bunch of different searches. Simply select which hotel/vacation rental search sites you want to compare, and BookingBuddy opens up a new tab with your selected hotel stay dates and destination already filled in.
  • You can sign up for an alert for when prices drop. If you are in no rush to book, you just may find a super deal if you sign up for an alert! 
  • Like other sites on this list, BookingBuddy pulls in and displays the best deals from various booking sites and OTAs on their own search results page. However, BookingBuddy also lets travelers directly compare entire search result pages across multiple sites, allowing them to toggle between the pages from a lefthand navigation menu.

The 12 Best Flight Search Sites for Booking Cheap Airfare

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  • Hotels.com helps you find the best hotel deals via tons of filters that let you narrow down your search. Its initial results tend to show a healthy balance of lower- and upper-end hotels, mostly in or around city centers. That’s what most travelers want in a hotel search engine: a robust, easily refined list of well-located options. Prices were on par with other OTAs.
  • Like many cheap hotel websites these days, Hotels.com includes lots of non-hotel properties too, including condo hotels, guesthouses, and bed and breakfasts.

Open laptop showing home screen of HotelsCombined, one of many listed hotel reservation sites

  • HotelsCombined is a meta search tool that searches a wide range of sources to find the best hotel deals, including OTAs, as well as the hotels’ own sites. 
  • You can also toggle between nightly base price, nightly price plus taxes/fees, or total stay plus taxes/fees. There is no option to display the total price of the stay without taxes/fees.
  • Easily see if your travel dates are during peak travel times with their color coded calendar showing you if your dates have “Cheaper, Average,” or “Higher” prices. 

Expedia, Travelocity, and Orbitz

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  • Short of the color scheme and fonts, you’d be hard pressed to find much difference between these three legacy hotel booking sites. Expedia , Travelocity , and Orbitz are all owned by Expedia Inc., and all three use the same layout, with a few minor tweaks. Interestingly, the hotel search results do vary slightly. 
  • The top hotel result for each test search was the same on Orbitz and Travelocity, but the order of the list of hotels below it varied. Interestingly the top search result on Expedia frequently differed, although the top result from the other two sites was typically still high on the list. Prices, of course, were the same, since they’re all powered by Expedia. These perfectly fine hotel search engines are not all that different from Hotels.com .
  • Keep an eye on these hotel sites’ deals and limited-time offers, which is when any of these three hotel search engines are more likely to substantially beat their competition.
  • With these sites, you can easily add a flight or car rentals to your accommodation booking, making for easy one-stop-shopping. 

What to Do When the Host Cancels Your Vacation Rental

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  • Originating as a hotel booking site with a focus on Asia and later expanding to offer U.S. properties, Agoda delivers a hotel search experience that matches some of the best hotel sites on this list. 
  • There are even instances when Agoda had better hotel deals than its competition, including one hotel search result in which the total booking cost was more than $200 less than the same hotel on Priceline (with a coupon code). Don’t expect that sort of result every time, but it shows that Agoda, like all the rest of these hotel booking sites, is well worth checking for the best hotel deals.

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  • Like HotelsCombined, Tripadvisor ‘s hotel search displays some of the very best hotel deals from a range of sites. The tool is built right into Tripadvisor’s general search function, letting you browse the site’s vast library of reviews, then begin your hotel booking seamlessly. The initial list of hotel search results is sorted by “best value” and shows the source of the given price, so that you know where (off Tripadvisor) your hotel booking is going to happen. 
  • Tripadvisor searches most of the major hotel booking sites, as well as some lesser-known ones; when applicable, it also includes the hotel’s own website. You can also book directly with Tripadvisor.
  • Sort your search by traveler ranking, so you can see the hotels travelers just like you prefer. Guest reviews often include pictures of hotel rooms taken by the guests themselves, not clouded over by staging, so you can see what the rooms actually look like before you book. 

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  • Another aggregate hotel booking site, Trivago did surface that low price coupon found on Agoda. However, it did not lead with that price, choosing instead to prominently display a higher price from Booking.com in large, green text. Odd. The lower-priced Agoda deal was listed second in the hotel search results, displayed in small gray text along with several others. In fact, Trivago found multiple hotel deals lower than that Booking.com price, but none received top billing for some reason. This happened in several other cases too, where the lead price ended up higher than best hotel prices that Trivago could find.
  •  The good thing about conducting a hotel search on Trivago is that Trivago searches several lesser-known hotel booking sites, including Agoda, in addition to the usual suspects like Expedia, Priceline, and Booking.com . But travelers should take a close look at Trivago’s hotel search results to make sure that Trivago isn’t hiding a better deal farther down the list.

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Open laptop showing home screen of Google Hotels

  • Google’s hotel search engine works by simply entering “hotels in (insert city here)” right on Google.com . (You can also go straight to the Google Hotels page .) This feature is integrated into Google Maps, which makes it very different from any of the other hotel booking sites listed above. On Google, hotel locations are marked by prices on a map, rather than by name or any other identifying characteristic. 
  • From there, Google’s hotel search tool is fairly price-forward, which is what metasearch should be. Clicking on a price displays the hotel’s name, features, and booking options. Overall, it’s no surprise that Google offers a powerful, no-frills hotel search engine for travelers who don’t want all the hard-sell aspects of cheap hotel sites and more commercial hotel search engines. (And yes, Google did surface that low-with-coupon hotel deal from Agoda.)

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  • One of the best hotel booking sites for last minute deals and “Hot Rates,” which hide the hotel name in order to give you a better rate (similar to Priceline’s Express Deals), Hotwire is a great option if you don’t mind a limited-details final booking; and you probably don’t if it’s short notice. 
  • Hotwire’s Hot Rates descriptions feature so many details about the property, as well as a pretty narrow location radius, that you can sometimes figure out the hotel you’ll be booked in, although it’s still somewhat of a gamble. Hotwire is also partnered with reliable global hotel brands like Kimpton and Hyatt, so you can be more confident that you won’t end up with a ramshackle property.
  • The savings vary depending on the destination, but Hot Rates are consistently much more competitive than the standard Hotwire rates, which aren’t always the best price compared to other hotel booking sites. The main qualm that most customers have with Hotwire is their “24/7 support,” which apparently can be pretty unhelpful despite always being available to you.

Vacation Rentals vs. Hotels: Which is the Better Choice?

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  • Their price match feature goes above and beyond the usual. If you find a lower price elsewhere, they will not only match it, but you will also receive a $50 voucher. 
  • You must become a member to book through Mr. & Mrs. Smith, however, entry-level membership is free. Members receive “Smith Extras” upon arrival to their hotel—anything from a bottle of champagne to a spa service! 
  • Hotels must be invited to join this website, as they are carefully vetted by “undercover tastemakers” before being added to the site. 

Which Hotel Booking Site Is Best for Me?  

Consider what type of trip you are taking. If you are open to the type of place you want to stay at, then consider a site with more diverse options. If you are torn between a hotel or vacation rental, BookingBuddy is the site for you, as it will search for both to help you make your decision. If you rely heavily on peer reviews, then go with TripAdvisor . Check our best features of each site above to decide which site is best for you to make your hotel reservation. For 

What is the Difference Between an Online Travel Agency (OTA) and Metasearch Engine? 

An OTA allows you to book directly through them, and does not send you outside of their site to make your booking. a Metasearch Engine (also known as an aggregator) searches multiple sites including OTA’s, and will send you to a site outside of the aggregator to finalize your booking. 

Is It Cheaper to Book Directly with a Hotel or With a Hotel Booking Site?

It might be cheaper to book directly with a hotel, but this option really only makes sense if you already have a hotel you love and you want to book. Otherwise, the fastest, cheapest way to book a hotel is going to be by using one of the hotel booking websites. You will waste a lot of time calling hotels to see if you can get a better deal, and who has time for that these days?! 

When Should I Book My Hotel?

This really depends on your flexibility. If all you want is the best deal, and you aren’t picky about where the hotel is, waiting until the last minute (one to two days before you travel) could probably get you the best deal on your hotel. But, you might not want to risk that—I know I wouldn’t when planning a vacation! If you are booking for travel during peak times, book early so you don’t end up far away from where all of the action is, as hotels can book up quickly, especially during school vacation times. 

12 Hotel Hacks That Will Save You Money

Bottom Line

What is the best hotel booking website.

These days, we are inundated with choices, including the number of accommodation booking websites there are out there. These sites should all make your booking easier, but some will make it even easier. Our clear winner is HotelsCombined.com . It’s easy to read, you can choose from hotels and rentals, and its ability to search hotel sites gives it the edge over other sites. Booking.com is solid runner-up, as they appear to have the other sites beat as far as the volume of hotels goes. 

Editor’s note: This story was originally published in 2016. It has been updated to reflect the most current information. All of the products featured in this story were hand-selected by our travel editors. Some of the links featured in this story are affiliate links, and SmarterTravel may collect a commission (at no cost to you) if you shop through them. As an Amazon Associate, we earn from qualifying purchases.

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We hand-pick everything we recommend and select items through testing and reviews. Some products are sent to us free of charge with no incentive to offer a favorable review. We offer our unbiased opinions and do not accept compensation to review products. All items are in stock and prices are accurate at the time of publication. If you buy something through our links, we may earn a commission.

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WTOP News

New children’s book rewrites the image of talkative Black girls

Gigi Barnett | [email protected]

July 1, 2024, 4:55 AM

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Ashley Iman

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Former teacher turned children’s author Ashley Iman has one message for talkative Black girls: “Find your voice and use it often.”

Iman’s new picture book, “Ruby René Had So Much to Say,” follows 8-year-old Ruby, a third grader who enjoys sharing newly learned facts, witty insights and big dreams with everyone, everywhere. But a teacher called home because she found Ruby’s sharing a distraction.

It’s a problem for Ruby until another adult finds the perfect outlet for her gift of gab, according to the book’s description.

Iman shares a special connection with the character.

“I absolutely was Ruby René,” she told WTOP. “I was very talkative and curious as a child.”

Iman got the idea to write the book during the COVID-19 pandemic while on leave from teaching because schools had shut down.

“I started going through old childhood journals,” she said. “I noticed that there was a point when I was vibrant and fun, and it started to go down a bit. And I started thinking, ‘Why did I stop being so talkative and fun?'”

The memories came flooding in.

One of those flashbacks was of a white student at her Manassas, Virginia, elementary school calling her “loquacious.” She said there were few Black students at her school.

“We had just learned what the word meant as a vocabulary lesson,” said Iman. “He wasn’t wrong. I was very loquacious. But he also felt that it sounded like a Black girl’s name and thought it would be funny.”

The put-down stuck and soon other children were using it, too.

“I got some negative feedback that I was too loud, too talkative and too much,” she told WTOP. “And I just stopped. So, if you asked folks that I went to middle and high school with, they would have said that I was quiet. That’s not me.”

Iman believes many Black girls experience the same thing. Instead of being perceived as intelligent and witty, they’re seen as troublemakers, and their chattiness is considered disruptive and annoying.

That’s when Iman decided to rewrite her story, calling the book her “freedom dream of what could have been true.”

The book also comes at a time when Black girls are disproportionately punished more than white students in schools .

The author said she wrote the book for fellow teachers to change how they see expressive Black girls.

“It is documented that Black girls are much more likely to be punished or seen as insolent or insubordinate,” Iman said. “That’s why it was even more important for me to write this book. I wanted to reclaim Black girlhood.”

Get breaking news and daily headlines delivered to your email inbox by signing up here .

© 2024 WTOP. All Rights Reserved. This website is not intended for users located within the European Economic Area.

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The Best Christmas Pageant Ever First Look: Judy Greer Brings Iconic Holiday Book to Screen (Exclusive)

"Everyone had so much to give and was so talented and funny," Judy Greer says of the holiday film, in theaters Nov. 8

Allan Fraser

Christmas comes early this year.

On July 1, Lionsgate shared an exclusive first look at The Best Christmas Pageant Ever with PEOPLE, highlighting stars Judy Greer , Pete Holmes , Elizabeth Tabish and Lauren Graham. The film is adapted from author Barbara Robinson's 1972 book of the same name.

The Best Christmas Pageant Ever " centers on the Herdmans — absolutely the worst kids in the history of the world," teases a synopsis. "But this Christmas, they’re taking over their local church Pageant — and they just might unwittingly teach a shocked community the true meaning of Christmas."

Greer tells PEOPLE that making a holiday film "does feel extra special" and points to her work with cast mates Holmes, Tabish and Graham, among others as for what audiences should be excited for.

Never miss a story — sign up for PEOPLE's free daily newsletter to stay up-to-date on the best of what PEOPLE has to offer​​, from celebrity news to compelling human interest stories. 

"We were so lucky with the cast, and I think that’s what really elevated it. The script was so sweet and funny, of course [director] Dallas [Jenkins] is incredible and has such a vision and so much energy," Greer says.

"But what really took the movie to the next level for me, the experience making it, is our incredible cast. Everyone had so much to give and was so talented and funny. Additionally, all of the kids were really able to open their hearts and be vulnerable when it was needed. I think that’s what really makes the movie special."

The new movie is directed by Dallas Jenkins, a filmmaker known best for the series The Chosen .

"Between my work with disadvantaged kids, my love of Christmas, my love of comedy, and the fact that I can't even talk about this story without crying, I couldn't have survived watching anyone else direct this movie," Jenkins says. "It's the film I was born to make."

Adds Jenkins, "What's so special about it is that it's funny without being slapstick, emotional without being sappy, and you'll get the true meaning of Christmas from a church Christmas pageant without it feeling churchy."

"You'll see a movie that honors the book fully because it's made by someone obsessed with the book," says the director. "I couldn't bear it if I made a movie that didn't live up to the beauty and charm of Barbara's work, and I believe we have."

The Best Christmas Pageant is in theaters Nov. 8.

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The Best Time to Book a Flight for Domestic, International, and Summer Travel

Here are our best tips for booking travel in 2024 and beyond.

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When to Book Flights for Domestic Travel

When to book flights for international travel, when to book flights for holiday 2024 travel, when to book flights for summer 2025 travel.

Buying plane tickets is something of an art form. Ideally, you want to secure your spot months in advance to avoid the inevitable price spike as your travel dates get closer. But sometimes the best time to book a flight also depends on the destination and whether it's domestic or abroad. The trends are always changing, but experts say the sweet spot for booking domestic flights is 28 days, or 60 days for international flights.

Flights generally open for booking about a year ahead of time, and the airfare will change often between then and takeoff. Although you can book just a couple of weeks before the departure date in some cases, prices are likely to be astronomical. In other cases, when you want to go somewhere popular or during a big travel weekend, flights could fill up faster than normal. Our advice: Track flight prices on Google Flights or Hopper as early as possible so you can keep an eye on cost fluctuations. Read on for more advice about when to book flights from the pros.

According to Expedia's 2024 Air Travel Hacks report , you should aim to book 28 days before your domestic flight. "Doing so can save travelers up to 24 percent compared to those who wait until the last minute, from zero to six days out," Expedia travel expert Christie Hudson tells Travel + Leisure.

For domestic trips, pricing is elevated when tickets are first released, about a year before the flight. Those prices will slowly creep downward, all the way to their lowest point in the prime booking window, after which you'll likely see a huge increase in cost for last-minute travel.

Meet the Expert

Christie Hudson is a travel expert at top booking site Expedia.

You're better off booking earlier rather than later for international travel, but the Expedia report says ideally no more than four months before your desired departure date. The sweet spot is around 60 days. "This is a big change from 2022 data, which showed the cheapest fares were secured when travelers booked four to six months out." Hudson says. "2023 data revealed that people who booked that far in advance actually paid more on average." The report says the least expensive day of the week to book is Sunday and the most expensive is Friday, for both domestic and international travel.

The real trick to finding good deals on international airfare is to avoid booking your travel for peak times, which include summer and major holidays (don't forget — that includes holidays in your destination, too).

Around the winter holidays is the priciest time to travel, says Katy Nastro, travel expert at Going. "Your best bet is to remember the Goldilocks zones: look to book between three to seven months ahead for domestic travel and four to 10 months ahead for international travel."

Hudson advises that at the very latest, your holiday travel should be booked by mid-October. "But the biggest holiday travel savings actually come from choosing the right dates," she says. "Avoiding the busiest days like the Wednesday before Thanksgiving and the Friday and Saturday before Christmas will yield major savings."

Katy Nastro is a travel expert at Going, a website that finds flight deals to more than 900 destinations around the world.

Track flights and book your holiday tickets as soon as you find a decent deal, but make sure to book a fare that will give you a credit if you cancel (generally speaking, that means don't book basic economy). That way, if prices drop between the time of booking and your travel dates, you can cancel your original ticket and use the credit to book the cheaper fare. The only downside is you'll still have some remaining credit, but you can then use it to treat yourself to a future flight. Just don't let that credit expire.

Summer is traditionally one of the most popular times of the year to travel, which means it can be tough to find a good deal on airfare. Ideally, you should book flights for summer travel as soon as possible, preferably at least six months in advance.

"The best time to book for peak season is … the opposite season," Nastro says. "While most of us are scrambling to focus on our winter holiday plans, we should also keep our eyes open for some great summer fares."

She notes that the booking window for peak season ranges between three and seven months for domestic flights and four to 10 months for international trips. "And if you do book something, keep that flight alert on," says Nastro. "If it drops again, depending on your ticket type, you can call to rebook and get a refund or travel credit back with the difference. Most airlines don't charge for change fees on main economy tickets, meaning you won't be spending more to save."

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D&D’s Quests from the Infinite Staircase will be backward-compatible, here’s how

Wizards threads the needle with its last hardcover book for the original 5th edition ruleset

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A tiny blue man, likely a deep gnome, sits atop a giant gila monster wearing a saddle. He’s carrying a trident.

If there’s one thing that Dungeons & Dragons has gotten right in the last decade, it’s anthologies: meaty volumes filled with disparate adventures loosely connected by a common theme. Titles like Candlekeep Mysteries , Tales from the Yawning Portal , and the Nebula Award-nominated Journeys through the Radiant Citadel are among this generation’s best official materials. At the dawn of a highly publicized revision of the 5th edition ruleset , publisher Wizards of the Coast is making one last stab at greatness. Its final anthology for the current ruleset, Quests from the Infinite Staircase , is landing at retail on July 16.

But as managing game designer Justice Ramin Arman said during a recent press briefing, Infinite Staircase is more than just the last book published for the original 5th edition. It’s also among the first to be published for the game’s 2024 rules revision . That makes it the exemplar for how the legendary tabletop role-playing game plans to handle the issue of backward compatibility.

Historically, every new edition of D&D has pretty much been a clean break, with little but lore connecting one to the next. The result has been a fragmentation of the game’s community on generational fault lines. The most recent example came in 2008, when Wizards launched the 4th edition. Some folks — myself included — liked the 4th edition just fine, and dove headlong into the game and all of its tactical, miniatures-friendly glory. Other folks, not so much. They either moved on to other hobbies or games entirely, or glommed on to Paizo’s Pathfinder , which, at its inception at least, hewed very close to the 3rd edition.

Wizards, and its corporate owner Hasbro , would very much like for that not to happen again. Over the last 10 years, it’s managed to catapult the seminal TTRPG back into the public consciousness, growing its player base to what it claims to be new heights. Having only recently weathered the painful fiasco that was the OGL debacle , Wizards would like to change the narrative with this newly revised ruleset.

Arman said that Infinite Staircase ’s adventures are “truly playable regardless of whether you’re using” the Player’s Handbook (2014) or the soon-to-be-released Player’s Handbook (2024), and the same goes for the Monster Manual (2014) and the Monster Manual (2025). So how was that accomplished?

One of the ways is by changing how adventures give good guidance to Dungeon Masters.

“Something I find in older books of ours [is] sometimes when a monster appears, it might have a tactical suggestion or mention a specific monster ability,” Arman said. “A lot of the time that’s great, but if something happens in our [2025] Monster Manual that changes the name of an ability, we don’t want to confuse a DM who [only has access to] the updated version of that text.”

To be more frank, Arman said that Infinite Staircase won’t call out specific spells or abilities for a particular monster to use in a given encounter. Instead, Wizards will give DMs more broad advice for what they should do instead.

“When you see that there’s a Cloaker in this room, the text won’t say, ‘The Cloaker uses Phantasmal Illusions to create three illusory duplicates of itself,’” Arman said. “It might just specify what the Cloaker does without referencing that one-to-one text. What that does is almost give more general guidance in some places that’s more intuitive [than it previously might have been], rather than making it feel like you need to go cross-reference a specific ability or trait [in a book that you don’t have]. Which honestly, I think, makes the adventures more user-friendly, anyway. Because if you’re a new DM picking this text up, you don’t need to know what the abilities of a Cloaker [were in 2014]. You just need to know that it’s hiding, and it attacks.”

Is that guidance going to jibe for harried DMs on the go? Hard to say until we’ve seen all of the updated rules — something that won’t be possible until the revised Monster Manual , the last of the three core rulebooks currently in the production pipeline, is finally published in early 2025. But Arman says the team at Wizards is good for it.

“Look, I was D&D fan [...] for a long time [before I came to work at Wizards of the Coast], and I recognize there might be a certain subset of people who are holding out [on the revised core rulebooks],” Arman said. “ Is it really backwards compatible? Let’s wait until it comes out, and let’s see. But, you know, I encourage you to do that if that’s what you want to do. And if not, you can trust us. Look at the book when it comes out. You can see it on [D&D Beyond], and see for yourself with the previews we’ve already had for the new PHB [on YouTube]. It’s still just as compatible with the new stuff as it is 2014 stuff.”

Quests from the Infinite Staircase will be available at retail on July 16, including a version with a special alternate art cover made available only at local game stores. Those who pre-order the physical and digital bundle directly from Wizards of the Coast will receive their materials two weeks early on July 9. More information on the Player’s Handbook (2024) is rolling out right now on Wizards’ YouTube channel.

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Quests from the Infinite Staircase

Prices taken at time of publishing.

  • $70 at Wizards of the Coast (physical and digital)
  • $60 at Amazon (physical only)

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