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Photo by Igor Djokovic, camping above San Juan river, Arizona USA

I haven't been everywhere...
but it's on my list!


Photo by Igor Djokovic,
camping above San Juan river,
Arizona USA



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  #1  
Old 2 Jun 2023
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Join Date: Jul 2019
Location: Ottawa
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Finding Accommodations apps

I have the following installed:
Airbnb
CouchSurfer
iOverlander
Bookings.com

Are there others that I should consider? I know there's motorcycle oriented couch surf things on Facebook, but I haven't been able to find anything.

If you have an any suggestions, please let me know. Either apps, Facebook, or programs for PC - specifically to find free or cheap accommodations that work for a person going around the world on a motorcycle.

Thanks. I'm in Newfoundland now, and the weather has turned. 3 degrees and raining - forecast covers the entire province for a week....sigh...

In a provincial park, with wifi and a kinda heated bathroom, which is where I sit at the moment.
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  #2  
Old 3 Jun 2023
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Bunkabiker could be worth trying…
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  #3  
Old 3 Jun 2023
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I only use two apps, but that's because I stay in hotels or pensions - I don't stay in AirBnB or other private accomodations.

TripAdvisor - I find this app useful for determining what hotel / motel / pension sites are available in a neighborhood or city, what the going rates are, and to read reviews posted by others about these facilities. My experience has been that the prices quoted by TripAdvisor are generally accurate.

Booking.com - This is my "second choice" app if I don't find what I am looking for on TripAdvisor. My experience has been that Booking.com often lists inaccurately low prices when you look facilities up, and then if you go to make a booking (either via the app or by calling the facility), the real prices are considerably higher. So for me, Booking.com is a fallback option only.

I use these two apps for research, but I don't make the actual booking through the apps. I call the facility directly and ask them what they have available and what the cost is. Often, the price asked when dealing directly with the facility is less than what is shown on either of the two apps. If the facility quotes a higher price than what the app shows, I tell them that the app is showing a lower price and ask if they would like me to book through the app. Always, the facility will offer to match the app price because they don't want to pay the 15% (or more) commission to the company that runs the app.

Michael
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  #4  
Old 4 Jun 2023
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Quote:
Originally Posted by PanEuropean View Post
My experience has been that Booking.com often lists inaccurately low prices when you look facilities up, and then if you go to make a booking (either via the app or by calling the facility), the real prices are considerably higher.
Interesting, that's never been true for me other than the 1/2 euro per night in city tax in parts of Europe. I've never had a Booking.com quote *for the actual days I selected* not be honored. In fact, now that I'm on level 3 of their loyalty programme, Booking.com will (supposedly?) pay for part of my stay

One thing to know about Booking.com is that they are actively driving people to use their app, so they have "mobile-only" prices - often you can get the same room for the same days cheaper through their mobile app than their own browser version.

I don't like using AirBnB any more though, their service fees and cleaning fees have gotten out of hand, and the pricing is not at all transparent.

As a backup option, maybe go to the local tourist info center and ask them to help you find local accommodation in your price range.
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  #5  
Old 4 Jun 2023
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In the past I've had much better luck with the "local tourist info center" approach than with any booking service or other internet search. Unfortunately, that requires arriving in town at a suitable time of day, a practice which seems to evade me in recent years.

I'd caution that Booking.com does indeed mess up from time to time, regardless of your position in their loyalty program. I've had conformed reservations which were never made, at least one price quoted for two days which the property owner insisted was valid only for one (and adamantly refused to honor), times when other booking agents were substantially cheaper for the identical rooms, burgeoning email spam which surged and receded according to my use, and most alarmingly two separate credit card hacks which were likely related to use of the app. The discounts for regular users are quite minor, though worth taking when offered.

In other words, don't get complacent.

Mark
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  #6  
Old 5 Jun 2023
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Quote:
Originally Posted by markharf View Post
In the past I've had much better luck with the "local tourist info center" approach than with any booking service or other internet search. Unfortunately, that requires arriving in town at a suitable time of day, a practice which seems to evade me in recent years.
Exactly.

I use the apps (TripAdvisor & Booking.com) to find out what is available "up the road" where I am going, to get an idea of what pricing is like in a community, and to identify facilities that are particularly good or bad.

Once you are at a location you want to stay at, the local tourist office is a great source of information, and they will often (but not always) assist you in making a reservation without charging the facility a commission for doing so.
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  #7  
Old 5 Jun 2023
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Quote:
Originally Posted by AnTyx View Post
I don't like using AirBnB any more though, their service fees and cleaning fees have gotten out of hand, and the pricing is not at all transparent.
And a lot of garbage properties dumped on the market.

I just spent six weeks travelling japan with the family and one out of five was acceptable and as described.


Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk
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  #8  
Old 5 Jun 2023
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My tuppence worth on what the OP asked and a couple of others' suggestions:

Airbnb: Tried it in Spain the other winter. One host had good comms and was trustworthy, the rest were poor on comms and/or didn't know how to use the app = a big pita all round


CouchSurfing: Looked into using it in Central Asia, but was turned off by some of the host profiles, so never tried it


iOverlander: Used it in South America extensively. But beware when other users start talking about places being "big rig friendly" The same people think parking at a Walmart carpark is "wild camping" Best to avoid their recommendations

Booking.com: Now my exclusive go to: Never been ripped off retrospectively on price. No card payment frauds either.

Trip advisor: Tried it once on a car journey around the western USA. Was ok, but only with someone mentioning it here, did I remember it even existed.

Bunk a biker: Used it in Spain and Portugal, where there are only very few people offering a bed/ tent space. Met some really nice people. I'm also a "host"/ offerer of assistance in Bulgaria: I found that people struggle with reading and understanding what I've written or are just a bit thick. If people are speculatively spamming lots of people, they should a.) Read the offer and b.) Customise their message so it doesn't look like spam/ learn the intricacies of their email software.

I'll also suggest: Advrider Tent Space thread (big in North America: met several nice people who hosted me. No one has ever contacted me in the UK, nor Bulgaria) and Horizons Unlimited Communities (many comms to these communities just seem to end up in a black hole. Does anyone check the continuing validity of email addresses? Most recently in Vietnam and Cambodia last winter when asking about sharing a coffee, I got one reply from 5 messages sent. I'm still a member of a Brazilian, UK and Bulgarian community. I'm lucky if I get an inquiry every couple of years on any of them. (I've had the same email address for the past 20 years). The most recent time earlier this year someone wrote to my Bulgarian one, I took the time to compose a detailed and useful reply and received Jack in thanks. Probably won't bother next time... )

Last edited by chris; 6 Jun 2023 at 06:48. Reason: Grammar
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  #9  
Old 5 Jun 2023
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Quote:
Originally Posted by chris View Post
Horizons Unlimited Communities (many comms to these communities just seem to end up in a black hole. Does anyone check the continuing validity of email addresses?
The software automatically removes bounced email addresses. The Community lists are checked that there are valid email addresses in them. Given there are 800+ Communities that doesn't happen often. But many people report great success, and I often see excellent replies when replying to "all", and thanks too. Nothing is perfect...
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  #10  
Old 10 Jun 2023
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I've used booking.com for several years now- extensively - and have been extremely satisfied. I've used it in many places in the world: US, Canada, Spain, Peru, Tajikistan, Turkey, Mexico... Many small accommodations in out of the way places list with them, as they have no other way to advertise their existence.

I'm cheap and generally sort the list by price and choose the lowest that gets decent reviews. I have never found the price to be different from what was stated on the app (they include taxes and fees in their quotes). I find the reviews to be useful and representative, as long as I throw out the ones that start out whining about how 'rude the desk clerk was to me'.

I also have never arrived at a place and been told they did not have my reservation and that no room was available.

I have also used their airport transfer service 3 times, to get me from the airport to a distant hotel or moto rental place. It was awesome, really. Same price, or slightly cheaper, than a local taxi, the driver waiting for you at the airport, prepaid including tip. Very professional service.

This is not an ad for booking.com ....just a very satisfied user.

.............shu
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  #11  
Old 10 Jun 2023
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I have also used Booking.com for many years, several different continents and for hundreds of bookings. Only one time did my confirmed booking fail and at that time it failed miserably. It was in Siem Reap - Cambodia and the staff at the place I had a confirmed booking just laughed at me and pretended to not understand me and offered me a inferior room (than my booking) for twice the price. The manager had to be called twice, the aircon wasnt turned on other than the first time, hot water in the shower didnt exist, the onsite restaurant had been closed for years etc etc. But what happend later surprised me a lot was that when I wrote a long email to Booking.com and explained the matter I was refounded all the money and given a thorough excuse and the hotel was removed from their booking site.

So after all my Booking.com experience have been very good.
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  #12  
Old 10 Jun 2023
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Just another vote for booking.com - I use them all the time, including just a couple of weeks ago.
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  #13  
Old 11 Jun 2023
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I used AirBnB when I did my trip in the Balkans and found it to be ok, that was a few years ago now, the last time I used it was in Singapore which was about 4/5 years ago. I cannot say what it's like now.
On my travels in Thailand I use Booking.com as I find the prices to be fair and again I have never had an issue.

Wayne
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  #14  
Old 13 Jun 2023
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AirBnB is great because it's easy to ask the host if they have secure parking.
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  #15  
Old 14 Jun 2023
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I used booking.com going round Europe for a few weeks recently. My only complaint is that it's bloody hard to find hotels in Europe that aren't either horrendously expensive or total hovels - sometimes both. The app worked fine though I guess.

If anyone is travelling in Russia, ostrovok.ru is good.
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