Rats! There’s no one sentence answer. You’re going to need to read an entire article to find out for certain! But the good news: you’ll be a hotel booking expert forever. Securing the best price on every hotel you book is not about searching one site, it’s about comparing a few of the best – and considering a few extra tips too. Here are the cheapest and best websites for booking hotels. Plus, a few tricks of the trade…

Pick First

Find the hotel you want to stay in first. It will help determine which hotel booking site is best, on each particular occasion.TripAdvisor is a great first step. You can see some price guidelines and most importantly – pictures and reviews. Picking is on you, though. There are too many variables like price, location and your personal tastes to tell you which hotel to book in every destination around the world. You’ll get there!

Direct

We call it first refusal rights. Hotels hate paying commission to all the best booking sites, so more and more often they offer exclusive perks – like free wifi, bottle of wine, etc for booking directly with them. Booking direct also may unlock rates which aren’t given to booking sites, which can save $100’s per night. There are also free night offers, only if you book direct. You simply must check here to start your perfect booking campaign.

Hotels.com

Return on investment matters. For every 10 nights you book at Hotels.com, you get a free one. Not only do they often tie (or beat) everyone else on rate, this perk is pretty tough to turn down. If you have a Capital One Venture credit card, it’s even better. You get 10X points on all Hotels.com purchases, for a total of 20% cash back! So if the rate is the same as another site, this wins.

Kayak.com

Kayak is a great option and must look for two reasons. One: it looks at quite a few booking sites like Expedia, Amoma, TripAdvisor, Agoda and hundreds more – bringing prices from all these sites direct to you on Kayak. This saves tons of effort. Two: it offers free price trackers, so if you’re not ready to book immediately, you can track hotel prices and see if a city or destination goes on sale.

Priceline.com

People love games and the sense of scoring a major bargain – and Priceline is proof. If you use Google Maps, it’s pretty easy to figure out many of the sites “mystery” hotel locations. Priceline really does have the best prices from time to time thanks to these “mystery” locations, which get the site around the rule not to undercut others. Add it to the list!

Hotels Tonight

Ok, it’s not a website, but it’s a fantastic app. Particularly for last minute stays, HotelsTonight offers prices which often cannot be found elsewhere. The app has special agreements with hotels where they receive unsold last minute rooms at extreme discounts and pass on the savings. It works for booking in advance too – but it beats competition for last minute bookings.

Expedia.com

Why Expedia? Because it’s like the mafia of hotel booking. It’s by far the largest company, owns half the other hotel booking sites and is so big and powerful, it can often offer exclusive deals. As the biggest, Expedia often gets access to more rooms – and if they need to clear some inventory, they’ll offer attractive discounts.

Agoda.com

Agoda consistently ranks amongst the best in price across a variety of searches. The company was bought by Priceline and has since become even better, expanding past Asia to one of the biggest booking sites worldwide. If you’re looking for hotels, especially in Asia – this is a must search. The site has exclusive deals with hotels throughout Asia, offering exceptional rates.

Wait! Before You Go…

Which card you pay with matters. Some credit cards offer extra perks for bookings, like upgrades breakfast and more. By booking with online travel agencies instead of direct, you also lose out on earning hotel points. For most people, it’s no biggie – but if you’re a frequent traveler, they can lead to free stays. And once you’ve booked – here’s how to get hotel room upgrades.

What’s your favorite hotel booking site?

Featured image courtesy of Marriott Lisbon, Portugal.