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Picking accomodations for one location can be an overwhelming experience. There are so many options and opinions! It’s even worse when the location is completely unfamilar – you don’t want to end up on the wrong side of town. Here’s how I pick lodging for our trips (big or small). Plus a list of the places we stayed while in Italy.

Research: My 2 go-to websites for figuring out where we will stay while on vacation is TripAdvisor.com and Hotels.com. Generally, I’ll have both sites up on my computer when looking for hotels. If I know what area of town I want to be in, I start with a search on Hotels.com first, selecting the hotels in the target neighborhood that fit in my budget and are above a 4.0 rating (try to get 4.5+). Once I have my options, then I go to Trip Advisor to read the reviews and look at the pictures taken by other travelers (not the professional ones). I then pick a place, weighing location, price, rating.

If I don’t know much about the area, I’ll start with a search on Trip Advisor or Google that is: “neighborhoods to stay in [insert destination].” The forums on Trip Advisor are a great source of information. Once I have the target areas, then I follow the process listed above.

Booking: I primarily book 100% of our accomodations using Hotels.com because I like their reward program. Spend 10 nights and get 1 night free (at the average price of all 10 nights). These nights can also be applied to more expensive hotels to make them more affordable (i.e. you can take your $100 room credit and apply it to a $200 a night room).

I also save money through either Ebates or Ibotta. I have the Ebates button installed in my Google Chrome bar so I can enable the rebate before I book (right now I can get up to 4% back). Ibotta also has had rebates available if you book through their app in the past. Before I book, I check to determine which one has the biggest rebate and book using either the app or website. A little extra work but I am getting approximately 5% back from the Italy trip (approx. $100 in total).

Not on Ebates or Ibotta? 1 – you are missing opportunities to save money, 2 – I’ve got you covered here: Ebates and Ibotta

Italy: Here is the list of places we stayed while on our trip. In addition to the criteria listed above, I also had to consider parking and air conditioning in my search. We stayed in B&Bs, hotels, apartments, and agristurismos. All were fantastic and I would recommend/stay at again. The links will take you to the Trip Advisor page for each place so you can see what others think as well!

Naples – Domus Gemi

Rome – Cancelleria Dieci

Siena – Fullino Nero

Florence – Hotel Rappallo

Riomaggiore – B&B Il BoMa

Vicenza – Agriturismo Dai Gobbi

Bolzano – Parkhotel Luna Mondschein

Milan – B&B Hotel Milano Sant’Ambrogio

You’ll notice that I don’t mention AirBnB or VRBO or something similar. While I have used both in the past, I prefer to stay in a hotel or B&B over someone’s house or apartment. Mainly because I like having my bed made every day and don’t want to feel like I have to cook on vacation. I’d rather spend my leisure time in the pool (especially if the pool has an amazing view like the one at Agriturismo Dai Gobbi)!