The three main sites that I typically swear by when booking accommodations are:
Now of course there are so many others out there working in the same space, but these have been my lifelines for quite some time as I’ve tried nearly every site in my years of traveling.
This most recent trip across China however was an eye opener for me. I realized that if you can figure out what the locals use, you can find not only better deals, but entirely different accommodation options. After a few weeks in Shanghai I stumbled upon Ctrip.com. This is the site that is used by all locals in China when booking accommodations for their vacations within the country. Luckily China is really big on tourism and caters to English speaking folk…they released an English version of the site, just for stealthy travelers like us!
The English version of the site is http://english.ctrip.com/ and there is also an awesome mobile app that allows you to book from your phone. I got a sim card in China through China Unicom and literally booked my accommodations on Ctrip the day before or even an hour before we arrived in the city, on the train, in the cab, or walking – on the app. It made life so easy and I found some of the best deals EVER. I am typically very loyal to the brands and sites I know, but honestly, not a single one of them holds a candle to what Ctrip can provide you while traveling in China.