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Yonderbound and the Evolution of Traveler Accommodation

Yonderbound

So I have a question for you guys. A very serious, potentially life-changing travel question. Ready?

How do you all deal with booking hotels/hostels/tents/homestays/floorspace and/or couches when traveling?

I’m being totally serious. I’ve been doing this whole independent travel thing for almost 8 years, and I still haven’t found the best answer.

When I first start backpacking all I cared about was money. I would stay in the cheapest, grimiest hostels out there in order to save a few euros or pesos for even more adventures.

Between couchsurfing, sleeping in airports and 16 bed dorm rooms on the outskirts of town, I was able to go further and travel for longer than I ever could have imagined. It was back in the pre-Tripadvisor days of internet cafes and ethernet cords, where I didn’t travel with a computer or smartphone, and my two options were either to book all my accommodation in advance on a public computer or just rock up in the city where I was visiting and hope the closest hostel was cheap and had space.

As I’m sure you can imagine this had a 50/50 chance of working out fine or blowing up in my face.

Yonderbound

I almost exclusively used Hostelworld to book my sleeping arrangements since I was almost always in a hostel in a shared dorm room, but once I graduated college I realized sharing rooms with strangers absolutely SUCKS. For me, there was a time limit on that nonsense, and being kept awake by snorers, drunken fools and frisky one-night stands in shared rooms (never ok people!) no longer became remotely acceptable by the time I hit 22.

Broke and living in Spain teaching English, I was still as budget conscious as ever, only one thing had changed, I wanted private rooms and those hostel booking sites weren’t going to cut it anymore. More often than not, at least in Spain, a private room in a hostel was a lot more expensive than a private room in a small cheap hotel. Things had to change.

Those years I played around with different hotel booking sites and Airbnb while traveling around Spain and Europe, but I never was able to settle on a favorite site. I used to waste hours trying to book a place to stay on a trip, especially if I was traveling with friends. I’d have a million tabs open on my laptop comparing places, dates, locations, and prices only for my browser to crash and I’d have to start all over again. It was so frustrating!

I can’t even begin to explain how much I hate the hassle of trying to figure out where to stay!

Yonderbound

I go through the same thing even now. My tastes have evolved again, and now I really enjoy staying in comfortable private rooms in all sorts of locations. My favorite are small boutique and quirky hotels and B&Bs and homestays for longer solo trips.

Most of the time now I just ring up where I want to stay and book over the phone after scouring reviews and prices online, but in a digital age and depending on where I am going, that’s not always possible, and frankly, it’s annoying.

So often I end up making a reservation on Booking.com for two reasons. One, it’s the main page I come back to the most and I’m most familiar with and the second is the app on my phone so I can look up places while I’m on the road, and sometimes I’ll just book the day of because I don’t like planning too far in advance.

However, I’ve stopped doing that this year when I realized that Booking.com does not have the best deals. As much as I love my comfortable rooms, I spend so much of my money on hotels, I want to get the best price. I also really dislike the Booking interface, the more recent “hurry, hurry, hurry only 2 rooms left!” on every single hotel in red and the couple of times I’ve had to deal with their customer service drive me nuts.

Do you see where I’m going with this?

Yonderbound

Why is this such a fucking mess? I just want a nice, clean private hotel room in a good location with working wifi for the best price, is that asking too much?

Help!

So when I was asked about checking out Yonderbound, a new hotel booking startup, my first response was HELL NO. I can’t even keep up with all of the hotel booking options out there, and they all give me nightmares. I need another one like I need a hole in my head.

Also if I had a dollar for every time I got an email from a startup company asking for a review, I wouldn’t have to worry about being cheap on my hotel stays.

But then I started to think, wait a minute Liz, you whine about this exact problem all the time, maybe this is the solution staring you in the face. So I decided to open my mind, had a little lookie and decided to give it a shot.

Everyone needs to book hotels, why not try something new?

YONDERBOUND from Yonderbound on Vimeo.

On my way home from Mongolia I stopped in Bali for 10 days for my first proper vacation in years in an effort to recoup and relax a bit before jumping back into the massive pile of work waiting for me back home in New Zealand.

Without agreeing to anything, I decided this was a good way to test out Yonderbound.

I am happy to report it exceeded expectations, and not only did it do everything I wanted with just one tab open, it also had features I didn’t realize I was missing. I also loved the interface.

Mindreading booking platforms, what is the world coming to?

Yonderbound

You don’t need me to tell you all the things a hotel booking site does, just that if you travel, you need one.

I’ve shared with you all before the latest fads in the travel industry, like with Trover, so it’s that time again here. Yonderbound is still in beta and being developed and improved week to week. For me it has a lot of potential and I can’t wait to see what happens in the future.

But I thought I’d go ahead and spill the three points that sold me on Yonderbound and why I would be happy to use it again on my next trips.

Yonderbound

Point number 1 – Yonderboxes

It’s like Pinterest for hotels and hostels.

You can create boards called Yonderboxes, saving hotels you are interested in in one place, categorizing them by theme or place, or whatever you want, really, with notes attached. AND it saves all of your search history in one place. Mindreading!

Gone are the days of 1 million Chrome tabs and spammy bookmarks I’ll never look at again!

I’ve gone ahead and created a couple of Yonderboxes to give you some ideas: The Best of New Zealand, Undiscovered Greece, and Iceland Challenge. Enjoy!

Yonderbound

Point number 2 – it’s linked to Tripadvisor

IN THE SAME TAB!

Thank god! I love reading reviews about a place to stay specifically to see what other people think about it and how good the wifi is. Because let’s be honest here, there is nothing more annoying to someone who works on the road to pay a lot of money for a nice hotel that says it has free wifi only to get there and find out that it’s either 30 minutes of free wifi or wifi that doesn’t work.

And after traveling around Bali, I also found out reviews were also vital in knowing which homestays and hotels were well away from the crowing chickens at 4:30 in the morning.

Yonderbound

Point number 3 – it’s cheaper than Booking

Enough said!

Have you ever heard of Yonderbound? Would you give it a try after reading this? How do you deal with booking accommodation for your travels? Has it ever been a hassle for you like it has for me?

Yonderbound

**Some of these links are affiliate links.

37 Responses to Yonderbound and the Evolution of Traveler Accommodation

  1. Sarah October 5, 2014 at 2:32 am #

    This is the first I’ve heard about Yonderbound… I’ll have to check it out

    Sarah
    Midwest Darling

    • Liz October 5, 2014 at 12:16 pm #

      It’s a pretty cool new program, give it a try!

  2. Brian October 5, 2014 at 4:39 am #

    I’ve never found one booking site that does everything I want. Different sites have different inventories in different locations. Sometimes a site like Booking will have the best deal other times Hotels.com or some other site will. And of course, Airbnb offers a different product altogether. I’ve never really been able to rely on just one site.

    And Yonderbound doesn’t look any different in that regard. I pulled up a random hotel in Vietnam (Happy Hanoi) for the first week in December. Yonderbound quoted me a price of $300.05 for five nights in a superior double room whereas Agoda gave quoted me $268.58 for the same five nights in a superior double (both including taxes and fees). So it really does pay to check around.

    Yonderbound also doesn’t seem to provide as much information as Bookings does on the actual room. Maybe I missed it, but on Yonderbound I can’t tell the difference between a Standard Double and a Superior Double other than the price. On sites like Bookings it tells me that one room is 237sqf vs. 152sqf, one has a refrigerator or a TV, etc. So even if Yonderbound has the best price, I’ll still need to check other sources to understand what exactly I’m booking.

    • Liz October 5, 2014 at 12:17 pm #

      Bummer, that’s definitely worth checking out. I had luck and each place I searched was always cheaper for me on Yonderbound. I think as they continue to develop it (it’s still in beta) more features and details will be added. Since I travel so much and spend so much time and money in hotels, I’m just happy to have a site where I can save them all and keep track together.

  3. Polly October 5, 2014 at 6:05 am #

    I keep hearing great buzz about yonderbound and look forward to using it once I get back to my computer! However, it seems to not be very compatible with Android devices, which makes me wary of using it when on the road. Anyone else having issues getting the site to work on your phone or tablet?

    • Liz October 5, 2014 at 12:18 pm #

      Haven’t tried on my phone, I think they will be launching an app soon!

  4. Tracey October 5, 2014 at 9:48 am #

    I’m with you on being over shared dorms. Will probably still have to stay in them for a while though, at least in the big cities where private accommodation is so expensive. It’s a shame private rooms in hostels are so much more expensive than an equivalent cheap hotel. Even if you don’t want to stay in shared dorms, you still want the common rooms and activities etc to meet other travellers. Do you find you still meet plenty of people staying in private accommodation?

    • Liz October 5, 2014 at 12:20 pm #

      It really depends on the city, I’ve found some great private room deals in places like Madrid. I used to stick to the private rooms in hostels for that exact reason, I still wanted the common room vibe and to meet people but now since I’m usually working on the road, I’m a bit over that. I find I still meet people in homestays or small b&bs or I just go out and join group activities, but for some reason this past year I’ve been feeling very distanced from the whole backpackers scene, I just can’t relate to it anymore :/

  5. Hugo Cura October 5, 2014 at 11:21 am #

    No shared rooms here. Private is a must, except maybe for bathroom. Booking has some good details if you book a lot with them and reach genius status. It’s like 10% off or some other special price or offer (I’ve had free bikes in Chamonix, for example).

    For longer stays, AirBnB is cool but the service fee.. meeh.

    Anyway, usually search in two or three different places before making the final decision.

    • Liz October 5, 2014 at 12:21 pm #

      Same here but it’s such a hassle ugh

  6. Hugo Cura October 5, 2014 at 11:21 am #

    And by details I meant deals.

  7. Justine October 5, 2014 at 6:31 pm #

    I’ve been reading about Yonderbound lately and I think it sounds like a great site. Like you, I’ve never really found one site that I love. I pretty much go back and forth between Agoda, Booking and Airbnb. But I really, really love that Yonderbound is linked to Tripadvisor. I seriously never book a hotel without reading these reviews, so I love that they’re included on the same page. But I hadn’t realized that Yonderbound offers better deals than sites like Booking.com. I might just be sold and I’m definitely going to try it out during my upcoming travels around Indonesia!

    • Liz October 6, 2014 at 4:37 pm #

      Give it a try, someone else has pointed out that it’s not always cheaper but it was for me, it’s worth looking at and following along as they continue to develop it

  8. Sam October 5, 2014 at 7:59 pm #

    ” I just want a nice, clean private hotel room in a good location with working wifi for the best price, is that asking too much?” Yes! Story of my life. I usually end up spending a bit more so i can have a clean private room – I’ve had luck with booking.com but I’m definately going to give Yonderbound a try for my NZ trip in Jan and Europe next year. Thanks for the heads up! Hopefully can get some good deals!!

    • Liz October 6, 2014 at 4:38 pm #

      Good luck xx

  9. Sigurdur Bjorgvinsson @redheadexplorer October 6, 2014 at 10:11 am #

    I don’t mind staying in a dormitory for the short run but after traveling for some time I can understand how annoying it can be, you never know who is going to be sleeping in the next bed.

    I have always used booking.com if I am looking for something better than simply shared dorm at a hostel but I will definitely check yonderbound out, it seems like a great site.

    • Liz October 6, 2014 at 4:40 pm #

      it’s a good alternative!

  10. Denise Dorsey October 6, 2014 at 11:38 am #

    Thanks for your posting, I plan on going to Iceland the last 2 weeks of Aug, 2015. Love your honest opinions.

    • Liz October 6, 2014 at 4:40 pm #

      Wicked! I have an Iceland board up!

  11. Deepti @ Endless Postcards October 6, 2014 at 2:08 pm #

    Seems like a fantastic website – I’m going to France next summer so I’m definitely going to need sites like this. Thanks for posting!

    • Liz October 6, 2014 at 4:41 pm #

      Give it a try!

  12. Katie October 7, 2014 at 4:03 am #

    Thanks for the idea; will be throwing away massive tab overload in exchange for giving it a try!!

    • Liz October 7, 2014 at 10:49 am #

      Too many tabs = headaches

  13. Lucy October 7, 2014 at 4:50 am #

    Yay thanks for this suggestion! A friend and I have been getting frustrated trying to figure out the best site to book a hotel on for a couple of weeks now. This site looks awesome! Nice and modern and fast and easy to use. The only thing I struggled with is that it wasn’t showing me what currency the pricing was in? Is it obvious and I’m just being blonde?

    • Liz October 7, 2014 at 10:49 am #

      pretty sure it’s USD

  14. Crystal October 7, 2014 at 10:17 am #

    Hm… I’ll take a looksee. I’ll be travelling somewhere with a friend in December over the holidays so once we pick a spot I’ll do some comparison. My two main booking sites are hostelworld.com and airbnb. Hostelworld has been decent when I’ve booked a private room and shared it with my travelling mate (Spain and Japan). Airbnb was an amazing alternative in Spain for my group of 5 people. Cool, thanks for the share!

    • Liz October 7, 2014 at 10:51 am #

      Good luck xx

  15. Danielle October 7, 2014 at 1:28 pm #

    I’m hooked on Airbnb at the moment, but will definitely take a look at Yonderbound for my next adventure. Love the format and I never book anything without taking a look on Tripadvisor…sounds like it might just be a great alternative 🙂

    • Liz October 7, 2014 at 1:54 pm #

      It is and it’s getting better and better

  16. Ashley October 11, 2014 at 4:54 am #

    Thank you for sharing this! I can’t wait to try out this site for my next trip!

    • Liz October 12, 2014 at 1:50 pm #

      Cheers!

  17. Kristin October 11, 2014 at 11:19 am #

    At first I was like “Meh advertisement” but being a travel addict the concept of an easier booking option piqued my interest and thought I would take a look… THIS IS EVERYTHING. It is Pinterest and Trip Advisor and Booking all rolled into one! It seems like they could provide a little more information about the location and specific information about the rooms etc. But as a single traveler who usually just has a friend with me the details of the room honestly don’t really matter that much, and I always google map where the hotel I am staying in is in relation to everything I want to see anyways (I am a preplanner so that I can relax once I get there haha). I am already using this to scope out hotels for my next trip (hopefully Turkey in the spring), thanks for the suggestion!!

    • Liz October 12, 2014 at 1:51 pm #

      Awesome, thank you!

  18. Ricky January 1, 2015 at 12:14 am #

    I stopped using Booking when I realized their scores are not trustworthy. I was about to book a hotel in Colombia two weeks before it even opened and it already had a ‘fabulous’ score of 9.
    I’ve been using hotels.com as the prices tend to be the same as Booking’s but it gives you a free night for every 10 you book through the site.
    Will definitely give Yonderbound a try, though.

    • Liz January 1, 2015 at 10:58 pm #

      that’s dodgy, yeah I don’t like how they rank on booking either.

Trackbacks/Pingbacks

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