Opaque Booking Sites
To compare results from a whole slew of sites at once (though again with limited international options), try one of the aggregators such as Kayak.com, or Mobissimo.If you just want to go lie on a beach somewhere or get a city hotel on the cheap in Rio, you can often bid low and win at SkyAuction. If you’re feeling flush, try LuxuryLink for top-end properties at a discount.For international budget options and hostels, check in with Hostelworld, HostelBookers.com, Hostelling International, Hostelz, or Hostels.com.
If you are looking for accommodations loaded with history and atmosphere visit Castle and Palace Hotels.
Also subscribe to newsletters that will alert you to last-minute deals. Try Smarter Travel
For bed and breakfasts, there are a zillion sites out there vying to be your portal to that world. We like the fact that BedandBreakfast.com sends out an e-mail alert of special discounts, but others are BnBFinder and BBOnline.
For unusual hotels, try, well, Unusual Hotels of the World.Historic Hotels of Europe lists castles, manor houses, and the like. For detailed reviews of the best hotels in Mexico, Central America, and South America, see Luxury Latin America Hotels. For reviews of hotels in all budget ranges, see Hotel Scoop.
For international travel, the best option of all is to book part of it in advance and then figure the rest out as you go. You often find better deals on location and you’ll know exactly what you are getting! The next best thing is to find a localized site where you can tell they really know what they are talking about. There you will often find small hotels and inns that can’t afford to advertise internationally on the big booking engines. For more hotel hunting advice, see this article: “Finding International Hotels with Character.”