Is legit for hotels?

If you’re looking to travel and wondering is legitimate and reliable, you’ve come to the right place. This review will go over the pros and cons of using the website to make reservations, as well as give my honest review of, our personal experience using it and any other information you need to know before making your next travel reservations.

What is is a comprehensive website that offers a variety of accommodations to reserve, as well as flights, car rentals and airport taxis. 

There are thousands of accommodations on their site, ranging from basic and budget, like camping and hostels, to boutique and luxury hotels, as well as everything in between. Yes, you can rent apartments online as well! is basically a search engine that lets you find places to stay, as well as search flights, car rentals and other transportation options. But it also acts as an intermediary between the traveller and the hotel, airline or rental car company and lets you book directly on their site.

** isn’t an online travel agency – you are responsible for your own reservations. 

Originally formed in 1996, has grown from a small Dutch start-up to one of the world’s leading digital travel companies.

It’s now available in 43 languages, with over 28 million accommodation listings, including homes, apartments and other unique places to stay. There’s also a mobile app that launched in 2010, and is now available for Android, iPhone, Microsoft Windows and Kindle Fire.

But is Reliable?

In my experience, yes! has been established for many years now and is one of the largest digital travel companies in the world. They offer over 28 million accommodation listings in 227 countries and territories worldwide. 

We’ve used Booking almost exclusively for years, in over 20 countries, and only once did we have an issue. And as soon as I contacted booking customer support, they took care of the situation, credited me for the accommodation and helped us find other accommodations.

And while there are some negative reviews of, with that many listings, there’s bound to be some issues. I mean, to put it into perspective, there are more than 1.5 million rooms booked through them each night, and with that many bookings, you’re sure to hear some negatives. But while you will hear of those bad experiences, I think they are far and few between, and quite often, they’re more communication issues with the actual accommodation, rather than the booking platform.

How does work?

As I mentioned earlier, is basically a search engine for accommodations, as well as other travel services. I use it mainly for finding places to stay, although I have used it in the past to book rental cars as well. 

When you enter a destination, will show a list of available places to stay, so that you can choose the best accommodation for your needs and preferences. The properties pay a commission to to list with them, and often the prices shown are less than what you would pay if you booked directly with the property.  

Note: While you can search without creating an account, you will need to log in or create an account in order to make a reservation.


How to Use

First, go to or the mobile app.

Enter the destination, travel dates and the number of travellers. You can also choose how many rooms you will need. homepage

Search results will appear, and here’s where you can add filters to get the results you’re looking for. 

Popular filters include things like breakfast included, parking, swimming pools, free cancellation, etc.

You can also filter by rating or review score, distance from the city center, free cancellation, pet-friendly and property type, as well as by amenities, such as a washing machine or kitchenette, which is great if you’re travelling for a while.


  • Property rating
  • Budget per night
  • Number of Bedrooms
  • Distance from the city center
  • Facilities
  • Reservation policy
  • Meals
  • Property type
  • Review score
  • Neighbourhood
  • Hotel brands/chain
  • Property accessibility
  • Room accessibility


On the left-hand side, there’s an option to ‘show on map’. This will open a Google map of the area, with pins showing the different accommodation options. Hover over a pin to see the info on the property, or click on the pin so you can view more details or reserve the property. 

map of accommodations on search

From this list, you can click on any hotel that looks like a good fit for you and view more details on the hotel. 

Hotel Info

Here you can read reviews, see their location on a map, view photos and read more about the property. 

Clicking on the “excellent 8.8” button will take you to the guest reviews, where you can filter to read reviews for anything specific (breakfast, pool, parking, etc), or scroll through the individual reviews. 

hotel info on


The first option under the photos will have a blue reserve button, but keep scrolling down and under the information on the accommodation, you’ll see all availability, including types of rooms, options of different pricing based on flexibility and cancellation, prepayment, and breakfast, etc.

available room options on search

Guest Reviews

Here you’ll find more information on the reviews (If you didn’t read them at the beginning), including a score for staff, comfort, facilities, cleanliness, value for money, location and free wifi. You can select topics to filter reviews to read or read all the reviews. 

guest reviews on

Hotel Area Info

Here you’ll find a list of what is nearby the accommodations, including popular attractions and landmarks, as well as restaurants and cafes nearby or on-site.


Listed here is everything that the accommodation offers. There may be some things on here that you wouldn’t have thought of before (sockets near the bed or hairdryers), but it’s always good to know!

List: Bathroom, Bedroom, Outdoors, Kitchen, room amenities, activities, living area, media & technology, food & drink, internet, parking, front desk services, cleaning services and business facilities, safety & security, accessibility and languages spoken

House Rules

Here you’ll find information on check-in and check-out times, cancellation and payment policies, including what type of payment is accepted, and pet policies. And be sure to read the section titled “Fine Print”.

This is also the spot where you’ll see if there are any additional parking charges, or 


If you decide it works for you, click the reserve button, which will take you to a page to enter your information. This page also shows you the price, both in your currency as well as the property’s currency, and any other fees which aren’t included.

Here you can see that some taxes are included but there is still a city tax which will have to be paid at check-in.

payment details of reservation on

Some accommodations require prepayment, while others take a credit card number to hold the property and you don’t pay until you arrive at the hotel. 

Mobile App

The app is available for both Android and iPhone. It’s super easy to use and quite often there’s an additional discount (around 10%) when using the app.

While the layout looks slightly different, it’s still the same booking process.

Search functions, including filters and maps, are the same, and there are links to all the information you would find on the desktop site.

You can ‘heart’ the property to save it in your favourites and create lists of preferred accommodations for a specific city.

I honestly prefer using the mobile app, as it feels more straightforward and less distracting, but maybe that’s just me. mobile app Cancellation policy does not have a universal cancellation policy, but it is very transparent about the cancellation policies for each listing.

Some accommodations will have free cancellation up until a certain date and time, while others are non-refundable.

Depending on your needs, you can choose appropriate accommodations based on your flexibility.

Book your next trip with or search these deals for some inspiration

Why Use

Ease of Use

I find really easy to use, and with the number of filters and preferences available, you can really narrow down what type of stay you want.

There’s an impressive number of accommodations to choose from (unless you’re in a remote area – Cape Breton in the winter, we’re talking to you), and it’s easy to filter those options to focus in on the best accommodation for you and your family. 

For example, I tend to add my filters – usually parking, 7+ rating, free wifi, and browse the results. Then I can sort by the lowest price first, or use the map feature to zoom in on an area that I prefer to be in. From here, I’ll read reviews and make sure the accommodation is something that works for us, before reserving.

Value for Money has so many accommodations to choose from  that you can easily choose something in your budget. But the best part is that they offer a price match if you find the same accommodation for a better rate somewhere else.

While this doesn’t happen that often, you can contact if it’s at least 24 hours before you check in and provide them with a link to the other advertised rate.

The accommodation must be the same type and for the same dates, as well as have the same cancellation policy (because some rates are different based on the cancellation policy that you choose).

I’ve never had to contact them for a price match, as I’ve always found to have the best price, but knowing that it’s an option makes me confident when reserving with them. 


Once you create an account, all your reservations, including stayed bookings, are kept in the dashboard. I find this really helpful, as I can browse past stays, and if someone asks for a recommendation for a certain place, I can check my past stays and see the price, location and number of days we stayed. 

It’s also helpful when you’re travelling for longer periods of time, or moving between different places, as you can see all of your bookings in one place. I’m one of those people who quite often books at the last minute, sometimes the day of, and it’s helpful to see a timeline across the top of booking, to show which dates I don’t have accommodations booked for yet. 

But aside from accommodations, booking also helps you keep all  of your reservations in one place. If you’re renting a car or booking flights, all of those reservations are in the same place. 

Guest Reviews 

One of the best features of is the guest reviews.

These reviews provide honest insight into the experience you’ll receive at the property and are a valuable resource when choosing and planning accommodations. Guest reviews cover everything from the comfort of the beds and pillows to the cleanliness of the bathrooms and accommodations.

When reading reviews beforehand, you can search through the reviews for something specific (I often check breakfast to see if there are gluten-free options, or if it’s just a grab-and-go toast or muffin type breakfast).

Cancellation Policies

As stated above, does not have a universal cancellation policy – each property has their own cancellation policies.

However, many properties have great cancellation policies and offer you to cancel bookings up to a day or two before your check-in time, and some even offer free cancellation up until the check-in time.

This is a great option if you need flexibility when travelling. I’ve taken advantage of this a few times, when travel plans change (like when we had planned to visit Charlottetown in the winter but a winter storm postponed our road trip or when my kids got sick right before leaving for Costa Rica and we had to rebook our flight and shuffle all of our accommodations).

It’s nice having the option to change our plans without losing out on any money!

Genius Loyalty Program

Once you create an account with, you begin to earn rewards based on how often you use their program.

There are three levels; Genius Level 1, 2 and 3.

With the first Genius level, you have to create an account and complete two stays within 2 years. This earns you a 10% discount on your hotel stays (before taxes and charges).

With Genius Level 2 and 3, you can earn up to a 15-20% discount, plus be eligible for free breakfast or free room upgrades on select stays. These benefits have saved us money over the years, and the room upgrades have been a nice surprise when making a reservation. *Upgrades and extra perks are only on select stays, not all reservations.

genius rewards levels available on

Frequent Coupon Codes

There are frequent deals on Usually these deals are promoted to fill rooms, but sometimes you’ll receive a message saying you’ve got 10% credit towards booking your next stay

Check out the best deals on

Cons of Using

It’s a Third Party operates as an intermediary between you, the traveller, and the hotel, airline or rental car company.

This means that they make the reservation and often collect the payment, and are responsible for your booking.

If there are any issues, you will have to go through, not the individual hotel, airline or rental car company. And like many online travel agencies,’s customer service isn’t great.

This can be frustrating when you want to resolve an issue quickly.

To help alleviate this issue, I always make sure I have a confirmation and message from the accommodation through the booking platform, or if not, I will call and double check our reservation ahead of time. 

We’ve had success making changes with hotel reservations, however, flights can be more challenging. (I haven’t booked flights with, but have with other third-party companies – Expedia – and had a very hard time getting compensation for an extra flight we had to book and a cancelled flight during the spring of 2020. More on that below.)

Negative Reviews

As I’ve mentioned, I use for most of our accommodation reservations when travelling.

And while I’ve had positive experiences, there are some people who haven’t been happy using booking com and you’ll see these negative reviews online.

Many of the issues that I’ve seen have to do with cancellations or getting refunds, and putting it down to poor customer service.

While I obviously can’t speak for these cases, the cancellation policy is clearly stated on the available options for each hotel, as well as again before completing the reservation. 

Unexpected Costs

Sometimes the big bold price that you see when searching for accommodations may not be the price that shows up when you go to pay.

However, you’ll notice under the bolded price, that there’s usually smaller text noting the extra taxes and fees.

Compared to other accommodation options, like Airbnb, these fees are much smaller, however, they still do add up.

And even when paying online ahead of time, if you don’t read the fine print, you may be surprised when you go to check in and find that you have to pay extra fees, such as the city tax.

This is common practice in many countries, as each city needs to collect the tax themselves, but just something to be aware of when making payment. 


Cancellations are always a risk while booking anything, especially through third parties. I’ve heard some people say it’s happened to them, but to be honest, in over 5 years of using booking almost exclusively, we’ve never had a property cancel on us.

And if by some chance it does, like any situation when someone cancels on you, they usually offer an alternative. Like when our flight was cancelled on us last year on Christmas Day, the airline provided an alternative option, or gave us the option to choose something entirely different.

It happens sometimes, I mean, life happens, and we’ve got to make the best of it. But in all my years of using, we’ve never had a cancellation. 

No Hotel Loyalty Points

If you’re using to book your stay, your loyalty program with individual hotels won’t be recognized, nor will the ability to earn points. If this matters to you, be sure to book directly with the hotel. 

Our Own Experiences

As frequent travellers, I often use to reserve accommodations for our family. I find the platform easy to use and it’s helpful to read others’ reviews before reserving accommodations.

I have used almost exclusively (unless we’re camping or doing long-term stays) for over 5 years of frequent travel, and have only once had an issue. There was also one other time that our accommodation was not adequate and we ended up leaving early, but really, that was on me for booking in a hurry and not reading the reviews or checking the ratings. 

We have stayed in all kinds of accommodations from hotels to apartments and hostels to resorts, and on different continents from Europe to South America, Central America and North America.

We’ve had some fantastic experiences, and really enjoyed some of the private apartments that we’ve found on the platform. Even if we’re booking a weekend away for a race or a road trip, we check options and reserve with 

Overall, in 5+ years of travel with kids, we have only had good things to say about using 

Find your next travel adventure on

Alternatives to Booking 

There are other third-party sites similar to that provide similar services for reserving accommodations, flights and vacations. 


Expedia is one of the other top travel booking sites. They offer similar services to, including flights, vacation packages, hotels and other places to stay. I’ve used Expedia to book accommodations and even flights, but I find they don’t have as many reviews of accommodations, making it harder to make an unbiased, informed decision. is another travel platform that allows you to book accommodations. They are part of Expedia but only offer accommodation reservations. However, Hotels.Com has a great policy that every 10th night is free, which adds up when you’re booking many nights at various accommodations. 


This is a similar platform based in Asia that offers accommodations, including hotels, vacation homes and hostels. 


Airbnb operates a bit differently than booking, but still offers accommodation reservations. You won’t find hotels listed on airbnb, but instead rooms, private apartments and houses.

If you’re staying somewhere longer than a week or two, Airbnb might be a great option, but the added fees and cleaning costs often add up to be more than you expect. 

How to Leave a Review on

Once you’ve stayed at a hotel or property, you’re able to leave a review on In fact, after 48 hours of checking out, you will be emailed and asked to leave a review.

These reviews are important, and this helps other travellers make informed decisions. Be honest – do you book a hotel without reading the reviews?? Help another traveller out and leave your own honest review.

There are a few requirements to leave a review though – you must have booked through booking .com, and you must have stayed at the property (if you cancel a booking, you aren’t eligible to leave a review). 

Is Legit for Car Rentals?

So far, this review of and guide on how to use it has focused on places to stay, but to be fair, there is more to the Booking platform than just accommodations.  

I’ve used for car rentals as well – they partner with – for our 2 weeks in Romania, as well to do a road trip in Albania and twice in Chile – to visit Valparaiso and the Atacama Desert. Each time we used to rent a car, we had a positive experience, and rented from different companies each time.

To be completely transparent, I have recently used  (to explore Slovenia) and highly recommend them as well. Both are third-party platforms and search a variety of other rental companies, and have done a great job of finding the best deals for us.

Is Legit for Flights? does legitimately book flights, but to be completely honest, I don’t recommend using them, or any other third-party company, to book flights.

While I haven’t used to reserve a flight, I have used another third-party platform, and it was extremely difficult to modify the flight at all.

I had a really hard time getting a refund for a missed flight (the border closed on us) when the world shut down in early 2020. Eventually, I was compensated, but it was almost 6 months later with countless phone calls, and I wouldn’t recommend using a third party for flights again.

When I had to change two other flights a few years later, both of which were booked directly with the airline, it was a much easier process and now that’s the only way I will recommend booking flights. 


Conclusion: Is Reliable for Hotels?

Absolutely! In my opinion, is reliable and safe to use to book hotels and other accommodations. In fact, as we’ve mentioned above, we use almost exclusively to book our travels (unless we’re camping), and so far, we’ve only had positive experiences. 

While it does carry a higher risk of issues, as you’re booking through a third-party platform, is legitimate and a site that’s safe to use. Just be sure to read the fine print and as you would with any place to stay, read the reviews and check the location, amenities and cancellation policy to ensure it’s the best place for you and your family to stay. 

FAQ: Is Legit?

What is’s cancellation policy? As a third party site, the cancellation policy is individual to each property. Booking com provides this information on the reservation page and under the available options. Many properties offer free cancellation up to 24 hours before check-in, however some rooms, usually at the lower price, are non-refundable. Be sure to read this before reserving! 

Are reviews fake? No, all the reviews are from guests who have personally stayed at the property. After checking out, guests will be emailed an invitation to complete a review and there is no other way to leave a review on the platform. 

Is safe for credit cards? Absolutely. adheres to strict industry standards for online transactions, including using encryption technology to safeguard your credit card details during the booking process, ensuring a secure and reliable transaction. 

Do I have to pay with a credit card? Each property has its own payment policies, and some do accept cash, but most still require a credit card to reserve.

Is there a mobile app? Yes! The mobile app is available for both Android and iPhone, as well as Kindle Fire.

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For more tips on travelling with kids, be sure to check out these posts: