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Accommodation in general

Is it best to use for entire booking process, or research that site first and then book direct?
I think I’m understanding that using VRBO is also preferable to AirBnB?

Posted by
346 posts

Booking direct in general is ALWAYS better when you can for airlines and hotels. “Talk to —— third party” is never fun in vacation. That said- apartment rentals if I’m working with an individual vs rental company I like the 3rd party option.

Many people list their rentals on multiple sites so I don’t believe in apartment rentals there’s a “better” third party. Check fees and protections and compare.

Posted by
468 posts

It really depends. In the Balkans I often found that places (inc hotels, and almost all apartments) - had no alternative except to book via a 3rd party. I will book direct if I can get a better deal - but I found it was only in larger towns/hotels that this was actually a thing - 90% of our trip was via booking dot com

Posted by
24810 posts

I can't tell you anything about apartments in Norway because I stayed in hotels--the cheapest ones I could find in central locations. I did my accommodation research on, then I checked the corporate website if I was looking at a chain hotel. By joining the company's affinity program I usually saved about 5%. For individual hotels, the website rate was often identical to's rate.

Norway's extremely expensive. The market has responded to that, and there are now chains popping up that are not as grotesquely expensive as you might expect. You should check the reviews, though, because one way they are able to keep their rates low is by reducing service. That's happning in many places (not just in Norway). It feels odd to pay $150 a night (or more) and be told your room will not be serviced every day.

Posted by
13 posts

we were very successful in finding charming and well-outfitted apartments in ideal locations in Oslo and Bergen. We used airbnb for Oslo and vrbo for Bergen. Oslo location was amazing, quiet neighborhood on the west side of city with tram and bus within a block. The Bergen apartment was on a pedestrian way, a 5 minute walk from where the Flam to Bergen ferry berthed. Perfect.

There is a risk to booking through 3rd part sites, such as, but that site's value is that for many reservations, it has a liberal cancellation policy (sometimes OK to cancel 24 hrs pre-arrival). I don't cancel but it's nice to have that liberal policy in the event of a trip interruption or delay. VRBO and Airbnb tend to have tougher cancellation policies (often rediculously so).

When I determine my destination, I spend a couple of hours reading about neighborhoods, check out transportation maps, etc, so that when I see an apartment to rent, I know how convenient it is to public transport and the sites I'll visit.

Posted by
859 posts

For our Norway trip in August/September 2022, we used a mixture of booking through and booking direct through the Thon hotel members site. We booked the apartment we stayed in in Oslo direct through Frogner House apartments - we stayed in Helgesens gate in Grunerlokka and loved the location. Ten minutes by tram to the city or a really pleasant 20 minute walk along the river.

Posted by
5 posts

There are pros and cons... to both. On the one hand, booking through a site can be more convenient, allowing you to compare prices and availability at multiple properties. On the other hand, you may end up paying fees or having to adhere to different cancellation policies.

The best option for you will depend on your specific needs.

As for VRBO vs. Airbnb, both can be good options

Posted by
49 posts

We have used Airbnb a lot, but especially now, it is good to look at each lodging's cancellation policies. Some homes allow for a quite liberal cancellation, such as a week or less in advance with no penalty, others are quite strict, such as a cancellation fee after 48 hours of booking! I was impressed by Airbnb in 2018 while in Paris, when we could not reach our host to get the address. We were able to connect with a real human. That said, if you are arriving late at night, read all reviews carefully concerning check-in, as there will no front desk to assist, and many Airbnbs are lockbox, self check. I have used and have not had problems. I just booked a stay through this morning, and it came out to about $9.00 cheaper per night than booking with the hotel directly. Good luck!