I want to minimize the amount of cash I have to bring around in my coming trip, and I noticed that booking hotels through Agoda will help as I can pay them by credit card and they will take care to send the money to the hotel.
Anybody has experience if this actually works? Any flaw in the logic?
#1 apeiron75 has been a member since 17/10/2013. Posts: 8
I see you posted in the Burma forum, so I'll disclaimer that I've had no experience with Agoda in Burma. However, it has worked fine for me in Malaysia, Vietnam and Cambodia. Sometimes you can get a really good deal through Agoda as well, I remember a place in Kampot when we decided to stay an extra night the price nearly doubled because it wasn't the Agoda discount.
Thanks for your reply Caseyprich. I used already Agoda in SEA and found it very helpful. Indeed my question was more focused on Burma, as I will book hotels when I am there and just few days in advance: I would like to avoid finding out that for some hotels i still need cash..
#3 apeiron75 has been a member since 17/10/2013. Posts: 8
Nowhere I stayed in Burma during my trip earlier this year accepted credit cards. I was travelling at the "budget" end of the barrel, so cheapest I paid was $18, most $45, but all were cash only.
So yes, booking with Agoda will save you carrying around a sack full of kyat.
BUT, on my travels some of the places were cheaper as a walkin customer than on Agoda -- not by a lot mind you $5 here or there -- but the rooms were not always cheaper online.
However, in high season, where rooms may be a little harder to find, perhaps knowing you have a room locked down is worth the slight premium.
So, if you're planning on using a credit card to pay for rooms, that probably won't always work out.
More questions, ask away.
many thanks for your reply. Then I will go ahead and use Agoda. I think the small extra I pay there compared to walkin rates offset the annoyance of taking with me a larger amount of cash. On this I have a question: I read that USD must be in pristine conditions or they will not be accepted, but not sure how pristine is pristine If I store them (brand new from the bank) in my wallet, ie folded (actually bent) at around 50% of their length, would that be fine?
Thanks again for your help!
#5 apeiron75 has been a member since 17/10/2013. Posts: 8
I looked at accommodation on Agoda but didn't know how to determine whether places were privately owned or whether my money would be going to the government. Is it only the large hotels and resorts which are owned by the government?
#6 smartlyndy has been a member since 7/5/2009. Posts: 33
Generally it is the larger hotels, but smaller hotels and guesthouses could just as easily be owned by government officials/soldiers/cronies and so on. I wrote a bit about this over in this feature regarding travelling to Burma - you may find it of interest.
Aperion, I would suggest keeping your larger USD bills in perfect condition and do not fold them. They aren't so fussy about the $1 bills though.
I bought a cheap sturdy plastic ziploc pouch to carry my USD. It wasnt too bulky but just sturdy enough to protect my cash from accidental damage. I carried them separate to my wallet.
Also, I agree with Somtam that walk in rates were definitely cheaper than Agoda. I only used Agoda once in Burma but had no problem with the booking. The rest of the time I just emailed ahead of time and had no problems with that either.
I can understand the preference to minimise cash that you are carrying... I ended up bringing way more than I needed and it did make me a bit uncomfortable. I usually carried half with me and left half locked up in the depths of my backpack.
Like others have mentioned, any crease, ink mark or 'dog ear' on any bill could be grounds for it to be refused by anyone. I brought a stack of $100 USD bills in October 2012 and over half of them were deemed 'unusable' by various merchants and money changers. I personally inspected each of them before hand and thought them to be good enough; for some merchants, only pristine $100 bills are good enough.
Booking through Agoda is a great way to take the adventure out of finding accommodations as you go, but it's how I traveled around Burma last year (cheater cheaterton) and is very convenient. There were no problems with any of my five or six Agoda bookings throughout the country as of October 2012.
I'm headed back into Burma in a week's time and will use Agoda just once in Yangon before going 'off the grid'.
Thanks Somtam, I'll have a look.
#10 smartlyndy has been a member since 7/5/2009. Posts: 33
Why do people want pristine notes?
Ive never understood that. Notes over 6 mths old r going to get worn. Same value.
#11 LeonardCohen1 has been a member since 24/7/2012. Posts: 2,148
I have not used them so can't comment, but always though shop around for the best price plus look for those with large choices and those that don't require full payment months in advance. If staying between May and October look for extra free night deals and special offers which a great number of hotels offer.
#12 Terry001 has been a member since 10/1/2014. Posts: 18
I recommend Agoda to book and Trip advisor for ideas. Expedia can be a fine alternative but if i remember right they just book the hotel you still have to pay the hotel direct. In refernce to Agoda always make sure you get the confirmation email as most hotels will ask to see especially if you have booked right at the last minute.
One hotel i stayed in at Chang Mai which admittedly was above my dress code, I was going to give the chance of a direct booking to extend my stay. Having checked on agoda the price for the next 2 nights and availability I went down to reception to see how much they would charge and they claimed it was fully booked. So i went back up to my room used their WiFi and extended my stay for a couple of nights, then went back down to confirm they got my booking and the look on the managers face was rather well displeased so i did the polite thing and smiled at him as i walked back to the lift.
#13 Twerto has been a member since 20/11/2011. Posts: 37
"One hotel i stayed in at Chang Mai which admittedly was above my dress code, I was going to give the chance of a direct booking to extend my stay. Having checked on agoda the price for the next 2 nights and availability I went down to reception to see how much they would charge and they claimed it was fully booked. So i went back up to my room used their WiFi and extended my stay for a couple of nights, then went back down to confirm they got my booking and the look on the managers face was rather well displeased so i did the polite thing and smiled at him as i walked back to the lift."
LOL the manager must have wanted you gone.
I booked 4 nights online with a 4 star hotel in Bangkok and then wanted to extend the stay and asked the desk what the price was - 3300 baht a night. So I walked 100m to an net café booked the room for 1400 baht a night and walked back with the receipt.
Crazy really. Massive difference. I wonder if people are silly enough to pay the walk in price.
#14 LeonardCohen1 has been a member since 24/7/2012. Posts: 2,148
Yeah I find the whole thing sort of baffling. I've compared rates for so many hotels by walking in, looking on the hotels' websites and checking Agoda (plus Hostelworld, etc.) and have found the differences to be a bit ridiculous at times. The pattern I see is that cheaper places often charge slightly less for walk-ins than they do on Agoda, but luxury resorts often charge WAY more for walk-ins. I remember a Ko Chang luxury resort quoted me at around 8,000 baht when I walked in (highway robbery for the sub-par room), then I looked on Agoda that same day and saw it for like 3,300, which I still felt was overpriced. Hotel websites can go either way... A lot of times the so-called "Listed Rates" are extremely overpriced; I don't understand why you would list a room for double what you would charge a walk-in or on Agoda... It just makes the hotel look dishonest or something. But other times hotel websites offer discounts that you won't find on Agoda. My experience has been that Agoda is very useful for midrange to high-end travelers, but budget travelers are best off emailing a place directly or just walking in. A lot of the best budget places aren't on Agoda because they don't need to be.
I agree with that. It makes them look crooked to charge grossly inflated rates.
Walk in bargaining only works with smaller places and not big chains.
Doesnt have to be a low class resort though. I got 1000 baht a night at KB resort for an aircon bungalow when the lowest web price was 1200 baht. The check in girl had a list of prices printed out but under she wrote the cheapest price in.pencil so she knew how low to go.
#16 LeonardCohen1 has been a member since 24/7/2012. Posts: 2,148