If you have the time to wait until you get a great deal on accommodation then do it, if you are travelling and don’t know your next destination then you are more limited for choice, and most importantly time. I use a variety of sources and whichever one gives me the best prices that’s what I go with. There are cheaper options such as couch surfing or home sitting, neither of which I’ve looking into in much depth but many people have.
In no particular order I use:
www.airbnb.com – Not always possible if you need to book accommodation quickly and I’ve had the random occasion where the host had to cancel, that is rare though. When I do book I always go for the whole apartment/house option.
www.hostelworld.com – As I always want accommodation with my own bathroom I’ve found Hostel World hit or miss, the latter being that it’s the same price or more expensive than hotels. If you are happy to share a room then I don’t think there is any web site cheaper than them.
www.booking.com – they don’t only list hotels, they include almost all accommodation. Booking.com was the cheapest when I did the Calais to Amsterdam bicycle ride
www.hotels.com – they don’t only list hotels, they include almost all accommodation and between Hotels.com and Booking.com I’ve found them the cheapest compared to other comparison sites. Hotels.com was the cheapest when I was in Spain.
For any of the accommodation sites I wouldn’t stay loyal to only one or even two sites, you need to compare them in real time and go with what works on the day.
Masking your IP address/location:
When looking for accommodation a little tip I learnt from a link I was sent (link below) and something I would recommend learning, is masking your location. This just means the site you are searching doesn’t know where or which country you are in. It’s not as technical as you might think to change your IP location i.e. where websites think you are based. I found a great article that explains how you can do this and the benefits: https://www.vpnmentor.com/blog/save-money-hotels-vpn/