How To Find Cheap Accommodation when Traveling
When travelling abroad or planning a trip, accommodation can be one of the biggest drains on your budget. Everyone would like to get a better deal and have more money to spend on traveling and seeing new places. There are lots of options where you can save money and we have put together a guide to help find you free, low cost and cheap accommodation and places to stay.
There are lots of ways to find cheap accommodation abroad and hopefully this will help show you that you can live abroad on a budget and save money. Hostels and hotels can be really expensive especially if you stay more than a few days and this guide will help you find other kinds budget accommodation and also find free and cheap ways to stay around the world. This page should be useful if you are travelling by yourself, with friends, a partner or with your family.
Staying in a hostel whilst abroad is out best suggestion on how to save money and stay in cheap accommodation around the world. You can find hostels in most worldwide countries and prices vary, most of the time there are dorm and shared rooms where prices are really low. If you have never stayed in this type of accommodation before, don't let the name 'hostel' put you off, some offer worldclass facilities, kitchens so you can cook and some are a lot more exciting than staying in a hotel.
In places like Thailand for example it is possible to stay for as little as $3 per night and even in more expensive countries if you choose a hostel which is away from the touristy area / city centre it is usually cheaper. With hostels the longer you stay the cheaper the rate will be, some hostels do special promotions where if you stay 3 nights you get a 4th free. Some hostels even allow volunteer work in exchange for a free bed.
- Be sure to book in advance with a comparison website like Hostel World to secure the cheapest price possible.
Hotels are the most popular option for accommodation when travelling abroad, you can find a range of options and prices from luxury rooms to low cost budget options. With hotels its important to think the earlier you book in advance the cheaper the price will be and the better deal you will get. Also one benefit with a booking website is that they offer a free cancelation service (please read the small print). So if you book a hotel and then change your mind you can get your money back.
Sometimes if you sacrifice location you will save a lot of money on accommodation, try to work out if you really need to be an expensive central location or if you don't mind commuting and staying a little further out. In Venice for example, you can stay outside of the main city and catch a bus, taxi or train to the main tourist area and this will save you lots of money!
- Use a good hotel comparison website, we recommend Hotels Combined to search the cheapest prices and book ahead to get the best deal.
3. Find Accommodation via Friends and Family
The world is a small place now especially with social networking websites like Facebook which link the world together. Get in touch with people you know who live abroad and see if you could stay with them, or get them to post a message ont heir facebook to see if anyone they know could offer you a place to stay. Staying with a local is always a good way to see more of place you might not normally see, and most of the time its also free!
Depending on what country you are looking to visit you could take a sleeping bag, pillow and a tent which you can buy these things very cheap online or in a range of shops. Lots of countries have professional campsites where you can stay for a low cost, this is popular during summer in countries like France and New Zealand. You could also just pitch up on the side of a road, beach or field.
5. Buy or Rent a Campervan
If you are considering going traveling around Europe, Australia, New Zealand then a popular option is to travel by campervan. You can buy second hand van for cheap or just rent one which can be a fraction of the price of traditional accommodation. If you have a friend or partner you share with this will bring the overall price down.
6. Car Drop Off
In some destinations like the USA companies will pay you to transport a car or vehicle to a certain destination which can be perfect if you are looking to explore on a budget.
7. CouchSurfing and Social Networking Websites
Nowadays with the internet you can join a social networking website and find accommodaation abroad. There are popular websites like Couchsurfing and Hospitality Club where you can join, make friends, contact people and then find people to host you abroad. There are lots of social networking websites where you can meet new people and find a host whether you are travelling solo, with friends or a partner. This might sound scary if you have never come across this concept before but literally thousands of people are registered on these websites and there are lots of safety and security measures you can take.
On these website you can view peoples reviews or get in contact with people who have previously stayed with people to double check authenticity. We would stay away from contacting anyone with any pictures, information or reviews. On these websites lots of travellers are connected so people you meet might be able to put you in contact with other people in destinations you are looking to visit. Sometimes booking accommodation can be difficult, for example during peak season or special events like Carnival in Brazil and social network websites can help.
Couchsurfing and similar websites are also a route to consider if you are looking to travel on a budget and not just stay in a mundane hotel for example. Accommodation is one part of these websites but you can also get in contact with people who can offer travel advice or show you around where they live.
6. Renting and Home Exchanges
If you are thinking about staying away for more than a few days you might want to consider another option which is renting a room, appartment, flat or house overseas. There are also flat and house sitting website which have been set up so you can stay in a place whilst the owners are away.
With homeexchange you browse properties you like, get in touch with the owners and see if they would like to swap meaning you get free accommodation for the duration of your stay. Other websites provides access to a list of rooms and properties which are empty and you can sign up to rent a space. These options are probably our top recommendation if you are working abroad or if you are travelling for a long period with your family but might be worth considering anyway.
7. Travel During The Night
This is more of a budget travel recommendation, but if you would like to save money whilst travelling abroad think about booking transportation during the night. There are lots of overnight buses, trains and flights where you can save a nights accommodation just by moving. This might mean you are a little tired the next day depending on how well you sleep but it also means you wake up in a new destination early meaning you have the whole day to relax or explore. Most airports and transport hubs also usually have safe areas you can sleep.
8. Tours / Volunteering
If you book a group tour or volunteering program these usually include accommodation in the initial price you pay. Althrough some experiences can seem expensive when you work out the price of accommodation in these destinations you will find it sometimes works out great value for money especially when food is often included too.
9. Short Term Rentals
There has been a huge rise in short term rentals as an alternative and popular form of accommodation and the best thing is that it can work out a lot cheaper than staying in a hotel. Websites like Airbnb allow you to search short term rental accommodation all around the world.
- Homestay.com offer affordable homestays for people of all ages. Every home has a host present and they do more than just hand over keys. They're real people bringing real homestay experiences to life.
10. Farm Stays
You might be suprised to learn that local farms around the world offer free accommodation to internationals especially those who are willing to offer time to work. You could help out with local tasks and get a free place to stay.
Do you have any other suggestions or things we missed off our list? Contact us today!