Last Updated | 13th March 2023
Alongside the cost of flights, accommodation is another large but essential expense you’ll need to consider while on your trip. But whether you are travelling on more of a shoestring budget, or have a little more cash to part with, you still want to find the best bang for your buck. Fortunately, there are many ways to save money on accommodation while travelling. In this blog post, we’ll explore some of the most affordable options for accommodation. Along with how to find the accommodation most suited for your needs and what to look out for before you book.
Hostels are a popular choice for budget travellers, particularly backpackers. As they are usually one of the cheapest accommodation options, plus are a great way to meet fellow travellers. Sadly we feel hostels get a bad rep from those that have never stayed in them (we’re blaming the film hostel for that one). But here at Everitts Adventures we absolutely love them! There are thousands of amazing hotels all over the world, many of which have facilities to rival that of most hotels. The community atmosphere in hostels is amazing and the best hostels put on loads of events to help entertain their guests. While the cheapest rooms at any hostel will mean shared rooms, bathrooms, and communal spaces. Those after a bit more privacy but still after the hostel vibe, can elect to stay in private rooms.
Undoubtedly the best way to search for hostels is by using the Hostelworld website or app! Our top tips here are obviously to stay in hostels with great reviews from other travellers. Look out for free breakfasts, or activities the hostel puts on. A bar is always nice if wanting to be super social as a great way to meet other travellers. Additionally, hostel dorms that have curtains for the beds and personal lockers are big things to look for as they make a massive difference.
Final tip, once you’ve found a great place to stay on Hostelworld, see if you can then book direct with the hostel themselves by searching for them on google / their own website. You might be able to get a slightly cheaper rate / exclusive deal. As the hostel isn’t having to pay a fee to Hostelworld for having them manage the booking. However, Hostelworld does also have a really cool chat feature which allows you to talk to other travellers before you arrive. If you book a stay through the app, you’ll be added to the group for that hostel as well as the location, which is a great way to interact with other travellers who shall be there at the same time as you!
Renting a house, apartment or even your own private room in someone’s home can be a great way to find accommodation while travelling. Having your own fully furnished place away from home can be a real treat, giving you access to all those home comforts. Hands down the best website for finding these places to rent is Air bnb. Depending on where you are in the world the price of these rentals is going to fluctuate quite heavily. The price will also be largely dependent on the size of the place you’ll be staying in, the length of your stay and also the facilities. For solo travellers, they probably aren’t the most economical or social choice. But for couples and larger groups looking for some privacy and their own space, it can be a great option. Another benefit of Air bnb over a hotel room is that you’ll have access to a kitchen, meaning you’ll be able to prepare and cook your own food. Giving you another way to cut down on the cost of the trip if you desire.
We won’t spend too much time on hotels as they are pretty self-explanatory. Obviously, the price of a hotel in any location can vary massively depending on the quality. In certain parts of the world, you can find relatively good deals for a hotel room with good facilities. However, this isn’t always the case. If you really want to travel as cheaply as possible, we recommend avoiding hotels as much as you can. But we also 100% understand it’s great to treat yourself every now and then with a little bit of luxury.
The best way to source great hotel deals is by using a comparison website, which allows you to search for a large number of hotels very quickly. You’ll easily see the various differences in price and can then compare the best deals or filter based on certain criteria. Our top comparison sites for hotel bookings would be Agoda or Booking.com
Having covered the more traditional accommodation methods above. Below is a list of lesser-known or used options. However, all of these come with their own perks, which might be perfect for you and should certainly be considered.
Couchsurfing is a platform that connects travellers with locals who are willing to provide them with a free place to stay. Meaning it’s a great option for travellers wanting to save as much money as possible on accommodation while experiencing local culture. Couchsurfing hosts offer a couch or spare room in their home to travellers, meaning the service is completely free. It’s also a great way to truly get to know somewhere as a local. Your local host will have lots of great information from their experience of living there. Giving you great insight into the best places to visit, restaurants to eat in and bars to visit. For most people the idea of couch surfing can seem a little daunting, wondering if it’s really safe or is the host going to be crazy etc. Couchsurfing is aware of this and takes many steps to provide that level of comfort. For example stringent verification process, ratings and review features from past guests. 99/100 hosts are open-minded lovely people, who have often done a great deal of travelling themselves.
While it certainly won’t appeal to everyone, it’s without a doubt one of the best ways to save on accommodation. So for those willing to see what it’s all about, besides you’re bound to meet some great people and save lots of money in the process too.
Homestays provide an opportunity to stay with a local family and experience their way of life. Homestays are similar to Couchsurfing, but they’re usually paid for, and guest will have their own private room. They are particularly popular in Asia and provide a unique cultural experience for those that stay in them. Homestays are generally cheaper than hotels or guesthouses and offer a more authentic experience. Your homestay hosts will likely do all they can to ensure you have the best time during your stay, likely offering to teach you about local customs and traditions, giving you recommendations of what you should see and do or even teaching you how to prepare and cook local cuisine. Which often tastes amazing as the food is really authentic. Homestays are also an excellent way to practice a foreign language and support the local community.
House-sitting is an excellent way to get free accommodation while travelling. Many homeowners look for reliable individuals to house-sit while they’re away, providing them with peace of mind knowing that their home is being looked after while they’re gone. Some also require you to look after pets / animals that will also be left behind at the property while the owners are away. This option is most suited for those staying for a longer period of time, such as a few weeks or months. Although short-term stays are possible.
House-sitting websites, such as Trusted House Sitters and Mind My House, connect travellers with homeowners who are looking for someone to look after their home, pets, and garden while they’re away. In exchange for house-sitting, travellers receive free accommodation and the opportunity to live like a local. Just remember though you will be expected to actually look after the house and not just treat it like a hotel.
Work for accommodation or work exchange programs are another great option for travellers wanting to save money on accommodation. While not entirely free as you’ll be undertaking some kind of work in exchange for free accommodation and sometimes even food. Work exchange programs are available worldwide and are a great option for people wanting longer-term accommodation without having to physically pay for it. There are many different types of work exchanges available, such as farm work, whereby accommodation and food are provided in exchange for your labour. Or even working in a hostel / hotel helping with housekeeping and reception duties, whereby you can then stay for free as a result of working a set number of hours.
Websites like Workaway, HelpX, and WWOOF connect travellers with hosts who need help with various tasks in exchange for accommodation. Work exchange programs provide an opportunity for travellers to immerse themselves in the local culture, meet new people and gain new skills all while saving money.
Camping / Free Camping
Camping, while this method isn’t always possible and often depends a lot on where you are and the type of trip you are undertaking. It can be a very affordable way to travel, allowing you to save some money while getting closer to nature at the same time. There are thousands of campsites worldwide, with many located in beautiful natural surroundings. Although having all the required camping gear does usually make this the best option for those doing bike tours or road trips. Campsites vary in price depending on the location, facilities, and time of year. However, in most countries, there are also extensive free camping opportunities, where you are able to camp for free in designated areas or even in the wild. Just be sure to research local regulations before setting up camp to avoid any fines or legal issues.
Certainly, if you are undertaking a road trip through a country, free camping is an amazing way to save some money. Granted you’ll have to spend out on say renting or buying your road trip vehicle, but once on the road, free campsites allow you to live much more frugally after this. A great app for free camping is Wikicamps which shows every known free camping spot (along with ratings and facilities) for the UK, USA, Canada, Australia & NZ.
However you decide to travel or whatever the purpose of your trip, they are a plethora of options when it comes to accommodation. Many of which can be highly affordable, while still offering a great place to stay. Some of the options we have proposed may seem a little daunting at first if you are used to using these services, for example staying in hostels, free camping or Couchsurfing. But we are certain that after giving them a go, you’ll surprise yourself at how great they can be, and shall use them time and time again on any future trips. Finding great accommodation is certainly a massive part of any trip, but with a little research and an open mind, you can absolutely find the perfect place for your wallet and head to sleep at night.
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