Accomodation - airbnb

Cheeky ways to save money on accommodation when travelling


Accommodation can be one of your biggest expenses when travelling. Spending on a place to sleep every night can add up quickly, particularly if you are planning on travelling long term. Here are some ideas about alternative ways of sourcing good accommodation without having to stay at a single hotel. 

Sharing a room

Booking into hostels is an immediate way of saving money. They are usually lower end, but more social and easy-going as a result. If you are comfortable with sharing a dorm room, most hostels will offer lower rates the more people you share with. You may want to invest in some earplugs if you have trouble sleeping, but for many young travellers this is an integral part of the backpacking experience.

Accomodation - hostel room

If you are in a country that has motels, check out the family room rates. You may find that a four person room works out cheaper than a standard hotel room. Both hostels and motels may include kitchen facilities which allow you to buy and cook your own food, which can also help you to save money. 

Staying at somebody’s house or farm

The last few years have seen a huge rise in online platforms that allow people to stay with locals on their travels.

If you want a room in a local house, or even a whole apartment, check out AirBnB, Wimdu or Roomorama. Here you will find thousands of listing across the whole globe, many of which are at very reasonable rates. House sitting websites will also show options if you have flexibility regarding dates, and may even come with cute pets that need some love.

If even reasonable rates are beyond your current budget you can always sign up to stay at peoples houses for free. Global freeloaders, the Hospitality club and Couchsurfers all offer local rooms or couches that you are welcome to crash at without paying a penny. These websites work to connect travellers to locals with the aim of generating global friendships and connections.

Accomodation - tent base camp

If you’re leaving behind your own accommodation whilst travelling consider setting up a home exchange through websites such as House Exchange or Stay4Free. This means that someone will look after your things at home while you go on an adventure elsewhere. Definitely worth considering if you want your pot plants to survive while you’re away.

If you don’t mind pitching in then consider staying with families in exchange for work. Websites such as HelpEx or Workaway will quite often advertise short term jobs in exchange for food and board. If you are really luck you may even get paid! For those who love the outdoors there is always WWOOFing or Farmstays, where 4 – 6 hours of daily work on farms is required in exchange for 3 meals and a bed.

Don’t stay in a house

If you’re willing to get creative about the type of structure you can sleep in, then there are immediately many more options on the table. In certain countries you may find that monasteries offer accommodation in exchange for donations, and give you a truly unique experience to boot.

For the outdoorsy, camping gives you the ultimate freedom about where to sleep, and can work out very cheap if you already have the right equipment. Another option is to hire a campervan, which comes with the added benefit of being your transportation. Super luxury campervans can also offer kitchens, showers and TV – basically a moving home.

Accomodation - campervan

Travel overnight

Accomodation - sleeper bus

Lastly, a great way of saving money can be to try and book as much overnight transport as possible. Although sleeping on a plane isn’t the most comfortable thing in the world, it does allow you to make the most of valuable daylight hours getting out into the thick of things. Sleeper buses can offer a good alternative, as can trains with sleeper carriages. Look into the options and you’ll see that accommodation doesn’t have to be a huge expense after all! Happy travels.

Date posted: 6th March, 2015

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