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Accommodation is one of the biggest fixed costs that travelers have, and reducing that cost can lead to big savings on the road! Whether you’re a backpacker on a tight budget or a traveler looking to save money, finding cheap accommodation is essential. Luckily, there are many ways to find affordable lodging when you travel. In this article, we will explore the best ways to save money on accommodation while still enjoying a comfortable stay.
Stay in Hospitality Exchanges
One of the best ways to get free accommodation is by staying with someone who lives where you’re going. Hospitality exchanges, such as Couchsurfing, allow you to stay with a local who will provide you with a free place to rest your head, local information, and even someone to hang out with. Couchsurfing is my favorite hospitality exchange platform because it has the largest and most active community. It not only helps travelers save money on accommodation but also allows them to learn about the local culture by staying and interacting with a local.
When using Couchsurfing or any other hospitality exchange platform, it’s important to prioritize safety. Look for hosts who have a complete profile, including a picture, and positive reviews from other travelers. Couchsurfing offers various levels of verification, which can provide an added sense of security. However, always use your own judgment and trust your instincts when choosing a host.
Stay in Hostels
Hostels are another excellent option for budget travelers. While many people think of hostels as a “young thing,” they actually cater to travelers of all ages. Hostels offer dormitory-style rooms with shared facilities, but they also have private rooms for solo travelers or couples who prefer more privacy. Many hostels now provide more amenities than hotels and are incredibly clean and comfortable.
Hostels are safe, secure, and affordable. They are a great way to meet other travelers and can provide a social atmosphere. Websites like Hostelworld offer a wide range of hostels worldwide, with prices ranging from $5-30 USD per night for a dorm bed. If you’re traveling in a group, you can even book a private dorm for your entire group and avoid sharing with strangers.
Consider Home Exchanges
If you already own a home, home exchanges can be an excellent way to travel affordably. With a home exchange, you swap homes with a family from another country for a set amount of time. This allows you to live cheaply abroad while enjoying all the comforts of home. Home exchange websites like HomeExchange and Seniors Home Exchange facilitate these exchanges and provide various levels of verification and security.
House-sitting is another alternative to home exchanges. In exchange for watching and cleaning someone’s home while they are away, you’ll get a place to stay in the area you are visiting. House-sitting websites like TrustedHousesitters and MindMyHouse connect homeowners with house-sitters and offer a variety of options for short-term or long-term stays.
Stay in Airbnb
Airbnb has become a popular alternative to traditional accommodations like hotels and hostels. It allows travelers to stay in furnished apartments or homes while traveling, often at a lower cost than hotels. Airbnb offers a variety of options, from shared rooms to entire homes, making it suitable for solo travelers, couples, or even families.
Booking an Airbnb allows you to have all the comforts of home, such as a kitchen, while experiencing a new city or destination. It’s a great option if you plan to stay in one place for a week or more. Airbnb has become a major player in the travel industry, and their website offers a user-friendly interface and a wide range of options worldwide.
Stay on a Farm
If you want a unique and immersive experience, consider staying on a farm. Farm stays allow you to live on working farms, learn about farm life, and participate in various outdoor activities. These stays range from basic camping to luxury rooms, depending on the farm. Prices vary depending on the location, but you can expect to pay at least $40 USD per night for a farm stay.
Websites like Farm Stay UK and Farm Stay US can help you find farm stays in various countries. This option is great for those who love nature and want to experience a different way of life while traveling.
Stay in a Monastery
For a truly off-the-beaten-path experience, consider staying in a monastery. Many monasteries offer accommodation to travelers, providing a unique and peaceful place to rest. While the accommodation is often spartan, with simple meals prepared by the monks and nuns, it can be a rewarding and spiritual experience.
Monastery stays are generally very affordable, with some only asking for donations or offering rooms at a nominal cost. Websites like Monastery Stays and Monastery Stays Europe can help you find monastery accommodation options around the world. Staying in a monastery allows you to immerse yourself in a different way of life and enjoy a tranquil atmosphere.
If you want to save on accommodation costs, consider collecting hotel points through various loyalty programs. By signing up for a hotel credit card and earning bonus points, you can redeem them for free nights at hotels. This is an excellent option for frequent travelers or those who prefer staying in hotels. Websites like The Points Guy can provide valuable information on hotel loyalty programs and help you maximize your points.
By utilizing these budget travel accommodation options, you can significantly reduce your expenses and save money while traveling. Whether you choose to stay with a local through Couchsurfing, book a hostel, participate in a home exchange, rent an Airbnb, stay on a farm, spend a night in a monastery, or collect hotel points, there are plenty of affordable accommodation choices available. Embrace these alternatives to traditional hotels and explore new ways to experience the world while staying within your budget.