Traveling isn’t cheap, but it certainly isn’t just for those with deep pockets. Airfare overseas can be a bit pricey, let alone the expense of accommodations if you stay for more than three days. However, in this day and age, there are various ways to wander the world on a budget.
If you’re already a frequent traveler, then you’ve experienced anything and everything under the sun and know how much accommodations drain your pockets, as this is one of the fixed costs when you travel.
For first-time travelers, read the following carefully and jot down important notes (or bookmark this page!) for your upcoming adventure. Ditch the expensive hotels, because there are cheap places to stay, and some are even free! If you have a friend or relative residing in your chosen destination, then don’t miss the chance of a free stay! For those who don’t, however, here are ways you can find decent places to rest your head without making a hefty dent in your wallet.
If you’re one of the adventurous, open to sleeping on a stranger’s sofa or in a tiny space, then couchsurfing might just be the best option for you.
The primary concept of Couchsurfing is for hosts to offer their couches, extra beds or mattresses or small spaces to people looking for little to no cost accommodation while traveling for an amount of time.
You have to register on the website in order to start communicating with prospective hosts before you lock in a deal. Although, you have to be mindful when looking for hosts to ensure a safe and fun experience. Make sure that profiles have decent photos and have been completely filled out; the hosts must be verified and most importantly read the reviews written by previous guests—the more positive, the better.
Oops, we almost forgot to mention that Couchsurfing is completely free! If you have no issues staying in a stranger’s abode, hanging out with them, discovering the local community and having a priceless experience, consider Couchsurfing and have a blast of an adventure.
Related website: Stay4Free
Hotels are expensive enough for a night. If you’re staying in a city for a number of days, you might want to opt to overnight in a hostel instead.
Aside from single rooms, hostels also offer dormitory-type rooms that offer shared facilities. The bigger the shared room, the lower the cost. If you’re a budget traveler, this option is good for you. But, hey, if you have an entire group of friends or fellow travelers, a dorm shouldn’t be a problem. However, if you’re not yet ready for that, then feel free to book a single bedroom with private bath. Keep in mind that some hostels offer a private room but with shared bathrooms.
Check out Hostelworld for the best deals and inventory of all the hostels around the globe.
One of the most popular travel-hosting websites, short-term rentals and the ultimate alternative to hotels is Airbnb. It can be a bit expensive for budget and solo travelers, but if you yearn for comfort and privacy, then this could be the deal for you.
The key for this option is to set a budget and stick with it. Ideally, you want to look for a place that is much cheaper than a hotel, yet a little more than a hostel. Much like Couchsurfing, follow some criteria when looking for places and always check the reviews before committing to a deal.
#4: Work in exchange
Volunteer or offer your skills in exchange for accommodation at little or not cost. Depending on the arrangement, it may even come with free food. This is great for travelers planning on spending one month or more in a place.
WWOOF offers board and lodging for those willing to exchange working on a farm for a day or two for a free stay. A four or six-hour work day that may include sowing seeds, gardening, making compost, harvesting, cutting wood, is a fair deal to get a free stay. WWOOF-ing is great for those who want to live in a different way, meet people and help in agricultural activities.
If you’re not digging the farm workload, Worldpackers has different categories that allow you to highlight your useful skills. The categories include Arts & Music, Digital, Education, Gastronomy, Hands-on and Hostel Life. You can also choose a subcategory from each and see which one you may fall under.
This type of deal is beneficial for both parties: the host gets an extra pair of hands to help with daily activities, whereas the guest gets a place to stay for free, all the while meeting new people and exploring the local community and its culture.
This one is a bit different, but it’s a good option. Monasteries welcome people of the same religious belief, offer simple beds, and simple meals prepared by the residing nuns and/or monks. Some monasteries charge a small fee, while others prefer to accept donations (some may even let you stay for free).
#6: House Sitting
The concept is simple: if you’re good at taking care of a home, keeping it clean and well-maintained, then you might as well try babysitting someone else’s house. You have to register on websites such as House Carers for homeowners to find you as a suitable candidate. This also requires a small fee. Often times, homeowners leave house sitters to look after their pets, keep an eye on guest renters or just house sit.
Relevant website: MindMyHouse
If you’re planning your next trip, be adventurous and take risks with your accommodation options. Of course, be also mindful and trust your gut instincts when looking for affordable or free places to stay. By switching from expensive hotels to cheap stays, you’ll be able to save big and spend more on other things (or even save money for your next vacation!).
Got any more cheap booking websites, know any affordable deals and other cheap travel hacks? Spread the tips to other travelers and share those with us!
About Chie Suarez: She hails from the PH. She found her passion for travelling quite late and enjoys travelling with her family and dog. She also writes for KIMS Beach Hideaway, which offers beachside lodges in Australia.