Aside from airfare, accommodation typically takes up a huge expense. Find out more how you can save by staying at these cheaper accommodation than hotels.
Save moolah and have more fun at these alternative accommodation
Hotels aren’t the only option for accommodation in a city you are travelling to. You might have to pay hundreds for a night in a decent one, otherwise you’d have to settle for substandard three-stars. Aside from airfare, lodging typically takes up a huge expense. Consider some alternatives and you need only pay a fraction of the price, or even nothing.
Airbnbs are allowed in most cities and they offer a different perspective of your stay in the city. You might get to stay in the suburbs or off the town centre, which makes for a more genuine taste of local life. Nightly rates are usually affordable and albeit no room service, you aren’t expected to clean up. Sometimes you might get to stay with the hosts themselves and there’s your personal guide to the city. Other similar websites include Homestay and 9flats.
Hostels / B&Bs
Want to make new traveller friends? Think you are going to be out all day and only return for a sleep and shower? If that’s the way you roll, hostels or B&Bs are perfect for you. They are the cheapest option for accommodation and are usually located in the centre of the city. Not only will you get to meet new people, you might even organise trips with them. However, ditch this if you are a light sleeper because sharing a dormitory with others will mean that you can’t avoid bad sleeping habits, snoring included.
In some cities, religious organisations such as convents or monasteries offer affordable housing. They don’t expect you to practise the same faith, but operate the lodging just like a business. Of course they can have religious tours or activities available. The rooms can be private or co-shared, just like dormitories.
This is usually free, and free means – take it or leave it. You can’t choose what kind of bed you are sleeping on. It could be nicely covered with a warm duvet or simply a couch or a makeshift mattress. A great way to meet locals, Couchsurfing has a huge community across the world where you can meet like-minded people. They will normally reveal some aspects of their accommodation so you can decide if you are up for it. If Couchsurfing is too ‘young’ for you, consider Servas International.
The name says it all, and you can expect to be living in a ranch or farm, experiencing the farmer life for a while. Farm owners offer accommodation and meals in exchange for some hands-on work. You could be harvesting in a vineyard or milking cows. Most popular in Europe, Australia and New Zealand, farmstays are popular with people who seek an immersive experience in rural life. However, this might not be for everyone. There are house rules to abide by and there is usually a required minimum length of stay.
Student dormitories get ditched when kids go home during summer. They don’t want to be lonely, they want occupancy, so they open it up to the public. Expect affordable but basic accommodation and shared bathrooms. To find out more, go to UniversityRooms, or call the campus to ask if they are renting out during your trip.
Romance under the stars, out in the wild. Cook your meals over campfire and be surrounded by nature, while being far away from annoying humans. We have glamping these days, which means you don’t have to rough it all out. Who says you can’t camp in luxury?
Another method that doesn’t cost you a cent, just trust. You swap houses with another traveller. Pay to be a member of the community and you can search for someone that might want to visit your country while they come to yours. The annual fee only costs as much as a night at a hotel, so it’s pretty worth it. Check them out at LoveHomeSwap and HomeExchange.