Do you wonder how people can afford to travel the world for months or even years in a row without spending a fortune? Keep in mind that traveling is only expensive when you make it expensive. Accommodation is usually one of the biggest expenses when taking a trip. There are plenty of great places to stay all over the world for nothing or just a little bit whether you are going to take a short trip or an amazing journey around the world. You’ll find yourself traveling much longer when you save on accommodation. In this article I have outlined great ways to find cheap accommodation to help you making the most of your travels.
One of the easiest options to save a bit is to stay in a hostel. Hostels are great places to stay to meet people or just to relax. Usually hostels offer dormitory style rooms with shared bathrooms, kitchen and most of the time there will be a living room to sit down. The great thing about hostels is that you can even save on food expenses. You don’t always have to go out for lunch or dinner when you stay in a hostel but you can just go to the supermarket and prepare your own delicious meal. Even if you want the advantages of a hostels but prefer to have your own private bedroom, there are many hostels that offer this.
Hostels are available for any kind of traveler
In any large city around the world you will be able to find a hostel that fits your needs. Don’t think hostels are only for backpackers and young people that want to party. There are some beautiful hostels that are suitable for people that want to stay in an affordable place but don’t want all the noisy backpackers. These places usually make you feel like you are at home with a comfortable living and kitchen area. Sometimes you can really feel like you are at home.
You can find great hostels on the internet, a great website is hostelworld. Almost all hostels around the world are advertised on this website.
In many places around the world guesthouses are not necessarily more expensive than hostels. Guesthouses are usually smaller and run by a family. They offer private rooms with either a shared or private bathroom. Unfortunately most guest houses do not have a kitchen or living area so you will be forced to go out for a meal. Guesthouses are more for couples or families that want to spend time together so it’s not the best place to meet other travelers.
Try to just walk into some guesthouses to get the best deals.
The best place to find a guesthouse online would probably be booking.com. Although you are not always better off by making a reservation online because a lot of small local guesthouses do not advertise on the internet and they are usually cheaper than the ones you find on the internet. Sometimes you might be able to get a good deal when you just walk in without a reservation especially at night when they want to fill up their rooms. If you are not afraid to negotiate about the price and want to find the cheapest possible place, I would recommend you to find an area you want to stay and just ask around for a cheap place to stay. You never know what you’ll find…
If you have a house yourself you might even be able to stay somewhere for free. Have you ever thought about exchanging your house? Home Exchange is basically that you switch houses, for a before agreed amount of time with someone that lives where you want to travel to. It can be a cheap way to travel because you will basically only have the cost of transportation and food. Plus when you stay in someone else’s house most of the time you will have all the comfort a person needs. It is understandable to think it is unsafe to have someone in your house that you don’t know but you can find people with good references. You can communicate a lot with the people that you want to change your home with and if you don’t get a good feeling of them, just don’t do it. Most people might have some reviews, which can help you with choosing the right place. This type of traveling has been around for longer but is becoming more popular. If it’s still not clear to you what the concept is, watch the movie: ‘The Holiday’.
Take the plunge…
There are a few websites where you can find people that would also like to change their homes. Check out HomeExchange, it is a website where you pay an annual fee of 130 euro per year. It’s a lot of money so if you are not sure about this you can try it for 14 days to see if you like it.
Something that definitely cannot be missed in this list is couchsurfing. Couchsurfing is a great initiative that brings people together from all over the world. A couchsurfing host can offer you a bed or maybe a couch to sleep on for free. The idea is to not just find a place to stay but to interact with your host. Great thing about couchsurfing is that you can get to know the local culture because you will be able to stay and interact with the locals. Your host might show you his or her city or they might know the best places to visit that aren’t in any guidebook.
When you look for a host, try to find someone that has got common interests and good reviews from people that have stayed there before. If that’s the case you can be confident the stay will be great. Couchsurfing is a great way to meet locals and to save some money while you’re on the road. Don’t be afraid to try it, once you’ve done it you’ll know. You can travel much longer and meet amazing people. You can even start hosting when you’re at home to stay a little bit in the traveling spirit.
Volunteer / Work Exchange
If you’ve got some time on your hands, want to learn and experience the world but haven’t got a lot of money volunteering can be a great way to explore the world. There are numerous posibilities around the world to volunteer. You can volunteer on a farm, school, hostels, building etc. Usually you work about 4 or 5 hours a day in exchange of food and accommodation but this can be different at every host. Some families might need an extra hand to take care of their animals. You can learn a lot from that plus you’ll be able to get to know the local culture and cuisine. If you’re more a city person maybe you can find a hostel or language school to volunteer. These places are great to get to know people and a city in a different way. You can find a place to volunteer for a few days or a few months.
Contribute a little bit to the world
I would recommend you to find a host on one of the following websites: Wwoof, Helpx or Workaway. On these websites hosts will explain what kind of work they would like you to do in exchange of accommodation and/or food. If it is your first time you make sure to contact a host with a lot of good reviews. And when you’re actually volunteering but you don’t like it don’t be afraid to leave. Just be honest and everything will be alright.
Volunteering is definitely not for everyone so if you want to experience the local culture but do not want to work for your accommodation you can try a local homestay. It’s called a homestay when a family rents out a spare bedroom in their house for some extra income and to teach travelers about their local culture. You will usually get your own bedroom with bathroom and sometimes food is included. In remote places a homestay can be a challenge as far as communication is concerned. Sometimes you might stay at a family where no one speaks your language. Although this might be difficult, most families will do anything to make sure you have a comfortable stay.
Meet the locals