Top 5 Tips To Finding Cheap Accommodation

Bam'Bu Clan

One of the biggest dents into a traveler’s budget is often the price of accommodation. There are some methods and websites that can be used however, to make finding cheap or even free accommodation while out on the road. Below I have listed my top 5 ways of finding cheap accommodation for independent travelers.

Look for Free Accomodation

Everybody these days seems to know about Couch Surfing. For those that don’t, it is a free service that connects travelers with people from cities all over the world who offer a free place to stay on their couch, floor, or spare room. It’s completely free and is a good way to meet locals. The Hospitality Club, Global Freeloaders, and Stay4Free also offer a similar service, each with their own particular market. This is by far the cheapest mode of accommodation as you don’t pay anything to stay with your host, although it is polite to buy/make them dinner or leave a small gift after your stay.

Stay in a Hostel

Hostels are one of the most popular types of accommodation for budget travelers and backpackers. Hostels have dormitory style rooms with shared facilities. The more beds in a dorm, the cheaper the cost – it’s as simple as that. Yes you will have to share a room with other people but in my experience this is also a great opportunity to meet other travelers. If you don’t feel comfortable with this though, most hostels do still offer single, double, and smaller dorm rooms. If you are traveling in a group you could book an entire dorm room out and have it to yourself.

Book from the country direct

Sometimes booking direct from a hostel in the location you are in can be the cheapest option. There are no online booking fees, and you can pay by cash which means less international credit/debit card fees as you will already have drawn out money to spend anyway. You may also be able to negotiate a cheaper rate or free accommodation in exchange for work if you are staying at a hostel, which you would very rarely be able to do until you speak to the hostel staff face to face. The only downside of this is that you may find when you arrive somewhere that they have no vacancies, so phone ahead via Skype if necessary and find out before arriving.

Campervans/Sleep in your vehicle

If you are planning a road trip or a tour of a particular area overland, you can reduce your accommodation costs by hiring a campervan. You will pay a daily rate to hire a campervan, but normally when you consider that you will have transport plus accommodation, it usually works out cheaper overall. Also, if you are traveling with a bunch of friends or other travelers that you met along the way, then all your costs will be reduced further as the cost of the campervan + fuel would be split. If you already have a vehicle, or don’t want to hire a campervan, there is always the option of sleeping in your car while touring an area. It may not be comfortable but it would reduce your costs of accommodation considerably.

Overnight trains/ buses

One good way to cut down on accommodation expenses is to travel by overnight train or bus. You’d be paying for the trip anyway if you were traveling through the day, only you wouldn’t have that night’s accommodation to pay for. If you are traveling long term, or are visiting a number of destinations on your trip this could save you one night’s accommodation in every destination that you visit, saving you a lot of money in the long run.

There are many cheap methods and forms of accommodation for travelers out there. Sometimes the best thing is just to go with the flow when you get there. Maybe you will meet someone who has some space on their floor, or you’ll just pitch up a tent in the middle of a field. Above however, are some ways and forms of cheap accommodation that I use regularly, and that are good for travelers on a budget.

4 Responses to “Top 5 Tips To Finding Cheap Accommodation”

  1. Dina says:

    Just a few days ago my husband and I were in 2 weeks campervan trip in South East, NZ. It was cheap indeed. 1 night rent of the campervcan was less than 20 USD because it was a low season

  2. Mary says:

    Great tips here. Also good to stay with friend or friends of friends. Another benefit is you get the insiders scoop on your destination. Might discover places off the beaten path and not in guidebooks.

  3. JR Riel says:

    Great tips here! I think all of them are very sensible. I know at first it was hard to arrive in a place without any reservations, kind of a leap of faith, but speaking to them face to face really does work. Since I travel at a slow pace, spending huge chunks of time in each spot, I started off by booking the cheapest place I could find online, than spending the next day finding something even cheaper. Now, depending on travel season and landing time, I trust to faith that I will find a place upon arrival. And also taking overnight transportation definitely works for me, but you have to be the sort of person who can do get good sleep in those conditions. I traveled with someone once at this form of saving money was pure hell for him. Again, great tips and thanks!

  4. ELEA says:

    Nice tips. My boyfriend and I have found that when travelling in western countries traveling with a campervan was the best option. Espacialy for those wanting to enjoy the nature and keep out of the big cities.

    We’ve done it in OZ and NZ with Britz campervans.
    And in Europe with Origin Campervans (based in France).

    It worked out to be much cheaper than all the other options as it combined Transportation, accomodation and cooking possibilities…


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