What type of accommodation should I get?
The answer to this question will be different depending on your budget and your trip setting. Here are 8 budget-friendly ideas to get you started:
- Friend(ly) Connections
The cheapest (and most fun) accommodation is obviously to stay with a friend. Even an acquaintance will do. In order to do that, it is best to (re)connect with that person as soon as possible. After some catching up, let them know that you will be (or are thinking of being) in town. If they offer you to stay with them, great! But if they don’t bring it up, kindly ask if they would mind you staying on their couch. You’d be surprised how many people are willing to let you stay with them. So don’t worry if you barely know each other or haven’t seen each other in forever!
If you really don’t know how to approach someone, start by asking them for advice on what to do in their city. This will automatically start a conversation. I always contact people that I know first. Even if I haven’t seen them in five years, I will still let them know that I am planning on visiting the place they live in and that I would love to catch up.
If the friend option doesn’t work or is not available, another great way to save money is by couchsurfing. You can make an account on their Website and become a host or a surfer (or both). This website provides you with various hosts that you can choose from. Contact a host, let them know a thing or two about you and your upcoming trip, and kindly ask them if they can host you. Keep in mind, you might want to contact a couple of people. Unfortunately, it happens often that people don’t answer and others might not be able to host you. I have used couchsurfing many times and I love it! Furthermore, this website offers events for the couchsurfing community in various cities where you can meet locals and other surfers like yourself!
- Non-Creepy U.S. Motels
A third budget-friendly option is to book a room in Motel 6. In this case, it does not mather if you are traveling to a city or to the middle of nowhere. You can literally find this chain of motels anywhere in the United States. Motels tend to have this bad reputation of being creepy and filthy, but Motel 6 has been my go-to accommodation for the longest time! The non-smoking rooms are clean and comfortable and it feels like you are in an actual hotel room rather than in a motel. Another one of these chain motels is Super 8. Motels are perfect if you are traveling by car or taking a road trip.
*For U.S./ Canada only – check motels in other parts of the world.
Sometimes, you end up in a country with prices so cheap that you can afford to get yourself a nice hotel room. If this option is not available, try opting for a bed in a hostel. But be careful; not all hostels are equally cheap. Make sure you check out the prices and compare them with other types of accommodation first. The perks of staying at a hostel is that you get to book a room for cheap and meet a bunch of other travelers. This is also a good place to be if you travel by yourself. Check out Hostels or Hostelworld to find a hostel in your travel destination.
- Booking. com
If a hostel is not your thing, try Booking.com to find the cheapest lodging deals in your destination. On this website, you will find deals for hostels, motels and hotels so this is a great site to start looking into what you can get for your budget. Furthermore, you don’t always have to pay when making the reservation, so plenty of time to change your mind!
This one should not be news to you, and is a great way to stay in a cozy environment that feels like home. You can find Airbnb’s pretty much anywhere, and prices range depending on the type of place you want to get. To save some extra bucks, opt for the ‘private room’ instead of looking for an entire home/apartment. You may have to share the place with the host, but they are often very used to having people over and can provide you with recommendations of what to do in the area!
- Apartment Rentals
When traveling to a single destination for a longer period of time, it is sometimes better to consider more specific options of lodging. One of them is to rent a vacation apartment. Many people (or rental companies) rent out their apartments for longer periods of time, which might end up saving you more money than if you would get a hotel or an Airbnb. Check out websites such as Vrbo , Homeaway , 9flats , or even the local craigslist of a particular city. If you want more options, type in “vacation flats” or “vacation apartment rental” for your destination on google.
Another option is to look on craigslist or websites such as Sublet and Apartmentguide to see if people are subleasing their apartment or room. This can work well if you are looking for something between 1 and 3 months, and it will often be way more affordable than to stay in a hotel. Another good place to look is on Facebook. Type in your destination in the search bar and see what groups they offer. Try to type in something like “London apartments”, or “Rome housing”.
One final option is to housesit for someone. You can find housesitting gigs on websites such as Mindmyhouse and TrustedHousesitters. The only catch is that you have to stay there for the amount of time that they require. Sometimes this includes caring for a pet as well. This option is definitely a great way to enjoy a new country or city without having to pay for accommodation. You will not get compensated, but at least you will get free lodging!