Accommodation is one of the biggest costs backpackers have and lowering that cost can lead to big savings! It’s probably the second biggest cost after the flights tickets. So how to get cheap accommodation using travel hacking?
No matter what your accommodation preferences may be, the one thing that everyone has in common is that nobody wants to pay a lot for it. Since you have to stay at some place every night, lowering this expense can save you a lot of money off the total cost of your travel. Finding free or inexpensive bed will have the biggest impact on your wallet.
Here is the secrets of how to get cheap accommodation using travel hacking!
Hostels are the first option to consider for budget travelers. In hostels, rooms are dormitory-style with all the facilities shared. Some people may think that hostels doesn’t offer the same comfort as a hotel but people don’t realize that most hostels offer other options like single rooms and double rooms designed for solo backpackers or couples. You can find all range of ages in hostels, even 50s and 60s. Many hostels offer more facilities than hotels, the new ones are really tidy, and as travelers expect more comfort, hostels are offering a clean and pleasant experience.
I think hostel dormitories are the best value for budget travelers. The bigger the room, the cheaper the price. You have to share a room with a lot of other travelers, but if you want to save money, it is the best way to achieve it. A hostel is really for anyone who wants to meet other backpackers, regardless of age.
Hostels are safe, comfortable, and cheap. Don’t snob them, try it and see for yourself.
In my opinion the best hostel booking website is Hostelworld. They have the best inventory, deals, and interface that is easy to navigate.
One of the best means to get free accommodation is by staying with someone who lives where you’re going. Couchsurfing is the practice of moving from one house to another, sleeping in whatever spare space is available, floor or couch, generally staying a few days before moving on to the next house. Stay with a local who will give you a free bed, travel information about the country, and someone to hang out with! The best website to practice couchsurfing is Couchsurfing.org
The goal of the website is to give the chance to backpackers to not only save money on accommodation but also learn a lot about the local culture by actually living the culture.
What is pleasant about this way of traveling is that you get to see the local side of a country. You get taken to parties, restaurants, and sites that aren’t in any guidebook.
Most of the time people are afraid to couchsurf because they wonder if it’s safe. You are in a new place with all your luggage in a stranger’s home. Don’t worry because people who are offering couchsurf to strangers are for the most part very open-minded people, and are also usually former travelers. Couchsurfing.org is aware of this and takes many all the means necessary to provide security to the members. Users are allowed to rate and leave comments on host profiles so you will always have an idea.
When looking for a Couchsurfing host, you should look for the following:
· There must be a picture of the host with his profile.
· The profile must be completed. It shows they are interested and involved in the couchsurfing community. If someone did not complete the profile, they probably don’t use the couchsurfing website.
· They should have reviews. If other people have stayed with the host and had a good experience, you will probably be fine. The more positive reviews, the better your experience should be. Sometimes you might not get along with the host but these things happen and at least you know they aren’t sketchy.
· Verification. Couchsurfing offers different levels of verification. Hosts can be verified by other backpackers with a mailing address, or with a credit card. Knowing that a person has been verified will give you peace of mind that you won’t wake up in an ice cold bath with a kidney missing. If someone isn’t verified but has a lot of reviews, you should be OK too. The reviews are really the best way of knowing if your experience will be a good one.
Couchsurfing is one of the best ways to get save thousands of dollars on accommodation and at the same time make friends around the planet.
Another good way to get cheap accommodation is to do house sitting. In exchange for watching and cleaning someone’s house while they are away, you will get a place to stay in the region you are visiting. Good house sitting websites include: Mind My House and House Carers
Short Term Rentals
Apartment rentals are a good way to have cheap accommodation. You get the comfort of a true apartment while being overseas, how cool is that?
Apartment rentals allow people to stay in furnished apartments while traveling. These accommodations are way cheaper than hotels and provide many more perks. They are great if you plan to stay long-term or at least spend a week in one place.
You can find a lot of rentals all around the world, but Europe and Australia apartments are rented on a weekly payment. In term of price, they are roughly the double cost of a hostel dorm room. Where the apartment rentals shine, it’s when you are a duo of travelers that can separate the cost in half. Another thing that is nice about this option is that you get to have a kitchen and you can cook your own food, saving money on restaurants! This is your ideal accommodation option. In my opinion the best rental sites are Airbnb and Roomorama.
There is other ways of hacking accommodations like WWOOFing and Helpx but those options requires you to work for your bed. I will cover this subject in another article.