One of the biggest expenses on any trip. Reducing these costs by booking through the right companies can save you a lot of money.
Accommodation is one of the major budget costs when you travel – along with transportation, food and activities. And trying to keep these costs down will as a result reward you in being able to travel for a longer period of time, if that´s what you aim to do. No one wants to spend a lot of money for a bed but you have to sleep somewhere – therefore reducing these expenses can save you a lot of money off the total cost of your trip. You can make big savings just by staying a little bit cheaper than the ordinary two weeks hotel vacation.
Learning how to find cheap accommodation will help you save more money that you in return can spend on activities which is really what a trip is all about. And one of the cheapest ways to spend the night usually is at a hostel. If you are lucky you can even stay for free when doing couch surfing.
But even though you sometimes might feel like you could sleep on a beach, in a hammock or on a bench – try to think of your accommodation booking in a way that its not just the bed you pay for but also the service you can utilize from the people who work there. They know the area and can give you valuable information on for example things to do and where to eat cheap food. Besides, when you stay in a hostel you get the company of other fellow travelers – and nothing is more valuable than that when traveling.
Its always about getting the best value for your hard earned money and there are plenty of ways to do that. In the end we all travel and spend our money in different ways and there are more factors than you think that ultimately decide your accommodation costs – even before you have even left for your trip.
BEFORE YOUR TRIP
Before you leave for your trip you may already know some of the things that will in a way pre determine your accommodation costs. Following is a list of factors that will decide your upcoming expenses. And having a look a these factors will give you an indication of what spending level you will be on.
How much money you have when you leave home will be one of the major factors that determines how much you can spend each day to get a good nights sleep. This will probably set the tone for what you will be looking for and what type of traveler you choose to be – budget, in the middle or luxury.
Another crucial factor for how much money you will spend for a bed is where you are going in the world. Some places are really expensive while others are so cheap its close to nothing. If you compare USA to Thailand you get the picture. Spending more time in countries and regions where your money travels further is a golden rule. When traveling to more expensive countries you will have to lower your accommodation standards.
Length of your trip
If you are about to travel the world for over a year you simply cannot afford to stay at hotels each and every night – then you have to adopt a backpacker travel style and stay in hostels. However if you are going on a vacation for two weeks you could probably afford a more luxurious stay and maybe even all inclusive. Therefore depending on how long you will travel you can mix up and change your accommodation style to suite your needs.
Travel style and comfort level
Backpackers look to score the cheapest deals possible and therefore can sleep on a lumpy bed for months at a time. Couples are in need of a private room from time to time and the occasional hotel stay and families might need another kind of comfort level. It all depends on your preferences.
What you like to do when you are traveling ultimately can decide where you stay in each destination. Booking an all inclusive trip is different than staying at a hostel in the city center with easy access to a lot of activities to spend your money on. It all depends on what you like to do and how you enjoy spending your days. Picking the location of your accommodation is often determined by easy access to what you like to do.
Number of people you travel with
You will spend your money in different ways traveling solo, as a couple, with friends or together as a family because the priorities becomes different and factors like travel style and comfort level will come into play. Traveling together makes is more profitable in situations like sharing a taxi or a private room etc.
ON THE ROAD
One of first things many people do when looking for a place to stay on for example booking.com is to sort the results by price from lowest to highest and take it from there. We all wanna find those deals where the price for a nights sleep is as low as possible. An easy way to find the best deal is to look at the best price while also looking at the number of positive reviews. That way you don’t have to do the hard work, since other peoples opinions will help you make a decision.
Generally the further out from the city center you stay the cheaper it gets. But don’t forget what it might cost you if you wanna visit the city center everyday and have to take the bus, taxi or other transportation. Some of the best hostels are usually located downtown and close to the main street but then the price might also go up. A good tip is to stay in a central area such as close to public transportation, local attractions, food outlets, the beach, the park – where you can reach these things by foot. This way you will save both money and time. Sometimes you might also wanna stay close to the airport – so it depends on your plans for the upcoming days. Always check these things before booking.
Even though the location of your accommodation might be fantastic another thing to remember is how you will reach the place that you have booked or are about to book. The lack of planning for this might cost you some extra money down the road. Maybe you have booked transportation from one hostel to another – but sometimes you may have to book a bus from the bus station where the bus will drop you off further away from from what you had expected. This will lead to extra costs if the distance is too far to walk.
To safeguard yourself against disappointment it is always good to read through some of the reviews to try to get a sense of the place you are about to stay at. You wanna know if the place you are about to book will suite your needs. But do consider that some reviews might be over exaggerated due to random circumstances that occurred while previous guests where staying there. Reviews doesn’t always give a clear picture and its important to take other factors into your decision making. For the best collection of reviews visit Tripadvisor.com.
Now that you know there are certain key factors that will determine your accommodation costs and also what you should look for when booking your next stay – it is easier to choose your accommodation style out of these preferences.
Below we give examples of the top five ways to stay no matter if you are traveling for a short period of time or more than a year.
Without a doubt the best way to stay. Booking a hostel is a good choice for many reasons if you are a budget traveler and always wanna keep the costs down so that you may travel longer. If you are looking to save money on your trip it should be your first choice next to couch surfing. Besides being super cheap you get the chance to meet travelers from all over the world and make memories, and perhaps even friends, for life. This is by far the best social atmosphere to be in if you like backpacking. Some of the hostels even have private rooms whenever you need the comfort of your own space.
If you are traveling on a budget you would naturally do your best at keeping your costs down. This means that you cannot stay at a hotel every night for a year. However the occasional mix between different acommodation styles is always good and sometimes you can even find hotel rooms for the same price as a hostel bed – but it all depends on where in the world you are.
Airbnb is one of our favorite services on the market. This site connects you with homeowners who rent out their homes or apartments. Staying with the locals, you get the comforts of home and at the same time pay a fraction of the cost of a hotel room. This is especially profitable if you travel in a group because then you can rent a whole house and split the costs instead of each one of you sleeping in separate hotel rooms or hostel beds. Airbnb represent the middle ground between hostels and hotels and one of the best things about it is that you can use the kitchen and save money on food as well.
With couch surfing you can find accommodation for free. All you have to do is register on couchsurfing.com and then you will be able to contact locals in the city that you are in. Couchsurfing does not offer the same environment as a hostel does but on the other hand you get to meet the locals and perhaps even learn invaluable tips about the city you are visiting. These locals usually travel a lot themselves and love meeting new people from all over the world. When you ”check out” it is not mandatory to give away something to your host, but some travelers do this anyway as a token of their appreciation. The most important thing to keep in mind whenever you are couch surfing is to always give an honest review about your host for other travelers to read.
If you are planning on staying at a certain place over a long period – it is worth considering watching peoples homes while they are away. Sometimes you can even watch their pets – and it all comes free of charge. The only thing you have to pay for is your own food and any potential activities at your destination. Just make sure you are doing a good job so that you can get a good review. Sites like Trusted Housesitters and Mind My House are a good place to start
Depending on what kind of trip you are currently doing or about to do – you will have different accommodation styles. For example if you travel on a budget as a backpacker you would probably look for a hostel – to save money and also meet a lot of people. But whenever you wanna have some privacy you might consider staying in hotels or Airbnbs instead. The point is you should mix it up a little to make your traveling more flexible and fun. Don’t always think about saving as much as possible – for this is a sure way to meet despair if you travel for a long time – especially as a couple. Why not stay in hostels the majority of your time but mix it up with the occasional hotel luxury, Airbnb or couch surfing? 2-3 days is usually enough to charge your batteries.
Access to a kitchen:
In some hostels around the world you will have access to a kitchen where you can cook your own food and save cash by not having to eat out every day. The same goes for Airbnb, House Sitting and Couchsurfing. Having this benefit you can make your own breakfast, lunch and dinner and store food for a whole week or more. This will lower your overall travel budget.
Paying online vs booking upon arrival:
We have noticed that sometimes it is cheaper to actually book online than just showing up at the hostel and book. On many occasions when debating the price with the hostel staff we have simply said that we book online instead of over the counter. Always check online first.
Stay away from high-season travel:
Traveling during Christmas, New Years Eve, holidays and festivals can be very expensive due to higher prices. Sometimes the price can be as much as three times higher. If you wanna find good deals you should book ahead. However as a backpacker you sometimes travel spontaneous so this is normally not a privilege you can afford if you haven’t already made plans ahead. It all depends on when you are traveling and what your plans are. Being somewhere in the middle is a good thing – you don’t wanna miss out on full moon party on Koh Phangan because you didn’t book ahead while you were in Thailand. Outside of high-season during a holiday or on a weekend it is sufficient to book a few days in advance.
Tripadvisor.com offers the best collection of reviews online for any accommodation.
You can also check the reviews on sites like booking.com and hostelworld etc.
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