Accommodation savings for budget travelers
It can be the biggest cost of your trip, but this totally depends on you. If you want an All Inclusive beach resort or refuse to stay in anything below 4 Stars then feel free to skip this post.
For the rest, what do you NEED from your accommodation?
Bianca and I travel to explore. All we essentially need is a place to leave everything you don’t want on your back that day, and a safe place to rest up before the next adventure. We don’t spend long here so why pay lots. Here is how to do it on the cheap.
1. Stay in hostels
“WOW!!! I know… I’ll just get this out-of-the-way first.”
You can find whatever you’re after in hostels. Whether that’s about the atmosphere and meeting fellow travelers, finding a quiet place, to just a down right cheap and nasty them WiFi wont work unless you’re close to the neighbors wall/toilet in the a bucket type hostels. Whatever you need you can find.
TIP 1 – Plan in advance and browse through the major booking sites until you get what you’re after. Don’t settle on the first thing that fits the bill go deeper you will find something at a steal. The larger dorm rooms will always be the cheapest option.
TIP 2 – If you have fallen in love with a place (Lagos for us) but can no longer afford to stay, you might be able to work out something with the owners. Many hostels will also let you stay for free if you can come to an agreement exchanging your services for a bed. Cleaning/Reception/Cooking. All you have to do is ask and make sure you fulfill your end of the arrangement.
TIP 3 – If the hostel has breakfast included then be a little bit cheeky. Use the ingredients to make yourself a sandwich and pop it in your day pack for lunch.
Bianca and I are huge advocates for surfing. It’s like staying over at your mates’ house. You can literally be thrown a blanket and crash on the couch and are never expected to pay anything.
CS is very much about sharing in experiences and connecting with the host. It saves you money and helps to meet and learn from the locals. Bianca and I have always been treated way above and beyond our expectations. Usually the hosts are happy to show you around their city, give you recommendations or take you to their local hangout. Obviously every host is different and I recommend reading reviews on the hosts before staying with them.
TIP 1 – Bianca and I like to cook a meal with our hosts. It’s a fun way to bond, learn and save money by not buying food in restaurants.
TIP 2 – You should always be totally respectful as these are strangers letting you into their home. We have heard stories of people who out-stay the hosts’ generosity or just use the host as a hotel. CS is an experience for the host as well so don’t be a dick.
3. Work Away
This is great opportunity if you plan on staying for a little longer than just a few nights (but not excluded to). It offers a unique chance to live and work alongside some locals. Immerse you in the culture of your destination and help you with learning the language.
4. Overnight Bus/Train’s
These save both time and money. Where-ever possible Bianca and I always do over nighters. You won’t be in for the most comfortable or luxurious sleep of your life but you’ll wake up with a new location to explore and you have just saved on a night’s accommodation Yeeah hoo!!
5. Air BnB
This is typically the most expensive of all the previous tips. Air bnb is a place where people open up their homes to travelers. Ranging from single rooms to whole homes. If you find yourself with a road companion for a little while then it can work out cheaper going halves in an Air bnb than getting individual beds in a hostel.
TIP 1 – Just like the Hostels plan in advance for cheaper deal and browse until you get what you’re after. Don’t settle on the first thing that fits the bill go deeper you will find something at a steal.
Flip key – Run by Trip adviser
This is Bianca’s specialty. She is a planning guru and saves us hundreds though having a wonderful calendar like brain.
It is spontaneous and liberating to travel on the fly, but it is not as cheap. If you have a limited time and a general plan in place you can book accommodation, flights or trains well in advance.
For open-ended trips use your logic to dictate where you might be at any particular time. You might have a flight or an event you have already organized. Try to sort out our accommodation around those dates in advance.
Lots of accommodations will hike the price closer to your arrival date. As rooms fill up and demand increases along with the price… Simple business, especially coming into peak seasons.
TIP 1 – Lock it in early! If you book in advance you only pay a small deposit on most websites, If plans change you’re only losing out on a few bucks.
TIP 2 – Advance booking also means you can take time to shop around for a good deal. Also helps prevent you from staying in nasty places because it was the only bed available in your budget.