Travelling is an awesome eye-opener, letting you jump out of the box and see how people in other parts of the world live their lives. It can also be expensive if you don’t know where and how to get the best deals to make your cash last. While you may have worked out how to get great cheap food and have bought yourself some awesome budget travel accessories to make life easier, travel accommodation can be one of the biggest costs and you need to know where to look to get the best deals.
If you’re young enough and not wanting to sleep that much, of course you can stay in dorm rooms which can sleep up to 20 in a room! There’s nothing wrong with this and an awesome way to meet people (I did it), but when you get to a certain age the thought of sleeping in bunk beds and sharing a bathroom with 19 others is not so appealing!
Luckily there are a few options to get you cheap deals and even free accommodation in some places. Let’s take a look at some of the options you have.
Have you ever dreamed of working on a farm, learning how to cook Thai food or to help build a new school for a local community? Workaway has thousands of homestay opportunities, where you can offer up your skills in exchange for a room and sometimes food. This awesome website vets every person on the website and each homestay host will get reviewed and favourited once people have stayed with them, so you can feel comfortable when you choose who to stay with.
This is an online application where generous local hosts can offer up their spare beds or even a couch for travellers to stay on. It’s totally free and a great way for you and hosts to meet new people and make new friends. It’s a great way to learn about local culture, as often your host will take you around and show you the sights. Usually better for short stays and the app has plenty of other ways to meet people through social meetups and interest specific meetups – just have a browse through the app to see what’s going on in the new area you’re travelling to.
Speak to Hotel/Guesthouse Owners
Although it’s great to have everything booked before you go, you’ll often not get a great price by booking accommodation through sites like Booking.com or Agoda.com etc. They are a business after all and want to make money and they’ll do this by rushing you to make a decision thinking you’ve got the last room or best deal. What I’ve found to be a good approach is to book 1-2 nights in a new area you’re travelling to, then spend a day walking around guesthouses asking for a deal. If it’s out of season you’ll nearly always get a better price and even in season, the owner will give you a deal to fill empty rooms.
Reviews or Shout Outs
This works best if you run a popular travel blog or have a social media account with a lot of followers, but even if you haven’t, it’s possible to make this work. You can email the hotel/guesthouse before you arrive and offer to review or write about them in exchange for free/discounted accommodation. Make sure you focus on the benefits for them and what you can offer and you may get yourself a good deal.
Housesitting is available worldwide and you can find some great places to stay and even live in luxury for a while if you get a great gig! Many people have holiday homes abroad or may travel a lot for business/leisure and want their home to be looked after while they’re gone. Some can just be away for short periods and need pets cared for, but some may be gone for extended periods and need someone trustworthy to keep an eye on their home. Popular sites are; Trusted Housesitters, House Sit Search and House Carers to name a few.
Stay in a Temple or Monastery
Many temples around the world will host people for free who want to learn about their religion and their daily rituals. This could include; meditation, prayer, daily chores and cooking. Don’t expect luxury – accommodation will be basic and you may be expected to give up some of your favourite things you couldn’t imagine living without like; phone and computer and coffee and alcohol! This may seem an impossible task but let’s be honest; we could all do with detoxing from all our modern addictions occasionally!