With the rise of apps such as Airbnb and Hostelworld, it is now easier than ever to find cheap accommodation while traveling. In this post we will discuss four methods we use to find cheap accommodation. This isn’t to say these are the only ways to find wallet-friendly places to stay, these are just methods that we have personally tried that work for us.
Depending on what region you are going to, hostels may be abundant or very scarce. The only place we have been where staying in a hostel wasn’t an option was on our Iceland roadtrip, due to how rural of most of the country is. However, they are scattered everywhere throughout big cities in Europe, South America, and Asia. The website Hostelworld has an app that makes finding a place to stay easy from basically anywhere, as long as you have wifi.
This is one of our favorite options for finding accommodation and it is very user friendly. Simply open the app, enter your destination and the dates you will be there, and hit Search. To find the cheapest hostels in that city, hit the “Filter” button and sort by price to see the cheapest options first. The app also has a handy feature that let’s you know how far from the city center each hostel is, and you can sort them by distance from the city center as well. Keep in mind that with hostels you pay a deposit online, and pay the rest of the money at the time of your arrival. Thus, make sure you budget accordingly on your trip.
*Pro Tip: Look for hostels that have breakfast included. This way one of your meals for the day is taken care of, leaving you with more money to spend on other things. Furthermore, make sure they have kitchens and laundry facilities if you will be cooking your own food or will need to do laundry! It seems common sense but it is something many people (us included) forget when they are booking their hostels.
Hostels offer private rooms as well as dorm-style beds. If you are traveling with a friend or as a couple, it is definitely worth it to to check out the private rooms. Although they are more expensive than the dorm-style beds, they are priced per night, so dividing this price by two gives you your cost per person per night. Sometimes it can be the same price as, or just slightly more expensive than, a dorm-style bed. We book private rooms whenever we can at hostels, as they are essentially just cheaper hotels.
Airbnb and Hostelworld tie for our favorite methods to book accommodation. If staying in a dorm-style hostel isn’t your thing, then Airbnb is for you. You can book private or shared rooms, as well as entire apartments or houses. Another pro of Airbnb is that they are found everywhere, even in rural places. The majority of our Iceland trip consisted of staying at Airbnb’s. In fact, we even found an Airbnb in Reykjavik that was cheaper and any of the hostels there were!
It’s a similar method to Hostelworld. You log on, enter your destination and the dates you are looking to be there, and hit Search. Many hosts have an instant-book option that allows you to book instantly, while others get notified of your request to stay there and can approve or deny it (We’ve only been denied once, when the host was going on vacation during the dates we were looking to stay there). You then pay the total amount due before your trip, which we love since then we don’t have to budget out money to pay at the time of arrival.
Not a member on Airbnb yet? Use our discount code to get $40 off of your next stay!
All The Rooms
All The Rooms is a new startup that compares prices and options from top booking sites such as AirBnB, Booking.com, and Groupon to show you every available room and choose the right one for you! We love how it compares everything for you, so you don’t have to have a zillion tabs open on your computer and go back and forth to compare prices and options. Instead, all these platforms are right in front of you on one screen to compare side by side.
Admittedly, couch surfing is either a hit or a miss for us. Basically, people will open up their homes for travelers to come crash with them for one or multiple nights. I find it pretty time consuming, as you have to search for people who are hosting for the specific dates you are looking for and sift through those with good/bad reviews. Although not one of our favorites, it is a great option as the accommodation is free!! If you’d like to read more about the pros and cons of couch surfing then click here.
If hotels are more your thing, Booking.com is great for comparing different rates and rooms and getting you the most affordable option. We used this a lot in Iceland, where hostels and AirBnB’s were very limited. We ended up finding a room for half the price of the average AirBnB in Reykjavik!
Okay, so we haven’t personally tried this option (yet), but we know many people who have and who rave about it. You basically volunteer in exchange for accommodation and food. Sign up for HelpX, make a profile that lists who you are (an individual, a couple, a group, etc.), where you will be traveling and when, and what your skills are (babysitting, farming, social media, carpentry, etc.). It’s like WWOOFing, except not just for farming. If you have a skill, you can use it to stay somewhere for free. They have floating bars in Fiji you can work as a bartender on, organic farming in Nepal, BnB’s that want you to promote their business on social media, the possibilities are endless. Most of them require a one week or longer stay, but it’s a great way to really see what it’s like to live in that country and immerse yourself in their culture. We have a profile on HelpX and plan on exchanging our services for accommodation on our next big trip so stay tuned to hear more about our own personal experiences.
We hope that you found this post useful and can use it to plan your next trip!
Have you guys ever used any of these methods before? Which one is your favorite? Comment below! (:
Sara & Pat