When you travel one of the biggest expenses on your trip is without a doubt accommodation. Every night, you have to find somewhere new to stay, and a night in a hotel is expensive most of the times. Free and cheap accommodation is something you can’t easily find, wherever you are in the world.
Flights might be the most expensive part of your trip, but they are rare one-offs and on the food can be expensive, but it is possible to spend less and eat on a budget day-by-day to save money.
However, in the last few years, accommodation options have greatly increased, and there are now a number of affordable choices available to you.
Here are five ways to stay around the world on a budget by enjoying free and cheap accommodation:
1. Couchsurfing –Free Accommodation.
The online community of Couchsurfing.com consists of five million people all over the world, you can host or choose to become a couchsurfer. You contact a host where you would like to stay, and if they are available you stay for free!
Often it is a couch in someone’s house, but sometimes hosts have whole bedrooms to offer and it’s a great way to meet local people who know the area. In my experience of Couchsurfing, people are extremely friendly and are happy to help you in prolonging your travels, as they usually are experienced travelers themselves.
- Make sure you include as much information as possible on your profile – it will help you to get approved and more successful applications.
- Personalize your message to hosts about why you want to stay with them.
- The community is free, but it’s nice to bring your host a gift or take them to dinner to say thank you.
2. Budget Hostels – Cheap Accommodation.
Sleeping in a dorm room in a hostel can cost between $3 and $20 a night. Accommodation quality can vary and for a very small price, you can even get a private room with a bathroom although more often than not you will be sharing a large room with a number of other travelers.
All rooms will have lockers for your personal belongings, shared bathrooms and usually free breakfast – although every hostel is different. Hostels are a great way to meet other like-minded people and exchange travel tips.
- If you are hoping to get a good night’s sleep in a hostel bring earplugs and an eye mask
- You can book through many online sites to compare prices and find the best deals, such as HostelWorld.com
3. Guest Houses – Mid-Budget Accommodation.
Guest houses are a lot like hostels, but without the crowds of young people and without the additional frills of a hotel. Expect to pay between $8 and $40 a night at a guest house. If you are traveling somewhere remote, where there may not be any hostel options, guesthouses can be a great option.
- Check reviews online before you book.
- If you are staying in the city – make sure you check the windows and doors.
4. Apartment rental – Mid-Range Budget.
Companies like Airbnb have introduced a brand new concept on the budget accommodation scene over the past few years. Companies offer short-term rentals at people’s homes from renting a room in a home where the owners live to rent a whole apartment.
Prices per night can vary massively depending on location and type of accommodation and can be as little as $10 a night and as much as $100 a night, but you get to feel like a local by staying in a local’s apartment.
- Renting with websites like Airbnb are best for short-term rentals, don’t expect to get the best deal if you want to rent the apartment for more than a month.
- Be very aware of the location of your rental, some can be out of the city center and hosts will usually mention this on their profile page.
- Talk to the owner before to get a feel for the place and make sure it’s right for you.
5. House and Pet Sitting – Free Accommodation.
There isn’t a better way to stay in another country for free than house or pet sitting. Many homeowners with pets prefer not to send their pets to the kennels when they go away on vacation, and it can be cheaper and better for the animal to have someone stay in their house.
Not only is accommodation usually free, but it is also often paid for! Try websites like TrustedHousesitters.com and MindMyHouse.com to see if there are any opportunities available.
- Housesit for a friend first to get a great review for your profile.
- It is common to pay a security deposit when you stay in someone’s house. But don’t pay until you know you have the job and are on site.
Finding free & cheap accommodation worldwide is easier than you think!
As you see, there are so many options for both free and cheap accommodation all over the world. This way, you can go on longer vacations and spend your excess cash on activities and great food!