When it comes to finding accommodation on a budget, it’s not always the easiest task. This is can be a lengthy, time-consuming process if you don’t know where to start. Many people may search for a budget hotel and think this is the only option.
But in reality, you can stay in southeast Asia for less than $400 a month and Europe for free. Where as with a hotel, you could be spending up to $400 for a mere week. For those who are currently planning their first long-term travel, these resources may be eye-opening. And for those who have been traveling, we hope you learn a thing or two as there are plenty ways to go about finding accommodation in this day and age.
To start, let’s give a little background as to why staying in a hotel is not a viable option when traveling on a budget. Unless you manage to score a super luxury suite at a 5-star hotel, chances are your hotel room simply consists of a bed, bathroom, television, and an electric kettle. If you want to stretch your budget, not having a kitchen isn’t ideal. You’re better off looking into hotels as a last resort, when you’ve exhausted all your other options.
This probably sounds like the expensive way to go, however you would be surprised at what you may find. Using websites like Airbnb, HomeAway, and Booking.com can open the door to many great places to stay while traveling. For those who are older, you probably know the label ‘timeshare’. Well, think of it like a new and improved version of that.
You can find entire homes to have to yourself. Simply type in where you’re going, the dates you have planned, how many people, and select ‘Entire Home’ from the home type options. From there, you can set your max budget (either nightly or monthly), and choose any required amenities you may need from the filter options. This is a perfect way to ensure a place has wifi, a washing machine, etc.
Finding a place for a month’s time will give you the best budget results. This is because there is usually a monthly discount factored into the price. If you’re lucky, this can even bring the price down to half of the normal nightly price.
If you’re traveling alone, renting out an entire place may be overkill. And if you’re traveling with someone, finding a shared accommodation will alleviate travel expenses. Sharing a space with strangers isn’t ideal for some, but you should definitely try it at least once so you can form a proper opinion about the experience.
The main benefit of staying in a shared accommodation is definitely the social aspect. This is one of the easiest ways to meet people while traveling. Most of the time you can find an option to have your own private room. Even modern hostels offer this. Aside from hostels, sometimes these shared places are also referenced as guesthouses.
You can find shared accommodation through Airbnb by switching the home type option to ‘Private Room’, ‘Shared Room’, or ‘Hotel Room’.
Aside from accommodation businesses, this opens up the option of finding a place to stay with a local, as many people choose to rent out rooms in their own homes. This is beneficial because you will always have a personal local guide to help you out.
Another option that’s been around for years, but many people still are unaware of is housesitting. This is also referenced as petsitting when there is an animal involved. Through housesitting, you can find free accommodation in exchange for looking after someone’s home or pets, usually both.
Make sure you read each listing very thoroughly as sometimes people want to provide accommodation in exchange for physical work. It’s common to find listings for castles in Europe in exchange for you taking care of daily duties or part-time work. There’s nothing wrong with that, but if you are planning to run wild all day long, then that listing may not be for you.
If you don’t mind putting in a few hours a day to contribute to where you’re staying, then there are a couple organizations that may spark your interest. Workaway and Hippohelp both pride themselves on offering free accommodation in exchange for volunteering. Sometimes these hosts even offer to provide a daily meal!
This is another method that’s been around for quite some time now. You’ve probably heard of it: couchsurfing. This is a fun way to get to know an area, as you’re literally invited by a host to crash on their couch. Or if you’re lucky, a guest room. Much like a shared accommodation, you have a personal local guide who can help you out with anything in the area. But the difference is that couchsurfing is completely free. The most known website is the self-titled Couchsurfing whereas BeWelcome is a good alternative.
As you can see, the opportunities are out there to find accommodation on a budget to help you travel more affordably. You will have to experiment with a couple different options and find out which works best for you.