Accommodation is one of the biggest fixed costs traveller have to face. By reducing that cost, you end up with big savings that can be spent seeing attractions, on food or just some shopping. As an avid traveller I am sure many backpackers would sleep in a barn if it was the cheapest option.

But that’s not something you have to do.

No matter what your accommodation preferences may be, one thing everyone has in common is that no one wants to pay a fortune for it. Since you have to stay somewhere every night, reducingthis expense can save you a lot of money off the total cost of your trip. Findcheap flights are great, however finding free, or inexpensive lodging will havethe biggest impact on your budget.

Luckily, there are many ways to find cheap accommodation when you travel. Here are the best ways to do so:

Hospitality Exchanges

Hospitality Exchange - BeBi Travel

One of the best ways to get free accommodation is by staying with someone who lives where you’re going. Stay with a local who will give you a free place to rest your head, local information and inviting friendship.

One of my favourite methods of saving money and provides a unique cultural experience too! There’s a variety of places that allow this, my top 3 are:

  1. Couchsurfing
  2. Global Freeloaders
  3. Hospitality Club

Couchsurfing is my favourite (it also has the most active community). The aim of the site is to help travellers save money on accommodation, not only that,  you also learn about local culture by being able to stay and interact with a local.

Although you get the great savings from staying with a local rather than a hotel or hostel is that you get to see the local side of a city. I have been taken to parties, events and sites you can’t find in any guidebook.

Couchsurfing

When I first used Couchsurf I was nervous about safety. In a new town or city, with all your belongings – in a stranger’s home. What if they attack you in your sleep, or steal your stuff?

What I’ve learned is, people who are willing to let you in their home tend to be very-open minded people. They’re usually former travellers. They know what you are going through andwant to help. Couchsurf is aware of this worry and takes many steps to ensure security. It offers various levels of verification and allows user to rate andleave comments on profiles.

When looking for a Couchsurf host, I use the following criteria:

Picture

This just shows me that they are a real person.

Full Profile

If someone hasn’t bothered to fill out their profile, they probably don’t use the site, so move on.

Review

If other people have stayed or travelled with the host and had a good experience, you and your belonging will most likely be fine. The more positive reviews, the better.

Verification (preferred)

Couchsurfing offers different levels of verification. It isn’t necessary, if someone has a lot of reviews, that’s good with me.

In any scenario, you need to use your own judgement, but I haven’t heard of any really bad couchsurfing experiences, besides the host being irritating or anti-social. Usually, you talk to your host via email to get an idea of what to expect. If the energy doesn’t feel right, don’t do it!

After couchsurfing once, you realise it’s quite fun. Do it frequently and you will save hundreds of pounds on accommodation, and you will also be making friends around the world.

Hostels

Hostel 1 - BeBi Travel

Hostels are another great option for budget travellers. In hostels, rooms are like university halls with all the facilities shared. Many people think of hostels as being a “young thing” and are not interest in sleeping in shared accommodation.

Hostels offer a range of rooms, small, single rooms for solo travellers, and doubles designed for couples. Men and women in their 50s and 60s are all apart of the amazing group that I tend bump into when away. The myth of hostels being filthy and designed for young people isn’t correct. Many hostels offer more amenities than hotels and are quite clean, due to young people expecting more comfort.

Hostels Are Safe

Hostels that you have seen in movies or have been told about in horror stories with near unliveable conditions aren’t of the real world. They come with wifi, tour desks, bars, curtains, lockers for your stuff, big bathrooms, some even have a games room. Each year hostels get better as they keep up with demand and what people want.

Hostels tend to charge less the bigger the room. Going a way with a group of friends will be the best option so you don’t have to share rooms with strangers, although there is no harm in doing so. Hostels are geared toward young travellers, but they don’t exclude all travelling personnel. I have seen families, groups, and older travellers in hostels across the globe. If you want to meet other travellers then a hostel is a great place for you.

Hostels are safe, secure and cheap. Don’t overlook them.

For hostel booking, my favourite site to use is Hostelworld. They have an easy to use interface, the best deals and best inventory. Most hostels cost anywhere from £3-25 GBP per night for a dorm bed. They come with private rooms also, however they aren’t great value for money. Airbnb r a cheap guesthouse will be a better decision to spend your money on. Unless you really want to experience the tussle and bustle, and socialising of other travellers, I wouldn’t recommend a private room in a hostel.

Home Swaps

Our more seasoned adventurers who already own a home may be interested in this. These programs have been around for a long time, but are now gaining in popularity due to, the technology age, marketing and word-of-mouth on the internet. A home swap is as it sounds – for a period of time, you swap homes with a family from another country. Great way to get abroad and for cheap.

Many have worries about security when doing this – but remember, the house that your visiting will also be trusted to you. Verification plays an important role om home swaps, sites provide different levels, similar to that of Couchsurf.

Cheap Accommodation for Families

Families communicate via phone, and email, and there is no commitment if you find that it is not right for you. Most people who do this are like-minded, so the chances of something going wrong are slim. Families will send people to check up on you when you arrive. You get all the comforts of home, in another city and for free!

To understand more on this topic, visit the website Home Exchange. If you have seen the film “The Holiday” you will have seen this website being used. The film helped to clear the air around home exchanging and bring this form of travel into the mainstream.

If home swapping isn’t something that would entice you, then consider house sitting as an alternative. In exchange for daily chores, maintaining the house, and keeping the home secure, you can stay in the area you are visiting.

Here are a few good house-sitting sites:

  1. House Carers
  2. Mind My House
  3. Luxury House Sitting

When house sitting, remember it isn’t just a holiday, you are there to keep the house in order whilst another family is away. Sometimes it can be for only a few days, however, most of the time, it can be for weeks or months. Growing popularity has made it so there are a lot of options.

Airbnb

Airbnb - BeBi Travel

This has to be my favourite option. Airbnb can provide you an entire home, sometimes for less than the cost of a hotel room per night. They provide the option for villas, apartments, flats, and even rooms for solo travellers. All of which are furnished. If you plan to stay a week or more in one place, then this is a great option for you. You’ll get all the comforts of home without spending a fortune.

I find the cheap accommodation to be the perfect middle ground for hostel and hotel. They can be a bit expensive if you are a solo traveller (at roughly double the cost of a hostel dorm, sometimes more). If you are group or couple however, this can be an ideal form of accommodation. My most loved reason also, you get your own kitchen to use, meaning you can cook and reduce food costs.

My favourite rental website is:

  1. Airbnb

Airbnb is a big deal, and one of the primary ways people travel now. If a hotel isn’t in a good enough location at a reasonable price, and a hostel dorm isn’t appealing, then this is your perfect middle ground. I stay in Airbnb all the time and once we reach 5000 subscribers we will tour the world only staying in Airbnb’s, so join us on this journey and see what possibilities lie ahead. Honestly, it’s perfect.

Farm Stay

Farm Stay - BeBi Travel

Farm stay allows you to stay on working farms, learn how a farm works, possible get involved in the working of the farm (milking cows), and enjoy a number of organised outdoor activities. Facilities range from basic camping to luxury rooms depending on the farm. The best comparison would be like a B&B. Price varies widely depending on location, but expect to pay at least £35 per night. This is a great way to explore a different lifestyle, all while providing yourself with cheap accommodation.

Here’s a list of resources to find a Farm Stay:

  1. UK
  2. Australia
  3. US

Monasteries

Monastries - BeBi Travel

Stay in a monastery. I bet you didn’t know you can do that, well believe it. Accommodation in monasteries is usually very basic, spartan, with no more than a bed and a desk. Meals prepared by the monks and nuns. Monasteries are very family friendly and quiet (most have curfews). You’ll find monasteries charge at least £45 a night per person (many have dorms for a fraction of the price), for these dorms, most simply ask for donations or are free, making them a unique budget option.

Finding monastery stay:

  1. Monastery Stays Locations
  2. Monastery Stays Around the World (CNN)

Loyalty Points

Loyalty Points - BeBi Travel

The best way to save on accommodation is to get it for free. If you like free accommodation, but don’t want to Couchsurf, here’s my travel hack!

Collect hotel points through various programs and redeem them for free nights at hotels. I am writing this right now from the Roosevelt Hotel in New York. Cost to me? £0. When you sign up for a hotel credit card, you can get lots of bonus points, put everything on the card and redeem! It’s that straightforward.

The need to spend a lot of money isn’t required, there are a lot of ways to earn points without spending money!

The next time you head out on the road, consider one of these options to find cheap accommodation, you can find yourself upgrading your stay for less than you initially thought. Broaden your mind and don’t rely on hotels. There are so many interesting and cheaper ways to find a place to stay. As of writing this, I have found a trip to turkey that provides an entire apartment with swimming pool for £31 per night on Airbnb. They will help you reduce your expenses, freeing up money so you can do more activities, eat out, drink more and overall, experience the destination you saved so long to visit. We have thanks to give to all modern internet and the encyclopaedia of booking websites, it has never been easier to find accommodation.

If you haven’t already head over and read our next recommended artice to get you ready for the travels of the world. Learn How to Find Cheap Flights, and amaze your friends with updates in new locations!

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