Are you planning your next adventure and looking to save some money on your accommodation? Well, you’re in luck! There are so many ways to find cheap places to stay when travelling. In this article, we will explore the benefits of staying in cheap accommodation, the different types of budget places to stay, and how to find them. We’ll also share some tips for booking budget travel accommodation and highlight some websites and apps that can help you score the best deals. Let’s get started!
Benefits of staying in cheap accommodation when travelling
Staying in cheap accommodation is a great way to save money on your travels. Not only does it allow you to stretch your travel budget further, but it also gives you the opportunity to experience different types of accommodation that you may not have considered otherwise. For example, you could stay in a local guesthouse, a homestay or a hostel, which would give you a more authentic travel experience and allow you to meet other travellers as well as locals.
Another benefit of staying in cheap accommodation is that it frees up more money for other aspects of your trip, such as sightseeing, activities, day trips, food, and souvenirs. By saving money on your accommodation, you can afford to do more and make your trip even more memorable.
Types of cheap travel accommodation
There are various types of cheap travel accommodation that you can consider for your next trip. Here are some examples:
Hostels are a popular choice for budget travellers and backpackers, as they are usually cheaper than hotels and offer a social atmosphere. You can choose between dormitory-style rooms or private rooms, depending on your preferences and budget. Hostels often have communal areas where you can meet other travellers and exchange tips and stories. You may also make some friends who you then explore with during your trip.
Read more about what it’s like to stay in hostels.
Guesthouses and homestays
Guesthouses and homestays are similar to B&Bs and offer a more homely atmosphere than hotels. They are often run by locals and provide a great opportunity to experience the local culture. Guesthouses and homestays can vary in price and quality, so it’s important to do your research before booking. With guesthouses, you may find the host offers you inside tips and local knowledge, and may even show you around.
We’ve had some incredible experiences with this type of accommodation where the host has helped us to explore nearby attractions and cooked us up some tasty local food. You could have a look on booking.com and then use the filters to find a guesthouse or homestay for your next trip.
Vacation rentals / self-catered accommodation
Vacation rentals, such as Airbnb, are a great option for those who want more privacy and flexibility. You can rent an entire apartment or house, which often works out cheaper than staying in a hotel. Vacation rentals also give you the opportunity to cook your own meals, which can save you money on dining out.
These types of properties often include everything you need to be comfortable including kitchen and clothes-washing facilities, a living room and other features that you’d normally get at home. This makes them a good choice if you’re looking to stay in one location for a longer period.
How to find cheap places to stay when travelling
Now that you know the different types of cheap travel accommodation available, you’re probably wondering how to find them. Here are some tips:
The internet is a great resource for finding cheap places to stay when travelling. You can use search engines to find top accommodation websites and compare prices. You can also read reviews from other travellers to get an idea of the quality and location of the accommodation. For many destinations, you might be able to search and find specific articles giving tips on the best places to stay as well.
Book in advance
Booking in advance can often save you money, as some accommodation providers offer discounts for early bookings. This ensures that you have a place to stay when you arrive at your destination which makes your trip a bit easier. It’s also worth noting that popular destinations can get booked up, so you’d be left with less choice.
Being flexible with your travel dates and location can also help you to find cheaper accommodation. Consider travelling during the off-season, outside of weekends and public holiday dates, when prices are often lower, or even staying in a less popular area. It’s worth knowing that hostels can often be in great central locations and still be affordable, whilst hotels would generally be more expensive if in a more central spot.
Search via this accommodation map
You can use the accommodation map below to search for places. We’d generally recommend trying to find a place that’s centrally located and this can often be possible with hostels and for cheap prices.
Use the filters within the map to put your budget, star level and ratings. If possible always try and keep the rating to at least 4/5 as an average rating that’s less than this might mean the accommodation might be a bad choice.
Tips for booking cheap travel accommodation
Once you’ve found some cheap travel accommodation options, it’s important to book wisely to ensure that you get the best deal. Here are some tips:
Don’t just book the first accommodation that you come across. Compare prices across different websites and providers to ensure that you’re getting the best deal. So you could start on hostelworld, but also have a look on booking.com and you might find the same property but for slightly different prices.
Check for discounts
Sometimes accommodation providers offer discounts for longer stays, group bookings, or loyalty programs. Check for these discounts before booking to save even more money. You might also find these options by booking direct.
Use the filters
Almost all accommodation websites (or at least the best ones) will offer lots of filters allowing you to narrow down your results. This is super helpful when you’re travelling on a budget as you’ll be able to set how much you’d want to spend per night, the accommodation type, location, facilities, review rating and various other options.
Read reviews from other travellers
As with any aspect of travel, you should definitely read reviews before booking. Generally, we only book places that have an average score of at least 7/10 (or 4/5 depending on the rating system). You could also read the reviews to see if there is any specific feedback that someone has left that’s important to you. Such as about the food, the staff or the cleanliness.
Read the fine print
Make sure you read the terms and conditions before booking, particularly regarding cancellation policies and any additional fees. Free cancellation policies can be great if there’s a chance that your trip and plans may change.
Websites and apps for finding cheap places to stay
There are many websites and apps that can help you find cheap places to stay when travelling. Here are some examples:
Hostelworld is one of the best websites for finding hostels around the world. They list over 36,000 properties in over 170 countries and as well as this you’ll find lots of filters and reviews to help you choose. You can search for hostels by location, price, and amenities, and read reviews from other travellers. Hostelworld is a great place to start if you’re backpacking as you’ll find plenty of top budget places to stay.
Booking.com is a top website for finding a range of accommodation options. They list most types of property from hostels to hotels. You can search for a place to stay by location, price, and rating, and read reviews from other travellers. Use the filters to lower the cost per night to a budget that suits you.
Airbnb is a popular app for finding vacation rentals, such as apartments and houses. You can search for places to stay by location, price, and amenities, as well as read reviews from other travellers. Airbnb is a good option especially if you’re travelling in a group or planning to stay somewhere for a long time. A negative is that there are often extra fees with Airbnb such as cleaning and service fees.
If you’re planning to stay in a destination for a while, such as a month or more you can sometimes find long-stay discounts as well.
An alternative to Airbnb is Vrbo which also offers rentals. It would be worth looking across both sites during your search (unless you find something quickly that is perfect).
Tripadvisor is a very well-known and popular travel resource that originally started as a forum but is now a useful place to search for accommodation, tours and other travel-related products. When searching it’s best to start typing for a destination and then use the suggestions that popup as you type I.e. “Paris Hotels”. This will then take you to their main search page for that destination. You can then set your budget and also property type (such as hostels) in the sidebar filters.
Alternative options for cheap travel accommodation
If you’re looking for alternative options for cheap travel accommodation, here are some ideas:
Couchsurfing is a platform that connects travellers with locals who offer free accommodation. This is a great way to experience the local culture and make new friends.
House sitting involves looking after someone’s house while they are away, in exchange for free accommodation. This can be a great option for those who want more privacy and independence. As well as looking after someone’s house you may also be looking after their pets, so if you’re an animal lover then this may be perfect for you. You could look on a site such as trustedhousesitters.com to see what options are available.
Camping is a cheap and fun way to experience the great outdoors. Many destinations have options for you to camp in national parks, campsites, and sometimes even on private land (with permission). The downside of camping is that you will undoubtedly have more luggage to carry around with you, but if you’re able to travel for longer, and also do and see a lot more due to the savings vs a hotel then it could be worth it.
The pros and cons of staying in cheap accommodation
While staying in cheap accommodation has many benefits, it’s important to be aware of the potential drawbacks. Here are some pros and cons:
- You could save money, especially if in a dorm
- Experience local culture
- Meet other travellers (hostels)
- More flexibility
- It could be a great location (hostels)
- Potentially lower quality
- Less privacy (hostels)
- Less amenities
- Sometimes there are safety concerns
Safety considerations when staying in cheap places
When staying in cheap places, it’s important to prioritise safety. Here are some tips:
Research the area
Research the area before booking to ensure that it’s safe and convenient for your needs. Look for information on crime rates and proximity to public transport. Generally, we’d recommend trying to stay as central as possible. This will make it easier to get around and is especially helpful if you’re planning to go out at night.
This is super important. Always read reviews from other travellers to get an idea of the safety and security of the accommodation. It’s good if the accommodation has had quite a lot of reviews (i.e. 30+) so that you can truly gauge the accuracy of the rating. We personally always try and book a place that has a rating of 7/10+ or 4/5+ (depending on the rating system).
Take precautions to protect your belongings, such as locking your doors and using a locker or safe for valuables. It’s worth noting that in all the hostels and different places that we’ve stayed in over the years, we’ve never had any issues, but then again we’re always careful just in case. Read more about how to protect your belongings when you travel.
There are so many ways to find cheap places to stay when travelling, from hostels to vacation rentals to Couchsurfing. By doing your research and booking wisely, you can save money on your accommodation and make your adventure even more memorable. Just remember to prioritize safety and be aware of the potential drawbacks of staying in cheap accommodation. Happy travels!
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