Everyone loves travelling. It’s a rare opportunity to see the world and experience new cultures, landscapes and cuisines. It’s a chance to escape your comfort zone and unwind from the stresses and anxieties of daily life. The only downside is the cost. Going on holiday can be expensive, and you often have to save all year for a two-week getaway that flies by. You spend money on eating out, activities and flights to and from your destination. But one of the most significant travelling costs is accommodation.
When you’re travelling, you need somewhere to rest your head each night, as well as a location to store your belongings while you explore your new surroundings. But considering your accommodation is a place you spend most of your time sleeping, why does it have to be so expensive? For the vast majority of people, the holiday is not about where you stay; it’s the experiences you have along the way. Your hotel, hostel or campsite is merely a logistical necessity. Of course, you want to stay in a place that is clean and tidy, but it doesn’t have to be a five-star hotel.
By reducing the amount you spend on your travel lodgings, you will have more money to spend on the things that really matter to you, whether that’s trying exotic foods, engaging in adrenaline-fuelled activities, or visiting cultural attractions. There are plenty of ways to cut accommodation costs without compromising on quality. Here are ten tips to help you save.
Visit cheaper destinations
Some countries are more expensive than others. If you go to some regions of the world, you can expect to spend far less on accommodation, food, and activities than other locations. If you want to find the cheapest accommodation, visit less expensive parts of the world such as South America and Asia. The most costly lodgings are usually found in European and American capital cities, and countries such as Norway, Denmark and Iceland. Renting an attractive apartment in Thailand will often be cheaper than a basic campsite in Europe, so think about how your destination choice could save you money.
Book directly through the website
When you search for hostels and hotels, the searches always come up with booking websites that allow you to make reservations incredibly efficiently. But many of these websites ramp up the prices for unsuspecting online visitors. The best strategy is to use these websites to find the most suitable and best-reviewed accommodation options, and then head directly to the hotel’s website to save 15-20% on your stay.
Couchsurfing is a brilliant way to find free accommodation anywhere in the world. It connects travellers on a budget with hosts who are willing to put up guests in their homes for free. Simply create a profile and enter your travelling details and you will find a vast number of generous hosts who’d love to show you a good time. It’s a great way to see a new country as hosts are usually happy to act as a tour guide and give you tips for the best things to do and see.
Choose simpler accommodation
Do you really need the ensuite bathroom, high-speed broadband and heated swimming pool? You are likely going to spend minimal time in your hotel, so why not spend less money and opt for a simpler option? All you really need is a roof over your head, a comfortable bed, and a place to store your luggage throughout the day. Instead of expensive hotels, consider more lowkey options such as hostels, guesthouses, cabins or campsites. They will often be just as comfortable and may provide a more unique and memorable experience.
Book at the right time
The time of year you book can make a huge difference to how much you spend. Travelling in peak tourist season will set you back, so try to plan your holiday for a less conventional time of year. If you’re feeling spontaneous, you may be able to save by not booking in advance at all. Often the best deals can be found in town when you arrive. By exploring on foot you may stumble upon a fantastic bargain.
Look for discounts
There are plenty of websites offering vouchers and coupons for weekends away. A strategic way to plan a holiday is to search for relevant accommodation deals in your area of choice and then plan your vacation around them. Following lodgings or bookings on social media is a good way to spot deals and discounted rooms that are exclusive to their online platforms.
Pick the least expensive option
When you book your accommodation, you will generally have a choice of the types of rooms and packages you receive. You may be able to choose private rooms, ensuites, single rooms or shared dormitories. If you’re not averse to sharing with strangers, it’s often considerably cheaper to book a dorm room instead of a private one. If you are travelling as a couple, you could ask management if they would be willing to let you squeeze into a single room instead of a more expensive double. They may wish to reserve the single rooms for solo travellers, but it can’t hurt to ask.
Save money with free amenities
You might be staying in the cheapest hostel in town, but if you’re still paying for all your amenities, you might not have the best deal. When choosing your accommodation, take into account the freebies included in your package. These might end up saving you more money than you think. A hostel that provides a free breakfast will save you buying one of your meals every day, while a lodging with free parking means you won’t have to pay for costly on-street parking for the duration of your trip.
Consider overnight transport
If your trip involves a lot of cross-country travel, consider switching to an overnight option. Rather than spending all day on a hot, cramped bus, book an overnight train or coach so you can make the most of the daylight hours while reducing the need to book an expensive hotel room.
Make friends around the world
The best way to save money on your travel accommodation is to have an address book full of international friends. By making an effort to meet new people on your travels, you will expand your network of friends all around the world. Ask an old friend if you can stay with them for a portion of your trip. It’s unlikely they’ll say no, and you may get the chance to return the favour one day.