One of the trickiest places to start when wanting to travel on a budget is to figure out where to stay. If you’re not careful, accommodation can become the most expensive part of your trip – but it doesn’t have to be that way. Tried and tested by generations of travelers, the following resources cater to every travel personality and have proven to be excellent options for both short and long-term travel.
Easily the most common way to go for many first-time travelers, hostels are plentiful in most parts of the world. From as low as a couple of dollars a night in places like South America and Asia to a still reasonable thirty dollars a night in more expensive areas such as Europe, hostels provide many options for the budget traveler. From the family-friendly hostel to the hostels known for being a constant party, dorm rooms to private rooms, you will likely stumble upon one that suits your needs.
Many hostels are geared towards students and budget travelers, offering budget friendly packages for those that are pinching their pennies. For long-term travelers, many hostels are willing to work out a work-for-rent deal with you – where you spend a few days a week volunteering in the hostel, whether at the desk or cleaning rooms – for free accommodation and even a free meal each day.
Couchsurfing can be an intimidating accommodation option to try out and, if you are nervous about it, it doesn’t hurt to go on your first couch surfing experiences with a travel buddy. For those of you who are unfamiliar with this term, couch surfing involves staying in a local’s home wherever your destination may be – usually on the couch, a cot, or a spare bedroom.
Hosts are typically individuals who have traveled and couch surfed themselves, enjoy the camaraderie of the travel community, and like to meet new people and show off their city. Couchsurfing is great for when you are only at your destination for a couple of nights, although some hosts have been known to allow their guests an extended stay of a week or more.
Signing up at www.couchsurfing.com is free and allows you to pick your destination and browse hosts who are currently accepting guests. A great aspect about couchsurfing.com is the ability for hosts to be verified and for travelers to review their stay, so you are not going in blind.
No matter your destination or your budget, Air BnB has a number of options for the budget savvy traveler. Air BnB allows you to search based on location, price range and room type, resulting in enormous variety – from unique treehouse experiences, privately owned Bed and Breakfasts, or a local family offering a spare room in their home.
Some hosts have been known to offer travelers their place even if they won’t be in the country – giving you an entirely private home for the duration of your stay.
Signing up at www.airbnb.com is free and allows you to search, read reviews, view photos, and chat with your host before making any final decisions.
WWOOFING – World Wide Opportunities on Organic Farms – is an ideal opportunity for those interested in a long-term stay in their destination of choice if you don’t mind getting your hands dirty. WWOOFING typically involves staying with a local host and helping out with routine chores each day that revolve around maintaining your host’s farm. In exchange, hosts provide you with free accommodation and meals for the duration of your stay.
Details are discussed between you and your host regarding your length of stay – whether it’s a week or a few months – and how many hours of work they expect of you each day. Some WWOOFING hosts are also happy to accommodate your children.
The dream: to live in another country for free. House sitting allows you to stay in someone else’s home while they’re away for anywhere from a couple of days to long term stays of six months (or more!) Typically you are only asked to maintain the home and property during your stay although may be asked to pay for a portion of the utilities.
For animal lovers, a combination of house and pet sitting opportunities are widely available. Not so fond of furry creatures? No need to fret, there are plenty of homes that do not have pets.
Signing up for a good house sitting website is not free – there is a yearly fee that differs for each website – but the money you’ll save is more than worth the fee. Check out www.mindmyhouse.com, www.housecarers.com and www.trusteshousesitters.com to find your next house sit experience.
If accommodation prices have been stopping you from following your travel dreams, these resources are a great place to start to cut back, or completely eliminate, hefty accommodation fees. Whether you plan to go away for a weekend or for an undetermined amount of time, these options can give you a unique and memorable experience.
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