Ever thought how people manage to travel for so long? How can they afford it? Nothing seems more appealing, when budget traveling, than finding cheap accommodation. Unless you are going to make the most of your stay there is no point in paying high prices if you are only going to use it to sleep. There are a number of ways accommodation costs can be minimized!
Do it the hostel way! Nowadays you can get private rooms in hostels so if you prefer this and don't mind paying a little extra for privacy sharing is not the only way and it will be cheaper than a hotel. In South East Asia we found it wS sometimes the same price or cheaper to get a private room for two...go figure! The best part about bunking in a hostel is the social aspect, it is sometimes the best way to meet other fellow travelers.
2. Hotel Points
When we feel we should pre-book our stay we use Agoda and the benefit of this is their Agoda Points! Every time you book online and write a review you earn points which you can use when enough points accumulate. Nothing feels better than free accommodation...check it out!
Rocking up to your destination without pre-arranged accommodation is sometimes easier on the wallet, if you have time in your hands. Not all hostels/guesthouses and types of accommodation are listed on websites and can only be found when you arrive. At times you can come to an agreement to lower the price if you stay a few days.
We were first under the impression that the only things that could be haggled were items you could purchase in shops and stalls. Although, we learnt that in certain areas accommodation could be negotiated. Before you do so find out if this does go down at that destination.
This is the best way to meet locals and truly experience a destination. Every time we have couch surfed the hosts have been kind enough to show us around or teach us their local traditions. I believe there is no better way to experience a place than with a local. The majority of the time hosts are travelers themselves and are usually very interesting people! They love sharing their stories and experiences and all our experiences have been positive ones. Some may think it is unsafe but it all gets documented on the Couchsurfing website. I wouldn't advise it for a solo female traveler but if you are a guy or traveling in pairs its a great idea!
Check out our Snake Blood Drinking experience, something we definitely would not have encountered if it wouldn't have been for our host!
AirBnB allows you to rent a room in a shared apartment or an entire house. Even though we have not used it as much as Couchsurfing and hostels (because it costs more) it has proved to be beneficial in expensive cities and it is great to have your own space and kitchen facilities. If you are not a hostel goer and want a little bit more luxury AirBnB is a good alternative to a hotel.
7. Road Trips
If you have an adventurous side to you and want to save money why not live out of a car?! Not only do you save money on eating our and accommodation the freedom you have is the best part. You decide when to pick up and move on to your next destination and you don't have to lug with your backpack everywhere you go! We spent two months in total road tripping through NZ and Australia and we feel it was the best way to see the country.
There are two ways of going around it, buy your own car/campervan or rent it. If you are planning on spending a few months travelling around the best option is buying a cheap station wagon or people carrier and then selling it off at the end of your trip. For shorter trips renting is the best option and all rental companies rent our station wagons and campervan fully equipped with bedding and cooking facilities.
There are numerous good rental companies such as Apollo, Travellers Autobarn, Jucy, Britz etc. Buying a vehicle can be daunting but considering the amount of money you would spend on renting where you don't see a penny back, the chance you will be able to sell you vehicle is high, even if it is to a lost but you need to consider the money you would spend on transport, accommodation and restaurants anyways. You can find cars online but all hostels have advertisements up for cars for sale and cars usually come fully equipped from previous travelers. Useful websites are: Gumtree, Backpacker Board and Trade Me
8. Overnight Travel
Travelling overnight is one of the best ways to save money. Not only does your wallet benefit but you dont waste time during the day getting from one destination to the next. We often hopped on overnight buses and trains which had good sleeping facilites for this reason.
Free or cheap accommodation may be provided if you volunteer during your travels. Not only will this make you feel good by giving back to the community but it will also help you save money.
These are ideas we have approached during our travels although there are a few more options such as the following:
WWOOFING is a program which gives work to travellers and allows you to stay and eat for free (or at a low cost). Australia and New Zealand have plenty of opportunities such as Dairy Farms or Fruit Picking. This allow you to get an income, experience something new and get free stay.
11. Home Stay
Living with a family may sound odd but like with Couchsurfing locals know best. Home stays are usually for a fixed time and price.
12. House Sitting/House Swap
House Sitting and House Swaps are other alternatives. Never having experienced them ourselves, after watching 'The Holiday' the idea of house swaps sounds quite awesome.