How to Find Cheap Accommodation? 7 Tips for Travelers [2024]

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Accommodation is one of the most important elements you must consider when traveling. It’s a kind of game of compromise to find the perfect balance between fulfilling your housing needs and not overpaying. In other words - most of us look for cheap but quality accommodation. How to reconcile these two things? 

In this article, I’d like to share with you my top practical tips and ways to save money on accommodation.

1. Define Your Travel Goal

First, you must answer the basic question - what’s the purpose of your planned travel? There are dozens of reasons people travel. Right, most of us do it just for leisure. But most don’t equal all.

For instance, digital nomads prioritize accommodation with specific amenities, like a reliable internet connection, an ergonomic chair, and a desk. This type of travel decision impacts your choice of accommodation significantly. 

Fortunately, there are dedicated websites like TripOffice.com for digital nomads housing. They focus on hotels, hostels, and guesthouses providing these essential facilities. You can use filters on booking sites to choose what facilities and amenities are crucial to your needs.

TripOffice website
TripOffice website

2. Know Cheap Accommodation Options

Understanding the variety of affordable accommodation options available can significantly impact your travel budget. Here are some options to consider:

2.1. Hostels

Hostels are a popular choice for budget travelers. They offer dormitory-style rooms with shared facilities, making them more affordable than traditional hotels. Hostels also provide an excellent opportunity to meet fellow travelers and make new international friendships.

2.2. Hospitality Exchanges

Platforms like Couchsurfing allow travelers to stay with locals for free. It's a fantastic way to experience local culture and make new friends while saving money on accommodation. Remember that it's a reciprocal system, so you may also need to host travelers in your home.

2.3. Cheap Guesthouses and Airbnb's

Guesthouses and Airbnb rentals can be cost-effective alternatives to hotels. Look for properties that fit your budget and location preferences. Many Airbnb hosts offer discounts for longer stays, making it a budget-friendly option.

2.4. House Sitting

House sitting involves taking care of someone's home while they're away. In exchange, you get free accommodation. Websites like TrustedHousesitters connect house sitters with homeowners looking for reliable caretakers.

2.5. Home Exchanges

Home exchanges involve swapping homes with another traveler. You stay in their home while they stay in yours. It's a unique way to experience different destinations without spending much on accommodation. Platforms like HomeExchange facilitate these exchanges.

2.6. Camping and Campervans

In some situations and places, camping or renting a campervan can be the best accommodation choice. From my experience, there is no better way to explore the breathtaking landscapes in Scotland than renting an RV and camping in nature! 

Camping with a campervan or RV
Camping with a campervan or RV

2.7. Hotels

Don't rule out hotels entirely when looking for affordable accommodation. While they can be more expensive, there are ways to find cheap hotel deals. Keep reading to discover how to make hotel stays budget-friendly.

3. Accept that Some Destinations are Expensive and Others Aren’t

You must understand the simple fact - some destinations are expensive. Over. It’s almost impossible to find quality and cheap accommodation in cities like Paris or New York. The high demand for these destinations drives up accommodation, dining, and activities prices.

On the other hand, there are a lot of budget-friendly destinations, such as Vietnam or Georgia in the Caucasus. When planning your trip, consider the cost of living in your chosen destination and adjust your budget properly.

4. Check the Location

The location of your accommodation can significantly impact your overall expenses. Typically, accommodations in the city center are more expensive than those in the suburbs or less popular areas. However, before opting for a cheaper suburban option, consider transportation costs. If you'll spend a substantial amount commuting to the city center, staying closer to your desired attractions might be more cost-effective.

Sometimes, staying slightly outside the popular tourist areas can save you money without sacrificing convenience. Do your research and assess the trade-offs to make an informed decision.

5. Remember to Calculate Your Food Expenses

When thinking about cheap accommodation, don't forget to factor in your food expenses. Depending on your destination, it may be more cost-effective to choose accommodation with meals included. Some places, like Thailand, offer cheap and delicious street food, making eating out a budget-friendly choice. In contrast, countries like Germany have much higher restaurant prices. Therefore, if you plan to go to Bavaria, consider accommodation equipped with kitchen facilities!

Street food
Street food

Consider your eating habits and preferences when deciding on accommodation. Having breakfast included or access to a kitchen for meal preparation can help you save on dining expenses.

6. Choose the Right Time to Travel

The timing of your trip can have a huge impact on accommodation prices. Consider the following factors when planning your travel dates:

Off-Peak Season

Traveling during the off-peak season can lead to serious savings on accommodation. Many destinations offer lower prices during periods of lower tourist activity. 

Additionally, you'll often experience smaller crowds and more peaceful surroundings. However, remember that off-peak seasons may be related to bad weather conditions, so do your research.

Mid-Week Stays

If your travel dates are flexible, book your accommodation for mid-week stays. Many hotels and accommodations offer lower rates from Monday to Thursday, as weekends are typically more popular. This simple adjustment can help you save money without compromising on the quality of your stay.

7. Stay in One Place for Longer

Another strategy to find cheap accommodation is to stay in one place for longer. Many accommodations, especially apartment rentals and guesthouses, offer discounts for guests who stay for an extended period. It can help to save your money.

By staying in one place for a while, you'll have the opportunity to build connections with locals, explore hidden gems, and immerse yourself in the local lifestyle. It's also a more sustainable way to travel, reducing your carbon footprint. and contributing positively to the community.

Conclusion

Finding cheap accommodation requires careful planning, flexibility, and a willingness to explore alternative options. By defining your travel goals, understanding the various accommodation options, considering your destination's cost of living, and utilizing timing and location to your advantage, you can save money on your travels. 

Remember that cheap accommodation doesn't mean sacrificing quality or comfort, and with the right planning, you can enjoy budget-friendly stays while making unforgettable memories.

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Michał Jonca

In the last few years, Michał discovered his three superpowers – writing, high emotional intelligence, and strong physical endurance. He transferred writing into becoming a Content Specialist, emotional intelligence to leading adventurous travels to the Caucasus & Middle East, and physical stamina to his passion for trail running & yoga.

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