Spending money on accommodation while traveling is naturally going to be one of the biggest expenses a traveler will face. However, such costs certainly do not have to be as high as one might expect.
With a few simple steps, it actually can be quite easy to find clean, comfortable and most importantly, affordable, places to stay in almost every corner of the world. So how does one even begin the search for such accommodation? Well, here’s the methods I use during my travels, methods that have allowed me to sleep well without costing me much money at all during the past 12 years I’ve been on the road.
Step 1: Have a look at a Hostel booking site such as Hostelbookers.com. Enter the country, city and dates you need and you’ll instantly be provided with a detailed list of places available, complete with a description, prices for both shared dorm rooms and private rooms and reviews from other travelers who have stayed in these locations.
Step 2: Find a place that meets your needs in terms of location, atmosphere and price, and make sure that it has good reviews!
Step 3: Go to TripAdvisor.com and search for the the hostel(s)/budget hotels that you’ve chosen as your top choices. Read the reviews on TripAdvisor and compare those reviews to the ones on Hostelbookers.com. The reason for this is that many hostels either pay travelers to write fake positive reviews or simply write them themselves on the Hostel booking websites. Checking the Trip Advisor reviews helps ensure that the reviews are legitimate. If the reviews don’t tell the same story as Hostelbookers.com, you should definitely be suspicious!
Step 4: Do a Google search for the hostel(s) / budget hotels that make your final list and most of the time, you’ll find the direct website for each location.
Step 5: Search the website for the prices as they are usually cheaper than what is listed on the Hostel booking sites. If the price is cheaper, then send an email to the hostel/hotel through their website requesting a reservation for the dates you need.
This method will save you from paying inflated prices and will help you avoid any unnecessary booking fees.
If you still aren’t happy with the prices you found or you’re unable to find a suitable place to stay, it’s then time to move on to a different method. Luckily, there are plenty of unique options available to help you land a comfortable bed for a reasonable price…
AirBnB – a site where people rent out the extra bedrooms in their apartments
Roomorama – another site that is similar to AirBnB
Couchsurfing – a great way to interact with locals by crashing on their couch for a few days at a time (extensive network of hosts all over the world)
Formula 1 Hotels – a chain of budget hotels that offer excellent value for travelers, especially if you’re 2 or more people
There are also many other websites out there that offer first-hand reviews and descriptions of budget hostels, hotels and guesthouses. Such sites can be extremely useful when trying to find the perfect budget place to stay in. Here’s a few useful sites to check out…
Travelfish.org – super thorough and reliable site that focuses on Southeast Asia travel
LonelyPlanet.com – a good option for finding out what kind of budget accommodation is available wherever you’re headed
Bootsnall.com – reviews, descriptions, prices and even a forum where you can ask other travelers for accommodation advice
Keeping the above methods in mind, you should have little problem in finding good, cheap accommodation during your travels, whether you plan to backpack across Europe, bum around on a Thai island for a while or travel the length of South America. And by cheap, I’m talking about beds for under $25 USD per night in most of the world, perhaps a little more in some parts of Europe, and a lot less in parts of Asia, the Middle East and Central America.
If you have any questions about how to find cheap accommodation while traveling, please feel free to contact me through my ‘Contact Me’ link above.