The flights costs are the major money-eater when it comes to travelling. Even if there are some tips and ways to save a few money, the airlines monopoly, unfortunately, does not allow much room for flexibility – especially for long haul trips. On the other hand, the accommodation costs can be reduced much more significantly as there are many options out there to save you some bucks.Let’s start from the basics then, the primary 5 ways to save money on accommodation while travelling for anyone keen to travel on a low or mid range budget :
Who doesnt know about Airbnb? A brilliant idea and the most famous platform (after the traditional ones!) proudly counts thousands of followers and haters at the same time. Cities as Barcelona, London and Paris have already introduced laws to minimise the negative effects that Airbnb brought to their citizens – for example not many available long term rentals for the locals as the owners prefer to rent their properties out to tourists, via AirBnb, as the potential income is much higher. Protests and bans are also on going in different places of the world but the AirBnb remains an extremely convenient and (usually) cheaper alternative for the travellers. You can rent a room in a shared property or the entire place, a tent or a bungalow, a hut or a tree house… the list is endless! The process is very safe as the website asks for verification details (passport / ID / phone number/ social media accounts etc) and the hosts have detailed reviews that you can go through and decide if this is the right place for you! The prices are lower than the hotels ones and a huge “boon” is that if you choose a room from a well reputable host you will be offered usually free local tips / advice! Don’t have an account yet? Claim your free £20/€25 for your first stay!
Are you looking for an absolutely free sofa / bed / room for few nights? Here is the solution! A huge community that shares its couches, experiences and travels, a great network that arranges meetings and looks for locals has bloomed through this movement. Not just a free way of travelling but also a new lifestyle that has loyal members who do not only ask for free accommodation but, more important, offer their couches for free. For some cultures this sounds unfamiliar or even dangerous but hey, travelling forces you out of your comfort zone! Have a look on the website and you will be surprised of the community dynamic! Don’t be scared – we want to sleep on your sofa and you will soon after feel comfortable to do the same!
3. The old-school way
Have you found a hotel you REALLY want to stay in but it is a bit over budget? Try to contact them directly! This old school method usually works because most accommodation platforms/ searching machines add a commission to the room prices – they are businesses after all! – so by contacting the hotels via phone/ email you may be able to cut the middlemen costs! Also, they will likely give you an alternative (for example if they have lower prices for stays between Sunday and Wednesday) or explain you their current offers (that the platforms are not aware of!) such as «book 4 nights and get a Spa Pass for free» etc. For hostels / guesthouses try to contact them via their facebook pages too as they strive for likes/ engagement/ positive reviews hence, they are more willing to offer you extra perks – even if it s something considerably small such as free breakfast / drinks and not a better price you can still reduce your overall travel costs! At least it is worth trying!
More than a volunteering website, WorkAway is one of the greatest communities out there in the terms of «work few hours per day for free accommodation and food» . Tons of offers in most of the countries worldwide give you the opportunity to find pretty much everything: work in a hostel, contribute to a perm culture garden, build a website, do babysitting, complete art projects, help charities, teach English and so on! In every job you have to work max 5 hours per day/ 5 days per week in exchange of 7 days per week free accommodation (in a room/ hostel/ home etc) and in some cases free food and even pocket money! Trials of exploitation have been reported but the website deletes these hosts on regular basis as the core message is «cultural exchange» and not free labour. Setting up an account is extremely easy and very low cost and you can even create a common account along with your partner/ friend/ relative that you plan to travel together! I have seen people travelling for months or even years as workawayers and in fact is one of the most efficient ways to travel almost for free and make great contacts on the way! You can create an account extremely easy!
Not very popular yet but a great idea that could take off the next few years. It is a totally free social exchange platform which it’s based on your native language. For example if you are native French and you want to practice Japanese you can offer a room at your place for free for native Japanese people who want to travel in France and you will be benefited by practising Japanese with them! Obviously some languages are more popular than others ( the demand for Greek is unsurprisingly low!) but it is a great way to travel almost for free while helping others to learn your native language! You can also set up your alerts preferences in order to receive an email when a newbie host asks for your language! Pretty cool, right?
Have you used any of these platforms/ methods while travelling? Please share your experiences!