5 ways to Save Money on Accommodation While Travelling – Part 1

Why it’s actually easier to minimise the accommodation costs

The flights costs are the major money-eater when it comes to travelling. Even if there are some tips and ways to save some 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 !

sleeping night tube london
No, don’t end up sleeping in the tube!

1. AirBnb

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 limit the negative effects that Airbnb brought to their cities and citizens! Need an example? Not many available long term rentals for the locals as the owners prefer to rent their properties out to tourists, via AirBnb, because 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 boat, 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” to most of the travellers 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 here your free £20/€25 for your first stay!

road trip Luxembourg
Airbnb camper-house in Luxembourg with gorgeous friends- it costed £90 in total for 2 nights / 5 people!

2. Couchsurfing

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 and arranges meetings 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 along with their local expertise. 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 and the strong network! Don’t be scared – we want to sleep on your sofa and you will soon after feel comfortable to do the same!

Save Money on Accommodation While Travelling
Happy couchsurfing experience in a local neighbourhood in Toulouse, France

3. The old-school way

Have you found a hotel you REALLY want to stay in but it is a bit over budget? Don’t be discouraged yet, first 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 etc. and it is likely they will be more keen to offer you extra perks – even if it s something considerably small. Who can say no to a free breakfast / drinks after all? Since your goal is to reduce your overall travel costs anything is welcome! At least it is worth trying!

tanzanian bungalow on a budget
Tanzanian Bungalow, found on Facebook for less than £10 per night!

4. Workaway

More than a volunteering website, WorkAway is one of the greatest communities out there in the terms of «work few hours per day abroad for free accommodation and food» . Tons of offers in most of the countries worldwide give you the opportunity to find pretty much everything: part-time work in a hostel, opportunities to contribute to a perm culture garden, an offer to build a website, babysitting vacancies, a variety of artistic projects, charities, requests for teaching English and so on! In most of the jobs you have to work max 5 hours per day for 5 days per week in exchange of 7 days free accommodation (in a room/ hostel/ home etc) and in some cases free food and even pocket money! Trials of exploitation have been reported (humans…) but the website deletes these hosts on a regular basis as the core approach 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 one 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! My favourite platform by far! Why don’t you give it a try?

Save Money on Accommodation While Travelling on a budget
My workaway in Langkawi Island was a bit awkward and up side down but it offered me free bnb for 2 weeks!

5. Talktalkbnb

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 is based on your native language skills. 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! Fantastic, right? 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 and free!

Save Money on Accommodation While Travelling
Trying to teach our ”unpopular” native language to a thirsty for knowledge(!!) audience in Canterbury, UK

Have you used any of these platforms/ methods while travelling? Please share your experiences!

If you are up for camping I am pretty sure these tips will help you as well! See you soon for the Part 2!Find out 5 ways to save money on accommodation while travelling!

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21 Comments

  1. Claire

    Great tips! Have not heard of workaway or talktalkbnb, seems like interesting alternatives to the costly accommodation options during traveling. Thanks for sharing! 🙂

  2. Prasant Bhatt (Mardi Himal)

    Hello VALENTINI,
    Thanks for your beautiful blog. I am following your blog post series for a few months and It gives me the energy to travel to this beautiful green planet. Your cool tips, suggestions help me a lot.
    This December I wanna go to Peris(France) to celebrate new year eve. As a budget traveler, how much money do I need for one-month nomading in France ?
    Thanks really appreciated

    • Valentini

      Thanks for your kind words! Our world is amazing indeed, we as humans cause the most problems! For Paris in NYE you need at least 10€ per day for food and then depends on your transportation and hotel/hostel costs or if you find a free workaway – keep in mind that this is the most expensive period to visit Paris but it is very beautiful too! Have fun!

  3. Céline

    I use Airbnb and Couchsurfing all time but I had never heard of Talktalkbnb before! Interesting concept! I’d be interested to hear about your experience with the service 🙂

  4. knycx

    Thanks for the info and I am still a bit skeptical about coachsurfing’s quality. 🙂 I think another way is to look for overnight train / bus / cruise that combining accommodation and traveling. It saves both money and time

    • Valentini

      It really depends on the host and your choices 😉 This is a good way of course (and I have done it many times) but you end up very tired and the next day in your new destination is not as productive as it could be! However for long term travellers it is a really good tip!

  5. Sandy N Vyjay

    Travel is indeed an expensive proposition and flight and accommodation form a chunk of the expenses. These are quite a few options to save on accommodation. We generally stay in hotels only, but here too we can save if you travel during the off-season as you get great deals as high as 50% discounts.

  6. Shaily

    Very helpful money saving tips! I’m aware of Couchsurfing and Airbnb, however, Workaway and Talkbnb are new to me. I’ll check them out for my next trip. Thanks for sharing.

  7. Deidre

    I absolutely love these tips! Being old fashioned is something we don’t think about. I’ve been looking for ways to upgrade to staying at hotels for my trips while saving money and this has been really helpful! Thanks for sharing!

    -Dei

  8. Amanda

    An interesting list, by the far the best I’ve found is to choose small family run places then contact them directly. The price you pay is often up to 15% less than booking.com and you always get a warm welcome. Must confess I’m an Airbnb hater, I’ve seen first hand the problems it can cause in places like the Greek islands where accommodation for ordinary people is becoming more scarce and the prices of the Airbnb places aren’t any less than the small hotels. Workaway is the one I’m most interested in now as we are looking at setting up our own off-grid retreat and hope to be one there soon.

  9. Farrah

    Airbnb is one of my favorite things to use when I’m traveling in order to save money! I’ve looked into workaway programs too–hoping to try that out someday! Talktalkbnb sounds really interesting!

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