We all love to get good deals, right? It’s important to find cheap lodging when traveling, since sleeping is one of the major expenses we face. Because you have to stay somewhere every night, reducing this expense can save you a lot of money off. When on the road, I don’t want to limit to popular kinds of accommodation like hotels or hostels. There is much more over there to discover, which can change your trip into unforgettable one. Moreover, it’s not just about where to sleep when traveling but also about planning well and always considering the environmental impact.
How to find cheap lodging when traveling?
I already shared with you many tips on how to sleep for free when you travel from which my favorite is to stay with locals through Couch Surfing. I understand, however, that some people may not like these options. What’s common for all though, we do not want to spend a fortune on lodging expenses, so here are few tips to keep in mind.
1. Do a research
Planning is essential, if you want to find cheap lodging when traveling. Last minuters usually get the highest prices possible. A bit of research will help you to get to know the attractions and exact location you are heading to.
I always check what’s worth to see at the destination I am heading. I look what accommodation options I have and what are the meal I should try. Maybe there will some festival or event happening during the same time? I always appreciate local cutlrue and like to learn about that by participating workshops or simply hanging out with locals. It’s very important for me to support local initiatives. I feel bad when supporting big companies or mass tourism. Traveling is full of constant choices we make. These choices matter for local families, small businesses and the environment. It’s important to do a research and make sure that we are spending our money right, supporting something worth it. When it comes to accommodation, I choose to sleep with local people when possible. Local people give the best advice about places to see and dishes to try. Living like a local when traveling saves a lot of money, because we can avoid a touristic trap. Moreover, it’s the most environmentally friendly way of lodging.
2. Search engines
The best way to start looking for accommodation is to check websites which compare the prices such as booking.com. You will get to know available options at your destination and learn what costs can you expect. Moreover, this site offers free cancellation, so you don’t need to worry that you will loose your money if your plan changes. And their book now, pay later system allows you to lock in the rate with some flexibility. What also makes booking.com convenient are the reviews from guests, like you and me. There are millions verified reviews from guests which booked their stay though the website.
But that’s not all. The list of search engines is long and I think it is worth mentioning the most popular ones. The owner of booking.com also has Agoda.com (link). Wide offer when traveling in Asia, there the service is more known. Expedia.com (link) – a service that allows you to plan your accommodation together with transport. If you are planning to rent a car, it will work very well. You can also find a wide range of accommodation on Hotels.com (link), especially when it comes to exotic destiantions.
Trivago.com (link) is an interesting search engine that compares options from the pages above. It will surely be useful in larger cities, when such a comparison can really help find cheap accommodation. The portal also shows current promotions or last minute offers.
3. Choose the right location
When booking your room, it is necessary to check the location of it. Maybe it has a cheap price because it’s on the outskirts? You may have to spend 2 hours in public bus to get to the center or what’s worse, pay the taxi. On the other hand, staying out of the center can be a good solution in terms of convenient transport vs. price. For instance, in big cities like Prague, public transportation system is very good, so you can easily safe money by staying out of the center and still not spending too much time to get there. In the other example, Barcelona has the low-cost airlines airport in Girona called Girona-Barcelona. As you can imagine lots of tourists find their place to stay in Girona which is another city, far from Barcelona center. They have to spend much more time and money getting to their destination.
4. Stay more than 1 night
Staying longer at the location will surely make you save lots of money. An accommodation owner often give a special deal for a longer stay. What’s more, without moving constantly you will save on transportation and create less pollution. As I am trying to improve as a responsible traveler, it’s important for me to rather enjoy the place and immerse with locals then run with a checklist to next destination. Slow traveling has been my way to save money when traveling and get the best of each place I am staying.
5. Choose the right time
Timing is also important to find cheap lodging when traveling as for example around Christmas or New Year prices are insane. Traveling during the off season is always cheaper and less crowded. At the same time, you save money on flights or car rentals and many other things. If you plan for just a short trip, try to take your vacations during the weekdays since weekends are often higher priced.
6. Delete your cookies/history
When searching for cheap lodging, use a different browser or incognito mode before looking up prices. Websites store your search data and when you come back to the same page, you may see the prices higher. The same applies when looking for a cheap flight. Clean your cookies or go incognito to don’t get your search tracked!
Hotels are usually the most expensive, therefore to find cheap lodging when traveling, don’t forget the other opportunities. It doesn’t have to be less comfortable. Nowadays, we have many budget-friendly options like hostels, which I think are quite popular. Rooms are usually dormitory-style with all the facilities shared. Yet, some of them also offer regular rooms, single or double, if you prefer more privacy. The most popular websites to lookf hostels are Hostel World (link) and Hostel Bookers (link).
8. Stay with locals
My favorite option to find cheap lodging when traveling is AirBnB, as I like to stay with locals. People rent their properties for short or long periods all around the world. You can rent just one room or the whole apartment and get affortable price plus comfort you need. Choose from fancy apartments to small rooms and many interesting variations like bungalows or summer houses. It’s cheaper than hotels, less crowded than hostels and most of the times you get a kitchen, allowing you to cook and reduce your food costs.
If you follow the link or the banner and register on AirBnb, you will get 25$ gift for your first booking. If you are already registered member, you can still use the coupon, if you sign up again with a new e-mail address.
9. Consider farm stay and agrotourism
Looking for where to sleep when traveling, think about letting your hair down by nature. Maybe you want to experience the farm life or do a total detox from internet and stay in the book warm cottage in the woods? Of course, there are also plenty of opportunities to volunteer on the farms, but that’s the topic for another post.
I am sure you will find plenty of options in your country from typical Bed & Breakfast to cottage by a lake. Farm stays are popular in UK, USA and Australia, and you can choose from basic camping to luxury rooms, depending of the farm and your budget. It’s an option for nature lovers since you can see the village life and enjoy good food straight from the farm. Prices vary but are close to cheap hotels. When it comes to agrotourism, which is more popular in Europe, locals rent their spare rooms or a hut to spend relaxing time on the countryside.
10. Religious Housing
Disclaimer: you don’t have to follow any religion in order to stay in a religious housing, but you must be respectful.
We usually don’t consider religious stays when thinking where to sleep when traveling. Surely, it’s an interesting opportunity but not for everyone. If your goal is a party place or vacation vibe on the beach, that’s definitely not for you. Some of religious housing stays are designed for meditation, detox, reflection, while others offer regular lodging like Bed & Breakfast to earn extra money.
Depending on where you’re traveling, there may be cheap or free lodging offered by religious organizations — such as convents and monasteries (see Syria and Thailand, which were both based on donations. It means that I could live and eat there for free, and I voluntarily support their budget.), or Christian or Jewish guesthouses in Jerusalem. I have already stayed in monasteries in
11. Academic Housing
Yet, another trick on where to sleep when traveling, which we often forget about. When students have university break, many dormitories open their door to welcome travelers, whocan stay for a little money, having all facilities. The best option to look for them is to call few campuses. You can also try University-Rooms.com or the local tourist information.
The best time in holidays is time spent by nature. Camp sites offer reasonable conditions, good facilities and always affordable prices. What’s more, eco-friendly traveling is often also the cheap accommodation option, so consider checking them out. Some of them have in-built tents or can rent you one, so you can minimalise your luggage.
Where to sleep when traveling?
As you see, there are many options out there, not just the hotels, especially when you are on budget. Traveling should be an experience to remember, time to learn and relax as well. I am sending you back to the first point of this text, as planning is what every trip should start from. Learn about the options in your destination, see what interests you, which dishes you shouldn’t miss and so on. Wondering where to sleep when traveling, consider not only your wallet but also the environmental impact. Staying with locals or eco-friendly accommodation will help you to reduce the footprint you leave. Support those who #giveashit about our planet.
I am coming up with a series of travel tips to share my experience and hopefully open your eyes for new, interesting opportunities. Finding cheap lodging when traveling is another piece after cheap transportation. Hope you get some inspirations!
The Bee is a nature lover and tea addict. Loves the idea of slow life and responsible traveling, constantly trying to improve to bee more eco-friendly. Appreciates old cultures and traditions, loves to immerse with locals, listen to ethnic music as well as taste regional food and drinks. Her favorite spots while traveling are family houses and street markets.