After writing about How To Find Cheap Air Fares, I’m now addressing how you can find and book cheap accommodation when you’re travelling.
Some Tips On Finding Cheap Accommodation
There is no quick fix to finding cheap and quality accommodation yourself. It can be painstakingly slow and can require hours of research. I’m sorry if you were hoping for a quick fix.
- If you’re booking a holiday dependent on school dates, book early. Some places will take bookings two years in advance but make sure your booking is either protected or you’re allowed to cancel it.
- If you can be flexible, look at the calendar on the booking platform and find cheaper dates. These will often be mid-week or outside school holidays.
- Look at a destination close by but not exactly fitting your description. Use google maps to work out how far away it is. This is the technique that we use the most & because we nearly always drive it doesn’t impact us very much.
- Compare prices on different websites and pick the one that gives the best deal.
Consider Booking Accommodation You Wouldn’t Usually Use
- Staying in hostels can decrease the price by three quarters. You can book family rooms or just book out more beds than you need to use to secure a private room. Hostelworld and HostelBookers are both reputable sites. Youth Hostel Association UK is exceptionally good.
- Coachsurfing is great for couples and small families. You get to stay in a local’s home for a tiny percentage of what you’d usually pay and you get to learn more about the local culture.
- Global freeloaders is another site that gives you access to free accommodation.
- Hospitality club offers free accommodation and advice exchange to travellers.
- Would you consider a Farmstay? They’re often rural but much cheaper holiday accommodation. You’d need to be able to drive and have a car for most of these stays.
What About Swapping Your Home?
These sites offer you the chance to swap homes with other people which significantly reduces all costs. Some homes also offer car swapping too. You might need to pay an annual fee of up to £70 but this is a small change in comparison to forking out for accommodation.
How About Working For A Free Stay
Have you thought about exchanging work hours for free accommodation, some meals and time off to explore a new country?
- WOOFing (WorldWide Opportunities on Organic Farms).
- Natoinal Trust UK
- Oxfam UK to work at festivals including Glastonbury, Latitude, Reading, Leeds and Bestival.
- STA Travel work abroad program.
Do Something Very Different And Stay In A Monastery
Monasteries are quite traditional and sometimes, but not always, segregated by gender. If you’re not religious, the downside is sometimes a compulsory attendance at a religious service. Some of which can be up to three hours long!
Wild Camping & Bothies
In many countries, you can free camp. This means you can roam as you wish, pitch your tent wherever and stay the night. It’s on the basis that you leave no sign you were there!
Maybe you hate tents though, so why not consider a bothie? A bothie is a basic hut with beds and you must provide your own bedding. You turn up and share with others. Bothies do not only exist in the Highlands however England and Wales only have a smattering of bothies, whereas Scotland has an extensive network.
Sign Up For Membership Discounts
Many (non-hotel/booking site) memberships provide discounts on hotels and hostels worldwide. Often you simply type the membership/discount code in a coupon box when booking online. Some programs that offer discounts include:
- Hostelling International (HI) (provides discounts at HI membership hostels worldwide)
- CAA/AAA (provides members-only discounts on international hotel chains and car rentals)
- International Student Identity Card (ISIC) card (provides discounts on accommodation, transport, and attractions worldwide)
Use Coupon Codes For Further Reductions
Find a coupon for the hotel chain or booking site you’re looking for.
Book Longer Stays For Weekly & Monthly Rates
Longer term rates can reduce nightly rates significantly. Surprisingly, a 7-night stay can be cheaper than staying six nights. Both weekly and monthly rates on VRBO are quite competitive and the discount on monthly stays often amounts to more than a week.
Use Cash Back Sites
Book your holiday through one of these cashback sites and you can win back the money you spend. We have used both and won back portions of how much we’ve spent.
Booking Platforms We Use
These are the platforms that we use the most. They each have benefits and it takes time to compare the deals on them but always look for good & honest reviews and look at the booking conditions.
- Holiday Cottages
- C-Trip (China Only)
- Hotels Combined
Book Very Last-Minute Deals
It’s a big gamble booking last minute deals but it can pay off. You can still get a last-minute bargain with some of these online providers:
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