Out of all travel expenses, accommodation and transportation are the number one deal breakers. You might be itching to travel, but think you can’t because of budget constraints. However, with a bit of imagination and a bit of research, there are great alternatives to hopping from one hotel to another. Not only will you save a load of money on your next travel trip (especially if you use a budget app too), but you will also gain unique experiences that otherwise would have remained out of your reach.
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One of the cheapest forms of accommodation is to stay in someone's house. Couchsurfing is a sociable and cheap way to travel. You get to meet the locals, make some great friends in a new city and learn about different cultures and lifestyles, all this while getting free accommodation. Some people offer just a couch, others a spear room or just a place in the backyard where to put your tent. If you’re more adventurous and not picky about where you rest your head, than Couchsurfing can be a fun and inexpensive way to see the world. It's unlikely you'll get to spend 24/7 with your hosts, but you do get to hang out with them, learn new recipes and discover places you'd have never found otherwise. Many hosts are people who love where they live and do this just to meet new people and to have fun.
Popular with backpackers and college students, hostels provide budget-oriented accommodation where guests can rent a bed in a mixed gender or single-sex dormitory and shared bathroom facilities, although private rooms may also be available if you are willing to pay more. Hostels are a particularly appealing option for both solo travelers and groups as they are a fantastic way to meet fellow adventurers, socialize and get tips. Hostels often have a TV lounge, game rooms, cafes, bars or a kitchen for guests' use. The staff is often young with an interest in travel so can assist you with great tips and advice.
This is yet another free accommodation option. While a home exchange is not for everyone, it is probably one of the best budget travel options for families and people who own a second home and who are looking to live cheaply in another country or state for an agreed period of time. It’s just like the name suggests, you stay in their house whilst they stay in yours. The accommodation options vary from town apartments, boats and chalets to luxury villas with ocean side views. Home exchanging can save you a lot of money, while it makes it more affordable for you to go visit places otherwise you wouldn't even dream about and have all the fun you want while there.
Monasteries & Convents
Since the time of Saint Benedict, monks and nuns have practiced hospitality. If you don't mind spartan style rooms and crucifixes over your bed, convents and monasteries can be yet another option to spend as little as possible on your accommodation when traveling. However, not all convents and monasteries offer accommodations, so it's better to check out with them before you go. Many monasteries have really beautiful courtyards, quiet and private, where you can spend some time alone or in the company of other travelers. Meals may or may not be included and bathrooms can be private or shared, the location might not be as central as you would expect, but sleeping on holy ground can definitely be a peaceful experience.
Self-catering apartments or vacation rentals come in handy if you don’t want to offer up your home to a stranger but want to stay in someone else’s. While holiday rentals are cheaper than a hotel room, allow you to have more space and a kitchen, depending on your destination, they can be the less affordable of the accommodation options listed here. Vacation rentals are suitable for families and people who want to have a home feeling even while on vacation. The minimum renting period is usually one week, but make sure you understand the deposit terms, cleaning responsibilities, additional fees, expectations and what is included.
What's you budget accommodation of choice?
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