One of the things I hear most about traveling often is “How do you afford it?” Everyone seems to have this preconceived notion that all of the aspects are expensive. We’ve already told you about how we find super cheap flights, but what we haven’t talked about is where we stay. You know some times we are really lucky and we have a friend in another country so we have a bed to sleep in but most of the time that’s not the case. There’s a number of different ways you can stay in another country for cheap, you don’t have to book an overly expensive tiny hotel room with the narrowest elevator built for one. And honestly there’s really such a variety of places to stay when you throw hotels out the window. It all depends on the type of experience you want to have, how flexible you are, and how long you plan to be traveling.
Some thing we personally haven’t tried yet but want to do is CouchSurfing. Couchsurfing helps you find other like-minded travelers and locals who offer up their homes for you to crash in with them. We’ve heard nothing but the best from all of our friends who have used it. One of them even ended up with a free trip to a concert, and a freakin’ Gala. The best thing about couchsurfing is, it’s free! Anyone looking to save money and has an adventurous spirit will love it. You get to know the area from someone who lives there. I don’t think there’s anything better. A lot of the hosts are verified and reviewed by fellow travelers so you can feel comfortable knowing you aren’t just ended up at some psychopaths house. If you aren’t ready to take this kind of leap the website also allows you to search for people in the area who want to meet up and hang out! When you’re a solo traveler this really comes in handy because no one wants to be on their own all the time.
Another way to save money on a place to stay is registering for workaway.info. On their website you’ll find people looking for volunteers in exchange for room and board. The volunteer work completely ranges from being an au pair to gardening, to construction. There’s plenty of things to choose from and really something anyone can do. What’s really cool about workaway is you can stay on these properties for months at a time. It’s not always ideal for someone who is traveling for just a few weeks but if you are traveling long-term its great. Some of these even pay you to be there along with room and board, and if you’re super lucky you could find someone willing to pay for your flight in exchange for 2 months of work! It’s not limited to people traveling solo either – so friends and couples traveling together long term this is a great option!
The other two options for free places to stay while traveling are to house sit or pet sit! Trusted Housesitters helps you find people to match with to house and pet sit for them in other countries while they themselves travel. Again you’ve got to be a bit more flexible in your travels for this but if you can be it works out great. HouseSwap is another site where you can literally swap places with another traveler.
For us, most commonly we book hostels or apartments on Airbnb. We haven’t had a lot of flexibility on our travel so we have a lot more limited time away. But honesty, I love Airbnb, it’s my go-to. I love having more space than a hotel room, I love not being in a room full of strangers in a hostel because boy have we had our share of weirdos in hostels. We’ve also made great friends there but there is just something about having your own home in a foreign city that feels awesome. I also really enjoy having full use of a kitchen – it helps save money being able to make coffee at the apartment or you know bring leftovers back to a fridge or make your own breakfast every day instead of buying it. If you haven’t used Airbnb before you should try it out! If you’re not sure here’s a link to $40 Travel Credit for trying them for the first time!
We also really love to use booking.com for finding hostels, apartments, or even not so great hotels. There’s a few reasons why I will usually end up using booking.com over other sites. 1) I get money back. You know why I get money back? Because I am signed up for Ebates. If you don’t know about Ebates, you should. You sign up, you go shopping, you get money back. There’s a huge list of qualified vendors and Booking.com is one of them. But it’s for everything not just booking.com, I’m talking groupon, walmart, department stores, beauty stores, like seriously SO many places. I haven’t even had my membership a year and I’ve already made almost $100 back and really I have barely gone shopping this year. Here’s a link to sign up and get $10! Do it! It’s free! You’re already spending your money and getting nothing back! Okay back to why I love booking.com – 2) the properties will let you pay on site, and 3) I have a Genius account because I book with them so frequently and get 10% off and other perks like late check out or early check in. That comes free too. You just have to book with them often. 4) Referral Program – when you get your friends to sign up, you get $25 too! Here’s a link to sign up with booking.com and get $25 off! I booked the place I loved so much in Fes, Riad Dar Tafilalet here. There’s a huge selection to choose from too.
When we stay in hostels, we generally book either directly at the hostel or through hostelworld.com. You can find super cheap deals on here in shared rooms. There’s a lot to pick from and even if you want to spend a little extra to stay in a private room or a smaller shared room you have the option. They have tons of reviews which we have learned the importance of reading them before booking after a few misses. A tip: when booking in a new city you’ll want to find something as centrally located as possible to cut down on transportation costs while you’re staying there. Hostelworld even lets you know how far out from the city center you would be staying and shows you exact locations on a map.
Try some of our methods to finding a cheap place to stay on your next trip! Let us know how much you saved! You don’t have to spend hundreds of dollars on places to stay, and now you know how to do it for next to nothing, or even in fact, nothing at all. Still in planning mode and trying to figure out how to make some extra cash before you go? Read about our side hustle and start making more money asap!