Are you wondering how you can spend less on accommodation?
I feel you, I’ve been there.
Accommodation can be one of the biggest expenses when it comes to planning a trip. The good thing is that it’s one of the easiest travel expenses to reduce. All it takes is a little creativity.
In July 2018 I visited Chengdu, China and I didn’t spend a single cent on accommodation.
There’s no magic to it and anyone who can do it. That being said, let me emphasize that I am all for saving money while enhancing my experience. I would never subscribe to this way of traveling if it wasn’t for the joy that it brings me.
How I spend less on accommodation
In this post, I am going to share with you 5 creative ways you can spend less on accommodation.
1. House Sitting
House sitting is by far my favorite way to spend less on accommodation! I signed up to Trusted House Sitters earlier this year and have been house sitting in China, South Korea, Thailand, and Denmark. House sitting is a great way for anyone who enjoys spending time with pets.
While there is a yearly membership fee, the actual house sit is always free. It’s important to note that you are not getting paid either (which is a good thing!), it’s an exchange. In exchange for looking after someone’s pet and house/apartment, you get to stay for free.
House sitting is definitely a responsibility and one that should not be underestimated. If your sole aim is to spend less on accommodation, but you don’t actually care about hanging out with pets, then house sitting is not for you.
For me, it’s all about the pets. I’ve had so much fun playing with the dogs and cats that I looked after and saying goodbye is the most difficult part about it all.
I’ve posted quite a few videos about house sitting on my YouTube channel that I highly recommend checking out of you are new to it all.
Just like housesitting, Couchsurfing isn’t really about accommodation. It’s all about connecting with others, giving and sharing. The concept of Couchsurfing is fairly simple.
How Couchsurfing works: If you’re ready to embark on a new adventure, you simply search for the city you plan to visit and browse locals with couches available.
When you find someone that you think you’d vibe with you shoot them a message, a so-called “couch surfing request”. I’ve couchsurfed in Barcelona, Florence, Budapest and most recently in Morrocco.
How to host: If you’ve got a spare room, mattress or floor space you can put it up on Couchsurfing. Over the summer of 2013, I had almost 10 people stay with me this way. Saying I had a wonderful time would be an understatement. It was magical!
While I usually don’t use it whenever I travel with my man, I almost always use it when I am traveling alone or with friends.
… aaaaand Couchsurfing is not just for travelers. Whenever I am living somewhere I use it to connect with locals. While the platform has changed a lot since I first signed up in 2012 I still really really like it. If you want to crash wherever I am living or just want to say hi, then just message me on Couchsurfing.
The best part? The site and all it entails is 100% free!
I’ve been using Airbnb for years and absolutely love it. My nightly budget is $10 per night. Whenever I travel with my man our combined budget is $20 per night.
That’s not to say that we spend $20 per night, no, quite far from it, that’s just what we plan for. We’ve found whole apartments in Eastern Europe for as little as $15 per night. That’s just $7.50 each!
I freaking love Airbnb and it’s one of my favorite ways to travel, because I get to live like a local, have access to a kitchen and plenty of space.
Airbnb all the way.
I’ll be honest here, I am not a fan of hostels. The lack of personal space makes me incredibly uncomfortable. The only time I ever stayed at a hostel as an adult was quite recently, on a trip to Vietnam. It was simply the cheapest available option and that’s why I went for it.
If a lack of personal space isn’t an issue for you and if you enjoy hanging out with other people, then hostels can be amazing! You get to meet a lot of people, there’s always someone to talk to and a lot of hostels these days come with sweet amenities.
5. Friends and family
Of course, this list wouldn’t be complete if it wasn’t for including friends and family. Staying with your loved ones is not only a great way to save on accommodation it also gives you the opportunity to spend a lot of time together. Whenever I am visiting Austria I am staying with friends (ily, you know who you are!) or family (you are the best!).
In December 2017 my man and I spent almost a month at my friend’s house. We both greatly enjoyed spending time with him and his boyfriend and I am so grateful that we got to stay with them. While I usually don’t have a huge space, friends and family are always welcome.
There’s something wonderful about having people over, cooking together, sharing stories and just hanging out. If you’ve got a friend you can stay with or know someone who knows someone, just hit them up. All you need to do is ask.
Hotels? No thank you.
I’ve only ever paid for a hotel once in my adult life and that’s because it was the cheapest and only available option.
I don’t like staying in hotels, because there’s always someone who cleans up after me (I can do the cleaning myself, thank you) and sometimes you can’t open the windows (which gives me tremendous anxiety).
A lot of the times everything is, from the interior to the food, catered to a particular type of tourist and I just feel like a tourist, and a lot less than a local.
I also love preparing my own food and at hotels, that’s usually not an option. Generally speaking, hotels and all they entail just make me cringe and I avoid them at all costs.
House sitting, Couchsurfing, Airbnb and staying with friends and family are definitely my favorite ways to spend less on accommodation while making it a better trip.
Sharing is caring
As mentioned earlier, for me it’s all about making a trip more enjoyable while spending less on accommodation. I wouldn’t be traveling this way if it wasn’t for enhancing my experience and connecting with others.
The same, of course, goes for once luggage. I’ve been traveling with just a backpack for a while now and freaking love it!
What’s your favorite way of spending less on accommodation while enhancing your experience?