The cost of travel lodging also depends on how long you plan to stay in the city, are you traveling alone or with a group of friends and which places of interest or things you want to do or see.
If I am traveling with friends, that means I will not be staying in the city for too long, if so I will go for hostels or apartments near the city, but if I am traveling alone then I will prefer to spend more days staying and interacting with the locals and might stay further away from the city.
This blog post shares those websites I used to search for budget accommodation during my years of travel. Most of the time I will plan my trips to cities depending on what I can find or where is cheaper to travel.
For example I might travel to a non-touristic town for a few weeks to be a helper in exchange for food and accommodation. This is something very interesting for me, and it keeps me traveling around the world to experience things other travelers might not be able to experience.
I used this to book for most of my travel lodgings in Australia, New Zealand and parts of Asia whenever I need to stay in a budget hostel and it always turns out well.
Hostel World has a wide network of hostels under its umbrella, you can search and sort accommodation by price and then what I do is, pick the ones that are within my budget, compare the reviews, ratings and the location from my drop off point in the city.
You can view the price of the hostel in different currencies and after confirmation you need to pay a deposit of 12-20% in USD, EUR or GBP only.
They also have videos and PDF of travel information for various countries that you can read up before setting off.
While I am working in hostels all over the world, I noticed that booking.com was a common platform used by many travelers and I do see a lot of reservations made from this website.
So I decided to give it a try during my long term travel in Europe to search for budget accommodation and it is now my favourite, as you do not need to pay a deposit when you make a reservation for most travel lodging listed on the website.
The listing covers most travel lodging including hotels, hostels and even smaller guesthouses in cities that you are traveling to and to me, it is by far the most comprehensive budget accommodation booking site.
Most of the time they do have promotions going on so prices can be lower then others.
Try booking your next trip here.
During my crisis travel around Israel and Egypt, I gave this website a try as prices shown for the same hostel was around 10-15% lower.
Hostel Booker claims that they do not take commission for the booking the travel lodge therefore prices are lower than those shown on other travel lodging booking websites, but you will still need to pay a deposit after confirmation.
Unfortunately my experience was, I was charged the full price in a hostel in Egypt even though I had paid the deposit. The hostel claimed that hostel booker do not pay them the deposit, not sure where went wrong, the hostel or the website.
I never had the chance to find out the answer, as I never had to use it again.
The first travel lodging booking website I used to search for budget accommodation during my travels in Asia, it provides a wide range of hostels, guesthouse and hotels too.
Most of the time hostels listed on Agoda runs promotion frequently and it is also a preferred choice when you travel in Asia.
They do give out reward points after you complete a review, you can then use these points to claim for free stays, but the accumulated points are valid for a year only.
It also have last minute deals on travel lodging up to 50% discount!
It is a rising trend for travelers to stay in private houses or apartments, especially popular among solo female travelers and group travelers or people looking for short term apartments.
You can bargain for discounts depending on the length of your stay.
Prices are usually higher than other budget accommodation like hostels but in return for higher security and privacy which suits most solo female travelers.
Rentals are mostly based on per room or per apartment rather than per head count, so it will be cheaper than hostels if 2-3 or more friends or couples that are traveling together as they can share the travel lodging's cost.
The fastest way to get to know a city and its culture is to stay with a local. Interaction about travels or common interest, cook a meal and exchange cultures are good ways to spend a day or night with your host.
Sometimes when host are not busy, they might offer to bring you for a free tour in the town or places nearby.
This kind of travel lodging involves no money but do not take it for granted as a form of free budget accommodation.
You need to respect the community's spirit of culture sharing, not just come, stay and then sweep your ass and go. Click To Tweet
If you like this kind of travel lifestyle, do bring a lot of small gifts during your travel for your host or share something that you are good in with them in return for their goodwill accommodation.
For me I will mostly play my ukulele and sing for them if I can.
PS: Always read the reference of previous couch surfers that stayed with the host especially if you are a solo female traveler. You know what I mean, safety is always a priority above money.
I am a city boy and never in my life will I have the chance to work in the fields, so while I was in Japan, I decided to join WwoofingJapan.com to experience some kind of farming lifestyle.
My first host is definitely the best host in the world, the most memorable moment is not working in the fields but eating all the delicious food provided wahahaha.
Wwoofing means World Wide Opportunity on Organic Farms and each country operates separately, meaning you have to sign up and pay a fee each time for different countries.
Recommended if you are planning to do long term traveling in a particular country like what I did in Japan for around 6 months.
If I use this website it means that I am trying to search for a longer stay in a certain country or city.
Workaway.info and other similar websites like Helpx.net will help travelers link up with host that are providing accommodation and sometimes food exchange for a few hours of work at their premises, it can be farms, schools, hostels or private apartment.
There is a sign up fee of $30EUR for a 2 years membership. This website helped me a lot during my long term travel in Europe.
I did this whenever I need to travel from one destination to another and the journey takes more than 5 or 6 hours, or when the night tickets are much more cheaper than the day tickets.
I am pretty much skillful sleeping on buses, trains, planes and even ships.
If you are on overnight buses or trains, make sure that you set your alarm to 30 minutes before your destination or the stops that you need to change for another connection bus or train.
This method saves you a day of travel lodging as it combines the transportation and budget accommodation for the day, a nice 2 for 1 deal.
There are only a few situations that will lead you to sleeping in an airport, for example booking the cheapest flight that flies super early in the morning or arriving super late at night or waiting for long hours transit.
If you are a backpacker then this kind of travel lodging will not be new to you. I had personally done this more than 20 times.
If you are lucky, you will be able to find an empty bench or a flat surface that you can sleep on, but usually you will not, as there are much more people sleeping in the airport than you thought.
Well, just find a corner and rest on the floor, usually I will sleep on the bag that contains my laptop and money, or you can just put them on deposit which incurred some cost but you know it will be safe and sound.
Airports are pretty safe as there are cameras and security guards around, most of the time you will also be able to connect to the airport WIFI. You can visit this website if it is your first time trying out.
Some airports might have overnight conditions so make sure to read up before planning a night there.
Apart from the above 10 ways that I use to search for budget accommodation, here are a few more that are available but I have not use them before.
Prefer hotel stay as your travel lodging, try out this hotel booking website as it has a loyalty program that gives you a free night after 10 bookings, but the value of the free night cannot be higher than the average values of the 10 nights.
Loyalty points do expire, so make sure you use them before that.
You will not be able to find some small local hotels, guesthouse or family run hostels listed on the above mentioned booking websites but you can find them in TripAdvisor.
As everyone can leave a review, even those that had never stayed in the property, therefore reviews are much less accurate and fraud prone.
Finding some grounds and pitch a tent is something that I will not do but this is fairly popular among bikers and hitchhikers when they are unable to continue their journey for the day due to various reasons.
It is also an option if you like getting close to nature.
It is free if you camp in the forest but you do need to pay if you camp on public campsites or hostels with camping grounds, do ask the owner or guards before you camp on private properties.
Easier to find one during the Summer or Winter holidays as the whole family goes for holiday but they couldn't bring their pets, plants and houses along, so they need someone who can help take good care of them.
Usually the properties are further away from cities and you need to drive to get to places, so a driving license will be helpful.
There are a few house sitting websites around but you can also find some on Gumtree or Craigslist in various countries.
It is never easy to keep traveling, if you ever wonder where long term travelers get the money to travel, I can only say small saving helps you go a longer way.
Hopefully this guide will be helpful to you in the future when you need to search for travel lodging or budget accommodation. You can share your methods too in the comments below.
Disclosure: Some of the links in this post are “affiliate links.” This means if you click on the link and purchase the item, I will receive a small amount of affiliate commission. Regardless, I only recommend products or services I use personally and believe will add value to you as my readers.