How to Find and Book the Best & Cheapest Accommodation for your Travels

How to Find and Book the Best & Cheapest Accommodation for your Travels - #travel #traveling #budgettravel #traveldestinations #travelblogger #travelblog #traveltips #travelplanning #backpacking #backpackers #globetrotter #cheapflights #worldtravel #gapyear #howtotravel #travelguide

As I keep saying all the time, traveling is not as expensive as people think. Even though accommodation is usually the most expensive chunk of money you will spend out of your daily budget, it will turn out as expensive as you want it to be. There are so many options out there nowadays that you can easily sleep under 30$ a day very comfortably. I’ve been in these types of accommodation non-stop for over 10 years now, which helped me visit  95% of the world’s countries, so I know what I’m talking about. In this article, I rounded up all the tips and tricks out there for you to see the options available and understand you can use them too! I also share valuable tips on how to save money on the biggest websites and how to use them.

Hotel Rooms

  • Cost: 20 to 50 USD
  • Quality / Price Factor: 4/5
  • Privacy factor:4/5
  • Adventure factor: 2/5
  • Security factor: 4/5
  • Ease of Use Factor: 5/5
  • My Overall Usage: 30%

This is the most common form of accommodation available and the easiest to make bookings since no direct contact is done with the host. I book literally 100% of my hotels with booking.com since I trust and understand very well their ranking system. I cover this in details in another article, but in a nutshell, I sort accommodation by Ranking and quantity of reviews. Price comes second, where I choose hotels under 40$ per night. The reason why I believe ranking to be the most important factor is that it proves to me the owner takes care or its clients and my overall appreciation will have greater chances of being positive. I also know that in any event, something goes wrong, booking.com is there to back me up offering insurance, and I can always leave a Positive or Negative review in any event. My other important criterion is to choose something central that is walking distance, as well as close to my arrival points such as train or bus stations. With online bookings, people often find cheaper accommodation in suburbs but the time and money lost on transport are not worth it in my opinion.

The inconvenience with hotels is that it can be expensive and bookings need to be done way beforehand as it can fill up very quickly leaving only the bad options. I usually book 1 to 2 weeks in advance for best options.

Killer tips: 
  • Book hotels during the Week for cheaper prices, weekends having the worst options
  • Try to reach “genius status” on booking.com for major discounts and exclusive deals. You only need to book 3 times as business (just select the business option when reviewing the property)
  • Try booking guesthouses on booking.com for good savings and a nice local experience.
  • Booking 2 weeks in advance is good practice.
Pin it for later
Great pin: How to Find and Book the Best & Cheapest Accommodation for your Travels - #travel #traveling #budgettravel #traveldestinations #travelblogger #travelblog #traveltips #travelplanning #backpacking #backpackers #globetrotter #cheapflights #worldtravel #gapyear #howtotravel #travelguide

Private Apartments

  • Cost: 30 to 50 USD
  • Quality / Price Factor: 3/5
  • Privacy factor:5/5
  • Adventure factor: 3/5
  • Security factor: 5/5
  • Ease of Use Factor: 3/5
  • My Overall Usage: 25%

This has been an increasingly important type of accommodation in my travels in the past 6 to 7 years with the growth of airbnb.com. I always used apartment rentals through the years but using local means in every country and in local language would make it extremely difficult and unreliable to put a hand on short-term full apartment rentals. We often had to visit several ones, get the terms and conditions clear, usually pay a month or two up front and sign papers even sometimes at a notary! Now with Airbnb, having the security and insurance of the whole platform makes it an invaluable tool and now consists of about 25% of my accommodation rentals, even more sometimes. I like the freedom to have the whole place for myself, the privacy of having a local home and also makes me feel like a local. The facilities are also a major factor of comfort as having a kitchen helps a lot in eating healthy and keeping away from restaurants a bit, also saving on the process. Its also very secure and quality/price can be great! Prices can get a little expensive sometimes since you pay for the whole place, but the quality-price factor for me beats all the other options.

Killer tips: 
  • Try booking for a week or a month to get special discounts on airbnb
  • Try contacting the owner and ask if everything is in order in the apartment, like no construction going around and a fast wifi connection. It will give you leverage if anything goes wrong later.
  • Exclusive for my readers: Get a 20$ off on airbnb on your first stay with my coupon.
  • Try booking.com for apartments as they have recently added this options to compete with airbnb.

Guesthouses & Rooms in Shared Apartments

  • Cost: 10 to 25 USD
  • Quality / Price Factor: 4/5
  • Privacy factor:3/5
  • Adventure factor: 4/5
  • Security factor: 3/5
  • Ease of Use Factor: 3/5
  • My Overall Usage: 15%

Sharing a room in somebody else’s apartment can sound weird for some. It has certainly grown in popularity with airbnb in recent years, but the practice has been along for quite some time. Guesthouses and Bed and Breakfast have been around for quite some time and the only difference with shared apartments is that it might now be organized as well, being a typical home. I like to do shared apartments because of the adventure factor of meeting local people and living in somebody’s home. It can create invaluable opportunities to meet locals and I’ve been invited by hosts to join them to parties and local events in the past. The Quality price factor is also great and lets me save on food as I have access to a kitchen and can cook my own food.

Killer tips: 
  • Try to book for a week for a weekly discount
  • Pick a place where ratings are high on airbnb to make sure it is legit
  • Choose a place where you have access to the kitchen
  • Exclusive for my readers: Get a 20$ off on airbnb on your first stay with my coupon.
  • Try booking.com for apartments as they have recently added this options to compete with airbnb.

Hostels and shared rooms

  • Cost: 15 to 30 USD
  • Quality / Price Factor: 1/5
  • Privacy factor: 2/5
  • Adventure factor: 4/5
  • Security factor: 2/5
  • Ease of Use Factor: 4/5
  • My Overall Usage: 10%

Hostels have quickly risen to fame in the later 90s to the beginning of 2000s. Their success is in part attributed to Lonely planet guides which were their primary source of marketing 20 years ago, then once websites like hostelworld.com arrived, they starting to pop up everywhere. Cheap airlines also helped students and younger generations to reach cities around Europe and America and then there seemed to be a new hostel appearing every month in big cities!

I estimate that I slept in over 1000 hostels in my life. This has been a big factor in my ability to travel on the cheap to all the countries of the world. Sleeping in a bunk bed with other 10 people in the same room is not always easy though and definitely not for everybody. Past 30 years old, I find it much harder now to select this type of accommodation but the social factor of meeting important people is so important that I still stay in hostels around 10% of the time.

I have rated the quality price of hostels at 1/5, because I really believe that the golden ages of hostels are over with all the decent choices we get on Airbnb and booking.com these days. Hostels are definitely overpriced nowadays. There is no way a bed in a room shared between 10 people should cost more than 10 to 15$ when you can get a private room in a guesthouse for about the same price! Yet most hostels in Europe will start at 20$ up to 30$! I guess that a big majority of hostels will die if they don’t adjust quickly to the market.

Killer tips: 
  • Only choose the top 3 most visited and rated hostels in a city. Sort them by Rating on hostelworld.com or booking.com
  • Book a single room in a hostel to enjoy the social life without cramping in a dorm room
  • Search using hostelworld only for best reviews and ratings but book it at booking.com to pay 0$ in booking fee (hostelworld will charge up to 10%…)

Community Hosting

  • Cost: 0$
  • Quality / Price Factor: 5/5
  • Privacy factor: 2/5
  • Adventure factor: 5/5
  • Security factor: 2/5
  • Ease of Use Factor: 2/5
  • My Overall Usage: 15%

Community hosting is about reaching out to locals for a space on their couch, for free. Security is built on trust by a review system, and to be honest, it works great! There are a couple sites out there but the star here is about Couchsurfing.org! And I must say, I LOVE Couchsurfing! I really owe them a lot as this website has created invaluable opportunities in the last 10 years I have used it, stories that I wouldn’t have lived otherwise. Overall the community website, Couchsurfing is king as it holds the biggest community, with over 5 million registered users. The other is Bewelcomed.com but in my experience, it has never picked up… The adventure factor is huge because you get to meet locals who expect you to interact with them, and you pretty much have to follow along! This is the best part, as many times I ended up in plans that can only be imagined in movie scenes! Weddings (in Congo and Iran) to hikes, to parties, to interesting conversations and meeting people, possibilities are endless. I actually push myself to do it more, to spice up my travels and life stories! To keep the community active, please don’t consider this option just to save up money and sleep free if you don’t intend to interact and share with the host. It’s primarily a cultural exchange.

Killer tips: 
  • Choose hosts that have at least 10 reviews
  • Read carefully their profile to see what a host expects from you. Also, read the reviews to see what others have to say
  • Search for accommodation around the center if you can
  • Always bring a gift to your host, and always interact with them!

Overnight Transport

  • Cost: Ticket Cost
  • Quality / Price Factor: 2/5
  • Privacy factor: 1/5
  • Adventure factor: 2/5
  • Security factor: 3/5
  • Ease of Use Factor: 3/5
  • My Overall Usage: 2%

I had to include this one because I have used it a lot when I started traveling on the cheap. Transport can turn out expensive in some countries, and spending time on long train or bus rides over 8 hours will make you lose a whole day. So it makes sense to spend the time sleeping, and saving on the night, only to wake up the next day in your destination in the morning ready to roll. It will make you save a lot of money and some transport are actually very comfortable. Sleeper trains in Europe are great and I absolutely love them! Buses that have inclining seats are also a good option. You might sleep a little bad and be a bit tired the next day but once in a while its ok, your next night will be even better.

Killer tips: 
  • Book a slightly higher category to have good buses with sleeper inclining seats.
  • Chose transport leaving around 10pm and arriving after 8am for ease of connecting transport

Sleeping in airports

  • Cost: 0$
  • Quality / Price Factor: 2/5
  • Privacy factor : 1/5
  • Adventure factor: 2/5
  • Security factor: 2/5
  • Ease of Use Factor: 2/5
  • My Overall Usage: 2%

Sleeping in airports is common nowadays with all the cheaper flights having bad schedules and weird connection. I cover this in details in my article 7 tricks I used to Flight Cheaply to 95% of the world. So you should definitely check out. But in general, finding overnight connections will make you save a lot of money on cheaper flights and sleeping in airports is actually much more common than some people think. Many times, its really not worth getting out of the airport, getting ripped off by airport ground transport (like taxis and airport taxes) and reach a hotel to sleep 5 hours only to come back and go through all security, customs and check in measures. Sleeping on a bench is pretty common and most airports are used to the practice. There is even a whole website dedicated to rating airports for sleep called sleepinginairports.net. Definitely check it out before you reach the airport you intend to sleep.

My other trick is to use airport lounges to spend some time, and I usually select a lounge that has showers. That can be great between 2 long flights to have a refreshing shower and they provide toiletries for you, not having to carry your own.

Killer tips: 
  • Put your earphones and set an alarm 45 minutes before departure time, to be sure not to miss it.
  • Tie up your backpack to yourself
  • Select a seat in a gate that has no flights until your flight not to be woken up
  • Use Airport Lounges for a shower and a decent meal

Camping

  • Cost: 0 to 10$
  • Quality / Price Factor: 3/5
  • Privacy factor : 2/5
  • Adventure factor: 4/5
  • Security factor: 2/5
  • Ease of Use Factor: 3/5
  • My Overall Usage: 1%

I’ve camped a good share of the nights I spent in Africa, as I have done twice overland trucks form months. I am not a big fan of camping around the rest of the world because I don’t have the setup for it, I don’t carry a tent and sleeping bag. But I’ve seen people do it and they can really get to travel on the cheap. So if budget is on the cheap side, you could consider camping on the way.

Killer tips: 
  • Ask homeowners for permission to camp on their property
  • Chose a place with a water source nearby

Which are the best booking websites

there are tons of booking websites around and I have pretty much tried them all through the years. I constantly try to see how I can improve my research abilities and still, to this day, it hasn’t changed much in the past few years… The best accommodation can be summarized between 3 websites. booking.com for hotels and guesthouses, airbnb.com for apartment and shared rooms, and hostelworld.com for hostels. I will cover them in a little more details here.

Booking.com

The king of all booking websites, with the biggest inventory. They have revolutionized online bookings by having a great rating system with millions of reviews, as well as a transparent booking system, no gimmicks, and great customer service. They keep improving their platform and map search has got to a level that mobile bookings are the easiest around, not having to always take the laptop out.

Airbnb.com

My love for Airbnb is priceless. Even with their high fees of about 5 to 10% on each night, it has saved me so much trouble in finding the right apartments and insurance on having a good stay that I am glad to pay it! I am probably one of their best clients with over 1000 booked nights with them, as they are my go-to apartment source. I’ve tried other websites but none get even close to airbnb… Their database makes them the only options in 80% of the countries in the world for apartment rentals. booking.com is their closest rival in this category as they have recently added the options of shared guesthouses and full apartments, but they still have a long way to go.

Hostelworld.com

I’ve used them extensively over the years. They had the widest database of hostels around, even though their glory days are already gone. Their review section is still valuable though, so I find myself going back to them once in a while to compare and find the top rated hostel and compare to each other. So it is still to consider.

Pin to Pinterest

Enjoyed this guide? Help others find it too! Share the following Pinterest pin to your Pinterest account, by simply clicking on the top left corner. And Remember: Sharing is Caring 😉
Awesome pin! How to Find and Book the Best & Cheapest Accommodation for your Travels - #travel #traveling #budgettravel #traveldestinations #travelblogger #travelblog #traveltips #travelplanning #backpacking #backpackers #globetrotter #cheapflights #worldtravel #gapyear #howtotravel #travelguide
Thanks for the tips - How to Find and Book the Best & Cheapest Accommodation for your Travels - #travel #traveling #budgettravel #traveldestinations #travelblogger #travelblog #traveltips #travelplanning #backpacking #backpackers #globetrotter #cheapflights #worldtravel #gapyear #howtotravel #travelguide

Tips From the PROS: Let's Start Booking Your Trip NOW:

Book your Accomodation
I book all my rooms on Booking.com for the last 10+ years because I trust they have the best deals! You should too. Search for your Accommodation Here

Book your Flight
Get yours at kayak.com, still my Favorite booking plateform. I also recommend skyscanner or momondo.com.

Don't Forget Insurance!
Most of us have it! I Never leave without one and had to use it several times in case of illeness, injury or even theft of my gear. I've used World Nomads for many years and no doubt the #1 quality/price insurance out there. You should too! Get Yours Here Now.

Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , .

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *