While traveling the world we have had many experiences with accommodations, from high-end penthouses in Las Vegas, to bed-bug infested cots in India. We’ve learned much over the years and want to share with you the 3 best inexpensive travel accommodations you can find around the world.
Your choice in accommodation will dictate much of your trip. You can choose to spend days on a beach, resting in a resort full of comfortable and exciting amenities. Or you can meet people by doing expensive day trips. But let’s be honest, planning to travel like this is very expensive.
This is not to say that I don’t enjoy posh treatment and wouldn’t jump at the opportunity. But I personally don’t have the finances for such extravagant luxuries when I am traveling long-term. I want to share with you some of my favorite housing options while on the road and on a budget.
I won’t be suggesting that you live out of a van or carry a tent on your back. I’m not against those options but the suggestions you’ll find here are a little more comfortable and twenty-first century. By using these budget friendly accommodations you will realize just how easy and inexpensive travel can truly be.
1. Couch Surfing
When traveling, the first place I look (and the cheapest option) is CouchSurfing.com. On this site you create and build your profile so that potential hosts get an idea of who you are. Your profile contains reviews of previous hosts you’ve been with, or from “surfers” whom you have hosted.
On a hosts profile they will indicate how many guests they are able to take and what sort of accommodations they have available FOR FREE. It may be a shared bed, a couch, or a private room. It’s very easy to communicate with hosts on the website by indicating what nights you’re in need of accommodation. The host will get back to you shortly with a response.
Those who use CouchSurfing.com consider themselves a community. It is commonly expected that some of your time will be spent with your host by touring the city, eating together, or having a coffee. I honestly can’t think of a better way to spend time in a city than with a local tour guide and friend. This type of accommodation is not to be treated as a hotel but a way to build relationships and friendships around the world. CouchSurfing.com has made our trip incredible thus far!
In Iceland we were unable to find available hosts. But we were invited to dinner by a couple from couch surfing. We organized a two day road trip with a french couple in the south of Iceland, and on our last day we road tripped around The Golden Circle with a girl from Ireland, a girl from Taiwan, and a guy visiting from the Netherlands. By making connections through this site, it has made our experience there unforgettable and we have built friendships along the way.
In Madrid, Spain we were hosted by a couple for almost a week! Our time in this city was incredible because of them. We were instant friends and truly enjoyed each others company. They made the effort to pick us up from the airport then spent the evening showing us around the city of Madrid sharing tapas, history, and laughs. They welcomed us into their home and gave us a comfortable place to stay. We were invited out with them and their friend for dinner and drinks on our last night and enjoyed breakfasts together in the morning. I would not have had our visit in Madrid any other way.
Thanks to this site, and the people on it, we have made life long friends and explored the history and culture and some amazing places along the way.
2. Air BNB
My second favorite inexpensive accommodation is just as good as the first but does require some money. And you are, again, required to fill out a profile for this site. I love using AIRBNB.COM though because of the huge variety of options.
Through Air BNB you can rent out a private room in a home. If you have a lager budget or are traveling in a large group, you can rent out a whole house or apartment. When the rental amount is split amongst you and your travel buddies it can be quite inexpensive.
Each BNB is different though so be sure to read all the reviews and lists of amenities. What is offered at one place may not be offered at another; such as internet access, breakfast, private key. Everything included will be clearly indicated under the description.
I have found that many times when I was looking at renting individual beds in a hostel it ends up costing more than renting a room through air BNB. Especially when traveling with two or more persons.
Unlike Couch Surfing, spending time with your host is not encouraged. Its more of a hotel/rental style. Although there will be times where you are able to get to know your host, it is much less likely they will commit to showing you around or going out to eat. For some travelers this may be the most comfortable option.
The French couple I mentioned earlier opted to stay at an Air BNB in Iceland. On New Years Eve their Air BNB host decided to cook a traditional lamb dinner for the three couples who were renting out rooms in his apartment and invited us to tag along. This was one of my favorite evenings in Iceland. Great food, interesting conversation, and new friends from around the world.
Josh and I most recently stayed at an Air BNB in Granada, Spain. It cost $53 USD for two nights (with breakfast and internet included) smack dab in the middle of the city. This meant we saved on travel costs into the city by conveniently walking everywhere from our central location.
Our room was in a newly renovated Spanish apartment that rented out 3 of it’s 4 bedrooms through Air BNB. Our host would ask what time we’d like breakfast and have it ready for us the next day. She also graciously gave us a key to lock our room and one to access the apartment so we could come and go as we pleased.
My last option is not for everyone. Most of the time you will be able to find a place you love through the first two options. But if you are unable to find something available or within your budget Hostels will be your best option.
When booking my ticket to Iceland I had no idea it was so popular to travel there for New Years. Unaware, I waited much too long to book accommodation and the only thing I could find within my price range were two bunk beds in a sixteen person dorm. This was not ideal. But it was a warm place to lay my head for seven nights, and try to sleep.
I’m not selling this well, but some hostels do have the options of single rooms or even four or six person dorms. All of which would have been better options. The way I look at it though, why travel at all if you don’t ever put yourself in a position for a good story?
I digress. In hostels you have many opportunities to meet great people from around the world and share costs, stories, and maybe even have a contact somewhere you are headed next. I do suggest that you always look at reviews ahead of time for a hostel you may be staying in and always know whether or not bedding is included. Not a problem if you are carrying a sleeping bag like us, but we have yet to need it. (I could have packed more cloths!)
I can guarantee that these are the cheapest, most comfortable, and best options available when finding accommodation.
Traveling can be fun, easy, affordable, and is much more possible than commonly thought. Start planning a trip across the world or a town close by. Take a weekend, a month, a year, and explore. Make friends, discover new areas, do things you never thought possible without breaking the bank. It’s possible and anyone can do it, even you.