Find Cheap Accommodation
Do you want to find cheap accommodation when travelling?
Is travelling too expensive? Do you need to be uber rich to find good travel accommodation?
Accommodation can definitely be the biggest expense when travelling. Since you have to sleep, you cannot avoid having to spend money on travel accommodation.
The solution? Be smart. Be clever. Find out how to find cheap accommodation to help you keep on travelling cheaply.
Whether you want to stay in a castle, live cheap in a hostel, relax in a holiday villa or find a cheap hotel – you will find the best ways to save money on travel. We’ve found the best ways to save money and find cheap holiday accommodation.
1. Hostels – cheap as chips
Do you want to stay in your room for your whole trip? Chances are, you’re not! You want to explore and see the world.
But we realise that most travellers and people on holiday want a bit more than a bed.
If, however, you do just want to find somewhere to sleep, staying in a hostel is a good choice as it will save you a tonne of money.
Rooms can be booked from as little as £3 to £5 a night (and anything up to £20 a night for the posh options). Rooms are more dormitory style, mostly bunk beds – like at a school summer camp.
“Hostels are for hippies and are dirty”
Many modern hostels offer small pod-like rooms or even your own room, with a separate key…WOW that is fancy! – Perfect for travelling families.
Top Tip – make sure there are locker facilities in your hostel, you can’t be too trusting.
Things to look out for:
- Use companies such as hostel bookers.com and hostelworld.com
- Be considerate of others, don’t take too long in the shower and clean up
- Keep belongings with you or locked away safely
- Stay clothed – YES – people can see you
The advantages of staying in a hostel:
- You’ll always meet new and interesting people
- It’s exciting
- Hostels are cheap
- You will focus on exploring more
You’ll never be lost for words at a hostel. If you’ve ever tried to strike a conversation at The Ritz, you’ll know what I mean (I haven’t personally, but I’m guessing you understand that analogy).
SO if you are all for adventure or just want to try something new and different, stay in a hostel.
If saving money for travel is the most important thing, then stay in a hostel.
2. Research – take your time
We can’t stress this enough.
RESEARCH RESEARCH RESEARCH!
Rome wasn’t built in a day and neither will your trip or holiday be.
What we mean is that it takes a bit of effort and some comparing.
Ask yourself this question when you’ve spent over the odds for your accommodation –
“Did I really need to watch TV that night?” or “Was browsing instagram for 4 hours a night that week really worth it?”
So what ever holiday or trip you want to take, whether it’s a hostel, hotel, villa, camping, RESEARCH to find the best price for accommodation within your desired budget.
Top Tip – avoid spending too much time on travel forums and threads. Your taste is different.
Our number one point of call is Tripadvisor (more about that later). You will find almost every destination in the world and be able to search for cheap accommodation.
However, be aware…
– DON’T PUT ALL OF YOUR TRUST IN THE STAR RATINGS.
Most importantly – you want to find the best accommodation within your budget.
Research is key to find cheap accommodation.
3. Book Early – early bird catches the worm
Travel companies used to be hung on selling super cheap holidays last minute.
You will get a cheap travel deal last minute as hotels and accommodation providers sell off their remaining rooms – but it won’t be the cheapest deal.
Top Tip – the rule goes something like this – BOOK NOW!! It’s cheaper than tomorrow.
If you travel at peak times, holidays or summer, it’s worth looking far in to the next year to book cheap travel accommodation.
4. Location Location Location – stay outside of the box
A few years back, we visited Kefalonia. Villa, private pool, the works. Best yet, we were able to find a very cheap deal on accommodation.
There was a problem –
We had to drive 5 miles to buy a pint of milk.
Whilst you will find cheap deals on accommodation outside of the main tourist areas, it’s wise to factor factor in –
“Will I need a car?”
Basically, is saving £10 a night on accommodation really worth it when you will have to spend £200 on a vehicle to get around, £50 on fuel etc.
No, its not.
Top Tip – check location on Google maps. Use directions or street view to see how far places are.
How to save money on holiday transport:
- Find out local public transport information
- Work out the cost difference between a car and public transport
- Hire a bicycle
- Walk – use what God gave you
We Recently stayed in Bologna, just on the outside of the main town. We found that the walk in to the centre was worth staying out of the main tourist areas.
Taking in the aroma’s, the smell of coffee, the bakeries opening their doors – ah, take me back…(sorry, we began to daydream for a moment then).
So, rule of thumb, work out the difference in costs when staying outside of the busy areas – hiring a car and walking or using public transport when travelling.
5. Guesthouses – or b&b if you’re from the UK
Now if you are from the UK, you will be more familiar with these, they’re everywhere.
What are Guesthouses?
Guesthouses are a middle ground between a hostel and a hotel and a cozy way to find cheap accommodation.
What are guesthouses like?
- Rooms are simple, T.V (maybe), fridge, kettle.
- Rooms are comfortable, double and/ or single beds
- More often have own bathroom
- Cheap as chips
- Shared or self contained
- Common areas
A guesthouse is simply staying in someones house, as a guest (clue is in the name). They’ve thought, “I know, let’s make a quick buck and rent rooms out to travellers.”
In many cases, guesthouses or bed and breakfast accommodation you will find that breakfast in included in your stay or at a small fee (again, clue is in the title).
So there’s another way how to save money on your trip. Check.
But that’s always worth double checking before you book.
Top Tip – always ask to see what rooms are like – it might be worth staying in a hostel after all.
If you want to find cheap holiday accommodation or fancy a break from a hostel and prefer some privacy –
Stay in a guesthouse.
We normally look on booking.com to find a cheap guesthouse.
6. Comparison Sites – get your savvy hat on
This is a MUST if you want to find cheap accommodation! – Do this and will find a cheap holiday deal.
So this is the part where you can see whether you’ve listened to our advice on researching. If you haven’t, then go back and read it. We won’t go anywhere.
It’s worth finding multiple travel comparison sites and jumping between the the ones you have open on your computer, to compare for yourself. Now that’s a savvy traveller.
The best travel comparison sites:
- Trivago – huge selection
- Tripadvisor – reviews
- Travelsupermarket – broad search
Top Tip – go straight to booking page and payment details to get the full live price.
We were able to find a cheap holiday to Egypt using Tripadvisor. We saved over £300 by not booking direct with a travel company.
Is it worth using a price comparison site for travel?
Yes – we say so.
But don’t forget that not all prices include taxes. You may find the little * icon with text saying whether it includes taxes and fees.
Be sure to look out for that when looking for cheap holiday deals.
We always compare between the three main travel comparison sites to get the best price possible for a trip. This has to be the best way to save money on a holiday and find cheap accommodation
7. Cancel Then Book Again – try this travel “trick”
This is similar to easyJet’s Flexifare.
If you find cheap accommodation, you’re able to book accommodation, find a cheaper price for your accommodation, cancel the booking and rebook with the cheaper price.
Most of the best hotel and accommodation sites allow you to book a property for a holiday or trip with the option to pay later or pay at the property.
Top Tip – make sure you check if your holiday booking is FREE cancellation before you try this.
How to do it:
- Find cheap accommodation (use a site like booking.com)
- Make sure it offers pay later
- Find your price and book
- Look out for a cheaper price (doesn’t have to be same site)
- Cancel your original booking
- Find the better price and book
And you’ve just saved money on your accommodation.
Is it better to find a booking with pay later?
Yes – because there has been no money exchanged, no payment taken from your account and you don’t have to keep checking whether payment has been refunded to your account.
But always check the accommodation booking website cancellation policy.
Where can I find my holiday cancellation policy?
This is normally found in the Terms & Conditions or on the actual online booking form.
But remember to be smart. The cancellation fees and booking cancellation terms are sometimes more hidden than you’d expect.
8. Use Cashback Sites – and get free money
What are cashback sites?
Cashback sites allow you to receive discounts on a product they advertise, by way of money in your bank.
Who doesn’t want FREE money?!
Sorry, not you.
Top Tip – make sure the cashback is more than a discounted rate, otherwise it won’t be worth it.
Sites to use:
Is it worth it?
It’s nothing more than a click to a third party site before you pay for your accommodation.
9. Subscribe To Email Alerts – to receive exclusive deals
We rely on them.
Infact, 50% of our bookings are only because of an accommodation discount received via email alerts.
A great example of this is Secret Escapes. We received an exclusive deal for a hotel in the Rotunda region of Spain offering a £30% discounted price.
Are email travel deals real?
We compared the price between 5 other sites we use and found that Secret Escapes offered the lowest price.
It’s important to sign up as most short term travel sales are exclusive to members only.
Sites to sign up to:
Top Tip – don’t forget to log in to the site to receive the discounted accommodation price.
If the emails start to annoy you, simply unsubscribe to email alerts.
“How do I unsubscribe to email alerts?”
This can be found on the email or in your account settings on the site.
Again, the later you leave it, the more it cost you. We have fallen victim to this a few times and always ended up paying more than we could have. So book early.
10. Airbnb – a top pick 5*
Now this is where you can save a lot of money!
Do you enjoy feeling right at home when you’re on holiday?
Or do you like to stay somewhere totally individual?
Booking with Airbnb is the one for you.
How to save money on Airbnb:
- Book as a group – Booking as a group or travelling with family? Find a villa or house or cottage hideaway. The idea is simple – the more people you take along, the more money you’ll save on your accommodation. It’s a lot cheaper than booking in to a hotel or self catering holiday apartments.
- Self catering – Self catering is the best way to save money for a holiday. Airbnb mostly offer properties on a self catering basis. So if you don’t mind cleaning up, doing the dishes and cooking for yourself, (unless you eat out) this is how to save money booking accommodation.
- Stay in a room – Choosing to stay in a room of a property is the cheapest option when staying with Airbnb. This means you have your own bedroom, and maybe a small fridge and cooker, but there will be a shared kitchen or cafe. Similar to a guesthouse or a hostel when you choose a shared room.
Top Tip – go to the payment screen to get the full price for your dates, including service charge.
We use Airbnb 50% of the time we travel.
Why use Airbnb to find cheap accommodation?
We love the flexibility of it and it definitely is home from home.
We were able to to save money booking with Airbnb during a visit to Bologna. It cost us £97 for two people for 3 nights, and within perfect walking distance to all of the action!
Is Airbnb safe?
We have had no problems. As each property is individual, you find that the service you receive is better than that of a hotel chain.
Do you stay with your Airbnb host?
Even if you stay in a room within a house, you have flexibility of your own space.
But if you select “Entire Home”, you get the whole place to yourself.
Another sleek advantage of staying Airbnb is the amount of choice. You have access to over 2 million listings worldwide – your spoilt for choice.
11. Haggle – be cheeky to get discounts
Now this doesn’t mean you have to turn into a stock market dealer, get your suit and braces on and start negotiating.
“It’s too much hassle haggling, I’ll just pay the full price.”
This isn’t true.
You don’t even speak with the owner.
How to haggle for a better price on holiday accommodation:
- Find a property in or outside of your budget
- Contact the owner direct (usually email button “Contact Owner” option)
- State briefly your budget, and whether they can accommodate.
- Wait for reply
- If accepted, they’ll tell you and send a new booking form with amended amount to pay
When is the best time to haggle for a cheaper price on holiday accommodation to find cheap accommodation?
Don’t jump the gun because you are just too excited to go on holiday. Don’t start negotiating a lower price for your accommodation 12 months before you’re staying. Chances are you aren’t getting a discount.
Top Tip – we recommend haggling for a better price from up to 4 weeks before you travel.
However, we have tried this from up to 10 months before our travel date. It does depend on demand and season, so it’s worth considering.
12. Package Holiday – grab a bargain here
The first thing you should know to get a cheap package holiday is –
Go for a typical tourist destination.
The second thing is –
Go during peak times.
And third –
There is no third. It’s that simple to find cheap accommodation.
Top Tip – to get a cheap package holiday, book late, and for 7, 10 or 14 nights, at peak times.
If you can only travel at peak times, it’s often cheaper to book package holidays rather than a DIY holiday. Reason being companies can offer a lower more competitive price knowing that demand will force sales. And you’re fully protected in case anything goes wrong.
If you have a family and want to get a bargain holiday deal, remember this:
- Go for a package holiday
- Book late
- Go during peak times
- Stay 7, 10 or 14 nights
- Choose destinations such as Costa Blanca and Costa Del Sol, Rhodes, Majorca etc.
13. Get Breakfast – “bed & breakfast”
If your price for your accommodation doesn’t include breakfast, find holiday accommodation that does include breakfast.
It’s worth going “bed and breakfast” because you will often eat so much because it’s usually all you can eat and you think it’s “free”.
And second, you’ll save money on shopping you won’t have to buy.
A cheap breakfast can cost anything from £3 to £10 per person with a drink. If you’re staying for 14 nights, that’s £70 – just on your first meal of the day.
Do you find that because you don’t want to overspend, you buy a small breakfast. Then within 2 hours you’re starving and your stomach makes you spend more money on food.
We often find that this is the case. Then there’s two of us, so that’s £140 minimum.
Top Tip – if breakfast is cheaper, stuff yourself and eat as much as you can, fill yer’ boots!
So weigh up whether it’s worth spending a bit extra on breakfast with your accommodation.
If the holiday accommodation doesn’t offer breakfast in your price, it’s always worth haggling.
“Throw in a breakfast and I’ll book”– Now you’ve got it!
14. Check The Hotel’s Website – it might be cheaper
So you’ve found your travel accommodation, now you need to make sure you’ve definitely got the lowest price.
Check the accommodation providers website to find cheap accommodation.
This is a must. Most holiday booking websites prices go up (or down) due to popularity and demand.
So while people are booking through a third party website, the accommodation provider are offering the price cheaper if you book direct with them.
15. Camp – sleep under the stars
Whilst most campsites charge a fee to pitch a tent, there are other options which could save you a lot of money.
Find somewhere FREE (there’s that magical word again) to camp.
If wild isn’t your thing, then check out www.efcohpa.eu or campingo.com. This will give allow you access to a wide range when you want to find for a good campsite.
Top Tip – if you camp wild, make sure the land isn’t private. You might get an angry farmer.
If you have a family, this is a great way to find find cheap accommodation for a cheap family holiday.
You can expect to pay a lot less for a camping holiday in Europe than a traditional hotel.
We checked the price of a week stay in Normandy, France on campingfrance.com for a family of 4 in Summer. The price came to £290 for a static caravan holiday home (it was quite the luxury) with on site pool.
A nearby hotel cost £600 for self catering!
Camping is always an adventure.
Our verdict – go for it, it’s never boring.
16. Short Term Rentals – if you’re staying put
Planning on travelling in a group?
Staying in one place for a while?
If you bag a cheap short term rental whilst travelling, you’ll find it’s a lot cheaper than staying in a hotel and can cost less than a hostel.
Sites for short term travel rentals to find cheap accommodation:
Like any self catering holiday, you’re going to save money travelling with someone. So if you’re in a group, you’ll save a lot of money and you won’t have to cook every night.
But you might have to do the dishes.
Now for the FREE accommodation (oh we love that magical word)
17. House Sitting – possible luxury travel
House sitting is becoming more and more popular.
There’s no catch.
…travelling to your favourite destination, staying in a house – for FREE, watching TV – for FREE, sleeping – for FREE, and sometimes even eating – for…FREE.
However, house sitting does come with some chores and jobs.
But you don’t mind, because you can get free travel accommodation.
Top Tip – if you’re moving on quickly, this may not be for you as it comes with responsibilities.
What do you do when you are house sitting:
- Look after prioritised jobs
- Look after pets
- Attend to small jobs
Is house sitting real?
House sitting sites:
You might be surprised, most house sitting hosts offer you free luxury!
It can be a luxury way to find cheap accommodation.
18. Couchsurfing – another freebie
Is couchsurfing safe?
This is a must try to find cheap accommodation
But a lot of travellers, and hosts put off the idea of couchsurfing because they are too nervous or scared.
Yes, you are in a total strangers home, who wouldn’t be worried. Waking up at 3am to find the host is staring right at you – YIKES!
No this doesn’t happen, don’t worry.
In fact, you’ll often find that the couchsurfing host is just as nervous as you.
Believe it or not, YOU’RE A TOTAL STRANGER TOO.
But best of all, it’s FREE and you’re guaranteed an interesting and a “one to tell the grandkids” adventure.
You’ll save a lot of money on travel by couchsurfing.
You may have noticed that a lot of credit card providers offer little perks like free hold luggage.
19. Public Transport – plus cost of ticket
Can you use public transport as travel accommodation?
But you’re going to have to buy a ticket first, then it’s free.
This is how to find cheap accommodation on public transport:
If you’re waiting for a long haul flight then this one is easy. Using the airport terminal for travel accommodation is a great idea. Just go to sleep on your flight and wake up refreshed for your next adventure.
Top Tip – always keep your belongings close by, you can’t be too careful, even on a flight.
You could’ve caught a flight, but it was too expensive plus you have to pay for an extra night in accommodation.
- Get a bus instead instead of a flight to your destination.
- Catch some Z’s (sleep).
- Always remember to set an alarm to wake you up.
- Ask your new friend Nosey Norris to wake you up at your stop.
20. Public Places – not just anywhere
No, you won’t look like that homeless guy.
If you just need some sleep, is it worth spending money for a key to a room you won’t need?
Connecting flights or stopovers offer a great opportunity for free travel accommodation.
Airports are safe, a good place to catch some much needed shut eye.
If you’re backpacking, this can be an amazingly top way to find cheap accommodation. It’s FREE!
Top Tip – stay out of the way in a quiet area, not drawing undue attention to yourself.
You will awaken and refresh yourself in the public toilets. Some airports even have showers to use, which are often FREE to use.