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How To Find Cheap Accommodation
From hostels to hotels, using the sharing economy, relying on the kindness of strangers, and more.
The best and easiest way to find cheap accommodation while also being able to look at pictures and reviews so you can make sure that even if it’s a super cheap shitty hostel, it’s at least a fun shitty hostel, is to use comparison sites. The two most popular are hostelworld and booking.com. With both of these sites you can search by area and date and filter it by type of accommodation, wifi, free brekkie and so on. Key thing to remember here, is to put in order of price from high to low. Remember that you’re backpacking and the less you spend on accommodation, the longer you can travel for and that also normally you’ll meet the most fun people in the cheaper hostel. Start at the cheapest and remember to check the reviews, which you can filter by age group too, add any you like the sound of to your compare list and pick from there.
Live In A Van
Living in a van, thanks to Instagram, is becoming more and more normal and actually pretty fucking cool. If you’re travelling around for a while a van really is the best way to do it. You don’t have to worry about figuring out public transport, your bed is with you wherever you go, so you have total freedom in regards to where you stay and you never have to lug your massive backpack around. Travelling in a van you’ll meet tonnes of great people doing the same thing, have complete freedom and save tonnes of money on accommodation. The one thing to keep in mind is that places like France have crazy expensive tolls and while some countries are cool with you parking the van overnight wherever you want, others are not so – just make sure to do a bit of research first.
If you’re planning on sticking around in the same spot for more than a couple of weeks then Workaway is perfect. Workaway is a website that puts travellers in touch with people who need volunteers. You make a profile and filter your search to location, time, type of work and then start scrolling through. Once you’ve found jobs that appeal to you, just send them a message and they’ll generally reply pretty quickly. The most common type of work is hostel work – cleaning beds, doing reception, etc, but you’ll also find a lot of ‘eco-hostel’ places that need people to help them build and garden and then the odd thing like dog sitting, teaching people’s children English, or running the company’s social media. In exchange, you’ll get somewhere to stay, often some food will be included, and then you’ll get added stuff like free surf lessons if you’re working at a surf camp, for example. Usually the workload is pretty light, just a few hours a day and it’s a great way to save money and meet new people with the added bonus of knowing some locals.
The best way to save money, is to just not spend it. Couchsurfing is a website for travellers who want to save money and meet new people. Basically you make a profile and change your status to either hosting or looking for a host depending on what you’re up to. If you’re looking for a place to crash, you put in the location and date, like you would on Airbnb or something similar, and then all your potential hosts will pop up. It has some pretty specific filters such as whether or not they smoke or have pets or what languages they speak and their gender. Make sure to filter the ‘last logged in’ to no more than a week before you start searching because you’ll find that there are a lot of inactive members. The idea of crashing at a stranger’s house is pretty intimidating but the website is very well known, you can check reviews left by previous guests and most hosts are people who love travelling but, because of work or other reason, can’t actually travel at the moment, so it’s their way of still meeting new people from around the world. At the end of the day though, trust your gut. It’s not a necessity, but it’s a nice custom that your host will show you around their city and you’ll generally offer to cook a dinner for them on one of your nights as a thank you.