My passion for travel really picked up in college, which meant I was traveling on a steep budget. My travel time rose exponentially when I got my job as a flight attendant, but I still stuck to a budget so I could travel more and spend less. I learned through research and experience what my best resources for affordable accommodations are, so today I’m sharing 5 tips on saving money on your own travel stays!
1. Airbnb can be an amazing resource, especially when using their amenity and location filters
Airbnb is my favorite resource for deals on accommodation. It’s myriad of filters means you can find exactly what you want for the price you want. I use it for trips with just my husband and big group trips as well. Sometimes I save money by booking a shared space with the owner (with my own room) and other times it’s just as affordable to rent out the entire house.
When I want to book on Airbnb, I first start with a google map with ‘starred’ points of interest for my trip. Once I see where everything is located, it’s easier to determine the best area for my Airbnb. You can use the map tool on their website to see where each home is located and pick your best location within your budget. It’s good to keep in mind nearby public transport if you won’t have a car during your trip.
I also check the amenities based on the needs of my trip. For example, my trip to Italy this summer will be during the brutally hot Monty of July. I made sure each home had air conditioning (which isn’t in every home or hotel in Italy despite the temperatures). I also made sure each included a hair dryer, because it’s one less thing to carry in our small suitcases.
There are several other great resources like Airbnb, which you can find here.
2. HostelWorld is more than just hostels
I used HostelWorld a lot during my college years, and I still recommend it to my friends that want to travel dirt cheap. Hostels can scare off a less seasoned or more particular traveler, but what great about HostelWorld, is that it includes more than just shared dorm-style rooms. You can use the website’s filters to choose between a hostel, hotel or campsite, and also choose whether you want a private or shared space based on your group of travelers.
There are also ratings for a plethora of important travel aspects, like safeness, cleanliness and hospitality!
3. Make/keep connections far and wide
It might be sad when a friend or family member moves/lives far away, but think of it as a new adventure you get to explore together. I have several family members and friends that live out of state (and country) that are so fun to visit and explore their city with. It’s usually free accomdation and great bonding time. As thanks for letting me stay with them, I try to at least take them out to dinner for a night.
If you don’t feel comfortable staying in their home, or it’s not an option (maybe it’s a new friend or someone you don’t keep in touch with much), they could still be a great resource on where the best place to stay is and what attractions are awesome to visit. Don’t be afraid to get in contact with long lost friends and get their input for your trip. Meeting up for lunch or an activity can be a great way to rekindle the friendship and see a friendly face in a new and unfamiliar city!
4. Enjoy your dream accommodations in the off season
I’m a dreamer, so my imaginative plans for my trips are usually not within my budget. However, I’ve found you can splurge a bit on one of your dream hotels or accommodations if you do some research and deal hunting. For each city’s tourism, there is a high and low season, and the prices of a stay there reflect that. I was able to afford a night at my dream hotel in Palm Springs, The Saguaro, because we were there in the off season and it was right after a big holiday (when most are checking out).
5. Sometimes your fallbacks aren’t the greatest deal, so keep all your options open
Like I mentioned before, I used Airbnb frequently! However, when planning my upcoming Italy trip, it was hard to find an affordable Airbnb option within the city of Venice, for 6 people. Venice is a small city with a unique layout, so finding accommodations can be tough. There are more options outside the city, but we are limited on public transport there, so a place within walking distance of the major sites is important. I don’t book hotels that often because they are usually more expensive, but I decided to peruse them. I ended up finding a great deal on a hotel room with 3 bedrooms and a sitting room in a great part of the city! Make sure to keep your options open so you don’t miss out on a deal.
Go out there and #SeeMoreSpendLess!