How To Find Accommodation
These days there are a host of options for travellers when it comes to accommodation and while it may seem daunting, actually it can be quite simple. Welcome to our guide on How to Find Accommodation.
Booking Online is fast and simple, and due to the nature of the industry these days being so competitive, often you can book a few days in advance of your stay. The most popular online site is Booking.com, with its sister site Agoda.com taking on the Asian market. Sign-up for discounts on hotels, as well as a referral service when you sign-up a friend. After 5 continuous purchases, you will be rewarded a Genius, allowing you to get further discounts and specials.
Use Bookings “search key” for the lowest prices, highest rating fares, etc. As with flights, booking in advance saves you money. However, you only need to do so 1-2 weeks in advance. There are also more fares available sometimes the day before travel as hotels need to fill up their rooms.
On The Ground
Perhaps the best way to find accommodation, when arriving in a city or town. Often many places don’t advertize online, so you never know that you may be missing out on a bargain. I’ve found the best accommodation in Sri Lanka and Vanuatu by just meeting locals or wandering around for 30 minutes or so.
In places, like Europe and Asia, many people have B n’ B’s to make some extra cash. You can ask a local or if you’re in a small-to-mid size town wander around and find signs. In some places like Montenegro, they often outstrip hotels and hostels.
Often in the low-season, you can bargain your rate down to half. You can always bargain with your host, even in the high-season but your chances of getting a low rate are seldom successful.
Join A Service
There are many hostel associations inter-connected between one another around the world. The most famous, YMCA/IHA has a network of hostels on every continent.
They offer highly competitive discounts and incentive plans that allow for a guarantee of not only quality, but also of affordability. In Europe, the Balkans have a network called “Balkan Backpackers” which is a union between backpacker hostels. Through this network, you can receive 10 percent discounts on regular fares.
There are also options for free accommodation where you pay nothing to stay. While you pay a yearly fee, there are multiple communities of Housesitting. The fee offsets the cost of administration, but you will save thousands if you are traveling full-time, by taking care of somebody else’s home and pets.
House Swaps, these are popular with retired folks mostly. They exist for people who want to live somewhere abroad for awhile and are willing to exchange their home to live at somebody elses.
Couchsurfing, Trustroots, and Warmshowers are online accommodation communities where travelers can stay with locals for free and share meals and culture. With Warmshowers, this community is devoted to cyclists and offers them a free place to stay with other cyclists on the road.
Professional Tips and Tricks
If you are traveling long-term, hostels often offer free accommodation for work. These are for travelers who plan on staying in a city or region for a month or more. While you will be working a lot, in your downtime you will have more chance to get into the roots of a city.
Staying in big cities can be expensive, but remember that if you are staying in a dense area of accommodation, you will find that rates are more competitive. While the centre is often the more expensive option, factor into account transportation and they can often be similar to peripheral options.
Low season rates are negotiable. If you are traveling through Asia or Africa then it will be expected that you will negotiate your rate down to 50 percent. The more popular the area, the more expensive it will be. Try to look at options in towns surrounding resorts or popular tourist attractions as they often are overlooked and can be cheaper.
In some parts of Europe, especially in the north, there are liberal wild camping laws which means you should take a tent and camp out in the open – and its free!
A Few More Words
Accommodation is your second most expensive purchase on a trip after flights. Remember that it is also your most flexible option. If you haven’t found something before your trip, don’t worry because more than anything you’ll like find something (and a bargain) while on the road. Good luck!