Travel On A Budget

Travel on a budgetIf you travel on a budget, you are going to have to economize on your accommodation. This is one of your main expenses, so if you manage to keep these costs down it will really help you stay within your travel budget. Here are some tips on how to do this.

Always negotiate rates!


In some countries (specially in South East Asia) you can negotiate pretty much everything, including hotel rates. This is particulary true when you travel in the low season. So when you arrive at a hotel, always ask for a discount and never agree on their first offer. Tell them you're short on cash and you need a good deal. When you feel you have reached their lowest offer, bid 10-20% less and walk away if they don't accept. When you show your willing to walk away, often they will come after you and accept your offer. See my article on negotiating for more tips.

Booking in advance


If you travel in the high season it will typically be cheaper to book in advance. You won't always be able to do this though, specially if you enjoy living in the moment and not planning things ahead to much. Either way, it never hurts to look up the prices on hotel booking sites like booking.com before walking into a hotel. If you can't negotiate cheaper, you can go online and book it for the price you found.

When booking online, you often have the option to cancel for free. Make use of this! This way you can lock in a good price and try to find something better later. Make sure you check the latest date that you can cancel for free!

Stay at a hostel


Obviously staying in a hostel is a lot cheaper then a hotel and it can be great fun as well. Hostels are a great way to meet people, therefore a good option if you travel alone. If you don't want to share a room, they sometimes have private rooms still at a considerable discount to a hotel.

Book an apartment or house


If you are traveling with a group, booking an apartment is a good option. Renting out private apartments has become very popular and there are several sites that show apartment listings, like Wimdu and Homeaway. My favorite site is Airbnb. It has the most listed places and their system works very well. They also have a great app.

Stay somewhere for free!


If you are travel on a very small budget, privacy isn't your biggest concern and you want to meet people, couchsurfing is a great option! You will basically stay in someone's house for free!

If you are an animal lover, you can stay at someone's house to take care of their pet(s). This is called 'housesitting' and it's becoming a bit of a trend. Check out Mind my House or Housecarers.

Make friends!


Last but not least, make friends! This is obviously great if you travel on a budget, since you have no accommodation costs at all! You will be surprised how quickly people will invite you to stay at their homes when you make friends, specially in countries known for great hospitality like countries in South America. You should obviously be a little cautious, specially if you're a girl traveling by yourself. If you have been traveling for a while you'll develop a sense for who you can trust and who not.
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