Ways to Save While on the Road: Accommodation

If you plan to travel long term, accommodation can get expensive if you don’t know the best places to look and the best tricks for saving. After having traveled to over 60 countries and using them all: Couchsurfing, Airbnb, hostels, house sitting, busses, train stations and locals, I can give you some of the best ideas of saving on accommodation for your next trip!

1. Couchsurfing

If you are traveling in a alone or with one other person, have an adventurous side and are looking for a cultural experience, then look no further than Couch surfing. After using couch surfing in over 60 countries, I can tell you from personal experience that this can be an unforgettable, rewarding experience. Make sure to choose your host wisely and take as many safety measures as you can, but don’t let fear talk you out of trying this.

Check out my profile to get an idea of what one looks like:

2. Airbnb

Airbnb still offers decent prices on renting private rooms, apartments, entire homes and villas,  while giving you more flexibility with your free time than Couch surfing. Airbnb has options in 34,000 cities and 190 countries.

3. Hostels 

If you are traveling alone, don’t feel like the hassle of dealing with another person like with Couch surfing or Aibnb, then hostels can be a great option. Not only are the prices fairly cheap, but you will have the opportunity to meet all kinds of other travels, while having the freedom to come and go as you please.

Below are some good places to look for a hostel, or you can simply just arrive to your destination and ask the locals for the most popular hostel.

4. Hotels

If you have a bit more flexibility in your budget, there are many great options for hotels. In fact, there are many countries that you can stay in luxury hotels for a reasonable, low price. There are normally always offers online, so take a look the different offers hotels have. One trick is if you see a hotel in the city that you are hoping to stay in, go ask the price, but leave and buy it online. You will be surprised money you will save.

5. House or pet sitting

If you are looking to house sit, first start with connecting with the people you know. Through friends or social media, its possible to find someone or someone that knows someone that is looking for this kind of service. If you have no connections, then start by using reliable sites to find a home. Many people simply let you stay in their homes if you agree to watch their cat. There are some great options out there.

6. Bed and Breakfasts

In a bed and breakfast, you often pay less than a hotel and still get the opportunity of meeting and connecting with other travelers. Its common to get a homemade breakfast, making your experience feel more like home.

7. Locals or friends 

If you have an amazing ability to connect with others, you can always meet a local family and ask to stay with them. In many countries I traveled to in Africa and eastern Europe, many local families randomly met me in the store and invited me to stay in their homes during my stay. Of course, be smart, but be open to new experiences.

8. Work exchange or work away

Cultural exchanges for those who would like the opportunity during their travels, to stay with local people and gain practical experience by giving around 4 hours per day per work in return for free accommodation and meals.


Working on a farm or doing some sort of out door work, while learning more about organic life styles, in return for free housing and meals.


10. Au Pair 

Like working with kids? This is a good opportunity to live abroad, get immersed in a new culture, make money on the side and get free food and housing.

Check out my experience:

11. Camping

If you are traveling during the warm months of the year and you love outdoors, then camping is a great option. Not only will you save money, but you will get the opportunity to have a unique experience outside of the busy, populated cities.

12. Overnight transportation

When traveling from one country to the next by bus or train, look for transportation with the overnight option. This will get you to your next destination, while saving money on accommodation for the night.

13. Rent a car or van

If you are traveling with other people, you can plan to rent a car or a van. This will serve you not just in transportation, but a place to sleep for the night. If you have other people to split the price with, this can be a great saving option.

14. Bus station or airports

If you have an early flight, bus or train, take advantage of that and stay at the airport or station. Most tend to be warm and fairly secure (depending on what you are going). This saves you money and takes away the possibility of missing your early morning. transportation

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15. House Swapping

This may be WAY outside of your comfort zone, but you may be surprised by the outcome. I have heard of many success stories of people that traded their home and car for a set period of time with another person in area of the world and it was a win-win situation.

16. Short Term Rentals

If you know you are wanting to stay in a certain area for a period of time, then short term rentals could save you money on accommodation. Sometimes different places will cut you a deal if you plan to stay a 2 weeks or even more at a time. The best thing to do is either look online or call and ask different places what kind of deals they offer.

17. Monastery stays

If your really adventurous and want an experience that most people don’t have, then try staying at a monastery. Don’t expect luxury in these kind of places. Most places will come with just a bed and desk, with simple meals prepared by monks or nuns. It depends on where you are going to determine the price range, but you can find anything from free/donations to $50 per night.

18. Silent Retreats

Need a break from chaos of the world? There are silents retreats offered through many parts of the world and they are free (of course you should donate). These retreats last 10 days and rumor has it that they are NOT easy. You must be completely disconnected from the outside world and NO talking.


Don’t forget to also read: 


  • What type of accommodation do you use when you travel?

  • Do you have any tips to save money on accommodation when you are traveling?

  • Share your thoughts and ideas below!


Sarah - thenomadicdreamer.comWays to Save While on the Road: Accommodation