Cheap Accommodations : How to Spend Less on Accommodation while Travelling

Accommodation is  one of the two biggest components of any travel budget, other one being your flights. These two expenses are the major culprit that deter people from traveling. You can make few adjustments on entertainment, foods etc. but you find it tough to cut on hotel expenses.

Cheap-AccommodationTravel will be as expensive as you make it out to be. If you spend more on big expensive hotels it will definitely make a huge hole in your pocket. But travel need not necessarily be expensive and you need not be insanely wealthy to travel more often. There are alternate accommodation available everywhere and if you can make use of them, your travel can be far more affordable. Depending upon your situation and willingness to sacrifice some comforts, you can check out the list of ideas here for alternate accommodation.

Here in this post I am covering accommodation part, flight expenses can also be made affordable and I will cover that part in another post.

Hostels :

How much they cost?  $5 – $20


Hostels are very popular amongst the budget travellers. There are beds and bunk beds laid out in a room that generally houses 4-8. They provide you with lockers where you can keep your luggage and secure it with a lock and key. The bathrooms and toilets are shared by the occupants. The hostel also provides very basic breakfast – toast, cereals, milk, tea and may be a fruit. Now before you think that the hostels are only meant for young people, let me tell you, you will find the older lot and couples also in the hostels. Many hostels also provide the small single and double occupancy rooms to solo travellers and couples who are looking for some privacy along with social vibrancy. There are many hostel chains whose focus is on group travellers and old travellers.

Apart from being affordable, hostels also provide a very social atmosphere where travellers can interact with each other. Most hostels have a common area in form of living space and kitchen which facilitates the social interaction.

Hostel for Travelers

Common Room – Hostel in Dublin

If you think, being cheap accommodations, hostels may not be clean like hotels, you cannot be more wrong. The hostels now a days are very clean and tidy.

How to book : HostelWorld and Hostel Bookers are the best site to find and book the hostels.

Guest House :

How much do they cost? $10 – $50

The guest houses are another option in the cheap accommodations category. They provide simple and affordable rooms without the frills of the hotel. The rooms are generally decent size but sometime you may get very big size room too.

Cheap Accommodations

Guest House in India

Generally the simple breakfast of toast, cereal, milk and tea is provided. Kitchen may or may not be there. Some guest houses provide the access to the common kitchen, in case you want to cook something for yourself.

Short Term Apartments :

How much they cost? $20 – $50

If you are planning for a little longer stay at a place, say 2 weeks or more, and looking for cheap accommodations don’t rule out the short term apartments. Short term apartments are bedroom, living room, kitchenette and many a time free wifi as well. You are getting a comfort of home without spending too much. They really workout very cheap if you are travelling as a couple or a group.


Short Term Apartment in Mumbai

How to book? Airbnb is the best way to book short term rentals. You can also book through Wimdu, Roomorama and Flipkey.

Homestay :

How much they cost? $20 – $50

Homestay is another option for cheap accommodations. Here the family rents some of the rooms of their homes to the visitors and also take care of their food etc. They also provide the visitor with the best tips for sight seeing and going around the city/town. The biggest advantage of homestay is you get a chance to live with the locals and understand their culture. By the end of your stay you will start feeling a part of the family of your host.


Homestay in Leh, Ladakh, India

How to book? There is no booking site as such, you will need to search on the net or in B&B section of the TripAdvisor.

CouchSurfing :

How much much it costs? $ 0

Hey you all travel enthusiasts! you have friends all over the globe you just haven’t met them yet. CouchSurfing is one of the best things to have happened in the travel industry. It is a global community of over 9 million travel enthusiasts in 120,000 cities, who has open up the doors of their homes/apartments for the travellers for free. On this site, find host anywhere in the world, and stay with locals instead of staying in hotels and hostels. These hosts are willing to guide you around the town, help you to visit the best spots and all this coming at no cost to you.



“If all of us in the world are Couchsurfers, the world would be a better place to live” – Gabriele Galimberti, Italian photograher. 

He said this after returning from 19 months travel around the world during which he spent each night couchsurfing.

Before you start searching for couchsurfing host, you need to join the community on You can create your profile, share messages, form communities, vouch for people who have provided good accommodations and see people’s reviews.

For a nice couchsurfing experience, follow the guidelines below while looking for the host on and you will not be disappointed :-

a) The host must have a profile picture. He/She has to be real after all.

b) The profile is completely in all respect, because that will shows their seriousness and keenness.

c) There should be enough positive reviews to give you the confidence.

d) Look for verified hosts. Couchsurfing offers different levels of verification.

There are many other ways too, which I am yet to try, like :

  • house sitting, (TravellingWeasels are always on the look out for house sitting opportunities to live their passion of travelling).
  • house swapping
  • camping

And if you are travelling solo, or are adventurous couple with long term travel plan you may find find the opportunities to :

  • volunteering in exchange of stay – Any Work Anywhere provides wide variety of project for volunteers in destinations worldwide.
  • stay in monastery in southeast asia etc.

All these options will save you a lot of money on accommodation. As I said, I am yet to try these, so as and when they happens there will be updates here.

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Are you still saying that accommodation cost is coming in your way to finalise your travel plans?

Travel is never expensive, it is our expensive tastes that make it expensive. The whole point here is if you want to travel you can travel, the accommodation cost cannot be an excuse. If you still want to live in hotels only and don’t want to send a fortune, why not travel in off seasons when the hotels are offering big discounts, you can check through or

Tip: Before booking the hotel, give a call to the hotel and bargain for good price. In off-seasons, the occupancy is low and no hotel would like its rooms go unoccupied. You might get a very good deal.

I am sure there might be other ways too to save on accommodation. Please share your ideas in the comment section at the bottom.

If you liked these ideas, please share

photo by:
I am Shailender Kumar, founder of this travel blog “”. I am a traveler, a travel blogger, wannabe photographer and adventure enthusiast. This blog is all about my travel experiences, travel tips and inspirational photo essays.

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