You want to travel long term in the future, you know it will be on a tight budget and you realise accommodation costs can cut so deep that just doesn’t stop bleeding; it can drain you and be painful. So what do you do?
You look towards budget travel accommodation, but apart from backpacker hostels what are they? The good news is, Pre-Covid traveling was becoming such big business a lot of accommodation options were becoming available for budget travelers at very affordable prices and some even for Free.
Although traveling may look different Post-Covid, in this post we will look into 8 budget travel accommodation options to suit you for your future travels.
It’s great that you want to travel the world and even on a tight budget it can be done (Myself and many others travel full time on the tightest of budgets). As you start thinking about budget travel accommodation options you want to consider and ask yourself a few questions about your budget and yourself.
Think about things like:
- How long are you planning to travel for?
- Is your budget just to cover the initial period of travel or the full duration?
- What do you consider a tight budget? (for some that’s $50 a day to others its $10 a day)
- Where do your priorities with expenditure lie?
- Are you comfortable with sharing space?
- How are you with strangers?
- Are you open minded, go with the flow, or very picky?
By answering these questions you can give yourself a better idea and picture of the budget travel accommodation that is more likely to suit you.
9 Budget travel accommodation options for you
Ok, lets dive into your budget travel accommodation options. You may already know about some of them but in this post we look at what they are, how they may suit you and how you can go about booking them if you wish to for your future travels.
- Budget hotels/ motels/ guesthouses
- House sharing
- House sitting/ Homestays
- Campervan/ Camping
Although there are any misconceptions of hostels from those that have never stayed in one, to this day backpacker hostels remain one of the most popular budget travel accommodation choices. And, It’s not just because they are generally the most affordable options for those on tight budgets.
Backpacker hostels for many travelers are more than just a cheap place to sleep. They can in fact become integral to your traveling experience.
Backpacker hostels provide:
- A social and communal environment
- A great place to meet people and make friends
- The chance to feel part of a family – especially in smaller hostels
- Help you settle into long term traveling life especially when It’s your first time
- Help you interact with people from all over the world
- Helps you adapt to travel life
- A place to relax and recharge
- A sense of home
- Home comforts
- A sanctuary
- A home away from home
- A sense of security
- A hub, a nest, a base
- The ability to learn new skills
You may have heard stories of backpacker hostels that put you off, but hostels come in all shapes and sizes, there are different types of hostels to suit different personalities, people and to suit your needs at that exact time. There is a hostel type out there for you.
Book your budget travel accommodation through Hostel World
Budget hotels/motels/guest houses
Although hotels are not the most viable or practical option for budget travel accommodation, as they are most of the time the most expensive option in some countries and regions they can be an option sometimes.
There are certain areas like South East Asia where a budget hotel actually works out cheaper than booking into hostels.
You might look to budget hotels if you want:
- If you want some time alone
- Need to get away from crowds or other travelers
- Don’t want to share space of facilities with others
- Recharge in peace
- Just want to be alone
Pre-Covid Air BnB was fast becoming a very popular choice of budget travel accommodation
Pre-Covid there was such a Airbnb boom around the world. Many homeowner’s were listing their properties and that meant higher competition and in turn for budget travelers meant affordable prices.
Not everybody wants to be around other travelers all the time, they want privacy and Airbnb gives that opportunity while still remaining budget travel accommodation. If you are planning on staying in one location for an extended period of time renting your own place on Airbnb is a great option to consider.
Airbnb are great options to consider because:
- Gives you privacy and solitude
- Can rent short or long term
- Can have a whole property to yourself for an affordable price
- You can find a property in the most picturesque locations and settings
- There are some very unique properties listed
- A place to call home for a while or to make a nest
- Have your own bed, kitchen bathroom rather than sharing
- Can be in and around locals and make you feel part of the local community
- Can provide a different perspective on local life
- Do not have to share space with others
- Provides security
Booking an Airbnb is very simple if you have never done so before. You simply signup to their website or download the App and start searching for properties in your desired location. You can filter properties by location, type, price, amenities, views, size and number of rooms.
Sometimes the full property might not be available, and you do share with the occupants, but you will get your own privacy. If you get a good landlord they may even upgrade you if there is a possibility.
In years gone by, Couchsurfing was exactly what it says on the tin, sleeping on somebody’s couch, often for free. It could have been a friend of yours, somebody you traveled with previously, or just a stranger giving you their couch.
Nowadays though (Pre-Covid), Couchsurfing has grown much broader and bigger. You’ll find an official Couchsurfing website that boasts over 14 million members worldwide. You can sign up to be a host or a surfer or just to join the community where they organize meetups and events for backpackers.
Although once a popular choice for backpackers and budget travelers, It can sometimes come with a bad reputation now. There have been reports and complaints of unsavoury incidents, guests not feeling safe, hosts backing out at the last minute leaving travelers stranded and just not being reliable.
However in saying that, if you are able to find a good host, it could lead to an unbelievable experience and adventure and a great budget travel accommodation option.
The benefits of Couchsurfing:
- Free place to stay (bed, couch, sleeping bag)
- Gives you the chance to stay with and get to know a local(s)The host gives you more insight and knowledge into the local area
- They can potentially offer home-cooked local meals for you or teach you local cuisine
- A chance to meet their friends, go to local bars, see how they live their social life
- Take you on trips around the local area
- Be your guide and provide a local perspective
- A chance to hang out with locals
- A chance for you to feel a part of the culture and community rather than a tourist looking in
- Can broaden your horizons, open your mind, be further educated
- A chance for friendships to be born and blossom
If you want to give Couchsurfing a go, you just have to download the app and set up your profile. There are different verification levels you can choose from. To be absolutely verified and have unlimited access to all their features, there is a fee, but you don’t need to pay it if you feel you will not require all the features. (*Due to the impact of Covid-19, they are currently requesting a monthly or annual contribution. This is subject to change in the future)
Do your due diligence into the host, read the reviews, but also try and read between the lines of those reviews. Check if the host prefers male, female, or groups.
It’s common, especially in countries that provide working holiday visas for backpackers and budget travelers to find house shares if traveling slowly and or long term.
If you are looking for your own space but do not want to be alone, stay with friends you’ve made or rather be around other travelers than locals then house sharing would be perfect budget travel accommodation for you.
It might be the case that you start off in a hostel, a bunch of you become good friends but eventually outgrow the hostel or are told It’s time to move on. You don’t want to go separate ways so you all look for a place to stay together.
Benefits of house sharing:
- Have your own space
- Have more privacy than you would do in a hostel
- Although sharing space It’s not with strangers
- Don’t have to deal with travelers coming and going every few days
- Still have a social and communal feel
- Rent a property with friends
- Opportunity to make it feel like your own home
- Don’t have to worry about strangers in a dorm
- Have your own bed, use facilities as and when you want
- Share with other travelers who have similar interests to you
Usually house sharing is done through private renting, or through an agency, if there is a group of you looking to rent a place. Or you can find advertisements for other travelers looking for housemates dotted around on notice boards, bulletin boards, messaging sites like Craigslist, and even stuck onto lampposts.
Homestays/ House sitting
In recent years (Pre-Covid) homestays and house sitting were starting to become popular with long term travelers and perfect budget travel accommodation for those looking to stay in one destination without having to pay for rent and wanting to help local communities in one way or another. They are both in a way a form of volunteering.
- Homestays are a form of house sharing with locals in your desired location
- You will more than likely be staying with a local family
- Will provide some sort of work in exchange for a place to sleep and will be provided meals
- Work normally consists of; labouring, construction work, decorating, restoration, helping on farms, vineyards, gardens, helping with children, teaching children your language, tutoring, upkeeping of the home.
- In return, they make you feel like part of the family
- Become part of the local community
- Get a true sense of what local culture and life is really like
- Make new and local friends
- See life from locals perspective
- Pick up new skills
- Feel a sense of pride, fulfilment, self-accomplishment, gratitude
To get involved with homestays there are two common ways to do so. Firstly by joining the official Homestay website. There is a fee to join, but by paying you are verified and more likely to find a homestay. Secondly is by getting to know locals before hand and they may offer you a place to stay in exchange for work
Housesitting works a little differently. You can still become part of the community, but you will be staying on your own usually. With house-sitting, you are entrusted to look after a homeowner’s property while they go away, potentially on their own holiday or vacation. Essentially you’re babysitting the house – hence house sitting and another good option for budget travel accommodation.
- You look after an owner’s property while they are away (could be anything from a couple of days to months)
- Usually, you will have to up-keep the property in some way, potentially the gardening, chores, renovations, construction, or looking after pets
- It could be a case that the homeowner just doesn’t want the property to be empty while they are gone
- You get the whole property to yourself, can use all most if not all the amenities and features of the home, and have your own privacy
Here are a few different websites you can sign up to for house-sitting services.
Note: some of these sites require you to pay an upfront fee to join their services:
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There are many other forms of volunteering programs all over the world which help you get involved with local communities and give you the chance to give back. Not only do you get budget travel accommodation but you have the chance to feel like you’ve contributed to local life.
- Work on farms
- Help with re-generation
- Teaching programs
- Help educate local communities
- Marine and wildlife conservations
Wwoofing is one of the most popular and recognised programs in the world. To find out how to apply for volunteering programs It’s best to run a search online and see if anything is available in the region or country you want to travel to.
It’s the ultimate freedom for many, to rent and buy a campervan or a car and double it up as budget travel accommodation. Let’s be honest who doesn’t love a road trip? And what’s better than singing completely to your own tune, to your own schedule, stopping, parking up in the most picturesque locations and sleeping under the stars?
It’s a very popular choice for many budget long term travelers. There are some realities you have to take into consideration like:
- Getting lost (but that can be half the fun)
- Bugs, Mosquitos trying to ravish you
- Wild animals
- Your camper getting stuck with nobody to help
But being out in your camper in the middle of nowhere can be incredible. Most countries do not let you just park up anywhere now days. However the good news it, most have amazing, designated camping areas in the most picturesque locations that can blow your mind. And they are extremely cheap and sometimes for free. There are also many national parks you can stop over in.
There are quite a few options to rent or buy your own campervan. While you will notice rental companies as you leave any airport in the world your best bet is to look locally. In certain countries there are dedicated backpacker and budget travel rental companies too. You want to look for ex-showroom vehicles, they work out the cheapest but remember to do you due diligence.
Take it a step further, really strip it all away and also the cheapest budget travel accommodation is to pitch up a tent and start camping. Just like with campervans you can pick the most remote and picturesque locations and get back to or become one with nature.
If you have never camped before, make sure you do your homework, get clued up on camping alone and take the right gear with you. Remember, your safety is your responsibility. If you choose to disregard your safety and something goes wrong, you have only yourself to blame. When you hear horror stories of campers going missing, getting into dangerous situations, it’s more than likely because of their stupidity and lack of common sense.
However, there are many long-term solo travelers whose only choice of budget travel accommodation is to camp under the stars, whether that’s in the woods, a forest, on a beach, in jungles, up the side of mountains, in valleys, or anywhere picturesque.
Camping gives you the chance to:
- Strip it all away and get back to and be one with nature
- Learn more about the elements around you—learn to use them and be get educated by nature
- Receive the ultimate solitude, time to reflect, recharge, be at one with yourself
- Take in the surroundings, really breathe in the moments
- Become more confident
- Save so much money on accommodation
- Get in touch with yourself
- Feel the energy around you
If you’ve never been camping before but want to give it a go, there are camping guides you can look into, some are very informative and will give you a better understanding of what to expect and look for.
Plenty of budget travel accommodation options for you
As you can see from this post there are plenty of budget travel accommodation options available for you once traveling gets back to some sort of normality. Whatever your preference and budget is there is accommodation for you that will not cut too deep.
The longer you travel the more budget travel accommodation you will start finding for yourself too and you will know exactly what suits you best.
I hope this budget travel accommodation post has helped to put your mind as ease for your future travels.
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John Spear · July 27, 2020 at 4:22 am
These are indeed some of the great options, thanks for sharing 🙂
PRIYANKA · May 11, 2020 at 7:28 am
This Post is Awesome!I love to travel, but I hate paying the price of expensive hotels, so I need to try some of these tips. Thank You for sharing!
Trevolin · March 3, 2020 at 9:32 am
Very lovely reading and useful article. Thanks for sharing your great Ideas about budget travel accommodation options. Tremendous work.