Travel Easy - How to save money on Hotels
When you want to save money on your Hotel stays, start here!
Most Expensive -> Less Expensive
Resorts & All Inclusive Hotels such as Marriott and Four Seasons are super expensive for daily living if you are traveling the world indefinitely. However, if you want to afford staying at these luxury hotels from time to time the best way to do it is by signing up for Credit Card rewards programs such as the Chase Sapphire Reserve card or the Starwood Preferred Guest card. If you're planning to spend a certain amount on your travels anyway, you will probably end up getting the Bonus Points which would amount to free nights at the hotels. As you continue to put your expenses on these cards you will slowly accumulate more points which will eventually reward you with more hotel stays. Important note: Only sign up for reward credit cards if you pay the full balance each month. If you don’t, the interest fees will cancel out any benefits you may get from rewards. Don’t carry a balance! An alternative option for about half the price of these hotels and resorts, you can get your very own place with the same type of quality with Airbnb BEYOND (soon to be released and a tier higher than the "Airbnb Plus" brand described below).
Expensive -> More Affordable
Hotels are still fairly expensive if you are staying at them on a regular basis. You can find better deals at sites like booking.com (receive $25 off your first stay at booking.com here), or by choosing more budget friendly hotels such as at Extended Stay America. For slightly less money than regular hotels you could stay at Premium Airbnb's which are generally much nicer than hotels by themselves. Think of them in the category between a regular hotel and an all inclusive elite resort. These Airbnb's are known as "Airbnb Plus" and they are currently available. The "Plus" bnb's are a "selection of the highest quality homes with hosts known for great reviews and attention to detail" and are rated 4.8+ out of 5, go through a 100+ point quality inspection, and always have included WiFi, TV, bath essentials (towels, soap, shampoo), bedroom comforts (sheets, pillows, hangers), coffee maker, hair dryer, iron, carbon monoxide detector, and smoke detectors. If you haven't tried them out and generally like higher end hotels, we recommend breaking out of your comfort zone and giving them a try (and getting a great discount by using this link). Many also come with free parking and a full kitchen - you won't be disappointed!
Affordable -> Exceptionally Affordable
If Hotels are out of your price range, then Airbnb BEYOND and Airbnb Plus are probably also out of your price range. You could look for an Airbnb Superhost using their App or Website. Generally these places will run you $40+ per night in Europe or $20+ per night in Southwest Asia or Africa, but we've been fairly successful with them in the past. Additionally, they generally always offer great perks such as free WiFi, parking, laundry, full kitchen, etc. You can use the App to filter for exactly what you are looking for without having to do endless searches at different hotel websites! To save even more money, you can opt to go for the regular Airbnb. Many of these places still offer great perks and are quite comfortable. Typically they measure up to the equivalent to a 2.0-3.5 star hotel (yes, the range is big, so it is important to do your research and try to get as much value out of your choice as possible!). This option is generally the cheapest if you have a family or even if you are a traveling couple. Similar deals can be found on booking.com as well.
Have you ever considered Home For Exchange? This is where you are able to list your home for exchange with other people using this service. So, for a very small fee, you could end up in a very nice house instead of having to rent accommodations. In return, your someone will also be staying at your house while you are away on your trip.
The next cheapest step is to look for Airbnb's with shared spaces (meaning that there may be 2+ private bedrooms with a shared common area or a completely shared space). The benefit of using Airbnb in this capacity is that you generally still get the perks of Airbnb (kitchen, Wi-Fi, and possibly even parking and washers) .
If Airbnb is too expensive and you are traveling solo or as a couple, you might find it a bit cheaper to go with a Hostel. These are usually rooms with many bunk beds, so you will likely have less privacy and less space than at an Airbnb or hotel. You typically need to pay individually for each bed at Hostels so it isn't as affordable for a family. Showers, some food items and Wi-Fi are normally included. Storage lockers are also usually available for private use, but they require coins to use (you usually get your coins back when you are done using them). Not all hostels have laundry machines, but the ones that do will require coins to operate. For more privacy, you could opt for a 2-bunk or 4-bunk room at an additional cost. Free rooms are occasionally available via the "Camino de Santiago" routes in France and Spain.
If you're running out of money, we would recommend purchasing a cheap tent before you are completely broke. Bugs can get the better of you from the stories that we have heard! Additionally, to get out of the weather, you may be able to get hosted for free by people who like talking to travelers via the Couchsurfing App (sign up here). They will generally at least have a cot or couch for you to sleep on and most of them will offer use of their showers as well. However, if you don't sign up and participate in the community in advance of your adventures, it may be more difficult for you to find a host. Sleeping on the ground is not typically recommended unless you are a serious Nature Beast and/or enjoy the homeless lifestyle. If you do find yourself in this situation, fellow travelers have advised that it is easier to sleep in locations that are secluded (like the forest). If not, you might be too concerned that your belongings will be stolen while you sleep to get any rest at all! If you find yourself in this situation, churches may also be an option as they generally will help homeless travelers, however a donation may be expected. Best of luck!
How other travelers are Saving Money on Hotels & Accommodations:
“I use booking.com quite often and the more you book, the more discounts you earn.” - Caroline H.
“Airbnb or something like hotels.com or similar where one can accrue points. Accor hotels has lots of different types under their umbrella - like Ibis, Formule1, Mercure...also...look for the smaller "mom and pop" joints out there....or a hostel....Do you want a place to stay that has "mints on the pillow" or not. Frankly, I just look for a crash pad that's clean and has wifi!” - Jim G.
“can recommend Accor loyalty program save often 10-30% and get more than every second room an upgrade. They have a lot of hotels around the world starts from Ibis budget up to Sofitel Legend.” Alfred R.
“Doing a couple of shifts in the bar in exchange for a bed at hostels.” - Lorimar S.
“Stay with friends.” - Jon S.
“I always search on google for voucher codes and use like hostelworld, hotels.com, last minute - usually if not always get at least 10% off.” - Adam B.
“Hostel. And use the kitchen as much as possible.” - Javier W.
“I start checking months out and daily on kayak. Last trip I took for instance I book one hotel in a main square of Lisbon for 65 per night dollars and the week before we got there it was 175. Most all of my hotels were extremely cheap booking months out.” - Mark H.
“Airbnb or booking, rent weekly apartment not hotel.” - Beatrice B.
“Stay further away from town or close to train/ bus stations- that way accommodation is often cheaper than staying centrally. Traveling with a friend or partner can also make it much cheaper as you can share a room. We also often book 1 night through for example booking.com, then extend the duration of the stay by paying the hostel/hotel directly (often cheaper).” - Anja K.
“We stay in Airbnb’s rather than hotels. If it's a place that supplies some breakfast food we will have a big breakfast, skip lunch and just eat dinner for example. Sounds silly, but saves quite a bit of money especially in expensive countries. We will catch buses and trains or walk and hire a car when needed. We pick a budget for accommodation and stick to it.” - Lucy C.
“You could do couch surfing, or house/pet sitting.” - Caitlin M.
“We like our privacy and to have a place to relax at the end of the day so we stay in vacation rentals. Even a studio has more space than a hotel n a kitchen. Cheaper than hotels and we eat.in except for lunch. This also lets us make simple lunches on hiking or train ride days. We stay longer in each place - usually 3-5 nights as travel between places is expensive. We pay for selected sights and museums we can’t see at home. That’s why we came. We drink a lot of water and cold brewed-in-the -bottle iced tea we make in our rental.” - Jodi D.
“One of my favorites is coordinating with other travelers and renting a whole lodge or hostel. The per head cost tends to be lower, and you have a lot of freedom and built in friends.” - Grace B.
“Hostel or if I travel in longer term then I use workaway.” - Vania T.
“Volunteer travel.” - Dan B.
“I carry a hammock tent and use hostels. Frequently the tent is better, even in colder weather; campgrounds usually have good accommodations super cheap, comparatively.” - Rosie D.
“hostels is the best way to go in budget, same time to meet like minded folks. you may get new travel ideas from fellow travelers.” - Baskar S.
”Sleep on beaches and up mountains.” - Ian T.
“I have written the most comprehensive guide on the Internet to saving money on accommodation while traveling. It's over 18,000 words but it covers virtually everything you need to know. This guide only covers how to keep paid accommodation expenses to the bare minimum, but if you're wondering how to get completely free accommodation while traveling you can also check my other guide on ways to sleep for free while traveling. Here's the link: http://www.twobirdsbreakingfree.com/mobile/41-travel-accommodation-money-saving-tips.html” - Eoghan D.
“Open travel cards like Chase Sapphires, Amex gold and platinum and accumulate points then transfer them to partner airlines for reward flights and hotels for reward nights. By points, I mean sign up bonuses. Unless you spend a lot on cards, points earn per category can be insignificant.” - Dex R.