There are many options when it comes to deciding where to sleep during your adventures! I myself have used a combination of resources, rather than sticking with one “go-to.” This article will feature the pros/cons of various accommodation options for the budget traveler.
-- Free --
If you really are trying to limit how much you spend on your travels, there are free options out there!
CouchSurfing is an excellent resource for travelers, as you can score a free place to sleep while also meeting the locals and making new friends. Make a profile on couchsurfing.com to start connecting with hosts. You can also host people yourself, which is a great way to meet other travelers!
I have found that the more you travel, the bigger your networking circle becomes. I've made so many new friends while exploring the world, and many of them have hosted me for a visit in their home-countries later on. Gracious friends and friends-of-friends have received me in their homes, which made possible my visits to Denmark, France, Monaco, Colombia, Peru, Costa Rica, Honduras, and New Zealand.
Au-pairing is an exchange in which you work as a nanny for a family and they provide your room, board, and generally weekly pocket money. I have done this in both Italy and Australia. There are various websites you can use to get connected with families, but I recommend AuPair World. On the site you can make a profile describing your childcare experience, the age range of children you are hoping to care for, if you're looking to live in a big city or the countryside, etc. Families also create profiles, and then you are matched based on the data your provide (kind of like online dating, haha.) You can then message the families you match with to discuss further details about what you are both looking for.
This is a great form of travel if you would like to settle into a country for a longer period of time. I have loved living with the locals, as I felt that I was truly able to be immersed in the culture and learn what "everyday life" is like in those countries. Depending on your schedule, you will have weekends (or other desginated days) off during the week to travel around the area.
-- Budget --
On a tight budget? No problem. There are some great resources for travelers who can't afford to spend buckets on a bed each night.
Camping is a fun accomodation style, that lends itself to unique opportunties. Of course, some countries are better for camping than others, but it is a fun way to experience nature and save money. This was my primary form of accomodation in New Zealand. Prices for camp sites where you can set up your tent will vary, as well as the amenities included. You can stay at campgrounds that provide communal kitchens and bathrooms, or you can choose to truly rough it and head out into the wilderness! Just be sure to do your research ahead of time to be familiar with the country's laws regarding camping.
There are many different kinds of hostels you can choose to stay in. I love using HostelWorld to compare prices of various options in the same city. Most places let you choose between either a dorm-style or private room. I stayed primarily in hostels during my backpacking trip through Central and South America, and have also stayed in hostels in Italy and New Zealand. I have generally opted for the dorm-style rooms, where I have scored deals as low as $7/night. Of course, prices vary depending on where you are. You can find similarly low prices all throughout Latin America, but as soon as you get to a touristy city in Europe like Rome, the cost per night will go way up.
Airbnb is a community marketplace where people can list and book online accomodations around the world. You can choose to book just a room, an entire apartment, or a house for any range of time. I booked a guy's spare room during my stay in San Francisco, CA and had a great experience. This is generally more expensive than a hostel dorm-room, but less expensive than a motel/hotel. You can make a profile at Airbnb and easily start connecting with hosts online.
Want to learn more about how to travel when you've got a tight budget? Check out my post on scoring cheap airfare: The Art of Travel Hacking
I love Jesus and what He has to teach me while I wander around the planet. My other favorite things include: foreign languages, yoga, hiking,
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