How to Find Budget Accommodation Deals

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How to Find Budget Accommodation Deals

Ever since we started traveling the world in 1997, we have personally used the following budget accommodation options….

  • Hostels and Guesthouses
  • Apartments
  • Cheap hotel rooms
  • Camping
  • A friend’s house
  • A stranger’s house
  • Overnight bus and train trips

There are times when we need a certain level of comfort and facilities, particularly now that we travel as a family and with a laptop and need WiFi access, and there are times when we have just stayed about anywhere to save a dollar.

Not all travelers are alike. We all have different needs, tastes, and budgets, and what works for one doesn’t necessarily work for another.

But what we do know is that no one wants to pay more for accommodation than is necessary, and considering accommodation is one of your major costs, if you can cut down on your lodging expenses, over time you can save a lot of money.

Whether you are traveling solo, as a couple, or as a family, and you are traveling either short term or long term, here are your budget accommodation options:

Find a Cheap Hotel Room

If you desire a little comfort, and your budget allows it, then an obvious choice is a mid-level hotel.

There are several booking sites that we personally use to search for a deal, but once you have found the best deal, always go and check the price through that particular hotels website. Sometimes hotels will only provide their best price directly through their own website.

Sites that we use:

Hotwire – Great for last minute deals. e.g. We got a 4 star hotel in the heart of the French Quarter in New Orleans for 50 bucks. – has over 20,000 last minute deals each week. And a great rewards program (stay 10 nights, get 1 nightfree).

Agoda – Great for deals in Asia. You can book through their freeApp and they also have eNewsletter deals and a price match guarantee.

Booking – Large inventory of hotels worldwide. Can also book via their App and you can sign up to their free eNewsletter for special deals.

How to find budget accommodation

Hostels and Guesthouses

The best option for budget accommodation around the world is usually a hostel. But they are not for everyone, and we have written a post about our tips for staying in hostels.

We have consistently used hostels because they are affordable, usually well located, and we like the social aspects of meeting other travelers. We now only stay in a private room, and the hostel must have kitchen facilities.

Sites for booking a hostel include:

  • Hostelzoo – a free hostel price comparison tool utilising the booking engines Hostelworld, HostelBookers, HostelsClub and Gomio.
  • Hostelworld – over 25,000 Hostels in more than 180 Countries.

Sydney Harbour YHA Hostel


Apartments can often work out cheaper than a hotel room, particularly when you factor in you can cook most (or all) meals yourself. It may come down to you having to stay for a week to get a good deal, but some still offer great rates for shorter stays.

And if you can share an apartment with others, it lowers the cost per head even more. In Australia a great booking site we use is Stayz who also have select international inventory.

Tripping calls itself the world’s largest search engine for vacation rentals, and compares the top rental sites at once like HomeAway, Flipkey, Wimdu, Roomorama, Housetrip.


AirBnB is a way to get low-cost vacation rentals and sublets from locals in 180 countries. They connect people who have space to spare with those who are looking for a place to stay.

Rent nightly from real people in over 8,000 cities.

If you are new to airbnb, we have a $35 credit voucher for you when you sign up here

VRBO – Vacation Rentals By Owner

Established in 1995, Vacation Rentals By Owner was founded by owners who self-manage their second homes.

They provide an online space for homeowners to advertise their vacation properties and make it easy for travelers to search 130,000+ rentals in over 100 countries worldwide.

Vacation rentals can sometimes offer more value, space and privacy to hotels. Plus, your pets are welcome at over 25,000 properties across the US.

House Sitting

House Sitting is a perfect option for anyone considering long-term travel, but can also work for those interested in a week or two awai.

You live rent free in exchange for looking after someone’s home and if they have them, pets safe. But importantly, housesitting allows you to have a more authentic travel experience in ways that more traditional accommodation such as hotels and hostels just can’t provide. To learn more click here.

Home Exchange

The home exchange strategy is possibly best for families or retired people who are looking to base themselves in another country or state for an agreed period of time.

And just like the name suggests, you stay in their house whilst they stay in yours. This is obviously not for everyone, but it’s another option.

Facebook and Twitter

Go and “LIKE” your favorite travel search sites and hotels on facebook and follow them on twitter.

It’s getting more and more common for sites and companies to release hot deals directly through their social media channels.

Sleeping While Traveling

When taking a bus, train, or flight, try and plan it so you are traveling at night. That way, you don’t have to pay for a night’s accommodation. You have to get from one location to another, so why not do it at night time.

We have taken many overnight bus and train journey’s, as well as the red-eye flights, and it greatly helps to cut down on your accommodation costs.

Other Tips

  • Stay more than 1 night – many hotels and hostels provide their best deals when you stay more than one night.
  • Stay Sunday to Thursday – try and travel when people do not. Try off-peak travel times and seasons to get great bargains.
  • Call the Hotel Directly – A last minute phone call directly to a hotel or hostel and asking about cheap rooms can prove fruitful. They don’t like having empty rooms so will discount.
  • Negotiate – Most front desk personnel are personable and can give good advice on getting better rates.

Your Turn

What suggestions and resources do you have for finding budget accommodation?

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32 thoughts on “How to Find Budget Accommodation Deals”

    1. Hi Seattle,

      We like hostels too, but it has to be a private room these days, our dorm days are over :). And because of our lifestyle, it has to have wifi access, and kitchen facilities preferably (unless it is SE Asia where it’s just as cheap and easier to eat out)

    2. Good budget options for your traveling in this article. Hotels can be over-pricely, but if you are open minded you can also search for alternatives. Check sites as couchsurfing or airbnb is my top site:

      You will have more chance to stay in a clean room and get personal advice about the destination then when staying in an overpriced hotel. For me the best invention for travelling, especially in non-touristic destinations or expensive cities.

  1. What a great list! Hostels are a great budget alternative, and I love hanging out with other travelers! I also think it’s cool you mentioned Tripping; I and my husband are hosting a Tripper from Israel right now in our home in the San Francisco Bay Area and I love the social aspect! Yesterday we went on a picnic in the beautiful park across the street with fresh produce we bought at the local farmers market. Then for dinner we took our Tripper to our favorite taco place in San Francisco’s Mission District which he loved but said he would never have found on his own, then to a favorite local beer garden. Now we’re off to Berkeley to show him our favorite spots there. So Tripping’s a great budget alternative for travelers, as well as an opportunity for them to experience an area like a local – but it’s also fun for the hosts.

    1. Hi Anis, wow that sounds fantastic of you. Can we be a Tripper with you next time we visit SF 🙂 And we really need to start hosting here as well.

  2. Roy | cruisesurfingz

    Great list of options. By far, I go for CouchSurfing but if there’s a few of us I’d take a hostel or cheap hotel.

  3. Great article. I’ve used AirBnb a number of times with success. I particularly like having access to a kitchen which allows me to cook. I also find private rentals can be more comfortable than sterile hotel rooms.

  4. Great options you share with us.Accommodation is the important thing during travel.It is really difficult to find cheap hotels with good facilities.Your tips for budget accommodation really helpful for traveler.Actually I am planning a Europe travel in coming December.I heard that Europe is very expensive my budget is not very high I was worrying regarding accommodation Your tips help me.Thank you very much for sharing such informative post.

  5. This is a great article that really covers all the bases! I’m a hostel kinda guy. Guarantees a fun trip!

  6. Great list and so helpful. I try to stay in apartments when possible – it is much cheaper with more than 2 people and you can cook meals thus saving on restautants

  7. Hello!

    I’d like to add an option for cheap accommodation options in Thessaloniki, Greece. One can search for various packages depending on personal or business needs which include hotel, guided tours and entertainment (the greek way). There is also plenty of historical and religious information about Thessaloniki, Macedonia and Mount Athos.

    The website is

  8. Wonderful and exhaustive article, thank you Caz and Craig! I really like the Facebook/Twitter piece. Deals are everywhere, people just need to know where they are.

    One thing you did leave out was the Extended Stay option – accommodation solutions that are MUCH cheaper and simpler than traditional hotels and apartments. For example, Value Places ( offer the lowest prices in the market. I would encourage you to check it out.

  9. We usually stay away from hostels and private guest-houses. People do not have a lot of vacation time these days and it is just not worth the risk of staying in a crappy place and having to deal with unpleasant people.

    This is why we usually look for 3/4 hotels selling at a discount (either through promotions, discount codes and other tricks).

  10. Booking ahead of time like 3 months before will get you deals some times, or you can wing it and wait for them last minute deals that pop up. Having AAA will most of the time get you a lower rate, so if you travel its a good pay off to sign up for it as you will get that back in savings. Great feed back guys!

  11. Leo R. Deschaino

    Hi Craig,
    Log on to a regular old online booking site, plug in your dates, adjust the filters — especially ones that involve cost and location (“spa” and “golf course” are probably not relevant) — and browse through your choices, paying attention to user reviews, cancellation policies and whether all taxes are included. Make a note of your top picks. Of course, these sites are very different, which became obvious when I went searching for that Paris room.I had always found have a wider array of budget choices in obscure parts of the world, but that was true even in Paris, where the site offered over twice as many properties as Orbitz.

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