A great place to stay: Booking affordable accommodations!
The best and most affordable accommodations are going to vary based upon who you are traveling with and where you are going. There isn’t a one-size-fits-all on for the BEST accommodations. Below you’ll find:
- Best accommodation options for group travel
- Best accommodation options for solo/couple travel
- General tips for finding affordable accommodations
Affordable Accommodations for Group travel
A good majority of my traveling is considered group travel. I frequently travel with a combination of Elizabeth, my husband and Elizabeth’s sister, Frances. When traveling in a group, you are definitely more inclined to find super affordable accommodations and you will have more choices in accommodations. My go-to accommodations for group-travel are:
VRBO or AirBNB
- I group these together, because they are essentially the same concept and offer the same housing.
- The plus-side to these sites are that you can find extremely cute, unique and fun accommodations! Also, if your group is big enough, a house with multiple rooms is often cheaper than having to book multiple hotel rooms.
- The downfall is that there are several fees added to the total cost. If you travel with three to four or more people, then usually these fees are minimally a factor once split between everyone.
- If VRBO or AirBNB fees are just out of this world (which they can be), we opt for hotels.
- Compare prices: Booking.com, Priceline, directly with the hotel. Many times you get deals booking directly with the hotel (they don’t like 3rd party people). Or, if you stay loyal with a 3rd party, sometimes you can get some discounts (I do through booking.com due to booking with them so often)
- Hotels work well for our group of 4: we can all fit in one room and have maximum cost splitting
- However, if you are in a group more than 4 and you have to get multiple hotel rooms, getting an VRBO/AirBNB will likely be a better, more affordable option
Solo or couples travel
I have personally never traveled solo, but the concept for solo travel will essentially be the same as traveling in a pair. You likely want to avoid the high fees that come with AirBNB/VRBO and go with a choice that is less per person. I have a couple of go-to options for traveling in a pair.
- The PriceBreaker deal is a win! Simply put in a location and what “star rating” hotel you want to book. Priceline will choose 3 hotels of similar caliber. You pay a set rate and Priceline chooses the hotel. We were able to save $20-$30 on hotel rooms when traveling in pairs on our most recent road trip in the US!
- The hotel rooms chosen were great and we were able to just book a hotel room when we arrived into the next city, giving us more freedom in our itinerary. Learn more here!
- The downfall is that you do not have 100% control on location.
- Hostels are a great way to save money when traveling overseas. The prices are USUALLY reasonable per person and more affordable than a hotel room. And, for those who are not so keen on sharing a room with strangers, many hostels have private room options. However, bear in mind that the private rooms will reflect prices closer to a hotel room and be less of a deal than the shared rooms. I have frequently booked through Hostelworld.com with great experiences!
- When it comes to hostels, be sure to read reviews! People are usually good about reviewing and you don’t want to end up at a hostel with bad reviews!
3. Couch Surfacing
- If you are traveling solo or really trying to budget and are really wanting new experiences, this may be your option!
- I have recently stumbled upon a Facebook group called Host A Sister. You can volunteer your couch, guest room or air-mattresses to someone traveling or you can request to stay with someone and ask for accommodations. No monetary compensations are allowed; it’s all free with the purpose of cultural exchange only! There are many success stories shared, although I have never personally tried this option!
General Tips for Affordable Accommodations
When traveling, aside from a beach vacation, we are typically on the go seeing as many places and doing as many activities as possible. Therefore, I am less likely to spend more on a cuter and fancier hotel or airBNB. Here are a few tips:
- The most important thing you can do to score affordable accommodations is COMPARE across all sights.
- Compare VRBO and AirBNB. They will have some overlapping options, but they will also have a few different housing options on each site. The fees will also vary, so look at both and book the best price!
- In addition to comparing VRBO to AirBNB, compare these to hotels. Sometimes one is cheaper than the other and it is hard to know when. LOOK AT BOTH.
2) Don't Procrastinate
- The second most important thing: don’t procrastinate.
- This is coming from a procrastinator. More times than not, we have paid more for accommodations because we waited too long, things started filling up and prices started sky rocketing. DON’T GE IN THIS PICKLE.
- Try to book at least two-three months to ensure things don’t fill up and you don’t pay more.
- This is espeically true if you are going to a popular destination and/or at a popular time. The more the housing fills up, the more the prices usually are!
3) Be Loyal
- If you have a good experience with a site, sign-up for awards. Booking.com has discounts that increase the more you book with them. Many chain hotels such as Hilton also have decent rewards for being loyal.
Booking Affordable Accommodations Recap!
As mentioned before, there isn’t a big, secret travel site that gives you 75% discounts on accommodations. To find affordable accommodations, it takes some research and some comparing. Don’t wait too late! Enjoy your travels!
Next to flights, accommodations usually take up a large portion of your budget. Click here for tips on getting cheaper flights!