How to find cheap accommodation :: Travel blog

How to find cheap accommodation

Accommodation is not easy to pay when you're a long-term traveller or a short-term traveller on a budget. That's why I started to write this post - to help you to find cheap places to stay during your travels.

No matter where and how you like to sleep during your journeys, one thing everyone has in common is that no one wants to pay a lot of money for it. One of the biggest travel myths is that you need to be very rich to became a traveller and to see the world. Well, in my opinion, this is not true, you just have to know how to deal with a low budget. Travelling can be affordable, especially if you don't sleep in expensive hotels and use other forms of accommodation.

Travel is expensive only if you want it to be.

By reducing the cost of your travel accommodation, our trips can last longer and we have more money for other activities. Another thing is that when you try less expensive (or free) ways to sleep, many of them will be at local homes, so you will be able not only to better know the local's culture but also to make new friends or at least contacts. So here's the list of tips on how to find cheap accommodation anywhere you go.

Couchsurfing: free accommodation
Couchsurfing: free accommodation

Free accommodation: CouchSurfing

If you are not aware of CouchSurfing, you really should be. This is my favourite website when it comes to finding a free accommodation. CouchSurfing is a 5 million people community of people from all over the world, who want you to save your money and sleep in their homes for free. This includes also my favourite - you will also better learn about local's culture by being able to interact with a local host. CouchSurfing sometimes means the whole room for yourself, and sometimes just a couch you can crash on.

There is also a verification system - after hosting experience, both the host and the traveller can leave a reference about one another. There are also a few tips you should follow if you want to start using CouchSurfing:

  • Write a lot of information about yourself and add a few photos to gain other's trust.
  • When you are sending requests, write personalised ones.
  • If you want to get your first references, see if there are any CouchSurfing meetups in your neighbourhood and join them.

If you already registered on CouchSurfing and want to find your free accommodation, keep in mind a few things that will help you:

  • Make sure your host has a profile photo - to determine if it's a real person.
  • See if the profile is filled out - that will help you to know if the host is involved because most of the people will not spend the time to write interesting descriptions if they don't.
  • See host's reviews - it's probably most important thing because it will show you if there were any other travellers who slept in host's house and if they were happy about that.
  • Check if the host is a verified user - CouchSurfing has a special verification system. Users can be verified with a mailing address, other travellers or with a credit card.

There are also similar websites to Couchsurfing, so if you won't find what you're looking for, you can always see here: Hospitality Club, Global Freeloaders, Warm Shower (for cyclists) or BeWelcome.

Travel accommodation: home exchange
Travel accommodation: home exchange

Home Exchange

If you own a house or apartment, you may think about home exchange. This can make your accommodation during travel free. The idea is that you switch homes with someone else for some period of time. HomeExchange is probably the biggest website to do this (more than 65,000 homes in 150 countries), but you have to pay 150 dollars for a year subscription. There is a 14-day free trial available - if you want, just enter your e-mail in the pop-up.  

There are a few alternatives: the most interesting is Guest to Guest because it's free (you earn points by beeing host) and Stay4Free, which costs 12 dollars for a month. 

Hostels: cheap accommodation
Hostels: cheap accommodation


Hostels are a popular option if you want to spend the night in bed cheap. The average room can hold 4 - 16 people and it contains usually almost only beds and personal lockers (you are sleeping with other peoples, it's good to lock your belongings). Most hostels usually include a very basic breakfast like toasts and cereal, sometimes jam, butter etc.

All the inconvenience of hostels is nothing because we will get a reward - social atmosphere. Usually, there are a lot of travellers who, well, like to talk to another people, mostly in the common rooms (hostels in most cases have that too). 

If you don't like to sleep in the same room with others, think about getting one of the hostel's private room. It's not gonna be that cheap, but still cheaper than most of the hotels.

Three most popular hostels-only websites to start looking are Hostel World, Hostel Bookers and Hostels, but it seems that's actually the same company. You can also find a lot of hostels on Booking.

Home sharing

If you want to find a cheap room in someone's house, this option probably fits you the most. The idea is that if someone has a spare room in their house or a whole apartment they are not using, they may want to rent it to others. They usually come fully furnished with a kitchen.

The most popular website for that is Airbnb, where you can find over 2 million listings in the whole world - most are just ordinary people who rent out extra space they have. There are few alternatives to Airbnb: Roomorama, HomeAway or FlipKey.

University dormitory accommodation
University dormitory accommodation

University housing

If you are looking for university or college housing for rent, you will probably want to visit University Rooms website. Most of the given accommodation is available only when students are out of school, but there are also some places when you can get a room during the semester. It's mostly for the schools placed in Europe, North America and Australia, you can use it same for long or short-term stays. You also do not need to be a student to get here your travel accommodation.

 A similar page is Sabbatical Homes, where students can rent their rooms while they are on the vacation.

Monastery: cheap accommodation
Monastery: cheap accommodation


Want a religious help, advice, or want just a cheap accommodation unusual way? You can find many monasteries across the World (Good night and God bless - what an awesome name!) or in the Italy (Monastery Stays). Prices usually are higher than in hostels, but the atmosphere can be really worth extra dollars.

Other ways to find cheap accommodation

There are also a few other ways to find a cheap accommodation. I listed them below:

  • Finding cheap accommodation on Facebook - if you want to find a place to stay, you can always use a facebook. Just type in the search field "Sydney rentals" or similar, and you will find groups of people who want to rent their rooms or apartments.
  • Volunteer / Work Exchange - opportunities to volunteer your time, labour, or expertise in exchange for the room can be found here: WWOOF, Work Away or HelpX. Some examples include farms, schools, shelters, hostels, lodges, ranches, and even sailboats.
  • Top Secret - if you want to have some fun, you can try to book a hotel without knowing its name - it won't appear until you pay for it.
Wojciech Kuźma

Hey there! My name is Wojtek and I am very happy that you came to my travel blog. I've been traveling the world for a few good years now and I still want more.

On my website I describe the adventures that have happened to me, you will also find here a collection of valuable tips for tourists and travelers. If you liked this article, be sure to leave a comment and read some more!

4.50 | 4 votes
Comments: 7
  •   13th March 2017, 10:55

    Wow, Ive never imagined there are so many ideas on how to find a cheap accommodation! I have to think, because maybe I really can travel more that I thought.

    •   31th March 2017, 10:37

      It costs more effort, but less money :-) Worth to try every opportunity to travel.

  •   13th March 2017, 17:23

    I love hostels and their atmosphere (love travelers person types), but I never thought to think about home exchange or getting room in the monastery. This are awesome tips,thanks for a good article.

    •   31th March 2017, 10:39

      Glad you enjoyed it. Monasteries are.. specific. There is something magical about staying there, but you will have to face some restrictions.

  •   14th March 2017, 11:24

    I use Couchsurfing every trip I take and I can swear that this is an awesome way to find free accommodation and talk to an awesome people! I only had problems once, but well, it happens when you want to sleep in someones house for free ;-)

    •   31th March 2017, 10:40

      People are only people. One bad couch surf shouldnt cross out all the others.

  •   17th July 2018, 11:40

    Great tutorial and the whole blog, you can learn a lot !! Travelers with love ... it's appreciated! Really good work, you help many people - great! This text was translated automatically. Original text is below: Świetny poradnik jak i cały blog, można się dużo dowiedzieć!! Podróżnicy z zamiłowaniem.. to się ceni! Naprawdę dobra robota, pomagasz wielu ludziom - super!

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