Whether you’re traveling the world on a budget or just looking for a more authentic experience than the standard package tour, the options below can help you find cheaper – or even free - accommodation. Save money and even make new friends, but always pay heed to the safety tips on each site so your stay is a safe one!
Couchsurfing connects travelers and hosts in over 100,000 cities across the world. Events are held locally, so you can make new friends or find a guide to show you the sights and find places to stay. A feedback and confidential reporting service helps ensure safety. Online profiles help you find someone who shares your interests and lifestyle. Return the favour and loan a fellow traveler a place to lay their head when they’re visiting your home town. Couchsurfing is free, but it’s always nice to show your appreciation by cooking a meal or giving a small gift.
Stay4Free is a home exchange scheme through which you can swap your home for another family’s for the duration of your holiday, saving hundreds if not thousands on hotel bills. It’s free to list your home and search for home exchange partners, and there are profiles and private messaging facilities so you can get to know the family, the area in which they live and what facilities will be available to you during your stay. One of the benefits is that you’ll be staying in an authentic neighbourhood at the heart of the action, rather than an impersonal hotel.
Wimdu has had over 3 million users to date. With over 235,000 places to stay listed in over 100 countries, find a place that suits your requirements at process on average 30% cheaper than a hotel. Wimdu’s service team check all property before it is listed and guest ratings help keep the listings current. Wimdu also offers a comprehensive damage insurance policy for free, giving you peace of mind when letting your home out to strangers.
Roomorama is another site offering affordable short term rentals across the world, from a bed in a hostel to a whole house. With filters allowing you to customize your request in terms of property type, number of rooms, price range, neighbourhood and amenities, you can find the accommodation that suits you. Property reviews from other guests and host testimonials can help you narrow your search and make your stay successful, too.
The Travelfish website is dedicated to independent backpackers who want to get off the beaten track and explore southeast Asia. All reviews have been independently researched by people who’ve actually been there. With over 4,500 places to stay at over 500 destinations in the region, there is a wealth of information, hints and tips to get the best out of your trip.
AirBnB says they’ve helped over 8.5 million find places to stay in over 34,000 cities and 192 countries. With over half a million accommodation listings, simply enter the location you want to stay, the type of accommodation you’re looking for and your price range. Options are flagged up on a map so you can choose the one that’s most convenient for you. With accommodation ranging from a shared room for the night to a month in a castle, you’re sure to find something to suit your needs and budget.