Saving on Accommodation
Everyone has different living conditions in mind when looking at accommodation.
My mother for example would not book into anything less than 5-star, whereas I just want a bed, as long as it is bed-bug free.
Hotels have many different room types which range from standard room, city view, partial water view, water view, bungalows, villas, rental apartments, penthouses and a whole other range of rooms.
The cheapest naturally being the standard room and even more so when you don’t have a view at all. Some hotels either have a city view or water view or maybe even just some sort of nature view, depending on where you are.
To save costs, do you really need a beautiful view? Some holidays are planned around just lazing around the hotel and therefore you would prefer a nicer view and standard of hotel, this is fine but just keep in mind that it attracts a higher cost.
Partial water view rooms to me are a waste of money but that really depends on the hotel itself.
Partial water view means that you can kind of see the water from the room’s window or balcony. You may have to lean over the balcony or the view might be obscured by an object in the way.
Sometimes this simply means you can see the view but it is not straight in front of you, maybe you just have to look to the side to see the full view. If this is the case, I would look at booking the partial, depending on the price difference between standard and full water view.
When it comes to the partial water view rooms I would check with the hotel directly on this rather than the travel agent. You really need to see the view to be able to determine if it’s worth the extra cost and the staff at the hotel would know.
When should you book your hotel? Usually the earlier the better, much like the airfares. It is more likely that prices will increase as the cost of living gets higher and higher.
However in saying that the hotels do get desperate closer to the date if they still have rooms left to sell. Therefore they drop the rates right towards the end date.
This is a great way to save, however you must then take the risk of not finding a hotel or at least not a hotel or room of your choice.
If this sounds like you then you need to research what’s going in that destination at the time of your arrival. If there are festivals and carnivals of all sorts on then this will not be a good option for you as there may be no rooms left anywhere near where you want to be.
Unfortunately with hotels there is a very fine line between booking early and when the last minute sales are on. Just make sure you do your research before making the decision to hold off on booking accommodation.
Another way to save on a hotel is to look out for the hotels that offer stay/pay deals.
Pick up any travel brochure and you will see something along the lines of stay 3 nights, pay 2 or stay 5 nights, pay 3 and whatever other deals they may have.
This is to encourage people to spend more nights at their hotel and some of these deals can be quite amazing.
For instance if you were staying 15 nights on a stay 3, pay 2 deal then you would be getting 5 of those nights absolutely free. You would only be paying two-thirds of the price.
The trick here of course is to figure out how long you intend to stay at a particular destination then look for deals for multiples of that total count of days.
In the above example for 15 nights try searching a hotel that has the stay 5, pay 3 deals. That way you would get 6 free days in the hotel.
There are of course other options for accommodation overseas and one of the best and cheapest I can recommend is staying in a hostel or other form of dormitory.
Basically this means you will have shared facilities like kitchen and bathroom but also have a room, sharing with others. Most of these hostels have 4 to 10 people staying in a room. The more people in the room the cheaper the price will be.
This will naturally come down to your comfort levels. When I backpacked Europe I mostly stayed in 4 or 6 people dormitories which I didn’t really have a problem with. Because I was travelling solo I actually met a great people along the way in these hostels which is why I really enjoyed staying in them.
I did stay a few nights in a 10 person dorm and while I did save a bit chunk of money this way, I really didn’t feel comfortable sharing my room with so many strangers.
For me personally, I think 6 people would be the maximum but again this will come down to personal comfort.
If comfort is not so essential for where you sleep at night, then there is another option you… something known as couch surfing. This is simply where you just crash on someone’s couch, lounge or maybe even just a mattress on the floor of the living room.
This is probably the least comfortable way of travelling, but it is certainly cheap. Plus if you know the people you get to spend more time with them or getting to know the people in the house.
When I first moved to London, I was looking for a job. I finally found one but had to wait a full month before my first pay came through and I was running out of money quickly.
Speaking with a person I met in a hostel in Berlin about a month prior to this, they offered their couch to me for next to nothing. The only rule they had was the stay could only be weeks 2 weeks maximum.
I thought that was fair enough since they were helping me out, and they were inconvenienced by someone staying in their living room so I upheld their rules.
If you have friends living overseas, why not just ask if you can stay with them? They might even have a comfortable couch and this way you get to spend more time with your friends or family.
If you’re travelling multiple destinations then you may want to look at an organised group tour. Companies like a Contiki or Trafalgar are examples of these tour operators.