Budget Travel: How to Save Money on Accommodations

Vacationing on a tight budget? It's worth rethinking traditional accommodations

Credit: Flickr/Connections.travel

Travelling with friends means you can save money on group rentals

Are you on a budget but really want to start planning your next vacation? Try these budget travel tips for cheaper accommodations

An annual trip can be tough to afford, but if you’re a devoted traveller and not inclined to relinquish your getaway, try to rethink your travel style.

Just because one type of trip is less expensive than what you’re used to, doesn’t mean you’ll be getting a subpar travel experience — it will just be different.

Here are a few suggestions to travel cheaply.

Couch Surfing

If you’re a solo traveler, try couch-surfing, a popular way to get cheap or even free accommodation. One of the most popular couch-surfing networks enables people from around the world to meet and arrange couch stays with other travellers.

Sleeping in a stranger’s house naturally raises issues of safety, but a good host will provide plenty of references. And the site has developed a number of safeguards for its users, including a verification process for hosts. Keep in mind that a sense of adventure is definitely required for any successful couch-surfing experience.

Here are some additional couch-surfing sites to check out: globalfreeloaders.com, stay4free.com
, travelhoo.com.

Home Exchanges

Remember that movie The Holiday where Cameron Diaz and Kate Winslet take over each other’s homes at Christmastime?

Home exchanges are a common way to find comfortable, cozy and often cost-free accommodations for your trip. If you’re uneasy about a stranger sleeping in your home when you’re not there, remember that since the arrangement is mutual, your partner will likely take great care while staying in your home. Plus, if you do your homework by checking references and speaking to your exchange partner ahead of time, you can greatly reduce your risk.

Home exchanges are typically arranged through online networks. For links to home exchange resources do a quick Google search, or try one of the following sites: homeforexchange.com, ihen.com, homelink.ca or exchangezones.com.

Group Rentals

Another great way to save some money on your trip is to go as a group and book a vacation rental with some friends. If you’re travelling with a family or another couple, a vacation rental could save you big bucks over a hotel stay.

Each person you add to the group can help cut costs significantly. Plus, buying larger quantities of food at the grocery store and sharing the cooking duties instead of eating out at restaurants every day can help save even more.

To find group rentals, check out the following sites: 
, villa-vacation.com
, largegrouprentals.com
, homeaway.com.

Not only will you spend less by choosing a lower-cost vacation, but the best part is you may even discover a new favourite way to travel.

Originally published in TV Week. For daily updates, subscribe to the free TV Week e-newsletter, or purchase a subscription to the weekly magazine.