This year, the world’s third-largest airline in terms of revenue, United Airlines, added more low-cost options for their flights. Good news like this is always welcome for travelers, although that’s just a small part of a bigger picture. Traveling in general still has a long way to go in terms of being an affordable hobby.
Like airfare, accommodation can still be financially draining. You need to time things right as well as other variables to help you prepare to make the most out of your budget. By Travel and Error previously shared some tips on how to save money on airfare. This time, let’s look at how to do the same on accommodation.
Location is key
According to research by the National Academy of Sciences, the locations of medium and large hotels are mainly related to land prices and their proximity to local attractions. These factors affect their rates, so look for accommodation in less crowded areas, especially if your destination has good public transport systems. Adding a few more minutes of travel time and small transit fees may be worth trading for big savings on hotel expenses.
Travel during the shoulder season
The shoulder season refers to the period between peak and off-peak seasons. Traveling during this time lets you avoid large tourist crowds and get better deals on accommodation.
Try home sharing and hostels
Traditional hotels may provide great comfort and service, but they can also be very expensive. Thankfully, most travel destinations have hostels, which are typically more affordable. They come in all kinds, too – some have rooms with a private toilet & bath, while others have shared amenities.
A similar cost-friendly option is home-sharing. Many home-sharing condo and co-op apartments are well maintained and feel cozy. Just take note of other charges that may come with the initial fee. The most common maintenance fees that condos and co-ops have to pay out annually were outlined by Yoreevo, and they include building insurance and an underlying mortgage loan. While these don’t sound like the sort of things you would pay when you rent somewhere in the city for a vacation, they could actually impact the overall price. So make sure to ask the renter plenty of questions, as there might be some additional costs added to your bill down the line.
Another thing worth noting is that if you want to save money on food, staying in hostels and home-sharing units can be good as you can cook your own food. Many of them have kitchens or an outdoor cooking area. Take advantage of these amenities by visiting the local market and preparing your own meals instead of dining out all the time.
Get out of your comfort zone and try camping
If you’re an adventurous traveler, why not do away with the usual accommodation options and try camping instead? The majority of campgrounds only require a minimal fee for admission, maintenance and to use their toilets. Some do not even ask for a fee at all.
Just remember to invest in a high-quality tent, because that’s more cost-effective in the long run than renting one all the time. Business Insider suggests owning at least two tents, one for places with cold climates and the other for warm and sunny countries. For the former, look for tents with features such as thermal insulation and moisture resistance. And for the latter, features like breathable materials and UV protection are a must.