Good day to you! I hope that you are having a truly beautiful day today wherever you are in the world. I have had a very productive day clearing out old photographs and papers, stocking our dish soap supply and even finishing my application to finally change my last name on my passport (I say finally because I’ve needed to change it for a year now). Yes, it may sound overwhelmingly unexciting, but I can assure you, it is all very good.
If you did not have the chance to read our post from the last Travel Tip Tuesday, no worries! Just to catch you up, starting last week we began a sort of “mini series” through which my ultimate goal is to convince you that traveling does not need to be expensive! YAY! Last week we discussed the A to B’s of Traveling (a.k.a. transportation) and how to save your hard earned pennies while gallivanting to and fro abroad. Well, this week we get to talk about accommodations and various tactics you can use for finding places to “count your sheep” on your adventures around the world.
Places to Count Your Sheep
Some of the best places to stay while traveling are hostels. You may have heard the horror stories of your great aunt’s son’s brother-in-law’s friend’s neighbor’s bad experience while staying in a sketchy hostel in a strange town they were visiting and I am truly sorry for them. Andy and I have definitely had some of those experiences ourselves and we can attest to how much that really stinks (sometimes literally). However, if you have never stayed in a hostel and are trying to save some money when traveling, I would also highly recommend them. There are some really cool places to stay out there and you get to meet pretty awesome people along the way. It is truly beautiful to hear some of the stories of others who are just passing through too and to engage in conversations that you may not have had otherwise.
Now, I get it. Perhaps “community living” is not your thing. That is perfectly okay and still can mesh with the hostel experience. Many hostels offer some sort of option to stay in a private room as opposed to the classic dorm-like sleeping arrangements. These do usually cost a bit more than the dormitory style rooms, but we have utilized this option many times and it works quite well too.
Another great option for finding a place to rest for your evenings abroad is Airbnb. Maybe you are thinking, “What the heck is that?!” Well, let me tell you…. It is one of the best things out there since sliced bread (except for us who are gluten-free…. then Airbnb qualifies at top of the list). Airbnb is a “community marketplace for people to list, discover and book unique accommodations around the world.” In other words, Airbnb gives people from all over the place the opportunity to list their couch, spare bedroom, apartment, guest house, castle, cottage, home sweet home, loft, and even tree house online for others to discover and book. If you are looking for somewhere to stay, you can input your desired dates, location, budget and type of accommodation (couch, private room, or entire house) and *PRESTO* Airbnb will give you the listings that match your criteria. You can check out details, photos, and even reviews of places to ensure that you have a fabulous stay. And in case you are a bit worried about staying at a complete stranger’s house, Airbnb does conduct a background check and identification verification on all hosts and guests to make sure everyone has an enjoyable and safe experience.
I have to admit… When I first heard of Airbnb, I was extremely skeptical. Staying in a hostel was one thing, but to stay in a complete stranger’s home was quite a different thing. I immediately thought “Stranger Danger!” However, over the last few years I have stayed in many Airbnb host homes in many countries and it has been a great experience. Andy and I like using Airbnb so much that we have even thought about becoming hosts ourselves! Needless to say, we give Airbnb two thumbs up.
Lastly, for those of you who may be traveling with a group of family members or friends, an excellent option for you is to rent out a house, cabin, or cottage. Depending on how many people are in your group, it could be more cost effective to rent a house than to book a bunch of hotel rooms. We have done this a few times while traveling with others and have found that it works out pretty swell! For example, while we were adventuring in Banff there were nine of us in total. So, we decided to book a cabin and split the cost between all of us. It was far cheaper in the long run than most alternatives and we had the bonus of a living room to hang out in, a kitchen to cook in, etc. There are many websites out there to find rental properties, but one that I would recommend is booking.com (or Airbnb).
Granted, these are not all the accommodations out there. In fact, there are many other excellent options when abroad and much of it really depends on where you are going and for what purpose. However, hostels, Airbnb and rental properties are just a few that I have experienced, can attest to personally, and have also found save our family money while adventuring.
I hope these help you as you search for a place to “count your sheep” until you fall asleep. Stay tuned for next Tuesday’s travel tip where we will finish up this mini series by discussing the third way to not break the bank when traveling (Hint: it has to do with food). Until then, keep it classy!
What is one of your favorite types of accommodations when traveling? Please comment below! I’d love to hear from you! 🙂