Part 2 – So you’ve got there, now where to stay?

With accommodation, there are various sites where you can cut a good deal.

One of the most popular being Air BnB, which allows home owners to rent out their respective spaces at affordable prices.  For long term travel, this way of buying a bed for the night is usually cheaper than an equivalent hotel room and is often coupled with washing and cooking facilities – saving you spending out separately on dining out and washing your smalls.  When travelling as part of a group, or in our case as a family, this also helps to bring down the cost of travel.  When renting an apartment, you may also find that by staying for a week is cheaper than staying for three or four days – you just have to want to stay in that destination for that amount of time.

To find the best deals – ALWAYS(!) book as far in advance as possible – this is a lesson we have learnt to our detriment.  Some deals do crop up at the last minute but since the ever increasing popularity of this particular site, cheaper places are snapped up quickly.

On this note, there are alternatives to Air BnB which provide a similar deal.  These include Owners Direct and Holiday Lettings.

Thats not to say that you can’t pick up a bargain through or trivago – both these sites take the leg work out of finding the cheapest rooms by searching multiple sites for you.  Obviously these companies take their cut, so if you have the time (and the patience!), it may be worth calling the hotel directly and asking what their best deal is and if they can better the deal you’ve found online.  You may only get a free breakfast or a stocked mini bar but anything is a bonus.  I once called a hotel in Jersey to ask how much their £700 penthouse was for a night – I was told £350. I managed to wrangle this down to £320 – well it was my 30th birthday!

Something I’ve been looking into more recently is housesits – many bloggers have been using this as a cheap way to travel the world and perfect their craft. Property owners list their house, stipulating what they require from potential housesitters and go on to select which applicant suits their needs – this could be looking after pets, finding someone to fill in for a short stay or even for a long period of time.  You can register for a fairly negligible charge.  Your main task is to then create a kick ass profile – anything to get you noticed, right?  The site I have mostly investigated in relation to this is TrustedHouseSitters, however there is also Nomador and MindMyHouse – you can register for free with all of them – however to get full access, memberships starts from around US$20 to US$65 for the year.

If you want to go all out there, you can always look to exchange work for a bed and your board.  Throughout the world, you can WWOOF! This doesn’t mean barking for a bed but rather, living on organic farms and working in exchange for your food and accommodation.  It does cost to register, but as in our case, this is an excellent opportunity to teach your children whilst living for ‘free’.  You usually don’t need a work visa either as no money swaps hands.

If you want to truly see the world as a backpacker as opposed to a flashpacker, you can always stay in a youth hostel. If you don’t fancy the idea of sharing an 8 bed dorm room, there is usually the option of a private room. Hostel-world acts as a booking site for hostels across the globe.  The best part of staying in a hostel is who you’ll meet – fellow travellers are an excellent resource of information, whether this is where to go, what to eat or what parts of town to avoid.  Don’t get me wrong though, our latest stay in Marseille is cheaper in an Air BnB apartment than in the local youth hostel.

Remember, when looking for the best deal – flexibility is always the key!

And don’t forget, cheap doesn’t always mean cheap.

Read reviews and research.

Cheap could be because you’re staying in a rough area, you’re miles away from civilisation or you’ve been planted in the noisiest room in the city – you just have to work out whats important to you.

Signing off with love,