There are two major expenses when travelling: getting there and finding somewhere to stay. Travel and accommodation are the major money eaters on any trip, but when you travel, you can cut the costs of expensive hotel stays by thinking outside the box. There is a whole range of ideas for places to stay that not only save the expense of hotels but add an extra dimension of experience and enjoyment to any travels.
One of the cheapest alternatives to hiring a hotel room is taking shelter in the great outdoors and of course, camping. If you have a tent and are willing to travel, camping gives you the freedom of the open road and the convenience of hundreds of campsites, with electrical points and on-site bathrooms, in every corner of the globe at the fraction of the cost of a hotel holiday. An added extra is that rugged romance of sleeping out under the stars and campfire cooking.
If getting back to nature and the outdoor life lacks appeal, hostels have the advantage of four walls and a roof to sleep under. Not just for young travellers, many hostels offer private rooms, family rooms and dormitories to stay in and all have basic amenities with shared kitchens, dining areas and bathrooms. Available at minimal cost, another advantage is that hostels are situated in a variety of cities as well as country and seaside locations.
Many university and college towns give an extra opportunity to the more knowledgeable traveller. If, for example, you were seeking accommodation in Liverpool, an equally economical but little known alternative to a hotel is academic housing. Travellers can hire one of the basic but affordable student rooms, with shared bathrooms and kitchens, or more equipped student flats. The rooms are usually available for hire when the students are home on vacation, which often collides with that time you might be thinking of getting away from it all.
Seeking more than basic accommodation and feeling adventurous? You can organise a home stay holiday when you arrange to sleep in someone else’s spare room, on the sofa or even the floor through one of the many burgeoning hospitality networks and sites online. You can arrange to stay with a family that is happy to welcome travellers into its home for a nominal fee, or in some cases, at no cost whatsoever. An added pleasure is the opportunity to fully interact with your host family as a household guest and if travelling abroad, country. Equally, you can choose to live with your host family and agree to come and go as you please.
If you want to experience the thrill of new places and still have the comforts of home, consider house-swapping. Home-exchange networks introduce people who wish to swap homes for weeks or months at a time. A small fee may be required to register on the sites, but usually the actual house exchanges are free. Your home becomes your host’s home and vice versa, with the added security, in direct swaps, that they will be as respectful of your home as they hope you are of theirs.