Backpacker Hostels ($5 – $20 a night) are a popular option for the budget-minded traveler. Hostels are perfect for the unscheduled traveler or backpacker, and for those who are up for an adventure. You can choose to either pay for a dormitory room in which you’ll share with other guests, or you can pay for private rooms with shared or private bathrooms. Rooms & bathrooms are shared by multiple people which helps keep costs low. The average hostel room can hold 4-10 individuals, often furnished with bunk-beds. Personal lockers are available for securing your belongings. A very basic (toast and cereal) breakfast is usually included too. In addition, hostels provide a highly social environment for travelers to interact with each other. A communal kitchen and living area help facilitate this. Many backpacker hostels have a few private rooms for those who want a little more privacy along with the vibrant social scene. Avoid hostels that don’t provide lockers for your valuables Having earplugs & an eye-mask will help with late-night noise & light. Booking.com and HostelBookers are good sites to find a hostel. Consider checking sites such as TripAdvisor (SmarterTravel’s parent company) or Hostelworld for reviews and recommendations. Also, check whether the property is a member of Hostelling International, a U.K.-based nonprofit organization with thousands of properties worldwide that meet a minimum standard of cleanliness and safety.
Guest Houses & Hotels go for $10 – $50 a night.
A guesthouse or budget hotel provides a simple, affordable room without the perks or service of a bigger luxury hotel. Compared to a hostel, you receive a decent sized private room but much less social interaction. Kitchens and breakfast may or may not be included. Just like hostels, the quality these places can vary widely. In some locations hostels are just not available. But there will be plenty of cheap guesthouses around. Always ask to see the room first and make sure windows & doors are secure. Booking.com is a good site to search for guesthouses and cheap hotels.
Short-Term Apartment/Room Rentals go for $10 – $50 a night
Apartments are a great way to save money and often work out cheaper than a hotel room. If someone has a spare room in their house, or a whole apartment they are not using, they may rent it to travelers on a daily, weekly, or monthly basis. These apartments usually come fully furnished and include a kitchen — all for the price of a budget hotel. A big benefit of staying in an apartment is how it can feel like a home away from home. Regular interaction with local neighbors helps you appreciate what it’s actually like to live in the country, if only for a short time. Using websites like Airbnb, Homestay, and 9flats, you can rent a room in someone’s house, a cottage, or a private studio apartment. It’s a way for hosts to open up their homes and make a little extra money, while giving travelers a great deal and a local’s-eye view of a destination.
Choose places with a history of good reviews from past tenants.
Research the apartment’s location & transportation options.
Airbnb is a great site for booking short-term apartment rentals.
If you plan to stay a month or longer, try negotiating a lower price with the owner.
Vacation Rentals offer unique and affordable lodging around the globe. Because they tend to be more spacious than hotel rooms, they’re a particularly good bargain for families and groups who can divvy up the cost. And having your own kitchen can save you big bucks on restaurants. Sites to try include TripAdvisor and HomeAway. And make sure to read up about whether vacation rentals are right for you. If you appreciate the convenience and savings of having a kitchen and a laundry room during your trip, then a vacation rental could be for you.
AirBnBs are in 180 countries worldwide and offer a great way to connect people who have space to spare with those who are looking for a place to stay, whether you need an apartment for a night or a home for a month. You can book entire apartments or just spare bedrooms, allowing you the choice between having the place all to yourself or staying with and getting to know the owner. Even if you never meet your host, you’ll get to feel more like a local.
Booking.com also have a great inventory of apartments to help you find the best deal, wherever you travel.
Farmstays range from rural B&Bs to working ranches and cattle farms, this type of stay can cover a wide range of accommodations—and you don’t really have to be willing to milk a cow to take advantage of it. They are particularly popular in Europe, Australia, and New Zealand. If you think you might enjoy waking with the sun to feed a bottle to a lamb or cornmeal to chickens, a farmstay may be right for you. You could enjoy a hearty breakfast, learn to make cheese or spin wool. The quiet, bucolic setting is perfect for relaxation, catching up on reading, or finishing handicraft projects. But it can get very quiet, especially in the evening. These types of lodging can vary widely, though if you’re traveling in Europe or Down Under, you’ll have more choice than in the United States. If you need to know exactly what you’re getting, then farmstays may not be for you.