My trip to Peru is slowly approaching and I can’t wait! I’ve covered my airline costs which can be the biggest expense of a trip, depending on the location. Now it’s time to start saving for the second biggest expense: accommodation.
Accommodation can be a tricky category. If you’re traveling somewhere expensive, traveling for a major event, or like to travel in luxury, it’s pretty hard to save money at all. However, if you’re willing to get creative and be a bit flexible, it’s a lot easier to save money than you might think!
Lucky for me, Peru is a very affordable place. But just because it’s not as pricey as London or New York doesn’t mean I want to pay full price! Here are some of the tips and tricks I use to save money on accommodation costs.
Know Where to Find the Best Deals
If you have a certain travel style and wish to save without sacrificing, know where to look for the best deals. Unless you have received an incentive or coupon code to book directly with the hotel (like discount codes or point redemption), you should probably look at third party websites for affordable options. The following websites are my favorite when it comes to discounts:
My new favorite thing in the world is the Honey Chrome Extension! This extension app helps source coupon codes from all over the internet and is applied (and entered for you) at check out. It doesn’t work with every website, but will let you know in the upper right corner of your browser if it might work. Sometimes it even offers you cash back! Install this extension right away to save on any travel expenses!
Homestays and House Sitting
These days it’s all about sharing. Staying in someone else’s home (while they’re in town or not), helps to save a ton of money. This is especially true if there’s a big event taking place in the area! These types of accommodations range from all types of styles, prices and comfort levels.
For those of you who wish to pay nothing and don’t mind a little responsibility, you can always watch someone’s home for free! All the owners ask is for you to water their lawn, watch their pet or keep an eye on the place. If you’re looking to pay absolutely nothing and don’t care for any responsibility, you can always couchsurf (single ladies, be careful with this one!). But for those of you who want no responsibility, a bit of luxury and privacy, you might have to pay for it.
Here are a few sites that are best for homestays and house sitting:
Okay, I know what you’re thinking here. I’m sure your mind immediately goes straight to disgusting shared bathrooms, creepy roommates and bed bugs. And yes, this can happen. But hear me out.
The other glorious side of hostels is underrated and often overlooked! Certain boutique hotels you might love can actually be considered “hostels” even though they are clean, private and safe. You can also get a private room in a hostel (which is exactly like a hotel) for significantly cheaper. Hostels are also a wonderful place to make friends if you are traveling solo.
If you’re really worried about where you’re staying, make sure to read all of the reviews and email the manager with any questions before booking. The best sites to find hostels include:
Barter and Trade
This is more of a niche option and definitely not for everyone. But one of the greatest ways that I personally save on accommodation is through value exchange! One of my services as a blogger is to provide reviews, information and guides for my readers. I find hotels that match my brand or style and I offer my services in exchange for a couple nights stay. To remain transparent with my readers, I include a note in my post if I stayed with the hotel on a complimentary basis.
This can work for almost anyone in the creative field! I’m often surprised to hear how many creatives don’t utilize this trick. If you are a graphic designer, photographer, writer, painter, or influencer with a significant following or set of skills, try offering your services in exchange for your stay. Simply email the right contact person with your media kit, portfolio, social media channels or anything of interest. The worst they can say is no! So long as you don’t mind “working” during your trip, this option can save you a lot of money.
Redeem Your Travel Points
Remember when I told you that you should save by collecting travel points? Now’s the time to cash those points in! If you’ve been really hacking, saving and working the system, you should be able to pay for 4-star accommodations for about a week if not longer. Note: this option is not for the faint of heart and should only be used if you plan on paying off your credit cards monthly!
Sebrin Elms is a twenty-something newlywed with two kitties and a serious obsession with travel. She started her blog, The Clumsy Traveler, in anticipation of a 3-month long honeymoon around the world. When she came back, she wasn’t ready to stop writing and traveling! You can learn more about her story on her blog or follow her on Instagram @theclumsytraveler.
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