Those of you who read my free money tips newsletter (which I suggest you do), know that I am about to take a trip to Israel. I spent the last few days working on lodging for the trip, and I want to share a few tips to save money on hotels when traveling.
Stay with Family and Friends
I am lucky to have family and friends all over Israel. I wrote my cousin to ask about hotels near the beach when I am in Tel Aviv, and he wrote back, “Are you crazy? You don’t get to stay in a hotel, you stay with me!”
We don’t all have cousins everywhere in the world, but you can be resourceful and see who you know wherever you travel. You might be surprised where a friend has moved that might loan you a couch or guest bed for a night.
When I visited London, Paris, and Amsterdam in 2011, I stayed in hostels every night of the trip. They don’t have all the bells, whistles, and privacy of a hotel, but they cost a lot less and you can meet some pretty cool people.
When you stay in a hostel, do your research ahead of time. Check review sites for the location, cleanliness, safety, meals, transportation, reviews, and anything else you may want to know. You can also check travel blogs like Nomadic Matt for ideas on where to stay.
I’ve never Couchsurfed myself, but I have friends who have and said it was a great experience. The idea is that you sign up and create a profile at the Couchsurfing website. You build a reputation so people know you are a good guest (or host), and you can see your host’s (and guest’s) profiles and ratings before deciding where to stay.
Couchsurfing may not be for everyone, but it is a great way to get to know a local, stay cheap or free, and you may even make a friend and find a tour guide from it!
AirBNB is a hotel booking site, but it is not for hotels. The site features homes, apartments, flats, and other privately owned lodging options that allow you to stay in someone else’s home or rental property for free.
Some people rent out their homes while they are on extended vacations. Others just rent a room in a house they occupy. Either way, it is worth taking a few minutes to learn more.
Just Pay For It
If your finances are in order, you don’t have any debt, and you can afford it, sometimes staying in a nice hotel is worth the cost. We are spending a few nights with friends and family this trip, but are also venturing out and staying in hotels a few nights. We decided that if we are already on the other side of the world, which is going to be super cheap, we might as well enjoy the time we have there, and together, and make a real vacation out of it.
So, we are paying some hotels, but found a mix of places to stay that will make the trip special, affordable, and memorable.
How Do You Save?
What are your best tips to save money when traveling? Anything I missed? Please share your ideas and experiences in the comments.
Image by TFDuesing / flickr