I get asked the following questions a lot while I am travelling and creating content for this travel blog Aussieinwanderlust “how do you afford to do it” or “how can you travel for so long”. So today I wanted to try and answer those questions a little more by explaining the travel resources I use to find and book accommodation at the cheapest price.
I always take my time and research destination I’m travelling to and the place I want to stay. I probably do this in a little more depth than the average person I’d say as the more I travel on a budget, the more I get to travel.
I’d say most people these days usually jump on to a site like Booking.com, Hotels.com or Hotels Combined and just find an accommodation option that suits them. I understand that and I used to do a similar thing.
Now, however, after travelling since 2016 I’ve had to learn to be a little smarter and book accommodation at the cheapest price. It can be done, and the savings can be huge.
Nowadays there are plenty of booking websites out there on the internet and some are certainly better than others, some are even better in niche areas than others as they specialise in a specific type of trip or continent. Today I want to list my favourite ways to book accommodation online and how I use them to book accommodation at the cheapest price.
Using Ebates to save on travel
Before I get to those booking sites though I want to let you in on one of my favourite travel saving secrets out there allowing you to Get Free Cash Back and Earn a FREE $10 Gift Using Ebates. This is a website I use almost every time I book online whether it be via Amazon, booking flights, accommodation or even clothes.
I have written a separate blog about Ebates and I would strongly encourage you to sign up to that as it’s FREE (and you get a $10 bonus with my link). You will be getting cash back and saving on your accommodation immediately. Check out Ebates now.
What websites do I use to book accommodation?
I listed the most popular booking sites earlier in this post and below I want to explain a little further how I use them to find budget accommodation when I travel. The first tip to finding budget accommodation is to look around and compare lists and when doing this ensure you are using a private or “incognito” website browser.
Booking.com is one of my favourite places to head when booking short accommodation options for weekend getaways. I find their prices are usually the cheapest and their website is one of the easiest to use in my opinion. I have used them a lot over the years and once you become a Booking.com genius member, you will find you are entitled to extra savings. These include extra discounts on hotel options that regular customers aren’t, a free breakfast included in your stay or the option to include an early check-in or late check-out at no extra cost.
It is an easy achievement to become a “genius member” with Booking.com. The only thing you are required to do is book 5 different accommodation trips within a 2-year period. If you do that the following benefits are all yours.
Booking.com genius member benefits
- 10% discount on bookings
- 2 hours earlier check-in
- 2 hours later check out
- airport shuttle
- special booking.com phone number for genius members.
To make your journey of becoming a Booking.com genius member a little easier and to book your next accommodation at the cheapest price take advantage of this 10% back voucher. Just book your accommodation as normal and once you check out you will be refunded 10% of your accommodation costs. Find out more about the Booking.com genius members program and the great benefits you can get here.
If you have signed up with Ebates you will also save up to 6% on top of any extra savings you make for being a Booking.com genius member. So as you can see it doesn’t take long before you are really starting to save more on your travel accommodation compared to others booking the same trip.
I have used this site a few times when I have either left my run a little late to find accommodation or I have found them to be cheaper than my other usual options. As I said above, I usually spend more time than most in finding accommodation as $10 here or there soon adds up to a night’s free accommodation in the long run.
This site is one of the favourites for people in the USA I believe but, I generally don’t find the website as user-friendly as the Booking.com platform. If you are a member, they have also have a great rewards program where once you book 10 nights with them you will receive a free night’s accommodation. This can be used at any time within a 12 month period. The price of your free night’s accommodation voucher is worked out by the average price of your previous 10 nights.
You will also get extra saving discount options if you are a member and logged in when you book. Once you have stayed 20 nights you will be entitled to silver class advantages and after 30 nights you will be a gold member. Once at gold you will get to enjoy bonuses such as room upgrades, free breakfast, secret prices and much more.
You will also get up to 4% CASH BACK on your booking fee if you have joined Ebates.
Airbnb is fast becoming one of my biggest saving methods when it comes to finding accommodation. They are literally everywhere now and with good reason. You generally get to stay with a local in the city you are visiting or have an entire place to yourself, they are much easier to book for larger groups of travellers rather than finding multiple hotel rooms and can be a HUGE money saver.
Read my The Bonuses of Using Airbnb Plus a Gift for You to Use blog to find out more about why I love to stay in Airbnb more and more now. You will also get to enjoy $68 AUD off your first trip as a bonus for being an Aussieinwanderlust reader if you book here.
You can also think about putting your own house or spare room on Airbnb to rent out to fellow travellers. It is a great way for you to save some cash for your next trip, meet new people from all over the world and have connections in other places when you visit. Find out how to become an Airbnb host now.
Remember to read the full list of bonuses you will get when booking Airbnb for your next accommodation.
I love this site for the occasions when I am travelling for a long period in-between having a full-time base to chill out in. I have and continue to use HostelWorld as I travel around Europe and have done the same in Australia, South America, Africa and Asia at various times. One of my favourite HostelWorld hostels is Milhouse Hostel located in Buenos Aires.
They also know that backpacking schedules can change and for that reason, if you book 7 days or more in advance, they offer FREE cancellation on your booking. This is a big bonus for me and I’m sure other backpackers as I have often found myself trying to change booking dates because I have enjoyed a previous location more than I thought and wanted to stay longer.
HostelWorld also offers more than just dorm room options in a backpackers, you will find a selection of hotels and bed and breakfast options to go along with the selection of backpacking hostels.
Check out the best prices on HostelWorld now.
The last one I want to mention in detail today is the best of the best if you want to book accommodation at the cheapest price because it is FREE. Couchsurfing is a really cool way to travel if you are open-minded about meeting new people, are happy to sleep on a couch or a spare bed (if you’re lucky) and are really trying to see the world on the least amount of money possible.
You need to make a profile on the website and get verified before you can start travelling but it really is an awesome way to make friends and also accommodate other travellers in your own place. You can build up connections all over the world really fast and have places to stay in cities or towns anywhere.
Make a profile and start looking into CouchSurfing today.
There it is, the most reliable booking options I use when looking to book accommodation at the cheapest price. If you have the patience and commitment, there are other options out there that can save you some decent cash. Just put in the time and effort and you will be rewarded.
Also, be sure to look into joining Ebates and getting your $10 bonus as soon as possible as this has literally been my favourite way of saving money on hotel accommodation as well as many other travel and non-travel related expenses.
As a bonus here are some more places I have found some great bargains for a cheap holiday:
Travel budget tips
Either booking a new travel holiday right from the start or while on such a holiday can be expensive. Things like flights, accommodation, meals, transport and tours can add up fast and put a strain on what should be a fun time. These budget travel tips will assist with booking a holiday at the best price or staying on budget while travelling.
- Learn hacks to book accommodation at the best price
- Find the cheapest flights every time with these tips
- A list of the cheapest destinations to travel to in the world
- Wanting to go to Europe without breaking your budget? Here are the cheapest locations to choose from.
- 50 plus travel tips to keep your trip on a budget
- The cheapest and most flexible way to travel around Europe without flying
Let me know in the comments section below if these options have helped you save some money in the past or if you have found a great deal since I suggested these sites. It’s always nice to hear when I have helped someone travel more. Also, if you know of a great place to book accommodation at the cheapest price please let me know as well. Be sure to have a read How to book the cheapest flights possible to further save some money on your next trip.
Don’t forget to sign up to Ebates to begin to save on far more than just accommodation.
Organise Your Trip: Travel Advice and Tricks I Personally Use
Book Your Flight
Heading to either Skyscanner or Momondo are my methods of choice for this. They are my favourite as they search for flights from different companies all over the world. You can filter the results to suit your needs and ensure you land the best price every-time.
Book Your Accommodation
This is an important part of any holiday you’re going on. Read all the reviews and get the right accommodation via TripAdvisor. They even show you the best prices available at the time for that room from suppliers like Booking.com.For booking a hostel your best bet is to start with HostelWorld or possible even use CouchSurfing if you’re on a real budget.
Don’t Forget Travel Insurance
Travel Insurance is a must these days so you have a piece of mind you’re covered for anything that could go wrong while on your trip. I now never go on a trip away without travel insurance. I’ve been using World Nomads for the past few years.
My favourite companies that offer the best service and value are:
- World Nomads (little more expensive but covers everything)
- SafetyWing (cheaper option to just cover you for health issues)
Looking for the best companies to save money with?
As I have been travelling frequently over the last few years I’ve learnt some great tools to use for saving money when travelling. I have a travel resource page that lists all the trusted companies I personally use and rely on. I think you will find them good as well.
The Best Place To Book Your Tours
If you are someone you likes to have the best tours in one place and read reviews from other travellers about their personal experiences of each different tour then the best platform to use is GetYourGuide.
They offer the best tours, have money-back offers in case your trip is cancelled and ensure the price of each tour is the lowest possible.
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