5 Travel Sites Offering Cheaper Accommodations
Paying top dollar for all your travel is like plunking down the sticker price for a new car – you’re almost always losing money if you do it.
There are tons of ways to get cheaper travel accommodations than simply calling up a random hotel or heading straight to their website to book. While some options mean you’re going to have to be more flexible with where you’re staying, other times you can get great deals on the same places or even find exotic destinations you hadn’t considered.
Here are five travel sites that all offer cheaper-than-retail accommodations.
Airbnb specializes in hooking you up with homeowners or apartment-dwellers that offer you a place to stay in 26,000 cities across 192 countries.
Hosts who want to rent rooms they have available post them on the Airbnb site, and renters search by location using the site’s stunning interface. You can see pictures of the apartment and your host, as as well as their social media profiles. All listings are screened ahead of time to safeguard against fraud and unsafe conditions. Once you’ve found one you like, Airbnb sends a request to stay which kicks off a conversation between you and the host.
Accommodation options range from a spot on someone’s couch, to a guest room in their apartment, all the way up to renting an entire house or condo unit. You’ll typically have access to all the amenities of home, like a refrigerator, stove, and more, which you can’t find in a normal hotel room.
Of course, price varies widely based on the offering as well as location. But there are great deals that can be found in some cool places, like this private room with amazing views in San Francisco for $85 a night or a docked yacht in Barcelona that accommodates 4 for $100 a night.
If you’re sharing a place with your hosts, you’ll have to be open-minded enough to live with people you’ve just met (but don’t forget: they’ll be doing the same with you). While this might not be ideal for you, it can be a lot of fun to learn about your travel destination and meet new people if you happen to be traveling solo.
Hostels are still a great, cheap way to stay, especially for travelers in theirs 20s. Whether it’s sharing a dorm room or relaxing in a private suite, hostels are ideal for those that are merely looking for a place to sleep while spending the rest of the day out exploring.
Going through a site like HostelBookers.com is the best option for a few reasons.
First, you can search by location and navigate quickly through hundreds of hostel listings. This makes finding a hostel much faster and easier than trying to sift through Google’s results.
You can also see reviews by other travelers that includes how they would rate each hostel for different categories like value, cleanliness, location, safety, and more. Unfortunately, there are still worn-down and unsafe hostels out there, so studying reviews definitely helps avoid bad experiences.
There are a few top sites that offer hostel booking around the world, but I singled out HostelBookers because they don’t charge a booking fee, offer a lowest price guarantee, and claim they’re 8.7% cheaper than HostelWorld.
There are many sites that offer hotel booking options today. I’ve chosen to highlight Hotwire.com since their “Hot Rates” often offer some of the lowest prices at surprisingly great hotels.
If you go with the Hot Rates, you’ll only know general information about the hotel, like its relative location, star rating, and the percent of guests that recommend the particular location. But with a little homework using Hotwire’s regularly-priced listings, you can narrow down the potential locations. In return for taking the gamble, you’ll save up to 50%, a great deal if you’re not picky about where you’re staying.
Of course if you’re more selective and don’t want to go with the Hot Rates, Hotwire and other sites will still help you find a deal wherever you are.
TravelZoo offers discounts on travel options of all kinds. This includes airfare as well as accommodations, and sometimes both are combined for complete trip packages.
The real savings is in their weekly “Top 20” list, which highlights the best and most popular deals on their site. Oftentimes these are bargains on trips that might not be your first choice but are still sure to be a blast. Checking out the Top 20 is a fun way to see what types of adventures are out there.
Many of the deals are also last-minute options, so check if you’re looking for a getaway in the near future. Deals change all the time and often sell out, so you need to act fast to take advantage of some offers.
Vacation Rentals by Owner (VRBO)
Vacation Rentals By Owner (VRBO.com) connects you directly to homeowners and listing agents who are looking to rent out a space.
Similar to Airbnb, VRBO caters to renting out entire units or houses only. If you’re looking for a large space than can accomodate many people, this may be your best bet. According to the site, VRBO offers many advantages with listings that are cheaper, more spacious, and more diverse than hotels.
VRBO currently boasts 190,000+ properties in 100 countries, so it works worldwide, too. If you’re wary of sending money to someone you’ve never met, VRBO offers a “Carefree Rental Guarantee” that protects your rental payments for a small fee.
Before you simply go out and book your next trip the traditional way, hop on to these sites to see what fun and cheap options are out there. You might be surprised and excited by what you find.