As more and more people begin to realize their dreams of traveling to far off destinations or simply getting out of town for a weekend, many travel options are appearing to help these money conscious travelers plan trips that are affordable without sacrificing comfort. New travel concepts like house swapping, apartment sharing and hotel sites that allow you to book brand name hotels at a low cost are popping up and becoming more popular as travelers stray from traditional hotel booking sites and travel agencies. Here are some of the best wallet-friendly options currently out there that you should know about.
Apartment sharing through Airbnb is a great option for many reasons. When staying in one city for a longer period, renting a room in someone's house can give you all the comforts of home that a hotel simply does not offer. Having access to a kitchen lets you store food and cook so you don't have to eat out three times a day. The best part about this option is that it tends to be more affordable than hotels with great location options to stay right where you want to be.
Couchsurfing is for a very specific type of traveler who is looking not only to save money, but also to experience destinations in a very intimate and local setting. The website is 100% free and allows hosts in a city to invite surfers to stay with them while they visit. Accommodations can range from sleeping on someone's couch or floor to staying in their guest room. This is also a great way to meet new people and get an insider's perspective of a destination.
House swapping with websites like Knok or HomeExchange is another affordable option to travelers. It allows you to trade whole apartments or houses with other travelers for a pre-determined period of time. Because it's a straight across trade, it's essentially a free stay. However, there is often a fee to being a member and using the website services.
Non-hotel accommodation options may be on the rise, but hotels are obviously still very relevant. Websites like Hotwire and Quikbook allow you to find some of the best hotel deals online. Brand name hotels will work with these types of websites to fill empty rooms. Usually a customer will not know the hotel name or exact address until after booking is completed which allows the websites to offer great deals. Tingo is another website that will actually reimburse you if the price of your hotel drops after you have already booked it.
Smartphone applications are another way to save money on travel accommodations. One great option is Hotel Tonight. This app is for finding hotels the same day only. Great deals can be found with this last minute booking option that would normally be expensive. JetSetter is another developing app that offers same day deals, though it is currently only in seven US cities. Lastly, all the big name hotel booking sites like Hotels.com, Booking.com, Expedia and Priceline have their corresponding apps on Android and iOS that have a lot more results and deals to be found.
Remember to consider purchasing travel insurance when booking all your travel details. Travel doesn't always go as planned and canceled flights and missed reservations happen. Travel insurance can make sure you don't lose money in the long run.
Have you used any of these travel accommodation services? What was your experience like?
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Auston grew up in Phoenix before escaping to Chicago in 2008. After 4 years working as an engineer, he sold his belongings and embarked on a round-the-world trip. After traveling non-stop for a year, he finally settled in Spain with his husband where he now calls home. When he's not traveling or writing guides about events, festivals or the best LGBT destinations, he enjoys the long sunny days and nightlife of Madrid. Read Auston's blog at Two Bad Tourists, or follow him on Google Plus, Twitter, Facebook, YouTube, or Instagram.
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