Your Housing Dollars
With the US dollar growing seemingly weaker by the day, it’s important to figure out inventive ways to stretch your hard earned and sometimes hard to come by housing dollars. Whether traveling overseas or to the next town over, everyone wants to feel as though they are getting the most for their money.
When searching for affordable accommodations, consider booking housing alternatives like:
1) Hostels where you share basic accommodations with fellow travelers, usually students. Hostels are usually run like college dormitories, where the sleeping area consist of bunk or twin beds for several people (usually 4-8) who share one room and a common bath. Occasionally, some will offer private rooms/baths with double beds at a slightly higher price. Hostels have come a long way, you will find that some (not all!) offer certain amenities, like breakfast, shuttle service, WI-FI lounges, community kitchens and cable as standard fare. Some are specialized where only females are allowed to stay there. Hostelworld is a great resource to research which ones rate the best.
2) If you think hostels are not family friendly enough for your taste, consider giving budget chain hotels, like Choice Hotel’s Comfort Inn, Sleep Inn, and Quality Inn brands, a chance. They offer similar amenities as the larger, more expensive three to four-star hotels without the high price tag. Even better, quite a few offer kitchenettes where you can save even more by preparing your own meals.
3) Accommodation websites like Air B ‘n B, Home Away, Vacation Rentals By Owner, are excellent clearinghouses for renting private homes, rooms or vacation rentals at a fraction of the cost of fancy hotels.
4) I am a faithful believer in the power of Priceline.com, so much so that I have written a how-to guide on how to navigate this site. You can get step by step instructions on how to successfully bid on four-star hotels here:
Renee King’s Priceline Primer
5) There are several websites that offer travelers a chance to swap housing accommodations with one another. The most well-known are Couch Surfing and Hospitality Club, but you can find similar opportunities by checking out Craigslist and clicking on the city where you plan to stay.
6) Be sure to take advantage of any incentive program discounts that you may qualify for like AARP, AAA or the Military, when booking hotel rooms.
7) Hotel aggregators like Hotels.com, Room Saver, Travelocity, Cheapostay, Expedia, Kayak, Travel Zoo, Get A Room, Sherman Travel or Momondo will allow you to search for cheap rooms in any location at any time of the year.
8) Once you’ve decided which hotel you would like to stay at, get actual feedback (positive and negative) from previous guests by visiting Trip Advisor.