“The gladdest moment in human life, I think, is a departure into unknown lands.”
-Sir Richard Burton
There has never been any doubt that travel is one of the excellent avenues to escape the perpetual hustle and bustle of everyday life. If it were cheap, people would understandably do it far more often than they would usually have. Unfortunately, travel can be rather expensive–especially when your expenses accumulate. Apart from the costly airline travel tickets, you have to account for the type of accommodation you are planning to book. More often than not, most five-star hotels would charge you a premium simply for staying one night. Chain hotels are no better as they would likely ask you for an exorbitant fee for a single night as well.
Fortunately, the world has opened itself up to the possibility of much cheaper accommodations by way of online bookings. Traveling today does not always have to mean staying in hotels, lodges and inns. With online booking applications such as Airbnb, you can now even book an accommodation as a house guest with a local who has an apartment in your preferred destination. A word of caution though, know that there are certain things you have to compromise on. Remember that although it would just be as comfortable, a cheap room can be starkly different from a hotel room. In any case, here are some of the more affordable alternatives to booking a hotel accommodation:
1.) Apartment and Home Rentals
Online booking apps such as AirBNB play an integral role for budget travel. Indeed, it can even be argued that it is quite the game changer. Today, if you wish to book an accommodation in Cebu, you can rent a condo in Lahug for your stay through the app. The app offers you a wide range of accommodation options, so even if you wanted a rather luxurious and indulgent stay, you can do so by booking through the app.
2.) Religious Housing
Although this is available only in some select countries, it is an excellent alternative to hotel accommodations. You might be surprised but temples, monasteries and even convents would offer you accommodation at a much cheaper rate–some of them would even offer you a room for free. However, you must be respectful at all times. In this regard, know that no alcohol on site. In some cases, you may also need to be affiliated with the religion, so it would be wise to find out beforehand.
3.) Couchsurfing or Homestays
If seeing the world is really what you are aiming for, then learning to compromise on comfort should be a skill you need to learn. If you are rather tight on budget, you can opt to couchsurf or stay with a local. Apart from saving you quite a lot on accommodation expenses, this is also an excellent avenue for a truly authentic travel experience. Moreover, it gives you the chance to immerse yourself in a foreign place. Do know that it is only common courtesy to get to know the local host and interact with them as well. It would not hurt either if you gave them a parting gift as well when you are scheduled to leave.
Although hostels are primarily marketed for young travelers who usually travel on a limited budget, this form of accommodation is rather ideal for any kind of traveler who might not wish to splurge too much on travel accommodations. Be wary though, the cheapest option in a hostel constrains you to share your room with travelers like you. If you have any qualms about privacy or are wary about your belongings getting stolen, you might wish to avail of a basic private room instead. Regardless of whether your room is private or not, the cost would still be significantly cheaper than the cost of a low-end hotel.
5.) Bed and Breakfasts with Shared Bathrooms
Bed and Breakfast (B&B’s for brevity) can significantly save you money over booking hotel rooms. However, it comes with a catch: Most of these bed and breakfast accommodations have a communal bathroom. So, if you are not incredibly particular with a shared bathroom or using the one located down the hall, you might want to consider a B&B as an alternative to expensive hotel rooms. Who knows? It might not be as inconvenient as you expected. It might turn out that the room you are supposed to share the bathroom with is not even booked which leaves the bathroom all to yourself.