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12 Clever Tips For Finding Cheap Accommodations Around The World

12 Clever Tips For Finding Cheap Accommodations Around The World

Accommodations are the biggest travel expense we all try to eliminate to the bare minimum. No matter what your housing preferences are, you probably don’t want to pay a fortune for where you stay while on vacation. We still need some money to splurge on food, sightseeing and a few fancy drinks, right? So here are 12 clever tips to help you score major discounts and even some free scores with all kinda of accommodations.

1. Take advantage of free housing in exchange for some work

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    You can work your way around the world and keep your accommodation costs close to zero. With a sharing economy on the rise, landlords, farmers and common people like you and I can open up our homes and let others stay for free in exchange for a few hours of their time, helping with different chores.

    Your duties may vary from farm or garden work, to minor construction or baby sitting. Typically, you are not asked to work more than four hours a day which means loads of time left for exploring!

    Where to look for opportunities:

    HelpX – Loads of different options (from hostel work to boat renovation) available in various locations worldwide. Browse the listings, get in touch with the host and secure your stay. The service is free to use.
    WWOOF Stands for World Wide Opportunities on Organic Farms. You’ll need to register to get access to job offers. Membership fee depends on the country you choose to work in ($40 for USA; AUD70 for Australia).

    2. Get involved in a hospitality exchange

    You’ve already heard of Couchsurfring before as an awesome way to stay at someone’s place for free, right? The truth is, your stay isn’t completely free. Yes, you don’t pay a dollar for the room, however you shouldn’t think of hospitality exchange as a free hostel.

    It’s a community where you have to give and receive. Fill in your profile with as much personal information as you can, and let someone stay at your place first. Treat them like guests and show around your town. Learn to be a good host first, before bombarding other people out there with any demands to stay for free.

    Craft personalized messages, tell them about yourself and your interests, state why you’d particularly chosen to host and mention common interests. Securing a place via hospitality exchange may be a bit time consuming, but hey, it’s a great chance to make new amazing friends!

    Where to look for opportunities:

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    – Couchsurfing – The biggest community out there with loads of hosts and surfers worldwide. Also, there’s a big forum you can browse through to ask questions about the place you travel to or just find a local willing to show you around a bit.
    – Global Freeloaders – A similar service with slightly less users, mainly from Australia and the US.
    – Hospitality Club – A great way to meet with the locals and get a free stay as well. Quite a lot of listings worldwide.

    3. Rent an apartment

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      The slower you travel, the less you spend on everything, including housing. If you plan to stick around a certain area for a month or two, rent your own place. As a long-term traveler and digital nomad, that’s my go-to way to reduce various travel costs.

      As you have a kitchen, you can cook your own meals once in a while and cut down the second major expense – food. Besides, your host probably knows a lot of free things to do in the city and will spill out where the locals go to snack.

      Even if you plan to stay short term, apartment rentals often prove to be much cheaper, especially if you travel with a company. For instance, a private room in a hostel in Paris starts from €60 per night; a 3-star hotel costs from €100, whereas renting out a small studio can cost you around €40 to €50 per night. Or you can opt for a more luxurious space if you travel as a group. For €150 to €200 per night you can rent a spacious 2-3 room apartment in good neighborhood in Paris.

      Where to look for opportunities:

      – Airbnb – This contains a huge collection of various properties worldwide. From private rooms to tree houses and even airplanes. There’s a lot of creative rental housing available.
      – Roomorama – A great selection of stylish rooms, apartments and houses around the globe. Rates vary from super cheap to modest.
      – Wimdu – Apartment and house rentals in major European and US cities. Nice selection of summer house at popular vacation spots.

      4. Stay in a monastery

      If comfort is not your primary concern and you don’t mind living in a pretty spartan environment, stay in a medieval monastery. Typically, you’d be either asked to make a donation for your stay or offer a room for a budget-friendly fee. Don’t forget to behave appropriately and mind the local rules.

      Often the place gets locked up for the night, so staying out late may not be the best idea. Spending a few nights in a monastery can be an incredible insight into the local way of life though, and a highly delightful experience indeed if you need to restore you mojo before setting on the road again.

      Where to look for opportunities:

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      – Monastery Stays Locations – A great selection of incredibly beautiful monasteries around the world. Paid opportunities only.
      – 15 Great Monastery Stays – A list of free and paid options around the world.
      – Google search monasteries in the area you are heading to and make a direct inquiry. Most places now have websites with emails and telephones listed.

      5. Housesit

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        The second best option for long-term travelers is to mind someone’s else house while the owners are away on their vacation or any other occasion. Aside from taking care of the property, you are often asked to take care of the pets as well (which is actually kind of cool).

        Becoming a housesitter is pretty easy. Register at one of housesitting sites, fill in your profile telling who you are and what you do, get in touch with different hosts and pass a series of interviews. A great advantage is an existing blog or a website where you can showcase your references even if those come from your friends and family.

        Where to look for opportunities:

        – Trusted Housesitters – One of the most popular communities out there with loads of properties listed in Europe, South and Central America. Annual membership will cost you €6.99 per month, and €15.99 if you opt for a three month plan.
        – Mind My House – Loads of housesitting gigs from around the world, from Canada to New Zealand. There is an annual membership fee of $20.
        – Luxury House Sitting – Premium property listing primary in the US with fewer gigs in Europe and Central America. There is an annual membership fee of $25.
        If you already have a few references and positive testimonials, browse around the groups and forums in the area you target.

        6. Don’t book in advance, haggle on the spot

        If you are traveling in Southeast Asia, accommodation prices on the spot can drastically differ from those listed on hotel booking sites. The best option is to book just 1-2 nights in advance, research other hotels in the area you like and pay them a personal visit to ask for a better price.

        It would likely be at least 30% lower than those sold via hotel booking engines. The longer you plan to stay, the lower the price can fall. No advance haggling skills needed. Besides, if you have a decent following on social media or run a blog, you can ask for a bigger discount in exchange for a positive review and a few shout-outs.

        7. Farm your way

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          Numerous farms these day will let you to stay for a budget friendly price, get involved in a number of free outdoor activities and say, learn how to milk a cow. It’s a great option for those who’d like to escape the city bustle, get fresh veggies for lunch and spend more time outdoors.

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          Rooms are simple and rustic, yet have this wonderful homelike atmosphere and the hosts are usually very friendly people who will be glad to show you around the area and treat you with delicious homemade snacks. It’s a great option for saving money while traveling with kids and still having fun!

          Where to look for opportunities:

          – Farm Stay UK – A great selection of farms, cottages and B&Bs around the UK. Prices start from just £15 per person per night.
          – Farm Stay US – Farms, ranches and vineyards around the US. Prices start from $20 per room.
          – Farm Stay Australia –  A directory of rural properties and camp stays around Australia offering guest stays. You should contact the hosts directly.

          8. Take advantage of price drop refunds

          There are numerous factors affecting hotel prices – the season, your location and even the day when you’ve made the booking. It’s really frustrating to discover huge price drops in just a few days after you have already booked your stay.

          But fret not! There’s a service for this called Tingo – another hotel booking engine that will automatically refund the price difference back to your credit card if the hotel decided to change it. You can stay, 100% sure you’ve gotten the best possible price !

          9. Book a secret hotel

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            Once in a while, even the best hotels can’t fill all their rooms 100% of the time, so they sell the excess at deep discounts. Those deals aren’t typically announced to the wide public, in order to avoid mass frustrations.

            Various services list “secret hotel deals” with limited information included. You’ll receive full details only after you make the purchase. However, a quick Google search will often let you identify the property with nearly 100% accuracy. So far, that’s one of the best ways to score luxury hotels stays for a frugal rate.

            Where to look for opportunities:

            – Hotwire –  Up to 60% off discounts on premium accommodations worldwide. Secret deals available in most major cities worldwide.
            – Lastminute – Loads of great deals in London and around the UK, with lesser choice in Europe.
            – Priceline Express Deals – Hotels in the US mainly sold at bargain rates.

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            10. Keep an eye on flash sales

            If you don’t mind spending a few hours a day hawking on flash sale websites and have flexible vacation dates, you can score incredibly affordable deals from high-end resorts worldwide. Flash sales run for a limited amount of time, so you do need to book fast.

            Where to look for opportunities:

            – Jetsetter – Mind-blowing luxurious resorts from around the globe. Typically, I could never splurge on such type of accommodations, unless booking with their discounts.
            – LivingSocial Escapes – Discounted hotel deals with cool add-ons like free meal vouchers, excursions or even fully discounted tours with air fair included.
            – TripAlertz – Free membership site with loads of special deals on hotels and airfare.

            11. Stay in a youth hostel

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              If you are under 25 (or 30 in some cases), you can join the youth hostels federation and gain access to numerous cheap stays worldwide. Typically, a bed in an 8-person dorm will cost you somewhere around €6 to €20 per night in Western Europe.

              The annual fee membership is €10.70, or you can get a one night membership for €2.90 that will become annual once you collect six nights. Deals available at HiHostels.com

              12. Redeem your frequent flyer miles

              You don’t need to be a travel hacker to get free accommodations in exchange for your frequent flier miles. Five trips around Europe or two flights from Europe to the US/Asia will let you get a highly discounted rate at one of the partner hotels or even a completely free stay.

              My go-to programs are Star Alliance frequent flyer and Flying Blue. Also, both offer huge credit card sign up bonuses and miles for purchases at partner stores like the iTunes App Store.

              Featured photo credit: Kevin Dooley via flickr.com

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              Elena Prokopets

              Elena is a passionate blogger who shares about lifestyle tips on Lifehack.

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              Last Updated on April 19, 2021

              40 Healthy And Really Delicious Meals You Can Make Under $5

              40 Healthy And Really Delicious Meals You Can Make Under $5

              Ever had those moments where you really wanted to eat something delicious and healthy but didn’t have the financials means to do so? Whether you’re a student or parent, this compilation of 40 great, healthy, and inexpensive recipes will make every night special and help you get fit! No more meals where you have to force the food down! It’s time to make that budget your best friend and turn it into great recipes. Enjoy!

              1. Fish Tacos in Crunchy Shells ($3.56 per serving)

              Is there a better way to end the day than a Fish Taco dinner filled with protein and nutrients and is easy on the wallet? This recipe calls for a boys’ or girls’ night in front of a good movie or game.

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                2. Mini-Meatball Noodle Soup ($3.43 per serving)

                We’ve heard of the delicious spaghetti and meatballs recipes, but imagine having that same meatball goodness in a soup? It’s like Christmas in a bowl. Healthy, warm, and only $3.43 per serving.

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                  3. Spaghetti and (Vegan) Meatballs ($2.13 per serving)

                  Now it’s time to look at the traditional spaghetti and meatballs recipe, but with a little twist: vegan meatballs. This way, you can enjoy the Italian tradition without adding on the extra calories. I’m sold!

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                    4. Kabocha Squash and Lentils ($3.12 per serving)

                    Absolutely delicious way to end the day with a Kabocha Squash and lentils dinner. The beauty of this recipe is that you can actually make many other things from the mixture, from dips to full-on meals. All under $5 per serving.

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                      5. Baked Coconut Lentils ($0.91 per serving)

                      Coconuts are always a good idea, but it doesn’t have to be eaten only for dessert or breakfast. With this great recipe, you can now eat a lunch or dinner filled proteins and a coconut twist. Yum!

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                        6. Easy Marinated Roasted Chicken ($3.40 per serving)

                        We love chicken and at less than $5 per serving, we are in heaven with this recipe. Add some vegetables and rice on the side and you’ve got yourself a full meal!

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                          7. Organic Greens and Goat Cheese Gratin ($2.36 per serving)

                          This is absolutely divine. You get in your healthy greens and your fat macros with this great recipe. Takes only a few minutes to make and it’s easy on the wallet. Bon Appetite!

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                            8. Beef Pot Roast ($3.22 per serving)

                            One word: perfect. This meal will warm your insides and fill you up with the high protein content.

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                              9. Fajita-Style Quesadillas ($0.43 per serving)

                              If you want to eat Mexican tonight but want to stay in your budget, this Quesadilla recipe is your best friend. It’s tasty and filled with healthy ingredients for less than a dollar per serving.

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                                10. Fish Tostadas with Chili Lime Cream ($2.82 per serving)

                                Another great lunch idea for the busy days ahead. Prep this in the morning or the night before and you’ve got yourself a healthy and cheap lunch meal!

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                                  11. Beef and Black Bean Chili ($1.36 per serving)

                                  Might not look like much, but this amazing chili is actually extremely healthy for you. The protein from the beef and the carbs from the black beans will fill you up in no time, and keep you full for a long period of time. Delicious and warm, just right for the winter!

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                                    12. Crispy Fish and Peppers ($2.18 per serving)

                                    Amazing recipe for anyone looking to change up their meals while keeping their macros in check and not going overboard on spending. Satisfies your crunch tooth (see what I did there?) and gives you all the protein you need to stay full and lean.

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                                      13. Vegetarian Gumbo ($1.50 per serving)

                                      You have the perfect macro mix here with the carbs, fats, and proteins. At less than $5 per serving, you’ve got yourself a meal that will last for the whole week!

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                                        14. Mexican White Bean Soup ($0.99 per serving)

                                        With the cold weather creeping in, it’s not a surprise that soups are coming back in style. This great Mexican White Bean Soup dish will keep you warm for winter without making a hole in your pocket.

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                                          15. Black Beans with Mango & Cilantro ($0.38 per serving)

                                          Mangoes make every dish a little bit sweeter, which is why we absolutely love this recipe. A normal rice and bean dish might be a little meh, but add the sugary taste of mangoes and you’ve got yourself a party!

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                                            16. Bean Burritos ($0.71 per serving)

                                            If you’re having people over tonight and don’t want to spend too much time or money on food, this dish is a great option! You can even cut up the burritos into pieces and make finger foods while everyone’s watching the game or gossiping.

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                                              17. Five-Spice Beef Kabobs ($2.43 per serving)

                                              The spices in this recipes add a delicious twist to the beef kabobs, which is definitely worth trying!

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                                                18. Cornmeal Crusted Pork ($1.92 per serving)

                                                If you like the fried crunch but want to opt for a healthier alternative, cornmeal is your man. This healthy recipe will satisfy all your fried desires without making you pop open your pant’s button.

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                                                  19. Chicken, Tomato & Cucumber Dinner Salad ($2.57 per serving)

                                                  Easy to do, extremely healthy, and super delicious. A must-try!

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                                                    20. Lentil Soup with Beef and Red Pepper ($1.90 per serving)

                                                    I can’t believe how cheap this meal is, especially for all the nutrients it contains. You can make a big pot on Sunday night and divide it into small portions to last you a whole week.

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                                                      21. Smoky Mushroom Stroganoff ($1.90 per serving)

                                                      Craving pasta but not sure what to top it off with? How about smoky mushrooms with a twist?

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                                                        22. White Bean Tuna Salad ($1.36 per serving)

                                                        You can add this White Bean Tuna Salad in your sandwich or just eat it as-is for a quick lunch on a busy day.

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                                                          23. Sausage Eggwiches ($0.80 per serving)

                                                          Who says you have to eat fast food to get an eggwich? This delicious recipe will give you an amazingly healthy eggwich for less than a dollar per portion. Can you say Breakfast?

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                                                          Sausage-Eggwiches

                                                            24. Baja-Cali Black Bean Salad ($1.17 per serving)

                                                            Great snack to add to a movie-night with friends. You don’t have to use chemically-processed salsas anymore, you can now use this homemade salad for your chip dips.

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                                                              25. Gnocchi, Sweet Corn & Arugula in Cream Sauce ($2.24 per serving)

                                                              Italians always knew how to make carbs look good! This delicious Gnocchi recipe will give your lunch a whole new meaning. Easy to make and only $2.24 per serving.

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                                                                26. Vegetable Lasagna ($1.73 per serving)

                                                                If you were looking for a healthy lasagna, you’ve just found it. At under $5 per serving, you can fill yourself up right away without putting on the extra calories.

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                                                                  27. Fajita-Ranch Chicken Wraps ($2.05 per serving)

                                                                  Don’t know what to make for lunch this week? How about delicious chicken wraps with a healthy ranch? This recipe will make all your lunches, even the quick ones, healthy and colorful.

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                                                                    28. Quinoa with Pan Roasted Brussels Sprouts ($1.24 per serving)

                                                                    A dish that has quinoa and brussel sprouts can’t be unhealthy, it just can’t, which is why this dish is one to keep in the books. Easy to make, healthy, and will keep you full for a long period of time.

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                                                                      29. Butternut Squash Chili ($1.04 per serving)

                                                                      You don’t need meat to make chili now that you have this recipe! It’s 100% healthy, filling, and smells absolutely delicious.

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                                                                        30. Fast Shrimp Bisque ($2.03 per serving)

                                                                        Seafood doesn’t have to be expensive if you know how to do it right, and this fast shrimp bisque is a great recipe to try if you’re in the mood for some seafood!

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                                                                          31. Chicken-Noodle Casserole ($0.98 per serving)

                                                                          Looks divine doesn’t it? This super easy to make dish will satisfy all your taste buds without burning a hole in your wallet or adding a few extra numbers on the scale.

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                                                                            32. Burrito Cups ($1.18 per serving)

                                                                            Entertaining someone tonight and don’t know what to make as appetizers? These burrito cups are a great alternative to chips or other greasy finger foods. All you need to enjoy it is a spoon and a cup.

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                                                                              33. Lemon-Dill Shrimp & Pasta ($2.45 per serving)

                                                                              Another impressive shrimp recipe under $5 per serving. The lemon-dill twist adds a great taste to the dish.

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                                                                                34. Potato Frittata ($0.87 per serving)

                                                                                If you want to eat potatoes for breakfast but still want it to be healthy, this is the recipe for you. At under a dollar per serving, this potato frittata will make you see potatoes in a whole new light.

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                                                                                  35. Grilled Pork and Pineapple ($2.67 per serving)

                                                                                  Meat and fruits? Oh, yes. The juiciness of the pork mixed with the liquid sugar in the pineapple will make you wish you knew about it sooner.

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                                                                                    36. Greek Honey-Lemon Pork Chops ($2.15 per serving)

                                                                                    Another splendid recipe mixing sweet and salty for a healthy meal. Easy to make and absolutely mouthwatering.

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                                                                                      37. Jamaican Pork Stir-Fry ($2 per serving)

                                                                                      You can add this healthy stir-fry to any dish as a side or amply enjoy it as-is for lunch or dinner. You can even make a wrap sandwich out of it if you’re in a rush to eat.

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                                                                                        38. Herbed Salmon ($2.49 per serving)

                                                                                        Salmon contains a healthy dose of fats that will boost your metabolism, lower inflammation, and make you happier. At under $5 per serving, need I say more?

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                                                                                          39. Five-Spice Pork Kabobs ($1.96 per serving)

                                                                                          Exquisite recipe under $5 per serving that will most definitely awe everyone at your dinner party.

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                                                                                            40. Stuffed Sweet Potatoes with Mango-Black Bean Salsa ($1.24 per serving)

                                                                                            You don’t have to eat sweet potatoes alone anymore with this flavorful recipe.

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                                                                                              Featured photo credit: Featured Photo Credit: 5 Dollar Dinners via 5dollardinners.com

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