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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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              Published on July 4, 2018

              Top 10 Recommendations on Money Management Apps

              Top 10 Recommendations on Money Management Apps

              Don’t want to overspend your budget, swipe your credit card too many times, and feel like a financial mess? Instead of beating yourself up for the bad financial decisions you’ve ever made, create a new plan!

              The solution is simple, save more and spend less. But, we all know it’s easier said than done.

              One problem is finding quality apps that save you time and money, and aren’t just hype.

              Luckily, there’re many great money management apps available at your fingertips. Here are 10 reliable money management apps that can help you save money, and crush debt.

              1. Personal Capital

                When was the last time you’ve tracked your net worth? Probably months ago or maybe never. Personal Capital allows you to easily track your net worth and plan for retirement.

                Here are some of its main features:

                • Sync many investment accounts, and expenses (mortgage, credit cards, etc.) in one place
                • Discover hidden fees and how much they’re affecting your retirement plan
                • Wealth management for investors requiring a long-term strategy

                With Personal you’re free to track your expenses and net worth.

                Available for: iOS and Android

                2. Mint

                  If your smartphone could only install a few apps, Mint would be one of them. Why? Because Mint tracks all your balances and bills in one place.

                  Here are some of its main features:

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                  • Effortlessly track all your bills and balances in one dashboard
                  • Categorized expenses to understand where you spend your money
                  • Uncover hidden fees, and determine your investment style with sophisticated retirement tools.

                  Feel at ease with managing your money by a reputable company that isn’t going anywhere.

                  Available for: iOS and Android

                  3. YNAB

                    Everyone needs a budget, there’s no way around it. YNAB (You Need A Budget) is an easy to use app that will change the way you think about money. Their motto is to “give every dollar a job”, and you’ll quickly discover why.

                    Here are some of its main features:

                    • Easily sync all bank accounts in one place
                    • Visually see your debt paying progress with eye-catching charts and notifications
                    • Customized categories setting saving goals

                    The best part about YNAB is the community that comes along with it. You can hop on the YNAB forum to receive support, listen to the YNAB Podcast or stay tuned for their weekly videos.

                    Available for: iOS and Android

                    4. Wealthfront

                      Albert Einstein once said “compound interest is the eight wonder in the world”, and for a very good reason. The problem is, most people are scared or unwilling to learn the basics of investing. This is why Wealthfront is the perfect solution for the hands-off investors.

                      Here are some of its main features:

                      • Variety of investment account options including IRA, Roth IRA, and more
                      • Your portfolio composed of 7 different asset classes
                      • Automatically rebalanced portfolio
                      • Daily tax loss harvesting

                      Wealthfront is perfect for people requiring investment guidance, or prefer a hands-off solution.

                      Available for: iOS and Android

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                      5. Clarity Money

                        If you’re staying on top of your budget but want to take your finances to the next level, Clarity Money can help you. Clarity Money helps you stay under budget and build a personalized savings plan.

                        Here are some of its main features:

                        • Easily cancel subscriptions with one click
                        • Synchronize bank accounts fast
                        • Transfer money effortlessly between different accounts

                        Clarity Money isn’t an app that does it all. But, it does make transferring money and canceling subscriptions fast and efficient.

                        Available for: iOS and Android

                        6. Acorns

                          What if there was a way to quickly gain confidence in investing your money, without too much risk? There is, and Acorns is your solution. With Acorns’s technology, you’re able to make investments as small as $5.

                          Here are some of its main features:

                          • Automatic contribution option
                          • Customized portfolio tailored to your needs
                          • Low management fees ranging from $1-$2 per month

                          Stop wasting dollars on expensive coffee. Instead, invest them towards a brighter financial future.

                          Available for: iOS and Android

                          7. Albert

                            Do you budget by only subtracting your expenses from your income? If so, how would you discover any overpayments or extra money you could save? This is where Albert shines, and it does it all free.

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                            Here are some of its main features:

                            • Receive notifications for overpayments, hidden fees, and low balances
                            • An Automatic budget that’s built around your spending and income
                            • Easily track debt and set new financial goals

                            While Albert does offer a paid option, most of its core features are FREE. So, what better option to save?

                            Available for: iOS

                            8. Prism

                              Have you recently forgot to pay a bill because life got in the way? Prism automatically tracks your bills and syncs your bank accounts in one place.

                              Here are some of its main features:

                              • View all your account balances in one glance
                              • Bill due dates are automatically pulled and tracked
                              • Receive early reminders for upcoming bills

                              If your budget is on “fleek” but can’t seem to stay on top of your bills, Prism is your go-to app.

                              Available for: iOS, Android, Windows, Amazon

                              9. Mvelopes

                                Remember hearing about people using envelopes to budget their money? Well, Mvelopes is the new envelope system for this generation. Easily create monthly budgets and track your saving goals.

                                Here are some of its main features:

                                • Connect unlimited bank accounts
                                • Real-time budgeting with auto transaction syncing
                                • Low monthly $4 fee or $40 annual

                                Mvelopes can help you crush debt, save more, and help you stop overspending. With its low monthly fee, it’s worth a try.

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                                Available for: iOS and Android

                                10. Wallaby

                                  Most people don’t have time to track their credit card’s changing rewards and interest rates. Because of this, you need help reaping the most of your credit card’s rewards. Wallaby is the app that will help you do just that.

                                  Here are some of its main features:

                                  • Automatic recommendations for the best credit card to use for each transaction
                                  • A friendly user interface, displaying credit cards with their corresponding images
                                  • Free to use

                                  If you’re using the same credit card to make your purchases, you may be leaving money on the table. Give Wallaby a try if you’re ready to maximize your credit card’s rewards.

                                  Available for: iOS and Android

                                  Take control of your finances and experience financial freedom

                                  Picture yourself staying on budget and saving more money than you’d ever imagined.

                                  It took hard work and dedication but you’d finally learned how to manage your money. You have to start taking control of your spending and saving habits.

                                  You now have a list of reliable apps that can help you build better money habits, what are you waiting for?

                                  Featured photo credit: Pexels via pexels.com

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