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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 July 10, 2020

              The Definitive Guide to Get out of Debt Fast (and Forever)

              The Definitive Guide to Get out of Debt Fast (and Forever)

              Debt can feel crushing, like a weight that is always weighing you down. Looking at those numbers, it can feel as if you’ll never get out from under it. However, if you really want to learn how to get out of debt, it is possible with a great deal of focus and self-control.

              Getting out of debt isn’t impossible. Like any big goal, all that it takes is an action plan to identify where you are and creating a plan to zero out your debt.

              Identifying All of Your Debts

              The first part of paying off your debt is getting a complete picture of what you owe. When you have everything written out in front of you, it makes it much easier to create an action plan. Depending on how much you owe, it might also help you realize it’s not as bad you might have originally thought.

              Here’s how you can get started identifying your debts:

              1. Own Your Debt

              Before you start identifying all of your debts, take a moment to process that you have debt but want to get out of it.

              Forgive yourself for any past mistakes, missed payments, or overspending. It might be painful to accept how much debt you have at first, but you must own it.

              2. Make a Debt Tracker

              It’s astonishing how few people ever created a tracker to understand their total debts. Most likely, it comes from not wanting to accept the guilt of having debt, but, if avoided, it can make it nearly impossible to get out of debt.

              Open up a new Google or Microsoft Excel sheet and list out all of your debts. Start with the name of the creditor, interest rates, total balance, loan term length (if any), and the minimum amount due each payment. This will include student loans, credit cards, and any other type of debt owed.

              3. Get Your Debt Number

              Once you’ve made your debt tracker and taken the other steps, identify your total payoff number. This is crucial, as you will have a starting point and a clear goal that you are trying to achieve.

              Prioritizing Your Debts

              All debt is not created equal. It’s imperative to understand that there are different types of debt.

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              1. Understand Bad and Good Debts

              Bad debts are usually paying for things you want instead of always need. While there might be some emergencies that max out your credit cards, often times it’s excessive spending[1].

              There are three main types of bad debt:

              • Credit Card Debt: The average American household owes over $16,000 in credit card debt!
              • Auto Loan Debt: According to CNBC , the average auto loan in the US is $30,032!
              • Consumer Loan Debt: Consumer loan debt isn’t as common as credit card and auto loan debt, but it’s still considered bad as interest rates are usually between 10-28%.

              Good debt is identified as investments in your future. Here are three common types of good debt:

              • Student Loan Debt
              • Mortgage Loan
              • Business Loans

              2. Decide Which Debt to Pay off First

              Once you know each type of debt and their interest rates, you can begin to pay off debt quickly.

              Focus on paying off bad debt first, regardless of if it is a credit card or auto loan. Start by paying off the loan with the highest interest rate first.

              If you have several credit cards with different interest rates, you want to focus on the one with a higher APR. You will actually save more money by eliminating the card with the highest interest rate.

              3. Don’t Pay the Minimum Amount

              Paying the minimum amount digs you into a hole as interest rates will offset your payment. Even a small amount more than the minimum can help you pay off debt much faster.

              Removing Obstacles to Pay off Debt Quickly

              Creating a debt tracker and prioritizing a plan is simple, but avoiding temptation can be difficult.

              1. Set a Reminder to Track Your Debt

              “If you can’t measure it you can’t manage it.” -Peter Drucker

              It’s so important to track your debt to ensure that you get it paid off quickly. Similar to working out and measuring your results, you need to track your debt constantly. Start with a weekly reminder, where you sign on and log your updated number. Did you increase, decrease, or stay the same?

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              Regularly tracking your student loan balance can be incredibly motivating, as well. You will get a huge confidence boost each time you see your total debt amount decreases.

              Set weekly and monthly goals so you can have short term wins and keep the momentum going.

              2. Hide Your Credit Cards

              If your biggest debt is credit cards, you need to eliminate temptation and remove them from your wallet.

              Some people have gone to extreme measures by freezing their credit cards. Why? This would create an ice block around your card, which would require you to chip away at it slowly. This will give you time to think if it’s the best idea to buy that thing you’re about to buy.

              3. Automate Everything

              Willpower can be a huge downfall to paying off your debt. By automating your bills each month, you will ensure that willpower isn’t involved.

              4. Plan Ahead

              Getting out of debt will require some sacrifices, but with enough planning, you can make it work.

              For example, if you know that you have a friend’s birthday or family dinner coming up, plan ahead for the costs. Whether you need to cut back on spending the week before, pick up a side job, or meet them after dinner, do what is needed.

              5. Live Cheaply

              The only way to get out of debt is to make some sacrifices on your spending habits. Find ways to save money each month so you can apply that amount to your outstanding debts. Here are some ways to save money each month:

              • Live with roommates
              • Cook dinners and prepare lunches for work instead of eating out
              • Cut cable and choose Netflix or Amazon Prime
              • Take public transit or bike to work

              Finding the Lowest Interest Rates

              The higher your interest rates, the harder (and longer) it will take you to pay off any debt.

              If possible, you want to find ways to lower your interest rates to help get out of debt quickly. Here’s how you can get started:

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              1. Maintain a High Credit Score

              Your credit score will have a large impact on your ability to refinance your loans and receive a lower interest rate. If you have a low credit score, it’s unlikely you will be able to refinance your loans. Use these credit tips to increase and maintain an excellent score:

              • Never miss a payment
              • Don’t exceed 30% of your credit limit
              • Don’t sign up for more than one card at once
              • Limit hard inquires, like auto-loans and new credit cards
              • Monitor frequently with free credit-tracking software

              2. Find Balance Transfer Offers

              Start by opening a free account on credit.com. Credit.com offers you the chance to open a free account and see what type of balance transfer offers you can receive. Some of your existing credit cards might already have 0% or lower APR balance transfer offers available.

              Contact each of your credit card providers to ask about lowering your rate for a one-time balance transfer offer[2].

              If you do take advantage of this option, make sure that you use a balance transfer and not a cash advance. Cash advances have a ton of high interest fees (15-25%, depending on your credit card) and will only compound your debt problem.

              How to Get Rid of Debt Forever

              Setting up a plan, removing temptations, and getting the lowest interest rates is the first step to get out of debt.

              1. Keep Monitoring and Adjusting

              Once you have a plan, don’t get comfortable. Track your debt payoff plan and make the necessary adjustments when needed.

              Monitor your credit scores with a free site like CreditKarma. The higher your credit score climbs, the more likely you will be to secure a new, lower-interest loan.

              2. Earn More Money

              There are only so many ways to save money. Instead of clipping another coupon or making sacrifices for your morning coffee, find ways to earn more money!

              Think about it…it is much easier to find ways to earn an extra $1,000 per month than find $1,000 to cut from your budget.

              Here are some examples of ways to earn more money:

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              Talk to Your Boss

              Have a conversation with your boss about current salary and/or commission rates. If you’re not satisfied or want a change, don’t be afraid to look around at other positions. Some of them might even have a student loan debt reimbursement plan!

              Start a Side Hustle

              This could be coaching students on the weekends, driving for Uber, or taking paid online surveys. There are tons of ways to make money outside your 9-5. Now that you have a clear plan to pay off your debts, you’ll be more motivated than ever to figure out creative new ways to earn money.

              Build an Online Business

              There are so many websites and blogs that earn money from ads, affiliates, and other online products. Find your niche and get started.

              3. Celebrate Your Wins

              As you progress in your debt payoff journey, don’t forget to celebrate your wins. You need to always reward yourself for the hard work and discipline that is required to get out of debt.

              While you shouldn’t celebrate so big that it increases debt, make sure to factor in little rewards to keep you motivated.

              4. Set New Financial Goals

              Eventually, with a plan and these steps, you can rid yourself of your debt. Once you do, make sure to celebrate your monumental achievement, but don’t stop there.

              Now, you can focus on acquiring wealth and increasing your net worth. Set new financial goals so you have a new target to aim toward. Here’s how to set financial goals and actually meet them.

              These could be anything now that you are debt free! Think about where you want to travel, buying your first home, or saving for your future retirement. Just like before, make sure that your goals are specific, measurable, and achievable.

              Conclusion

              Congrats, you can now set a plan in motion to finally pay off your debt quickly (and hopefully forever)!

              Remember, if you want to get out of debt quickly, it’s not always easy. Just like any big goal, there will be sacrifices, challenges, and problems to overcome.

              More Tips on Getting out of Debt

              Featured photo credit: Pepi Stojanovski via unsplash.com

              Reference

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