When you're planning the travel budget, two things that somehow manage to always come to the top of the costs list are transport and accommodation. After we have covered the cheapest transport option – hitchhiking, let's say a few about cheap ways of accommodation while traveling the world.
I am the learn-from-experience kind of person, so I will talk about things I've tried and approved. Before you decide on where you will stay, the smart thing to do is to make a list of things you MUST get from the accommodation to get the best from your travel experience and still not exceed your budget. For me, the list is short – the place has to be clean and warm. Unfortunately, I've had the opportunity to be unpleasantly surprised and I don't want to repeat that.
Here are the options that I use and strongly recommend. You can choose the best for you while consulting the list of your needs!
My all-time favorite way of traveling is camping&hitchhiking combination during Summer! To start one of these, you really have to be ready for the simple life, without having a soft bed or a clean and nice shower every day but in return, the world becomes your home. You truly experience the nature sounds and perks of going to sleep early and waking up in the dawn to observe a colorful sunrise while drinking your coffee or tea. If you want to go camping, it's important to purchase and collect the right equipment. This can get expensive so think about starting slow, buying one object at the time and meanwhile borrow some from your friends. There are some great web shops and Facebook pages that sell used stuff but my favorite is the flea market. Find one in basically every city and enjoy building your camping world for so much less money than in shops. For example, I bought a great three person tent (will be featured in photos) for only ten euros and bought two pairs of hiking shoes for only five euros. If you don't find anything during your first try, don't give up, the offer is different every time.
Camping is really amazing! To have a little more security, a shower, and an electricity, you can choose to camp in the official camping places but you will have to pay for that. Another way, you can camp in any public place if it's not specifically forbidden. It's good to check a little bit online before you camp somewhere. I most prefer camping by lakes and rivers to enjoy perfectly still water while sunrise and a quick swim a bit later. This is something that taught me to appreciate nature more. Make sure you leave the place just like you found it.
Couchsurfing is a global community of 14 million people in more than 200,000 cities who share their life, their world, their journey. It connects travelers with a global network of people willing to share in profound and meaningful ways, making travel a truly social experience. By using Couchsurfing you will most likely get an insight into local living more than researching by yourself. There, you can be a host, a guest or just meet up with interesting people that can show you the city or just share their stories. Couchsurfing is staying without paying any money, but there are hundreds of ways to pay for your stay. So, propose cooking something, share stories or just prepare some souvenirs from your country to give them as a thank you gift. Be sure to communicate with your host, to ask anything you want to know and once again, try not breaking anything.
Airbnb is a great online platform that promotes booking homey apartments instead of standard accommodation like hotels. The great thing is that you pay less than for a hotel and you get basically everything you need for your stay to be perfect. Airbnb features thousands of homes and after choosing your preferences, it will offer you the best places for you to stay. The platform offers you a great credit money if you invite your friends to join or you use Airbnb many times. Also, you are completely safe with your money. Most of the hosts have great returning politics, so if anything comes up and you have to cancel, most probably you will get of your money back!
Hostels are a popular way of accommodation among youngsters because you will most probably meet new people, on the road like you... With some of them, you may continue your trip. Unfortunately, hostels are becoming more and more expensive since they're more and more popular so for example in Western Europe, they are way over the budget. But in some countries with lower standards, you can still find good ones and enjoy staying and hanging out with fellow travelers! J