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Gone are the days when you might think that a successful budget holiday meant sharing a youth hostel room. You may have only spent a few bucks, but was it really worth it? Remember those travel guides ‘Europe on $25 a Day’ that cut your travel budget in half? It’s still possible to travel on a budget, by letting your fingertips do the walking. With so many online communities and resources now available, a bargain holiday awaits!
A budget hotel doesn’t have to be housed in the dodgiest part of town anymore. Here are a few handy hotel hacks that will help you stay in comfort and save money for that trip of a lifetime.
1. With home sharing apps like Airbnb abounding, you can find an affordable little flat or apartment in the quiet residential neighbourhood of your choice. As an added bonus, the hosts will often share insider tips on the best things to see, do and eat. And remember, it’s not likely that your Airbnb host is going to provide a safe for you, so bring along a portable safe like Pacsafe’s Travelsafe to keep your valuables protected against opportunistic thieves.
2. Check out a home share option – if you have a cool apartment in Sydney or New York or other major metropolis, chances are there will be someone wanting to swap. If you live off the beaten path, demand might be lower but then again, so will competition! Check out popular websites such as homeexchange, LoveHomeSwap and Digsville to find out more.
3. Check out pod or capsule hotels. Once the domain of trendy Tokyo neighbourhoods, they’re essentially a science-fiction-looking bunk bed carved into a wall. Hard to explain, but fun. One caution: if you are claustrophobic, sleeping in a pod can be a little unnerving. You must also trust that your immediate neighbours are a quiet, considerate bunch or you could all be partying all night. A couple of examples include The Pod in Singapore and The Capsule Inn in Japan.
4. Find a local – someone from that city or area who can give you the name of a quaint hole-in-the-wall hotel you may not have heard of. Often non-branded, locally-run hotels offer better rates and better service. You can find lists of this nature online as well, such as this one from The Independents.
5. Dogwalking – yes, some pet lovers may offer to have you camp out in their home for free in exchange for house sitting or pet care. There are websites for this too!
6. Finally, use your professional or school networks. Many of these networks offer the option to post personal requests. For example, your subject could be ‘Looking for Apartment Swap in Tokyo’ or ‘Can I Crash on Your Sofa in Singapore?’. What you’re trading isn’t only information, but trust. You trust that someone who has graduated from your university or is in your network is going to give you a fair deal. Why not? If you don’t ask, you don’t get.
In brief, if you get creative, you can find fantastic deals online and through your personal networks. Imagine a vacation costing half of what you originally budgeted, with twice the memories! Just make sure to use one of our portable safes when you’re not staying at a hotel, as most homes don’t actually have one.
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