Low-cost accommodation options

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David is hoping to travel overseas, but he is on a tight budget and needs to find very low-cost accommodation. Sometimes saving money when travelling is all about thinking outside the box.

Q. David
I am not looking for cheap hotels – I can’t even afford those. So how can I travel overseas and keep accommodation costs to a minimum when I don’t have a cousin in every town?


A. Nine million references can’t be all wrong. That’s how many people have endorsed the Couchsurfing site. This site services millions of members in more than 230 countries and territories worldwide. It offers contacts for locals who are happy to have you stay, travellers seeking companions and lots of low-cost or free events. It’s a community benefit site, and we highly suggest you take a look.

If you don’t like the idea of staying in a stranger’s home, there is always the option of finding a hostel. Although they are often still referred to as ‘youth’ hostels, many hostels around the world welcome and even cater to a range of ages. The Hostelling International website offers information about where you can find hostels, although it is by no means an exhaustive list. 

The biggest problem with hostels is that you will still have to pay an accommodation fee. If you are looking for truly free accommodation, and you own your own home, you may wish to look into house swapping. This involves using a company to match you with a homeowner in another country. Both homeowners co-ordinate their travel and, quite literally, swap houses for an agreed period of time. It can be a great way to experience new places as a local might. And who knows – you may even find romance as well!

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Written by Debbie McTaggart


Total Comments: 3
  1. 0

    Avoid hostels. Sounds great but expensive and substandard.
    Try Airbnb. A range of prices and some a very low. Sometimes prices are low for a reason but there are gems out there. Read the reviews to pick the winners from the chaff and book ahead. If you book last minute then expect the good ones to be long gone. They will be.

    • 0

      Mick, there are hostels and then there are hostels. I’ve been using the Youth Hostels Association in Australia and overseas since 1972 without incident anywhere.Nowadays you have the choice of single, double and family rooms as well as the ubiquitous dormitory accommodation, even ensuites at some locations.The standard of a hostel takes its tone from the manager or Warden. A good Warden makes his hostel cheerful, clean and comfortable and promptly shows the door to anyone who does not know how to behaviour. I’ve seen parties shown the door for drunkeness, stealing and harassment of other guests with no discussion or arguments – just pack and get out with the Warden supervising all the way not leaving it to younger staff. It leaves some of the other youngsters a little more thoughtful about their fellows which doesn’t hurt.

      David, join the YHA in Australia. Try the system and see if it is for you. It is not very expensive.

  2. 0

    If you are wondering if you can afford to go overseas you probably can’t. You really don’t want to be worrying about whether you can afford a coffee or a drink. Also make sure you have travel insurance, that is absolutely necessary.



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