How to save on accommodations abroad

Airbnb just announced it would return to offering a “rooms” service for those looking for more affordable vacation accommodation. But at an average price of $91 a night for a room in someone’s house, we thought we’d see if there are even cheaper options.

Here are some cost-cutting alternatives to check out to stretch your budget as far as possible:

  • If you don’t mind sharing space with strangers, check out You have to pay a subscription fee to join the network of hosts who open their doors to weary travellers, but at US$14.29 a year, even if you only use it once, you’ve still saved.

  • If you don’t mind getting a little dirty for a free room, check out WOOFing, a good option for more extended stays. You spend half your day helping out on organic farms worldwide. In exchange, you get room, board and genuinely local experience. 

  • If you don’t mind sleeping while in transit, book night travel and save the money you’d spend on a bed. But my personal recommendation would be to not overdo it, or you risk disrupting any plans you had the next day (because you nap through them.)

  • If you’re more into the wilderness than cities, check out if your destination has wild/free camping, which allows you to pitch a tent without a permit within a designated area. Here’s a list of some of the top spots around the globe.

  • If you have your own home, consider a house swap. Services like HomeExchange can facilitate finding someone who will stay in your place while you stay in theirs. Just make sure you trust they’re not going to trash the place…

 Bottom line: Even if you want to stay in a hotel, you can negotiate the price—this Reddit post goes over how to do it step-by-step.