One of the biggest costs of a trip will always be the housing costs. Food costs, the second biggest enemy to a wallet, will seem small compared to the daily rent payment to a hotel. This creates a big issue to all travel plans. So how can one overcome this obstacle?
Being a youth and a college student, hostels and guest houses are the cheap option to hotels. Hostels and guest houses are cheaper living alternatives which might sometimes include shared rooms and bunk beds. Shared bathrooms, shared showers, old living quarters and poor guest services are sometimes the tradeoff for a discount living accommodation. Normally, hotels costs range from $100 to $300 per night while a stay at a hostel or a guest house would only cost 1/3 of that! Although definitely not as luxurious or as comfortable as a hotel, remember that the goal of travelling is not to live in a luxurious hotel but to rather see a new place. Check out hostels.com to find all the housing options hostels have to offer!
Hotels and Inns
Hotels and Inns can be a viable an option for many travelling. Although a little more expensive than hostels, hotels are usually more enjoyable and comfortable. Sometimes there are discounts and deals which might cut some of the high costs which come along with staying at a hotel. Search for discount deals and promotions online for great discounts. Call a hotel beforehand and asking the management if there are such options can open doors for discounts and deals! There are many low priced hotels, usually ranging from $50 to $70 a night, but risk being a very poor accommodation (bed bugs anyone?). Of course, if there really is a desire to stay at a hotel while being budget conscious, travelling with a buddy or two can easily cut hotel costs.
Staying with Friends
Remember that one Swedish exchange student or that person from California in that Statistics class from a year ago? Well, go and call them up! A great option to budget travel includes staying at a friend’s house. Staying at a friend’s place cuts down on so many costs that sometimes it is downright stealing! Not only that but friends can prove to be very good tour guides. However, remember to be courteous and not to overstay your welcome. Be considerate of the friend’s own schedule and remember that they have their own lives to worry about. Even if a friend offers to provide free lodging, bringing a gift and leaving behind a small token of appreciation (like $20 a night) can make a big difference from being a friend and a great friend.
Although I have never actually done this before, another option for the budget conscious traveler is couch surfing. Couch surfing is a way to stay at homes for free by allowing travelers to “”surf” on couches by staying as a guest at a host’s home, host travelers, or join an event.” Usually free of charge, couch surfing is the least stable of most accommodations as there are many risks associated with it. Conflicting schedules with the host, potential creepiness, awkward situations or unsafe situations might arise with this method. However, if this is an option for consideration, check it out here.
With these options to consider for a trip, don’t forget to be flexible! If the stress of living in poor living conditions or urge to sleep on a really comfortable bed does come up, a plan for 4 nights in a hostel and 1 night in a hotel during a week vacation can be an option! Don’t forget, travelling is an experience, not a chore!
This was written by Gary Chen of Stony Brook University
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