Besides airfare, hotels can be one of the highest expenses when booking your vacation, taking up a big chunk of your budget. But these days, it can be extremely easy to find a hotel for cheap and save you lots of cash. Here are some tips on how to find a hotel for cheap:
If you haven’t heard of Air BnB, you’ve been missing out. Air BnB allows you to rent rooms or condos or houses from local folks. It’s cheaper than your regular Bed and Breakfast because you’re not getting the same level of service. An Air BnB could be your next door neighbor who has kids in college, and can rent out a few rooms to travelers. Besides a bed and a bathroom, you’re pretty much on your own.
However, Air BnB allows you to book places for a fraction of the cost of a hotel or normal bed and breakfast. Without the frills, you can save a lot of money, especially for special week-long rates, which a lot of Air BnBs offer.
Within Craigslist’s home section is an offer of swapping houses either long term or short term. This process definitely takes some navigating because you could easily end up with some psychos. However, back when we were recent newlyweds, my husband and I were desperate for a vacation but had extremely limited funds. We found a family that was willing to swap their Big Bear cabin the mountains for a weekend at our beach-area apartment. While we were definitely freaked out when we handed over the keys to our place, the truth was, we didn’t have much worth stealing. I’m not sure that I would try this now that we own more. But if you’re broke and young and really need a vacation, take a look at their swap section…and make sure you have a lot of ground rules!
Couch Surfing is the newest form of cheap hotels for the young crowd. This is even less than Air BnB because you aren’t even guaranteed a room in this case, just a place to crash. While I wouldn’t recommend this strategy for a single girl, if you’re traveling with a friend, you may feel safer crashing on someone’s couch. This is definitely not for the faint of heart, but it is probably the only way you can get a hotel for, basically, free.
If you’re not feeling any of the other options and are dead set on staying in a regular hotel, try Priceline. With Priceline Negotiator, you can negotiate the amount you’re willing to spend on a hotel, and can also pick the hotel’s rating, ie, you can submit a bid for $100 on a three-star hotel and select the region where you’d like to stay. While you can’t select the exact hotel you’d like, chances are you’ll get a decent hotel (especially if you pick a three or four-star hotel) for a fraction of the regular price. My husband and I have used this several times and have scored a four-star hotel for $100 a night.