Accommodation can be one of the most expensive parts of your vacation if you are not careful. Fortunately, there are a number of ways to keep the budget down.
1. Look for a package deal
Once you have created your travel budget, you should have a pretty good idea of how much you can afford per day. Go online to see what kind of package you can get at around that rate. For example, booking flight, hotel and car rental on Expedia can offer significant savings.
2. Be clear about what is important for you and your family
If you are single, chances are you won’t care what your room is like because you will be outside of it most of the time soaking up the sights. But do check if you get stuck with a single supplement fee.
If you are traveling as a family, a suite with a refrigerator and microwave can help you keep the kids fed and costs down.
Remember, the less you spend on your room, the more you have to spend on other things.
3. Consider staying with family
If you have any family in the area, see if you can stay with them.
4. Try Airbnb
Some of the properties are really great and a fraction of what you would pay for a hotel. Just be sure to check the location in relation to all the places you want to visit. You may need a rental car if you are not driving to your destination, which can add to the cost. Check for public transportation, and typical taxi fares.
5. Consider travel hostels
Hostels have come a long way in the past few years, and are clean, modern, and full of amenities. Some of them can be a bit out of the way, but their cheapness can more than make up for location. Backpacker hostels in New Zealand are a way of life and are used by people from 8 to 80, so don’t worry about being "too old" to go to a hostel. Just be prepared to share kitchen and sometimes the bathroom, or pay more for a private room if available.
6. Watch your travel dates
Peak times will be at the holidays and in the summer in many locations. Travel in the off-season can cost a fraction of what it does at peak season.
7. Bid on Hotwire or Priceline
You can get some great bargains this way. With Priceline, you can’t pick the exact hotel, but you will have an idea of location and rating.
8. Beware of location
City center hotels can cost a small fortune compared to others a bit further out. So too can airport hotels if you are not careful. Consider the cost and availability and time factor in relation to public transportation and/or taxis to where you need to go (and/or car rental), and see what makes the most sense.
9. Loyalty programs
If you are a frequent traveler, join a loyalty program for the same chain of hotels. It can add up to a range of perks and might also get you a room upgrade at no extra cost.
10. House Swapping
House swapping is becoming more popular, as families who want to visit certain locations but still enjoy comforts of home exchange with others. Just be careful of location, and do be careful of their property and your own valuables when you have anyone in your house.
Camping can be a great adventure. Campsites can be very basic, or full of amenities.
12. Caravan parks
Caravans are one up from camping in a tent. They are warm, dry, have a stove and fridge, and can be a fun way to enjoy a holiday by the seaside or other scenic location.
13. Deals and discounts
Look for bargain deals, coupons and more.
14. Check the fine print
Before making any booking, be sure to read the fine print so you know exactly what things will cost.