Travelling to another country can prove a bit stressful, if you have been out of a job or if you don’t get paid well (who does? I am sure Mittal also whines about not getting enough money to buy an island like Australia). So a month back when my friends and I were planning to go on a two week trip to Europe, all I could think of was how to fund it? Out came my savings and entrepreneurship of making money and fleecing family members. But Europe with a high currency value, even bajillion Indian rupees weren’t enough. Then we thought of cutting back on our biggest expense, accommodation. N.B. – We had decided on the options long before I had Wikipediaed the story Queen.
Believe me I will love to give my itinerary here but I don’t want you to hate me. For now here are some tips for you lot-
Trashing your friend’s place– First and foremost, hunt down your friends on Facebook with whom you haven’t spoken to in years because, you know, life; especially the ones who have settled abroad. Believe me you will need them. There is nothing like staying for free (hopefully) at a friend’s place in unfamiliar surroundings. Just message them randomly, stalk them and hope that they will be available to chat whenever you are. Build up the rapport and then a few days later bam! Tell them about your plans. Done and dusted. Of course by the end of your stay they become such good friends of yours that you feel super bad leaving.
Back to the hostel– If, unfortunately, you don’t know anyone in a particular city, look for the cheapest hostel options. Hostels are extremely clean and comfortable, and most of them provide you with free breakfast and free Wifi. With a comfortable bed, you don’t really need much else. Now hostels can be as expensive as that five star hotel in your list where you simply HAVE to stay the next time you visit or as cheap as buying street food in Bombay. Ok not that cheap but you get the drift. You can opt for a private twin sharing room which will be expensive or you can opt for a mixed room with 6-8 people. In my case there were 8 people which included a girl:boy ratio of 6:2. Alas, there was no Oleksander this time, but we did meet a Jeremy.
Lead the luxurious life… for free– If you are planning your trip almost around the same time one of your lucky friends is headed for work in the same direction, you might as well whine, beg, plead, massage their feet and basically lose your dignity into letting them allow you to crash with them in the hotel they will be putting up in (again stalking him/ her helps if you haven’t spoken to your friend in quite a while). This helps you save bucketload of money whilst getting the luxury treatment you know you deserve.
Be a couch surfer – Another economical way to stay is looking for couch surfing options. Couch surfing was conceptualized in 1999 and is the cheapest form of lodging there is. You can couch surf either through the umpteen websites by making your own profile and accepting the invites you get, on the goodwill that you are trustworthy and you will also provide shelter if someone will like to visit your city. If you are not ok staying with a stranger, here is where your friend of friend of friend of that guy/ girl who stays abroad and welcomes people in to his/ her house, comes into play. He/ she is obviously trustworthy because of the super close connection you share and everyone has good things to say about him/ her.
Bed and Breakfast all the way– The last but not the least economical option is staying in rented apartments especially if you are bunch of people travelling and staying together. If you are alone, usually this option becomes a tad more expensive and you are better off with the aforementioned ones. www.airbnb.com is one of the fastest growing websites in the world. The apartments/ houses are well maintained, clean and extremely comfortable, complete with a kitchen where the owner of the house usually stocks up food supply for you. All you have to do is leave the house in the same condition the way you found it. No stealing of accessories, no dirtying the walls and/ or the floors please and making the beds before leaving. The houses also come equipped with a washing machine and a dryer so you can use it, as unlike me you might probably have enough intelligence to travel light. With so much walking, going upstairs and downstairs from a hostel to an apartment, believe me you don’t want a big bag on your person.
Being a night owl– One last point is if everything is booked and nothing is fitting in your budget then you might as well leave your luggage at the station/ airport lockers and roam about the city in the night. If it doesn’t have a night life, then you might as well just crash at the station/ airport.
This is exactly what my friends and I did in our two week trip to bring down our costs. We did everything mentioned including leaving our bags at the station and roaming around till 5 am. This has been one of the best trips and experiences of my life. These options give you opportunities to interact with different people from all over and make unlikely friends and acquaintances. You also get a tour guide who lets you in on the not so popular areas around which are a must visit. But nothing can beat being invited to a random party, right?
Have you done anything differently whilst travelling to get down your costs especially for accommodation? Why don’t you write to us or tweet us to let our readers know.