Photo: City Circus Athens, 2016.
Below are my favourite sites for booking accommodation.
Booking.com is hands-down the best accommodation booking site (IMO)! I booked via their platform so many times during my year in South Korea that I’ve become a ‘Genius’ member and now get 10% off a range of their properties. I really like that the rates displayed in the search results include all fees so you don’t have any nasty surprises (fees) at the end when you get to the payments page. They offer a ton of properties with free cancellation and no up-front payments, and they price match! If you’re Aussie, you can also get 4% cashback via cashrewards.
I had the best time couchsurfing in Japan and I would recommend it to anyone! And not because it’s essentially free accommodation, but more so because it’s a great way to meet locals and gain a deeper understanding of the culture. However, safety first – do your research, make sure as best you can that you’ll be comfortable with whoever you’re staying with and maybe start in a country you’re familiar with or that you know would be relatively safe.
Workaway is my favourite site when it comes to exchanging work for accommodation and meals. You can workaway in over 155 countries! It’s a great opportunity to learn a new skill, work in a role that is different to your 9 to 5 job and to live like a local. The type of help requested includes dog-sitting, teaching English, babysitting, hostel work, admin work, web design/development work, farm work, sustainability project work, and NGO work.
I usually turn to Airbnb when I’m travelling with my partner. I see them as an excellent alternative to hotels. I’ve stayed in some great Airbnb places in Kyoto, Tokyo, and Hong Kong – let me know if you’d like me to recommend a place or two.
If a particular hostel is totally booked out on booking.com for my dates, I generally turn to Hostelworld to see if it’s available. Also, there were quite a few times that I just used Hostelworld to compare prices with those found on Booking.com and Hostelworld had the better deal! So it might be a good idea to always check Hostelworld if you’re after hostels, especially given the 20% cashback you get via cashrewards (Aussies only) – keep in mind though that generally you’re only required to pay a deposit at the time of booking so the 20% cashback is calculated on the deposit amount and not the total.
- SleepinginAirports – If you’re on a long stopover or catching an early morning flight, why not just sleep at the airport and save yourself one night’s accommodation? You’ll also save yourself the hassle of having to wake up super early to travel to the airport at an ungodly hour. SleepinginAirports is THE best guide to sleeping in airports… Definitely worth checking out.
- Hotels.com is pretty good as they offer 1 night free for every 10 nights booked but I prefer Booking.com as they generally have better deals. For the Aussies out there, you can get 4.5% cashback with cashrewards when booking with Hotels.com.
- WWOOF – You can volunteer to live and work on organic farms through WWOOF! I haven’t had the opportunity to give WWOOF a go but it’s on this list as I think it may be useful for some of you.
- Trustedhousesitters – Accommodation for pet lovers! You actually have to pay US$99 to be a part of this community for a year. I was a member in 2016 but the listings that were available during the time I was travelling didn’t quite suit me. I found there were a lot of opportunities in the UK though… so if you’re considering travelling slowly across the UK, this site could be useful!
- Cashrewards (Aussies only) – So I’ve mentioned cashrewards quite a bit…. basically you get paid to shop. You can earn cashback from HUNDREDS of stores! Sign up using my link and we both get $5 when you make a purchase >> gimme $5 🙂
- If you’re on a tight budget, consider saving money on accommodation by booking overnight trains, buses and flights! I regularly booked overnight buses while travelling around Europe. It was a little more expensive than buses travelling at other times but it saved me a lot of money over the course of my 3-month trip.
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