A list of my fave booking sites.
The best! I would generally only book via other accommodation booking sites if the listing I’m after is not available on Booking.com. Once you book with them 5 times, you activate Genius status (.genius is their travel rewards programme) which unlocks a 10% discount and freebies/perks such as free airport shuttles, welcome drinks and priority late check-out. The prices displayed in the results include all fees so there won’t be any nasty surprises (additional fees) once you get to the payments page at the end. Booking.com also offers a ton of properties with free cancellation, no up-front payments, and price-matching! Click here to earn A$20 after your first booking! (I’ll also get A$20). As a fellow Aussie using Cashrewards, you’ll also get 4% cashback after each stay!
Free accommodation! I had the best time Couchsurfing in Tokyo and I would recommend it to anyone! Not just because it’s free accommodation (which obviously helps you spend less and travel longer), but because it’s a great way to meet locals and get a better understanding of local life and culture. Safety first though, do your research, make sure you’ll be comfortable with whoever you’re staying with (perhaps a Skype chat beforehand?) and start in a city you’re familiar with.
Workaway is my favourite site when it comes to exchange programs. You work a couple hours a day in exchange for accommodation and meals. Some hosts provide payment and some ask to be paid to help them cover their expenses. You can do this in over 155 countries. This is by far one of the most enjoyable ways to learn a new skill, work in a job and environment that is different to your 9 to 5 and ultimately, get a taste of local life. The types of work available include dog-sitting, language practice, teaching, babysitting, NGO work, hostel cleaning/maintenance, admin, web development/design, farming, and sustainability project work.
I often book via Airbnb when I’m travelling with my partner as they’re an excellent alternative to booking hotels. I’ve stayed in Airbnb accommo in Kyoto, Tokyo, and Hong Kong and they’re all located in close proximity to public transport, good restaurants, and other popular attractions (links to hosts are provided in my posts related to the city/country). If it’s your first time booking with Airbnb, use my code, you’ll get AUD50 off your first trip of AUD100 or more (and I’ll get AUD25)!
Whenever a hostel is all booked out on Booking.com for my dates, I turn to Hostelworld to see if it’s listed and available. I’d sometimes compare Booking.com prices to Hostelworld’s and on the rare occasion, have found Hostelworld’s prices to be considerably better. It’s a good idea to check prices on Hostelworld, as you can always ask Booking.com for a price-match. If you do book through Hostelworld, make sure you take up the 20% cashback via Cashrewards (Aussies only) – keep in mind though that the 20% is calculated only on the deposit you pay and not on the total value of the booking.
OTHER USEFUL SITES…
Below are other sites you may find useful when it comes time to booking accommo.
- 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 offers 1 night free for every 10 nights booked. I prefer Booking.com as you get a discount at the time of booking (as opposed to benefiting only after the 10th stay), plus Booking.com generally have better deals. If for some reason you prefer to book on Hotels.com (eg. the hotel you’re after isn’t available on Booking.com, make sure you activate your 4.5% cashback via Cashrewards (Aussies only).
- WWOOF – Volunteer to live and work on organic farms! Opportunities are also available on HelpX and Workaway.
- Trustedhousesitters – Accommodation for pet lovers! You’ll need to pay US$99 per year to be part of this community. I was a member in 2016 but the listings available during the time I was travelling didn’t quite suit me. There were plenty of opportunities to housesit in the UK though… so if you’re considering travelling slowly across the UK, this site may be for you.
- HelpX – provides work exchanges similar to Workaway.
- Cashrewards (Aussies only) – 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 each get $5 once you make a purchase 🙂
- Consider saving money on accommodation by booking overnight trains, buses and flights. While travelling Europe, I would always opt for an overnight bus – it was a little more expensive than buses travelling during the day but it saved me a lot of money over the course of my 3-month stay.
- Hostels usually provide lockers but they don’t generally provide free padlocks, so bring your own!
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