How to Spend Under $10 a Night in Accommodation While Traveling

Generally, the two most expensive aspects to traveling are the cost of airfare and the price of accommodation. While the latter depends greatly on your personal travel style, there are ways to save significant amounts of money on your nightly room and board. In fact, when I travel I rarely spend more than $10 a night, unless it's a special occasion.
Ten DOLLARS a night? That seems a bit lax, Taylor. Where are you sleeping - a rat-infested warehouse?
No guys, I'm telling you. You can stay in great places for really cheap, if you're willing to do a bit of research and potentially sacrifice on overall style. 
My motto is - you're only sleeping in a hotel. So why bother paying hundreds of dollars for a place you'll be spending very little time in? 

When I do my research, I look for the following things:

-Overall location. How close is it to major forms of transportation and/or the city center?
-Safety and security. Will I be able to store my things here or walk around outside alone?
-Cleanliness. I'm not the pickiest of travelers, but I'd prefer not to be sleeping with cockroaches or on dirty sheets. 

With those three aspects in mind, it truly isn't difficult to get a good place to sleep. Of course, some of you may want to consider privacy as an additional condition, since not everyone enjoys sharing a room with strangers. 


AirBnB: This is my favorite place to look for cheap, quality accommodation. AirBnB is a website where locals list their home or apartment (in which they may or may not currently live) for rent for short amounts of time. You can rent a really nice apartment in the city center of many places for as little as $20 a night, which split between 2 or more people, puts you at $10 or less a night. Plus, you get your own kitchen and living spaces, so you're not reliant on eating out for all your meals. Two birds, meet one stone. 

Hostel World: Hostels have gotten a bad reputation, often being associated with poorly cleaned, crowded rooms and late-night parties by inconsiderate neighbors. However, I find that many hostels are well-run and defy all the previous listed expectations. Plus, they are really cheap, some being as little as $3 or $4 a night depending on your location. I find that hostelworld.com is the best place to search, as it has lots of reviews and you can search in order of least-to-most expensive and by proximity to certain attractions. Trust me, I've stayed at dozens of hostels in my years of traveling, and have never had a truly bad experience. In fact, I've had some really great ones. All I'm saying is - try a hostel out! You may be surprised. 

TripAdvisor: TripAdvisor is most travelers' go-to for reviews on locations and activities, but did you know you can get hotel deals on the site as well? Some hotels run temporary discounts and coupons which can only be revealed when you view their profile on TripAdvisor. While not all of these will drop the price below $10 a night, they can get  you up to 40% off. The nicest hotel I ever stayed at - the Black Rock Lodge in San Ignacio, Belize - I got significantly discounted through a TripAdvisor discount (down to $55 a night for an entire private riverfont cabana!). I recommend checking the site for deals on hostels and cheap hotels, as this may get you an even better deal than what you might already.


Couch Surfing: Hardly new to the scene is the concept of Couch Surfing. This is a website where people register to host travelers for a few nights, absolutely free. Of course, you may end up on someone's actual couch, but that's part of the fun, right? Though you are sacrificing privacy on this one, you have the opportunity to make some incredible friends and get a personal tour guide. Plus, it's totally free. Obviously a budget-traveler's dream. Just make sure to read reviews on this one, since you don't want to end up with a creep (which there is the potential for happening). 

Work Away: If you're willing to do a bit of volunteering in exchange for your accommodation, Work Away is the place for you! This is a site on which people around the world post short-term volunteer jobs, in which you spend 2-8 hours a day working for them in exchange for free room and board.  With jobs as varied as hostels that want receptionists to people looking for help in their gardens to shetland pony farmers looking for groomers, there's something for everyone. You can do Work Away for anywhere from 1-week to 6-months depending on the host. 

What are your recommendations for cheap accommodation?

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  1. I second AirBnB- i've stayed in some fantastic places in different countries through this website. I also recommend www.hotels.com as it seems to list the cheapest price for hotels (and often does discounts) when i've checked across several websites.

    Lizzy from Nomad Notebook

  2. Great tips! The three things you listed (cleanliness, proximity, and safety) are most important in my book, too. It can be difficult to find cheap accommodation when you're on your own and prefer a private room, but like you said: if you shave off all the unnecessary extras, you can find something that's affordable and not a cesspool.

  3. I've never used AirBnB; I'll have to keep it in mind for future trips. When my boyfriend and I backpacked through SE Asia, we found some good deals on Agoda - some nice hotels over there for $20-25ish a night. Hostelworld is pretty great too; I stayed in some nice places in China for $5 a night :)