If you’re going to travel regularly or even semi-regularly, the cost of staying in hotels can really add up over time. And for a place that you’re not going to even spend much time in, why spend all that money?
Finding cheap accommodation is very doable, if you know where to look.
Room & House Rentals
I mostly travel to Southeast Asia and my favorite site to find places to stay is Airbnb. Why? For starters, you can usually find decent places to stay for between $10-$15 per night. Even whole apartments!
I also like that I can read non-biased reviews on Airbnb and host, as well as travelers, survive on the site by those that have reviewed them. If a place has more than 1-2 poor reviews, you can make your choice from there.
You can rent either an entire place, a private room, or stay with a nice family. All are great choices. As long as I have a space to do my daily practice, I’m can usually deal with sharing a bathroom.
Ashrams would be my number one choice, except that I’m weird about bathrooms and like to have my own. However, I won’t hesitate to stay in an ashram. I like being around like-minded people on the spiritual path and enjoy the atmosphere.
I also like being around yogis, swamis, sadhus, siddhas, seekers, and other people who are passing through on pilgrimages.
Check out Ashrams In India for some great places!
There are hostels in Southeast Asia for cheap. Real cheap. There are a couple in Rishikesh, India for $4 or $5 USD per night. They’re a great way to really travel on a budget. I don’t particularly enjoy hostels, unless I can find one with a private room for a small up-charge. However, places in Southeast Asia are usually so cheap, it’s just hard justifying me staying in a hostel.
But, if you’re okay with sleeping in a dorm and are up for the adventure, by all means! You’ll save quite a bit. Carry a combination lock with you, though, so you can store your gear in a provided locker without much worry.
Check out Hostel World for the best deals.
Stay With Locals
Hospitality networks allow you to stay with locals for free. It’s a great way to travel dirt cheap and really save on room on board. However, when staying with a local host, it’s often limited to a couch, floor space, or even in a tent on the property. If you aren’t picky and up for the experience, have fun and stay with a local.
Check out these great hospitality networks for verified hosts:
WWOOF is a really cool organization that connects travelers with organic farmers. Travelers can essentially schedule to stay on organic farms all over world in exchange for work. You farm for room and board.
It’s a really cool way to not only stay for no monetary cost, but to also connect with farmers across the globe, give back to local communities, and get a general feeling of goodness from earning your keep. An experience in and of itself.
If you love to camp like me, then this is definitely an option and usually a free one at that. It keeps you closer to nature and will allow you to really connect with where you’re visiting. However, it also leaves you somewhat vulnerable to the elements and to locals you may or may not want to fraternize with.
Also, many times ashrams that are full will let you camp outside the facility. I like this because it’s generally much safer than camping in random areas that you find along your travels.
- Never intentionally set up camp on posted private property.
- If someone asks you to leave a place that you’ve set up camp…just leave. Don’t get into arguments or worse with locals in a foreign country.
- Never leave a trace that you were there. Always respect an area where you’ve camped.
- Don’t leave food outside on the ground while sleeping. You never know what or who it could attract.
- Have plenty of water or a source nearby.
What camping gear do I take overseas? Here’s a list!