When searching for great accommodations, always make an effort to check user reviews against photos, price, location and amenities. With all those factors together, it's easy to determine the value of where you plan on staying. Once you pick a place, try to find the hostel’s website to cut through any middleman booking fee.
Best search engines to use:
You should run a search with each of these because prices may vary and be sure to check out the hostels website as well to ensure you’re getting the absolute best rate! Each hostel has its own vibe and you can stick with the big names like Generator or St. Christophers or try botique hostels. As long as you keep an eye out for the rating and read through the reviews you can find some great options. Hostels are a fantastic option when you are traveling alone. You’ll have a built in social scene and chance to meet fellow travelers plus you’re likely to find the cheapest options. Some people worry about the safety in hostels but if they have a large number of reviews on hostel world and they are positive you can feel safe making the booking. You can also choose to book a private or quad room or a female-only dorm.
Other Budget Options
Here are some interesting alternatives worth checking out:
Couch Surfing is picking up in popularity, and allows you a free night or two on someone’s couch in their home. It’s a great way to meet locals and have some unexpected experiences. At the same time be diligent about reading the reviews to ensure you know what you’re getting into. Is the sleeping surface comfortable? Have any past guests had complaints about a host who made them feel uncomfortable? If you’re wiling to do your homework this a fabulous option for the savvy budget traveler.
AirBnB.com connects you with locals renting out their apartments or homes and can be a fantastic option. You can choose to stay with a local (a shared space) or have the place to yourself which is especially ideal for a group of friends. To find the best deals on airbnb look in advance and read ALL the reviews to ensure it is the right space for you. If you’re stying for a longer term always know you can message the host and ask for a discounted rate for a long term stay. Many times they will issue you a special offer especially if you have a good airbnb rating and are staying in the off season.
Study Abroad Apartments is an intermediary between college students and foreign real estate agents that helps students find the best independent housing placements prior to studying abroad. These properties have been vetted and you can avoid all scams so it can be a great alternative to the dorms for your study abroad experience.
VRBO is similar to airbnb (it stands for vacation rental by owner) and you can get a good deal on a local apartment or house. You’ll find the most options when you search in advance and make sure you read ALL the reviews!
Workaway is a great option for people looking to stay places long term and trade their labor for free accommodation (and sometimes food). You can do things like manage a hostel, teach english to children, or help out with home improvement projects in exchange. You definitely need advance planning for this one and most positions will want you to stay in one place for at least a couple of weeks. Generally you put in 10-20 hours a work a week in exchange for a free place to stay. You’ll get a great connection with a local but still have plenty of free time to explore.
Housesitting sites- Another great option for long term travel abroad is to try your hand at house sitting or pet sitting. It may take some time to build your credibility and have owners hire you but once you have a couple of good reviews you can stay for free with just some minor responsibilities! Some great sites are Trusted Housesitters, Nomador, HouseCares, and HouseSitMatch.