Nowadays finding accommodation abroad is very easy. You just need to open an app on your phone or go online on your laptop and choose from what’s available on vacation rental websites. Possibility to compare ratings and see reviews posted by other travelers makes it even easier.
However, finding cheap accommodation abroad is a little bit harder. But finding cheap and good accommodation abroad requires some extra efforts, time and also some know-how. In particular, if you are searching for something for a month or more.
During our first long-term trip abroad, when we cycled all the way across India for 5 months, we rarely bothered about accommodation. To be exact – only once did we book it in advance, rest of the time we just went from one hotel to another and compared their offers. While it taught us to be more patient and confident about ourselves (that we will find something eventually; which is particularly useful quality, when looking for cheap and good long-term rental abroad), now we would definitely use some of accommodation booking apps as well.
So let’s look at the list of our favorite sites and apps, that we use to find accommodation abroad!
Our Favorite Booking Sites and Apps
1. Booking.com & Agoda – To Find the Best Hotel Deals
While going from one hotel to another worked well for us in India, it has its downsides as well. Well, at least mostly we managed to fit in our budget. Anyway I’m sure, that in biggest cities of India using booking.com or Agoda would have saved us time, and we would probably have had better rooms for the same price. Or worse rooms, but also for lower price. Lowest price back then was very important for us.
Because almost everyone is on booking.com or Agoda (our favorite in Asia). Now even the cheapest guest houses and hotels, especially in countries visited by big numbers of international tourists, have registered at least on one booking website. Yes, even than hotel in Cambodia, where double room with attached bathroom and breakfast costs about 6 euro. Even they are on booking.com and Agoda.
What we like most about Agoda is that often you can pay with app. Once you add your bank card to your Agoda account paying becomes super easy. Because afterwards you only need to enter the CVC code (the one you can find on the back of your card), press a button, and that’s it – you have paid for your hotel room.
2. Hostelworld – To Find the Best Hostel Deals
Apart from that time, when we were walking Camino de Santiago in Spain, and when we slept in pilgrim’s hostels every night, we usually don’t stay at hostels. Simply because often taking two dorm beds costs the same like a double room in a hotel or a room on Airbnb (if we are in some more expensive country).
However, when we are searching for the best and cheapest hostels, we look on hostelworld.com first.
3. Airbnb – To Rent an Apartment, a House or a Room
We love Airbnb. So we check it every time, when we are going to some place for at least 2-3 days. And we check it every time, when we want to rent a room or apartment for few weeks or more.
For 1 night, especially in cheaper countries and cities, hotels and hostels tend to have competitive price and better location for the same money. And for 1 night it’s often important. Because then you want to be near that bus station, city center, train station or the airport, depending on your travel plans.
Searching for a long-term rental on Airbnb, always try to negotiate lower price. Because quite often home and apartment owners don’t really think about possible long-term tenants, when registering on Airbnb. So they don’t put on any weekly or monthly discounts. While some might do it on purpose – not willing to have long-term tenants, others probably don’t even know about such an option in Airbnb settings.
One more tip – try to look for other contacts of the same place. Maybe it’s a family run guest house or hotel, and they have mentioned their business name in the description. In this case, search for their website. Getting in touch directly and paying in cash you may agree about even better price.
When last winter we were searching for a room or apartment in Goa for 6 weeks, we as always checked Airbnb. Everything was over our budget, except for one place. And it was in the part of Goa, that we know we like. It was a hotel. We found their website and emailed them asking what would be their their best price for a 1+ month long stay. What followed was that we we got a 50% discount. Win!
Register using my Airbnb link and you (like us) will get a discount for your first booking.
4. Facebook Groups – To Find the Best Long-term Rentals Abroad
What kind of Facebook groups I’m talking about? Different. “Expats in Goa” kind of groups. “Latvians in Singapore” kind of groups. Try and search for “Rent in Lisbon” Facebook groups, if you are traveling to Lisbon. Searching for a long term rental in Phnom Penh, Cambodia, your best bet would be to look through the posts of Phnom Penh Housing Facebook group.
Check out digital nomad groups in particular region, country or city if you are searching for a place, where to base yourself and from where to work.
Why Facebook groups? Because often this way you will get even better rental deals. While it is more stressful, as you may need to travel to your country of destination first and stay for a while in another place or in the hotel, it pays off in the long-term.
5. Country Specific Rental Websites & Rental Agents
It’s another good option, if you are planning on staying in some city for more than month. Because this way you will get the same or similar rental deals like locals. But using service of rental agent it may save you time as well. So do your Google research before traveling, if you aren’t happy with what you see on Airbnb and Facebook groups!
Staying abroad for free
It is possible to travel abroad without paying for accommodation. How? There are at least several options.
- You can camp. People traveling on a very low budget or even without any money often has a tent with themselves. But it’s not only about the money. Because having a tent gives you an opportunity to spend a night in all most unimaginable places. For example, you can camp on The Great Wall of China, like Alesha and Jarryd did.
- You can sleep outside without tent. You can sleep on the ground or you can sleep in a hammock. The choice is yours. I once slept on wooden walkway in a park, in Singapore. Having a camping mat would make this experience way better.
- Find someone who can host you for a while. You can use Couchsurfing for it, and you can also ask your friends on Facebook, or your Instagram followers. And when someone hosts you, ask maybe he or she can help you to find a place where to stay in that next city, where you are heading to.
- House sit. Look after someones house or apartment and probably pets, while they are away. If you can find someone, who needs such kind of help, yourself, then it’s even better for you. If you want to use any of most popular house sitting sites, you will need to pay monthly/yearly fee before you can get started. One of the most popular house sitting sites is Trusted Housesitters (about 100 euro/year).
If you still have some questions about traveling & accommodation abroad, send us a message!
Disclosure: some of the links on this page are affiliate links. This means – if you choose to book accommodation through these links, we may earn a small commission. This has no effect on the price for you.
Author: Kaspars Misins
Kaspars is a long term traveler and a travel blogger from Latvia. He loves going on long walks, reading non fiction books and spending time outdoors. Together with his girlfriend Una they have been traveling – volunteering – working abroad since 2013. On We Are From Latvia they share their experience and things learned along the way.