As we covered in the previous blog post, finding ways to decrease the cost of your lodging will save you massive amounts of cash during trips. Part one was focused on hostels, what they are, and how to get into them, and part two will be focused on a more private living situation, but still being cheaper than a typical hotel room.
Short term exchanges are rentals that allow travelers to stay in apartments that are typically furnished while travelling. These rentals are only a bit cheaper than hotel rooms, but they offer many more amenities, and give you the comfort of home, even though you’re abroad.
Places like Europe and Australia have a lot of apartment rentals that are usually rented on a week to week basis. Therefore, if you’re staying less than a week, this probably isn’t the option for you. However, if you’re planning on making a long-term trip abroad, renting an apartment or condo is going to be your best bet if you want the privacy of a hotel room, the comforts of being at home, but still saving money in the process.
Renting these apartments can be a nice link between hostels and hotels, though if you’re traveling alone, they can get a bit expensive, just like a hotel room would. Roughly, they are about double the cost of a hostel dorm room, but typically a bit less than a hotel room. This is going to be the ideal situation if you are a part of a group or a couple travelling who aren’t wanting to stay with tons of strangers in a dorm, and save money by not staying in a hotel. Another great reason for this option is you would get a kitchen, including a fridge, sink, freezer, and anything else you would need to cook your own food, and therefore reducing your food costs.
Two of the most popular booking sites for these rentals are Airbnb and Wimdu. Depending on what you’re looking for will determine which site you’re more likely to find what you need, but I would suggest checking out both before making a reservation.
Airbnb is one of the top vacation rental services for American travelers, and they have over a million listings in about 200 different countries. The majority of these listings are entire homes or apartments, private rooms, and shared rooms, although cabins and villas are also available for rent. On Airbnb, guests will usually pay between a 6 and 12% service fee for the rental, although it will go down if you book multiple nights. Here is a link to Airbnb booking site, where you can search property listings by the location you will be visiting: https://www.airbnb.com/
Wimdu is the top European platform for city apartment rentals. Most of the properties are apartments, but they also have homes, boats, and even treehouses. Their inventory is around 300,000 properties in over 100 countries. You don’t have to be European to use Wimdu, but the site does interest travelers from Europe. Wimdu charges a flat 12% fee for their bookings, based on the listing price. This is a link to Wimdu’s booking site, where you can search for what you’re looking for: http://www.wimdu.com/
There are tons of other sites for these services, I just mentioned two that are popular among travelers. Always remember, read the reviews, talk to the homeowner, and if it feels sketchy, don’t take the chance!