The Top 8 Tips for Saving on Holiday Accommodation

We're going on holiday and I am BEYOND excited; it's the first holiday since August last year when we went to Greece to stay with the S.O's family, and enjoy the amazing sunshine and great food. Yes, it has been 8 months since my last holiday. This time round, we are off skiing and snowboarding to enjoy the last of the winter snow. We are headed to Switzerland to stay with friends who live near the heavenly ski resorts of Verbier, and then on to Chamonix in France. This year the snow has been insane; the Alps have had a ridiculous amount of snow, and even now, in April, it's still snowing which is incredible. We're away for 5 days which is not long but it will be a much needed break out of London (watch out for the Instagram photos). 

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The mountains really are my favourite place; they are powerful, beautiful and peaceful. It makes me so happy travelling there. We do really well at booking ourselves some fantastic adventures in general, and we always manage to do it in a cost savvy manner. This year, particularly, is no exception; since the other half is looking for work at the moment, we wanted to push the costs to a minimum. Skiing / snowboarding is never cheap; the resorts in Europe have steadily increased in price over the last 5 years, particularly in the Austria ski resorts and Swiss ski resorts. Coupled with this plane tickets and travel agencies have increased their prices. While America and Canada are worse for costs, we wanted to make sure the costs we can control are kept to a minimum. 

In general, holidays can often add up, and people see this as a blocker to exploring the world. Travelling and adventuring is one of the most magical things I believe you can do; you can learn so much more from travelling that you can learn from anything else. One of the biggest costs tends to be accommodation (although plane tickets also add to the cost); this article will show you ways to keep the accommodation costs as low as possible. 

Accommodation

Accommodation and plane tickets tend to be one of the steepest cost, which you can control. When skiing, you can often do very little about ski lift passes, but the accommodation is completely in your control. If you are not using a travel agency, there have been a couple of providers spring up over the last 5 to 10 years to help control the accommodation costs.

One of the most well know is Airbnb (I talked about them in my article on how to be an entrepreneur); this is a company that is a "poster child" of the tech revolution. They are a fantastic company that provides you with the option to rent someone else's house or apartment, normally at a fraction of the cost of a hotel. When I did my Ironman, I rented an entire apartment through Airbnb in Nice; it was spacious and had rooms for my parents and myself. The two main factors were that I could take my bike into the room (many hotels will not let you do this), and I could stay for super cheap along the Promenade D'Anglaise, which is the main stretch  of road in Nice, France. 

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My sister is currently in Australia at the moment; she is relocating to Canada (obviously great holidaying accommodation for FREEEEEEE :) ). She rented a room in someone's flat through Airbnb, which cuts costs even further. I prefer to rent the apartment, but if you need to book something super cheap, or you are travelling alone, you can just rent a room in someone else's flat. 

If you use the code, in this link, you can get £15 off your next Airbnb accommodation. 

While I love Airbnb for self sufficient holidays, I think Booking.com is brilliant for B&Bs and guest houses. I have used them around the world. There are many great things about Booking.com. 

  • The Rating System: the rating system is pretty accurate for Booking.com. When you stay somewhere, Booking.com will ask you a series of questions. These questions are not direct questions such as "rate your experience"; they ask you a lot of questions about what the guest house promotes i.e location, cleanliness, spaciousness etc. The rating is accurate; if it's a 10 out of 10, it's AMAZING!
  • The Cost: The B&Bs and guest houses are much cheaper on this website, than trying to book them individually.
  • The Comparisons: Booking.com will provide you with a breakdown of all the guest houses in the area. You can filter them then by:
    • Rating on the brilliant rating system above, 
    • Costs: it's great to see how much each location is by night. The cost includes everything as well so you don't get to the check out and realise that it's missing a bunch of costs.
    • Location: you can see all the accommodation on a map. This visibility means you can understand where each of guest houses are. It helps you decide where to stay. 
    • Amenities: I love a good hearty breakfast in the mornings, particularly if I am travelling in the UK. Booking.com will detail breakfast options, swimming pools, spas, ocean views etc. It goes into a lot of detail. 

Finally, the photos on the website are gorgeous. Check out the landing page from my favourite country here

I have yet to be disappointed by Booking.com; at a global level we used Booking.com in Nicaragua for our accommodation last year when we travelled to Central America. Safety and cleanliness were two of our main requirements, and Booking.com did not disappoint!

Separately, in the UK, we went to the Peak District for a weekend recently, and stayed in an amazing B&B in Havershot. The Peak District was a walking holiday and we found a beautiful guest house in the valley, close to walking routes and close to gorgeous English pubs for evening pub dinners and lots of tasty beers and ciders. The owners of our guest house were fantastic as well; showing us all the amazing locations we could go to, and providing us with super hearty breakfasts every morning. It was a perfect weekend break.

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Finally, we have a wedding in Scotland (MY HOME) in a couple of weekends time, and we are staying in accommodation I found on Booking.com. I honestly am a huge lover of Booking.com. 

Booking.com and Airbnb are two providers that can really help you save money on your accommodation. Below are some other money saving tips for travel accommodation; overall if you are looking to save money, check out 4 ways to Save 40% of your Income

Other Tips

Some more money saving tips on travel accommodation:

Plan your dates. School holidays are always expensive, and no one wants to be around everyone else's kids. If you have kids, read below for more money saving tips. If you don't have kids, don't travel in the school holidays. I'm talking Europe here, but check out the school holidays for the major European countries. Similarly, bank holidays are also expensive. Between flights and accommodation you'll save a lot by not travelling in these periods of time. 

Negotiate. If you are booking through a travel agency negotiate as much as you can. The travel industry is dependent on seats being filled on planes and trains, and beds being filled in hotels and hostels. If you're using a third party provider, like a travel agency, negotiate hard on these costs. 

Premier Inn: it's not the most luxurious, yes, but if you're going to constantly be out and about, there is no point staying in a super flashy hotel. The low budget hotels also tend to relatively central as well, providing a fantastic low cost location. 

Packages: There is a common misconception that DIY holidays are much cheaper. WRONG. Sometimes the package holidays that you book through a travel agency and provide you with hotel, flight and transport to and from the airport are cheaper. 

Avoid the swimming pool: book somewhere beside the beach. No matter what the travel agency says if a hotel has a swimming pool it tends to crank up the price of the accommodation. Personally, I prefer the beach as you feel a lot more with nature. 

Finally, consider a motor home. I have never done this so cannot comment on it, but the motor home tends to provide a cheap alternative to accommodation and living expenses abroad. Hopefully, in the next couple of years we will be travelling around the world in a motor home (my dream!) and working remotely as we go. 

If you have any other accommodation saving strategies, please do leave your thoughts in the comments below. 

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