New blog – For my latest blog I thought I’d delve into the world of money saving, which is a complete departure from my normal focus on earning money or mental health, by talking about how to source cheap accommodation for a trip away.
I often travel away with work and when I do I’m constrained to using my workplaces travel company to book my accommodation. It can be a great sense of frustration for me as I often find cheaper deals online myself with better quality accommodation. But when I take a personal trip away (like my trip to the blogon conference last month) I used to spend hours scouring the internet trying to find a hotel room that was often a pound or two cheaper than the hotels own booking site.
These days I’m a bit smarter in how I book accommodation. Effectively there are two main sites I go through. The first is topcashback (which you can sign up to by clicking here and get a £5 gift card for the privilege) which can offer you cashback on making bookings through popular hotel booking sites such as booking.com. This is great if you’re determined to book a hotel room at your chosen destination as not only do you get the cheapest possible rate for your hotel room but you also get cashback on top which helps make your trip even cheaper!
However, I’ve noticed recently that the prices of hotels, especially in big cities seem to be getting truly exorbitant, especially if there’s a big event on. On my most recent trip to Manchester, the cheapest hotel within walking distance of my destination was a whopping £90 a night.
Therefore I’ve been forced to search for alternative (i.e. cheaper) options to rest my head for the night. This has led me to experiment with campervan ownership (an experiment which is now long over), youth hostels (never again) and finally the concept of renting rooms in peoples houses or even their entire property for a night. Now a few years ago this would have been tremendously difficult but nowadays there is a website dedicated to putting people who are seeking accommodation across the globe with those who are able to supply it and often at less than half what the local hotels are charging! Many of you may have heard of that website which is called Airbnb but may have experienced some trepidation about using it as I initially did.
Let me put your fears at rest though. I’ve been using Airbnb for about 3 years now. During my time using it I’ve stayed in such exotic destinations as London, Miami, Los Angeles and Blackpool! I’ve used it to book everything from entire apartments for myself for a couple of weeks to a one night stay in someone’s spare room in Manchester and I can highly recommend it. The website itself works much like every other accommodation booking site. You put in your intended destination and it will come up with a list of properties that are available in that area. You can search by accommodation type, number of beds, number of rooms and facilities offered (such as parking and wi-fi). It’s a very polished operation and offers advantages like free cancellations without charging you extra for the privilege.
There are a lot of properties to choose from as well so don’t think you won’t be offered as much choice as you would get through a more conventional booking site. The site employs a rating system (much like on eBay) where hosts (i.e. those providing accommodation) and guests (those staying in it) can leave feedback and a review about the accommodation and how good (or bad) the guest/host was. This gives you a great advantage when you’re selecting accommodation to book as you can see all this feedback before you select a place to stay which gives that added degree of reassurance when you’re booking somewhere for the first time.
Airbnb also guarantees your booking and go through verification checks with both guests and hosts to protect against any potential scams being run. So far I’ve never had a problem with using the site and have used it for dozens of trips in complete confidence. So the next time you’re looking for somewhere to stay give it a try! As an added bonus for money mental readers if you’ve not signed up and used Airbnb before you can use my exclusive link by clicking here to get £25 off your first trip of £55 or more in value. So why not signup for that next big trip and start saving money today?
To give an indication of the type of saving you can make I ended up paying £45 for accommodation through Airbnb for my most recent trip to Manchester. So it cost me half what I would have paid for a hotel. And as an added bonus my host gave me wine and nibbles when I arrived and breakfast in the morning! If that doesn’t convince you then I don’t know what could!
Thanks for reading and please feel free to comment below with your own experiences of using Airbnb to book accommodation. Or indeed your experiences of using any other sites that you’d like to recommend!
N.B. this blog post contains affiliate links.