When you picture your dream trip, what do you see? Is it a white-sand beach with fantastic surfing, or a hiking and camping expedition up in snow-capped mountains, or maybe you see yourself exploring the streets of a foreign city? Whatever your ideal expedition, it's a sure bet that your daydream hasn't come with a full-fledged itinerary; you'll have to come up with that on your own.
When it comes to planning a big trip, it seems like the choices are endless. Picking your destination is just the beginning, and then it's choosing flights, where you'll stay and even how you plan on getting to and from the hotel. When you've got all of the big picture plans figured out, then it's time to think about all of the smaller daily activities that you might want to do.
While some travelers love planning their trip from start to finish, others would hire a travel agent in a heartbeat to avoid the process. Planning a trip -- especially an international one -- is a difficult task when you're trying to find the best of everything at a reasonable price.
For those of us on a strict budget (practically all of us), value becomes that much more important.
Hostels are high on the list of cheap overnight accommodations. They're classic hotspots for the young backpacker, eccentric older folks and occasionally whole families take advantage of the great rates. Despite their undeserved bad reputations, there are great hostels all over the world, some nicer than hotels, that offer a unique experience and a much better price.
If you're looking for a home-away-from-home rooming situation, you might want to try couch-surfing or home exchange. Though both of these deals require trust, as you will likely be staying in a stranger's home, there are numerous benefits. Typically these arrangements are free (though there are exceptions), you'll usually have access to a kitchen and you'll get a chance to see your destination through a local's perspective.
Less popular, but easily as cool and cost-effective are farm stays and monastery stays. Travel presents one opportunity after another for breaking out of your comfort zone and trying something new. Stay at one of these super cheap places on your next trip. Come out of your comfort zone, save some money and come back with a story that will make all those hotel-lovers jealous.
Best known for housing young backpackers, hostels have a bad reputation, which is usually undeserved. Hostels are a classic cheap place to stay and many are actually nicer than low-end hotels (and yes, the picture on the left is actually a hostel in Derbyshire, England). With the right research, you can easily find a clean, safe and affordable hostel in almost any corner of the earth and they’re a lot more unique than your typical hotel. Photo Credit: © Flickr / JR P Click here to see the ALL The Ways You Can Stay Free (or Super Cheap)
Farm Stays bring travelers to a working farm and house them overnight in exchange for help with chores, or payment, or a bit of both. Each farm stay is unique; some adhere to strict schedules, whereas others allow you to make your own plans and each farm has a different specialty. A farm stay might not be a great choice for everyone, but those willing to get their hands dirty will be right at home. Photo Credit: © Flickr / Adam Brill
A monastery stay is an overnight accommodation within a religious community. Contrary to popular belief, you don’t need to be religious to experience a monastery stay, many locations only ask that you be respectful of their rules and rituals and most places offer access to events and retreats. A monastery stay won’t be a great choice for the late-night partier, but if you’re looking for a peaceful experience and a new perspective, you should give it a shot. Photo Credit: © Flickr / Dennis Jarvis Click here to see the ALL The Ways You Can Stay Free (or Super Cheap)
Bed and Breakfasts might not be significantly cheaper than hotels in the U.S. but abroad they are a lower-priced option. They also include breakfast which will save you even more. If you don’t mind meeting a few strangers and potentially sharing a bathroom, a B&B might be the solution to overpriced hotel rooms. Photo Credit: Commons.Wikimedia.org
Home exchanges (or house swaps) are becoming increasingly popular as they allow travelers to experience life as a local in a foreign country at no cost. Some people include cars in the swap, eliminating the cost of a rental car and access to a kitchen lowers food costs significantly. There are a few options in home exchange and many choices for websites that will connect you to other home-swappers, find more information here. Photo Credit: © Flickr / Paul Prudence Click here to see the ALL The Ways You Can Stay Free
- Diana Gerstacker, The Active Times
More Content from The Active Times:
10 Charming Treehouses for Rent Around the World
11 Things You Didn't Know About Travel Insurance
10 Cultural Gems You Need to Visit Before They Get Famous
Top 5 Credit Cards for Travelers
Follow The Active Times on Twitter: www.twitter.com/theactivetimes