Maybe you have a little bigger budget, or maybe you’ve racked up a ton of rewards points and hotels are more your style? It is possible to live fulltime in hotels and motels around the world, with the cost of a night’s stay varying widely across the globe. Some areas, and brands, may cost you more per month than your current rent or mortgage, while other areas of the globe would be significantly less. It all depends on where you plan to travel.
Last year we spent a number of nights in cheap motels, bridging the gaps between housesits. As I stated in the earlier chapters, we primarily used the Priceline mobile app and more importantly, we used the Priceline Express Deals. I would say, on average, our nightly stays were around $45 per night. So, $45 x 30 night = $1,350 per month. That’s actually $450 less per month than my monthly rent and utilities in Lititz, PA. Not a terrible savings.
If you’re going to go this route I suggest sticking to a brand, set up a rewards account with the brand and I would use the brand credit card for all stays and food purchases on property. This will keep a steady flow of points flowing into your coffers. Many brands, like Marriott, have properties of varying tiers, meaning they have a lower, less expensive brand and then the higher end properties that will cost you more points per night for a stay. For instance, a night at a Courtyard is typically around 15,000 points, while a stay at a full service Marriott would cost closer to 35,000 points per night.
If you’re concerned about how your travels impacts the environment, then book your hotel stays through Trip Zero. Trip Zero will calculate the carbon footprint of your travels and when you book your stay through their website, they will off set your carbon creation by investing in reforestation projects, methane offset projects and renewable energy projects on your behalf, free of charge. That’s right, it won’t cost you a cent and you can feel good knowing you’ve reduced your travels impact on the globe. They use the Expedia network, so you will find the same prices you would find on other hotel booking sites.
I love disruptive technology and services and Air B&B, like Uber, is one of the biggest disruptive services of the last 20 years. Air B&B allows home owners to become hotel owners, whether they want to rent out a room in their house or rent out the whole thing. I’ve seen Airstream’s rented out in backyards. I’ve seen houses with skateboard parks. Micro houses to mansions, Air B&B has changed the game.
The website is easy to navigate and allows you to filter for the amenities you’re looking for in a great vacation stay. The price slider allows you to stay within your budget and the scheduler makes it easy to see if the property is available during your time frame.
In complete transparency, we never used Air B&B once. We tried to use it in Portland, OR in the first 2 weeks of our road trip, but we didn’t have much luck. The above mentioned Airstream was in the backyard of a cat owner’s house, they were fearful of our bulldog and the skate park house was suddenly unavailable during our time frame, even though the scheduler said it was available. The next few times that we tried to use Air B&B, we had trouble finding a reasonable rate. On a budget, it’s hard to beat cheap hotels, but if you’re looking for a unique experience, Air B&B can probably fill that want.
Corporate Housing – Extended Stays
Usually easy to find, but sometimes a little on the pricey side. Focused on Corporate travelers, needing a furnished place to stay for extended periods of time, these property owners know that a Corporation is most likely footing the bill, so they can jack up the price some over a traditional hotel stay. There are websites completely focused on this sector of the traveling population. Firms that will help you find corporate housing are in abundance, but it is possible to find them without much help and I certainly would not pay anyone to find me corporate housing.
We’ve seen many corporate housing listings on Craigslist, some of them extremely reasonable, though you should probably take a look at the place for yourself before entering into an agreement. If it looks too good to be true, it probably is.
We never actually acted on any of the corporate housing listing on Craigslist or anywhere else for that matter. What I know about it comes from the planning portion of our trip. We spot checked cities all over the US for possible spots to stay to save money. It helps, I guess mentally, to have a couple cities in your pocket that you know you could stay for less when no house sits are available.
One brand that we are very familiar with, that caters to the corporate traveler, but is usually a good deal, is Extended Stay. We spent many nights in this brand and in fact found it many times on the Priceline, Express Deals page. They’re especially nice because they come will a kitchen, which really cuts down on the food budget. It’s always cheaper to hit a grocery store, then hit restaurants night after night, so having a kitchen is bonus points. The sleeping arraignments very from property to property, but usually you will get a Queen Size bed with either a pull out couch or a pull our chair. We actually travel with a Twin Size air mattress, which makes either arraignment above work for a family of 4. You won’t get daily housekeeping services in these brands, without paying for it, but you will get a free breakfast, which we would factor into our stay decisions. Not having to pay for a meal a day, can save a lot of the course of a year.
Can’t say I have ever tried this. I think it would be a little tough to show up at someone’s house with a wife, 2 kids and a bulldog, but I love the idea and if I was a lone traveler, I would absolutely give this a try. The way it works is, you register on websites, like couchsurfing.com, you can host folks on your couch or find a couch for your travels all over the world. Fairly simple and cheap, like free cheap. Great way to see the world on a shoe string budget and or bring travelers through your home to inspire your own travels.
Now I’ve heard some horror stories over the years about couchsurfers being murdered, but back up to the Safety chapter, this is far and few between and really you are just as likely, in fact probably more likely to be killed walking across the street to your hosting couch then by your host.
New to couchsurfing? Most major cities have weekly meet ups that give you an opportunity to ask questions about hosting and traveling. Set up your profile today and give it a try, it’s free to set up a profile and you never know what kind of adventure it could bring to your doorstep?
WWOOF – World Wide Opportunities on Organic Farms
Have a green thumb? Or would you like to learn more about organic farming? Then this might be a creative way to put a roof over your head and some food in your belly. The way it works is, you trade your labor on organic farms, all over the world, usually around 4-6 hours of work for a nightly accommodation and food.
You can find opportunities on wwoof.net, then join the corresponding WWOOF organization for that country or area. I would say this is the negative piece, if you wanted to use WWOOFing to travel around the world, you would end up having to join a bunch of different organizations, which cuts into your travel budget, but may not be a terrible investment, especially if you spend a little longer time at each farm.
So, you get to travel the world, meet people, and learn a trade you could use for yourself or one day start your own organic farm. Sounds pretty good to me.
More of Chapter 5 next week!!!
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