Lodging is one of the most expensive items in our spreadsheet, second only to transportation. Here are some of the resources we have used to find cheap sleeps.
Cheap Sleeps in Bed and Breakfasts
We’ve used AirBnB a few times and have been happy with the places we stayed. We enjoyed our hosts as well. The truth about this social-sharing resource is that it is an unregulated person-to-person service so expect your experiences to vary widely. In one home we shared a bathroom with only our host who laid out a fresh breakfast for us before she went to work. Another home provided toast or cereal and had a single bathroom we shared with up to 7 people. But it was a small inconvenience in big, expensive cities like Copenhagen, London, and Dublin for the low price. AirBnB rooms are always considerably less than a standard hotel room rate.
In Ireland, we found B&B Ireland is a cheap sleeps bonanza. All B&Bs belonging to this organization are inspected, approved, and cost the same as thousands of others around Ireland that are not. Each of the homes where we stayed were incredibly clean with well-appointed and inviting bedrooms. All rooms had a private bath. Every one of our hosts were experts in hospitality. We stayed in a modern-day castle, a country house overlooking the Atlantic, and on a 2,000-acre farm in some of the most beautiful countryside imaginable. (Tip: remember that the posted room rate is per-person so, if you’re a couple, double that.) In every case the price we paid was far less than a hotel room. You’ll be served an amazing breakfast too, guaranteed.
Cheap Sleeps On Travel Websites
I’ve used the bid feature on Priceline to find cheap sleeps but haven’t been impressed. We’ve never had a room offer approved at the incredible discount rates they tout. The hotels have been substandard and were in sketchy or inconvenient locations. I’d use it again to find a cheap sleep if all other options were unavailable.
Cheap Sleeps Secret Weapon
Exchanging our pet- and house-sitting services for a cheap sleep is the new lynchpin of our budget travel strategy. There are several websites that match sitters with homeowners but so far we have used only Trusted Housesitters, which is strong in the UK, Australia, and New Zealand. Sitters pay a fee to belong with no guarantee of being chosen for a job, so a good resume, references and photos are a must. (A police records check is highly beneficial but must be done while you are in your hometown.) Expect that the home environments will vary widely in terms of cleanliness, luxury (or not), and the amount of work involved.
The only concern we have so far is that the site does nothing to screen the homeowners while it employs measures to check the identity, honesty, and references for a sitter. I have some concerns about that – who knows whether the homes we go to in rural areas are safe, whether the pets are dangerous, or whether the homeowner is a law-abiding person. (I have found no reason to fear so far but neither did the person who answered a Craig’s List and was robbed of life.)
Housesitting provides us with an incredible savings while connecting us to pets, which we love, and sends us to interesting places we might not otherwise have visited. It’s a winner in the Cheap Sleeps category.