There are a million and one ways to find a place to sleep when you’re on the road, but for any newbie backpacker it can all get quite confusing so I’m here to help you get your head around finding a spot to sleep. Check out the following tips and reaps the rewards:
1) If you’re on the tourist trail in cheap countries, don’t ever book in advance. That means Thailand, Laos, Vietnam, Peru, Chile, Egypt etc Anywhere that’s a fair bit cheaper than Europe and has a lot of backpackers means then when it comes to hostels and hotels you’ll be spoiled for choice, they’ll be fighting for your business.
AND if you turn up and barter for a place, you’re infinitely more likely to be able to negotiate a good rate. Book in advance and you could end of paying double. Ouch.
2) In expensive countries, book in advance. If you’re kicking around western Europe or North America then it’s best to scope out a place before you arrive. If you don’t, you run the risk of being stuck with no backpacker accommodation which means either sleeping rough or going to an expensive place, 2 very unfavourable outcomes. Check out hostelworld or hostelbookers to book in advance. In these sort of countries, they don’t barter and the type of people who travel in pricey places, are the type of people who book in advance, so join them or you’ll be sleeping under a bridge.
3) Couchsurf. If you have never come across couchsurfing before then you need to get acquainted before you start your epic trip. It’s basically facebook for travelers, with over 3,000,000 people registered in various places around the world, just send them a message and ask can you crash at their place. The kindness of strangers is a beautiful thing so get registered.
4) Helpx. Like couchsurfing BUT you definitely get a bed and food, although you do have to work for it. So if working with huskies in Alaska or on an organic farm in Estonia sound like a cool break, check this site out – a whole new set of possibilities await.
5) Don’t be scared of big hearted people. If I turned down people when they offered me a place to stay I would have missed so many amazing travel experiences. So don’t expect the worst, understand that some people are just nice so take them up on their offer and reap the rewards (but be careful guys, if your spidey sense is flaring, take a raincheck)