How to Find Cheap Accommodation

Accommodation is perhaps one of the biggest costs travelers consider when planning a trip. Whether it's for a luxurious rest-and-relaxation staycation, a quick weekend getaway, or a mid- to long-term vacation, I'm pretty sure people would want to have the best value they can find.  
traveljams Center Suites, Cebu City
Center Suites, Cebu City | June 2012

Everyone has a different preference when it comes to accommodation types.  Some want luxury.  Others just want cheap hotels. Some can even sleep anywhere as long as there's a roof and a wi-fi connection!  However, no matter what your accommodation tastes may be, I'm pretty sure you wouldn't want to pay pay an arm and a leg for it.  

traveljams Dee/Timmy's Side, Boracay
Dee/Timmy's Side, Boracay | October 2010

Here are some ways to find free or inexpensive lodging:

1.  Ask your network.  What better way to find recommendations than through people you personally (or virtually) know and trust.  Solicit advice from everyone in your network -- family, friends, colleagues, etc.  In this day and age, that is made a whole lot easier through social networking sites. Try asking on Facebook or Twitter, and you'll be surprised on the number of people who actually take the time to respond.
traveljams Moritz Hotel, Iloilo City
Moritz Hotel, Iloilo City | October 2010

2.  Try couch-surfing.  One of the best ways to get free accommodation is by staying with someone who lives where you’re going, sleeping in whatever spare space is available -- bed, couch, or maybe perhaps just floor. If you don't have friends in your planned destination, try checking out It's a "volunteer-based worldwide network connecting travelers with members of local communities, who offer free accommodation and/or advice."
traveljams couchsurfing
Couch surfing in Cebu with friends | May 2011

3. Search Online.  In case 1 and 2 above unfortunately comes up with zero results, Google might be your savior.  There are tons of travel bloggers who document their itinerary  in complete details -- including of course where they stayed, what it looked like, and how much it costs.  They make our lives a whole lot easier.  There are also websites that specialize on finding great deals on accommodations.  Consider other options other than hotels.  Look for hostels, dorm-type accommodations, or possible homestays.  
traveljams | Homestay, Palawan
Homestay, Palawan | December 2008

4.  Just Embrace the Adventure.  If you're feeling more adventurous, just go without booked accommodation. Ask the locals -- tourism officers, taxi and tricycle drivers, etc.  After all, who knows the place better than people who live there, right? Just keep an eye open for swindlers and scammers.  To be safe, make sure you have an idea on the usual rates. 
traveljams | Ferionni, Baguio City
Ferionni, Baguio City | May 2010

So the next time you prepare for a getaway, consider these options to help you reduce your expenses and free up your travel budget for more fun activities and food trips.

What about you? How do you find cheap accommodations?

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