A Guide to Finding Affordable Accommodation for Your Gap Year in the UK

Planning a gap year, especially one overseas, can be an overwhelming process, especially when it comes to finding affordable accommodation. Planning ahead and doing research is key when you’re looking to save money on accommodation, so here is a guide to finding affordable accommodation for your gap year in the UK.

1. Couchsurfing or Home-Staying

One of the great things about travelling abroad, is the chance to meet and stay with local people, who can offer insights and knowledge about the city that you wouldn’t get from just travelling on your own. Couchsurfing and home-staying are great ways to find free accommodation, and speaking from experience, it’s a fantastic way to meet locals and make new friends, but these options are not always available.

2. International Student House

If you’re planning to spend your gap year studying in the UK, international student houses are a great option. Most student houses are independently run and offer on-campus accommodation. This is a great way to meet and mix with other students and make the most of your university experience. It also means you have access to the facilities and services provided by the university.

3. Hostels & Budget Hotels

Hostels and budget hotels are a great way to find cheap accommodation whilst travelling. These types of accommodation offer dorms and private rooms, as well as for communal areas, so you can still meet other travellers and make new friends. Plus, most of the hostels and budget hotels provide services such as free WiFi and breakfast, so you don’t have to worry about paying for extras.

4. Airbnb & Holiday Lets

If you’re looking for something a little more private, then Airbnb and holiday lets are ideal. Most of these provide self-catering accommodation and have a range of properties to choose from depending on your budget. You can also save money by looking for discounts or offers on the Airbnb website, or even house-sitting for a few days.

5. Stay With Friends & Family

If you have friends or family living in the UK, then why not stay with them during your adventure? This will save you a lot of money, as well as allowing you to spend quality time with people who are familiar with the UK and its culture.

6. Camping & Campervans

If you’re looking for an outdoor adventure, then why not consider camping or renting a campervan? While these two options may require a bigger budget upfront, the cost is much less than staying in a hotel, especially if you’re travelling for an extended period of time.

7. Working for Accommodation

Working for accommodation is a great way to save money and gain new skills. Companies such as HelpX, WorkAway and WWOOF, connect volunteers to farming, gardening and hospitality-related projects in exchange for free accommodation and meals.

8. Use Loyalty Programs

If you’re planning to stay in the same place for a while, then why not look into loyalty programs? Hotels, hostels and B&Bs often offer loyalty programs for regular guests, and you may be able to get discounts on accommodation or other goodies such as free WiFi or a bottle of wine.

9. Look For Last Minute Deals

Another great way to save money on accommodation is to look for last-minute deals. Hotels and hostels often discount their rates to attract more visitors, so keep an eye out for last-minute offers.

10. Do Your Research

One of the most important steps in finding affordable accommodation is to do your research. Make sure to read reviews of a destination, look into the local customs and etiquette and learn about the different options available. Don’t be afraid to ask for help or advice, as seeking out local insight can help you make the most of your experience.

11. Don’t Be Too Picky

When it comes to budget travel, you may need to be a little flexible on where you stay and what you do. Consider staying in smaller towns or rural communities instead of big cities, as these places often offer cheaper accommodation and better amenities.

12. Bargain�

Finally, don’t be afraid to bargain. Accommodation rates are often negotiable, especially when you’re staying for an extended period of time. Make sure to mention any offers you stumble upon, and don’t be afraid to haggle to get the best deal.

FAQs

  • Q. What are the best ways to save money on accommodation while travelling in the UK?
    • A. Couchsurfing, home-staying, international student houses, hostels and budget hotels, AirBNB and holiday lets, staying with friends and family, and camping or renting a campervan are all great ways to save money on accommodation.

  • Q. Are loyalty programs a good way to save money on accommodation?
    • A. Yes! Hotels, hostels and B&Bs often offer loyalty programs for regular guests, and you may be able to get discounts on accommodation or other goodies such as free WiFi or a bottle of wine.

  • Q. Is it possible to find last-minute deals on accommodation?
    • A. Yes! Hotels and hostels often discount their rates to attract more visitors, so keep an eye out for last-minute offers.

Conclusion

Finding affordable accommodation for your gap year in the UK can be a daunting task, but with a bit of planning and research, it is possible! From Couchsurfing or home-staying to loyalty programs or last-minute deals, there are plenty of options for finding cheap accommodation for your gap year experiences.
Doing your research and being flexible with your plans will help to ensure you get the best deals, and most of all, that you make the most of your gap year in the UK!

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