Finding your gap year accommodation is one of the most exciting parts of planning your trip. Will you choose a hip hostel in the centre of town, a working rural farm, or a tucked away family-run hotel?
There is a huge range of gap year accommodation, and there’s an option to suit every budget. Here are our top tips to help you book your perfect stay:
Find cheap gap year hostels
Hostels are the most popular choice for gap year accommodation, and rightly so. They’re a great place to meet new people and discover all the tips and must-see places that will make your trip incredible.
Hostels are also one of the cheapest accommodation options. You’ll often find the best deals by opting for a dormitory, which is a shared room housing several beds or bunk beds. You can also choose a smaller shared room with just a couple of other travellers, or even treat yourself and book your own private room. Bathrooms are often shared but many hostels also offer ensuites.
Another way to save money when staying in a hostel is to work in one! If you find a hostel you love and you’re keen to stay for a while, ask if they have any available roles, as accommodation is often included.
Forget any outdated tales you’ve heard about gap year hostels, as the modern versions are clean, friendly and often incredibly stylish. The amenities vary across properties, but most hostels offer a common room, which is a great place to meet fellow travellers. The majority also offer laundry facilities and WiFi.
Hostels are also a good way to save money on food, especially if they have a communal kitchen. You’ll be able to store your food in the shared fridges, freezers and cupboards, and kitchen equipment is supplied. These are a great place to pick up top cooking tips and share recipes with other travellers. Many hostels also offer restaurants too, and look out for those offering free breakfasts.
To find gap year hostels head to Hostelworld, which offers 36,000 properties across 178 countries. Hostels are reviewed by travellers, so you can easily find one that travellers like you rave about.
Staying in gap year hotels
Don’t discount hotels as too expensive, as there are some bargains out there which are perfect for gap year travellers. While gap year hotels are likely to be expensive on a long-term basis, they can be a great choice for your first few nights in a new destination, or if you want to guarantee a good night’s sleep ahead of a long flight or tiring trip.
With a hotel you will have your own room and bathroom, so it’s a good option if you want more privacy.
To find a hotel for your gap year head to Booking.com, which offers low prices and great deals on a range of hotels across the globe.
Choose a budget-friendly Airbnb
On Airbnb you can filter accommodation to find those that best fit your budget. Booking an entire apartment, home or unit is likely to be the most expensive option, while choosing an individual room is normally cheaper.
It’s a great place to find quirky and inspiring gap year accommodation with friendly hosts. Choose from barns, farms, castles, treehouses, tiny homes, chalets, beachfront properties and more.
Couchsurfing on your gap year
Couchsurfing helps you find people in destinations across the globe who have a free sofa, bed or airbed available for travellers. It’s a sociable and cheap way to explore a new place, and they also organise events to help you meet like minded travellers.
As you’re staying in someone’s home make sure you check out the safety advice and hints and tips before signing up, as this includes lots of useful information.
Stay on a farm
Worldwide Opportunities on Organic Farms is a worldwide movement that links travellers with organic farmers, enabling you to receive free food and accommodation.
When you stay on a farm you’re invited to participate in daily life there, helping out, learning about sustainability, experiencing a new culture and meeting new people. You can choose from farms in 130 countries, which focus on a huge variety of farming practices.
Top tips for booking gap year accommodation
The Gap Year Hub’s expert team have been helping gappers plan their trips for more than 30 years. During that time we’ve picked up these top tips to help you arrange the best accommodation for your trip:
- If you are doing an organised program or volunteering your accommodation may be arranged for you, so check when you first enquire.
- Always book at least one night’s accommodation in advance when arriving in a new destination. This will ensure you have somewhere to stay, even if you are delayed. No one wants to be roaming the streets at night looking for a hostel with a spare bed.
- Some hostels offer mixed-sex dorms, so check in advance if you want to avoid these.
- Think carefully about location and how you will get there. Do you want somewhere in the heart of a city with great transport links, or are you keen to have some quiet time in a rural location?
- You may be asked to pay a deposit or pay in full to secure your accommodation, and these terms should be clear when booking.
- Don’t forget to check reviews from other travellers before booking. This could help you snag the hidden gem gappers rave about, and avoid the place that’s known for its bed bug infestations.
- Remember to keep your family back home updated about where you are staying. Even a quick text or email to let them know where you are will put their minds at rest and enable them to get in contact in an emergency if you lose your phone.
- There are so many fantastic gap year accommodation options out there. For more advice head to our Accommodation page, and start booking your next stay!