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Here at Don’t Be a Stranger, we know many of us have a huge desire to explore beautiful far-flung places across the world, but not all of us have the budget to support this. Dream locations such as Indonesia are becoming more and more accessible to the masses as flight prices drop and well trodden back-packer paths emerge.
Having recently come back from a trip adventuring around Indonesia myself, I know that getting there is half the battle. Which is why I have written this piece to give you some insider tips and tricks into making the most out of your holiday by finding the best possible accommodation options at budgets to suit the most frugal of travellers. (Bonus- at the very end I added my favourite hostels in Indonesia)
As many of you will already have assumed, the mighty hostel is recognised worldwide as the easiest and cheapest option for budget friendly accommodation, and Indonesia is no exception as it is covered in hundreds of the money saving dorm rooms. Not only are they perfect option for saving the cash, they are also an excellent way to meet new people, get recommendations of what to do and where to go, and commandeer a friend for a cheeky Bintang.
Searching for the perfect hostel can be a minefield, so have in mind a few ‘non-negotiables' to help you narrow the search down. For instance, when looking for a hostel in Asia I always tried to make sure my bed had privacy curtains, air-conditioning and a dorm no larger than 12 or so. You will learn what you like in a hostel the more you get to know what makes you comfortable and within your budget.
Top Tip: If you are really on the budget, look out for hostels who sweeten the deal with extras. For example, some will offer a basic breakfast every morning, a water fountain or exclusive discounts to restaurants and bars in the area. For paying an extra pound or two for these bonuses, you could save more in the long run.
When searching for rooms, hotels and hostels online, it is often a habit to check several websites to try and find the best deal. However, sometimes loyalty pays off in different ways. Many companies such as booking.com or hotels.com offer rewards and discounts the more you use them to book a few properties through their website over a period of time. Loyalty can get you free upgrades, breakfast included or upwards of 10% off your booking, which saves those all important £’s much better spent on food and sunset beers.
When looking for your next place to stay, it is very easy to focus solely on the city centres, a hop away from the beach or the perfect breakfast place, but this comes at a price. Websites, hotels and hostels will charge a premium for a sought after location and can eat away at those precious pounds. A great tip to save money is to look further afield. Although it may seem like you are out of the action, this is actually a brilliant way to save money and explore parts of Indonesia you may not have seen if you stuck to the well trodden areas. To balance the distance, you can either hire a scooter for a few days, or order a taxi. Both will cost a minimal amount a day compared to staying centrally and keeps the sense of adventure alive.
Staying in hostels are an economical option for solo-travellers and couples alike . However, staying in a dorm in separate single beds, sharing with 6-10 other people doesn’t exactly scream romance and sometimes can get a little tiring. It is often thought that getting a private or hotel room would be way out of budget for most, but it is easier than you think to get a little privacy.
Many places online will advertise as ‘home-stays’ which are essentially a collection of private rooms at budget prices. Sometimes you will find that the price of a private home-stay room comes to less than paying for two separate hostel beds, meaning you get your own space and bathroom for a bargain deal.
Looking for a bit of luxury on a budget? On the road you will undoubtably make friends with many travellers doing the same things as you. If you strike up a good friendship with a few people, a good budget friendly option is to go in on an Airbnb. There are many beautiful Airbnb’s in Indonesia that for a solo traveller or couple could be a little pricey. Getting together with a group of friends and splitting the cost could land you in some backpacker paradise at the fraction of the cost.
It is all very well reading hundreds of reviews online about a certain hostel, or spending hours looking for the perfect homestay, but in Indonesia, a picture can paint a very different image to the room you are presented with on arrival. Before and during your trip, try and ask people where they have stayed in certain areas and what they would recommend. Often in Indonesia, many places are not advertised online or are difficult to find, meaning you miss out on some beautifully cheap accommodation. Asking people you meet along the way can help sift through the endless options and land you somewhere unexpected. If you are lucky, some places will offer you a discounted rate if you say you were referred by a friend who has stayed before.
Be it sharing a dorm room with fellow travellers, chilling out in your private home-stay or living it up in an Airbnb with your new found friends, Indonesia provides a plethora of cheap accommodation options for all. We hope this article has given you all the insider knowledge you need to get planning your Indonesian adventure and seize those budget friendly bargains.