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4 Ways to Find Affordable Accommodations

Updated: Mar 15

Time and time again I am asked how do I find such good deals? Where should I stay? How did you find it? Easy: Use these tools to search and find your best options for sleeping away from home.


Note: Always Pack Tissues represents many tried and tested travel sites as what is called an 'affiliate' partner. That means if you click on my ads I may get a commission from a resulting sale.

Without a doubt the best booking site I have ever used, offers me flexibility and search tools that drill down to every parameter I would want. From air conditioning, free cancellation, review scores and photos, I am able to see what works best for me. I can filter by area of town, does it include breakfast, is there free parking? Do I want a waterfront view, a private bathroom, no prepayment? The filters are seemingly endless with ways to narrow down to your exact perfect property.

Why I love it: the more I book, the more I save. I am a Genius Level 3, which offers me free breakfasts and up to 20% discounts per booking.

It's really easy to book and everything is cancellable, within limits of their cancellation policies.

When I book, I always look for these filters:

  • Air conditioning

  • Free cancellation

  • Very good 8+ score

And if in most places, target

  • No more than $100/night.

I set a max limit around $130 for stays on If I find hotel options to be slim in that max price range, I then look to the next three booking options, below.

Not a fan of I also recommend Expedia, Orbitz and!

Booking on Points

In my family, we have dedicated ourselves to two brands: Marriott and Hilton. With both brands we have also affiliated ourselves with their branded credit card. For instance, I have a Marriott Bonvoy card and my husband holds a pretty amazing Hilton card. More on those cards another day. With card spending (and also with stays) we earn points towards future stays. When we book, we either book directly through the card portals or through the web portals for the hotel. In either case, we use points and never pay a dime. Check some of our recent COMPLETELY FREE stays:

The Conrad Tulum Riviera Maya and their insane views, food options and kids club. Did I mention the $270 resort credit? With this, we ate FREE too!

Pink walls overlooking a pool at a boutique hotel
Rosas & Xocolate Boutique Hotel + SPA in Merida, Mexico

The ornate St. Regis in Rome (and their famous champagne sabering nightly!)

Baker's Cay Resort Key Largo, Curio Collection by Hilton, PLUS $270 in resort credits - hello free lobster feast on the ocean!

Anyway, you get my drift? Earn points, book free hotels.

Vacation Rentals

It goes without saying that AirBnB and VRBO are globally recognized brand for booking stays. You just have to have a little savvy when you book. Look for filters that suit you. I typically search for private properties, no shared bathrooms, air conditioning and price point. The beauty of a vacation rental is you can really get in to the 'mood' of a destination - look through photos of the property that best personifies where you are staying.


My husband and I are big time campers - both growing up in families who camped on weekends, I can't say enough good things about camping. There are options for everyone - tent campers, cabin campers and RV or travel trailer campers. From KOA to state and county parks to even overseas camping options, the possibilities of savings here are endless.

This is how we spend our weekends. At about $30 a night for electric and water hookup, can you really say no?

Camper overlooking the ocean sunset
Camping at Gamble Rogers State Park, Flagler Beach FL

Tent Camping

Where to book:

Go directly to websites for National Parks, State Parks, County Parks, KOA campgrounds, private campgrounds, and so forth.

What to bring:

Borrow from a friend or stock up on your own supplies. At a minimum you'll need a tent and bed linens. From there it's easy to get in to gear offerings:

  • Sleeping bags

  • Cots

  • Lanterns

  • Fire pit

  • Grill

  • Camp chairs

  • etc

The list is too long for this post, so look for a camping gear post in the future!

Cabin Camping

Where to book:

Same as for tent camping.

What to bring:

Typically cabins come well equipped with basic mattresses, cups for coffee, etc. It depends on the accommodation. Always bring linens and read up on the supplies already on hand.

RV or Travel Trailer

You can rent RV's believe it or not. Check out RV America for a start. Otherwise, look in to taking the plunge at your local RV center or even on Facebook Marketplace.

Warning: Travel trailer camping is not for the faint of heart! You will have to deal directly with poop hoses, water conservation and lots of gadgets.

Let me know in the comments if any of these tips worked for you!



Hi, I'm Maria!

Globetrotting since 1995, I'm not a digital nomad or a social influencer.

I'm a traveler. I'm a storyteller.

And I'm here to inspire you to

Travel More.

Learn about International Travel Destinations and Advice through the lens of an American perspective. 

​Never AI-Generated. Only real stories from my travels.


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