A family that's been traveling the world for over 3 years shares their 7 best tips to find great, cheap places to stay

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bender_family_niagarafalls Travel with Bender Erin and Josh Bender with their children, Mia, 6, and Caius, 5.

In May 2012, Erin and Josh Bender - and their two children, Mia, now 6, and Caius, 5 - packed up their lives in Perth, Australia and hit the road.

Today, nearly four years later, they are still traveling nonstop around the world. They document their journey (and how they can afford it ) on their blog, " Travel With Bender ."

After traveling to over 60 countries as a family, booking about 40 flights along the way, and staying in hundreds of hotels, resorts, apartments, and homes, they've learned the ins and outs of traveling on the cheap. In fact, "The first year of travel, we ended up saving $40,000," they tell Business Insider. They reduced their bills through a combination of staying in more affordable countries, not having to cover expenses such as utilities, gas, internet, and car insurance like they would at home, and mindful spending.

Here, we've rounded up some of their timeless tips for finding the perfect - and affordable - accommodation wherever you go, along with pictures of some of the places they've stayed around the world:

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A family that's been traveling the world for over 3 years shares their 7 best tips to find great, cheap places to stay

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1. Do your research.

Putting in the time to look up various accommodation options and cost compare can pay off in the long run. The Benders have a few favorite resources, depending on what type of housing you're looking for:

For hotels, start with Expedia. "They offer cheap rooms and provide loyalty points which can be later redeemed for discounts," Erin writes. "This is one of my favorite mobile apps for hotel bookings, as the checkout process is very snappy, fuss-free, and well-suited for repeat use."

They also recommend HotelTravel, AsiaRooms (Asia only), Agoda (Asia only), Hotels.com, and Booking.com.

For apartments, try Flipkey. It's similar to Airbnb, offering a variety of houses or apartments to rent from homeowners all over the world. Unlike Airbnb, Flipkey does not take a percentage of the rent from the owner and renter. "The rates for each property are very transparent in being able to see particular seasons and how much the nightly, weekly, and monthly prices vary," writes Erin. "It's little things like this which can help you save some decent dollars if you're able to time your travel to take advantage of low season savings."

They also recommend Sykes Cottages (UK and Ireland only), GoWithOh (Europe only), Airbnb, and Holiday Lettings.

For anything last minute, try Wotif and Lastminute.com, Erin recommends. They both specialize in last minute accommodations, taking advantage of the fact that hotels would rather have a room filled and paid at a lower price, than empty.

Pictured above: The Berjaya Resort Langkawi in Malaysia.

A family that's been traveling the world for over 3 years shares their 7 best tips to find great, cheap places to stay

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2. Search different country-specific versions of the same website.

Did you know Expedia has multiple global sites? It's worth your time to do a quick cost comparison between expedia.com and expedia.co.uk, for instance.

"Many times we have found expedia.com to be much cheaper than expedia.com.au, even when you take the currency exchange rate difference into consideration," Erin writes.

Pictured above: The Benders' hut on the rice paddy at Gemalai during their stay in Langkawi, Malaysia.

A family that's been traveling the world for over 3 years shares their 7 best tips to find great, cheap places to stay

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3. Pay attention to the little fees.

You don't want to any surprise costs eating away at your travel budget. Erin shares a few common ones to look out for:

Utilities (electricity, gas, water). "In some countries it is normal for certain utilities to be added on top of a vacation rental rate," Erin explains. "For example, in Playa Del Carmen, Mexico the electricity usage was added at the end of the stay due to the high cost of running the air conditioner."

Hotel parking. "If you've got a car, check if the hotel includes free parking," advises Erin. "In Europe, we found hotels could charge upwards of $20 per night just for parking fees, whereas others provided the service completely free." If there isn't parking at all, check out options near your hotel and how much they would cost.

Minimum night stay. "For holiday apartments and Airbnb-style websites, look out for the minimum night stay required for a booking," writes Erin. "Many will also hold a security deposit (in case of damage), so ensure you have those funds available in advance. A separate cleaning fee can be added by the owner, so look out for that."

Pictured above: The Sheraton in Bali.

A family that's been traveling the world for over 3 years shares their 7 best tips to find great, cheap places to stay

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4. Stay for longer.

"If you're thinking of staying in a town for more than a week, compare the weekly, fortnightly, and monthly rate for the holiday home you like," writes Erin. "In some occasions the owner really wants the place booked and will provide significant discounts on a monthly rate. On several occasions we only had three weeks available but booked a month because that rate was much cheaper than the weekly rate."

If you're using Airbnb or a similar website, it can't hurt to politely ask the homeowner for a discount if you're staying for a month, says Erin: "You'll be surprised how many respond positively to that. We have saved up to 75% on nightly rates by negotiating a better monthly rate with the owner."

Pictured above: The Teton Mountain Lodge & Spa in Jackson Hole, Wyoming.

A family that's been traveling the world for over 3 years shares their 7 best tips to find great, cheap places to stay

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5. Travel during the off-season.

Simply put, traveling during holidays and peak periods is going to cost you more. Destinations will be busier and prices will skyrocket.

"Accommodation prices can be up to 50% lower during the low seasons, so the savings really add up," writes Erin. If you can help it, don't travel when everyone else travels.

Pictured above: The Anacaona Boutique Hotel in Anguilla.

A family that's been traveling the world for over 3 years shares their 7 best tips to find great, cheap places to stay

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6. Consider house-sitting.

Your best bet for traveling on a budget may be to house-sit (if you plan on doing it a few times a year), which oftentimes entails free lodging in exchange for looking after the home.

"Most of the reputable house-sitting websites require a registration fee, but if you use them several times per year then they will pay for themselves many times over," explains Erin. "Make sure you spend a bit of time to create a complete and compelling profile and respond quickly to any messages from owners. If you can include references, that will go a long way to landing your first house-sitting gig."

The Benders recommend starting with Trusted Housesitters, Mind My House, House Carers, and HouseSit Match.

Pictured above: The Benders' chalet at the Berjaya Langkawi Resort in Malaysia.

A family that's been traveling the world for over 3 years shares their 7 best tips to find great, cheap places to stay

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7. Ask for an upgrade.

It never hurts to ask. When checking in to your hotel, ask for an upgrade to a better room, suggests Erin. "Or, if you'd like a room with a view, it may be the same price that you already booked, just with a much better location within the hotel complex," she writes.

Also, "If you're on holidays for a special occasion like a birthday or anniversary, let the hotel staff know — you may be pleasantly surprised with a gift or room upgrade."

Pictured above: A fraction of the hundreds of destinations the Benders have visited over the past three and a half years.

See more tips on finding places to stay for cheap at "Travel With Bender."

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