To start out, here are some general rules when choosing places to stay:
Generally speaking you could say that the standards and prices of accommodation all over the world fall into these categories:
The cheapest place to stay is in your own tent on a camping site. But not all countries have as extensive a camping tradition as Scandinavia and Europe. USA, Canada, Australia and New Zealand are easy camping countries. At some camp sites you can also rent a hut or cabin for the night.
Hostels are also a cheap solution where you'll often share a room and toilet with a lot of other travelers. Usually you have to buy a membership card to the hostels in the country in question, which isn't always that cheap, but once you've paid for it you'll have plenty of cheap places to stay.
Guest houses are a third relatively cheap solution. A guest house is a hotel without stars where you usually have your own room with bath in the hall.
The most expensive solution is regular hotels which offer different degrees of luxury, as signaled by the international star rating system - the more stars the better, and the more expensive.
Couch surfing is a popular way to get free accommodation. It's all about exchanging accommodation, meaning that you must be willing to host other travelers when at home, so you can get free accommodation when traveling. However the couch surfing idea is also about cultural and social exchange and getting to know your host and the local area. Bear in mind that couch surfing is for the open minded traveler. Forget all about couch surfing if you just want a room with a closed door!
What! Did you say free? Yes, in some parts of the world you can
actually get free accommodation and perhaps a free meal by
volunteering for social work 5-8 hours a day.
Of course, it's all up to you what kind of accommodation you feel most comfortable with but we recommend that you mix different kinds of accommodation. Save money by staying on camp sites, meet new friends at the hostel, relax at a guest house and spoil yourself once in a while at a good hotel - then your money will go a long way, and you will be able to reload your batteries from time to time.