Unfortunately, there are some destinations that are just expensive regardless of when you go or how you decide to get there. These are typically destinations where competition is extremely limited and remote. Once there, your choice of accommodation is basically fairly limited with all the hotel rooms basically going for similar rates. Sure there are variances between the ultra high end hotels and the more run of the mill hotel, but you won’t find any hotel chains to choose from.
Easter Island and the Galapagos Islands are fairly good examples of this. Although there are commercial flights there, they are limited with little competition. Once there, there are only local hotels that are free to charge whatever they want knowing that tourists have no other recourse. Sometimes the cost of living in a city is expensive.
Of course, this is all relative. Sydney, Singapore, London, Tokyo, and Paris were some (in my opinion) shockingly expensive cities. However, living in San Diego, I live in an expensive city and have people ask me many times how I can afford to live here. So depending on where you’re from there may be a difference in sticker shock.
With the advent of sites like Airbrb, Flipkey, and VRBO, it has become increasingly easier to find more affordable places to stay which is fantastic. Not only does it allow the casual traveler to find a reasonable place to stay, you’ll probably meet an enthusiastic local who not only enjoys hosting but wants to direct you to local spots away from the main touristy areas.
Admittedly, this may not be for everyone since we all have different needs and wants when it comes to accommodations.