Smart travelers never limit their accommodations options to traditional hotels. Sure, there are lots of amazing hotels in the world. However, there are also many great alternatives to hotels, too. These alternatives are often less expensive than hotels. Saving money on your lodging means that you have more money to enjoy your destination. If that sounds like a good plan to you then perhaps you might want to consider the following the cheap alternatives to staying in a hotel:
1. Hostels. Youth hostels are perhaps the most popular cheap alternatives to a hotel. People of all ages stay at hostels around the world. Although typically this involves dorm-style bunk sleeping, many hostels also offer private rooms. The common areas are usually shared. You can meet interesting people and pay a very low price for your bed.
2. Convents/ Monasteries. If you want to try something different from the same old hostel suggestion then perhaps you would enjoy staying at a convent or a monastery. Many of these places in Europe, particularly in Italy, offer affordable stays in simple rooms. You can enjoy a sense of peace, a welcoming atmosphere and the chance to stay in unique historic accommodations at a low price.
3. Couchsurfing. There is an entire network of people out there in the world who would be happy to offer you a night on their couch or air mattress at no charge. There are even specialty couchsurfing options for niche groups such as musicians on tour.
4.Hometel/ Room Rental. Some people like the idea of couchsurfing but are turned off by a few aspects of it. For one thing, they worry about the safety of it. For another thing, they want a room to themselves. A great solution is to try a hometel or a room rental through a site such as Airbnb or iStopover. Individuals sign up with these sites to rent out a room in their homes at a price lower than local hotels. You stay with a local family but there is more privacy and perhaps an increased sense of safety compared to couchsurfing.
5. Home Swaps. Stay in someone else’s house at your destination while they stay in yours. You generally get comfy accommodations at no charge.
6. Dorms / Academic Housing. Many people don’t realize but college dorms often offer their rooms for rent at a low cost. This is typically done in the off-season (summer, when students are away). Young people may find this cheap hotel alternative to be particularly appealing especially if they are traveling specifically to check out college life.
7. Volunteer Lodging. Many people find it very rewarding to take a volunteer vacation. You spend your time at a great destination doing volunteer work. In exchange, you receive either free or cheap room and board. It’s a great way to do something good while seeing new places at a low cost.
8. Camping. There is always the option of sleeping in the great outdoors. Camping has gotten expensive for a lot of people because they feel like they need all of the bells and whistles that are available at outdoor sporting goods stores. However, a sleeping bag and maybe a tent are all that you really need to get a decent night’s sleep at most campgrounds.
9. Farms. Farm stays are interesting because they can offer some of the different benefits of many of these other types of lodging. Some farm stays are volunteer vacations where you work on the farm in exchange for your room. Others require no work but charge a small fee to rent a room in the farmhouse or to camp on the property. Many people enjoy the simplicity and great experience of living on a farm even if it’s only for a few days.
10. Stay with Friends or Family. Maybe you can’t even afford to stay in a youth hostel or go camping right now. Perhaps you can barely afford to get to your vacation destination but you’d still like to travel. There is always the option of staying with friends or family. There are pros and cons to this, as we all know well, but it’s definitely a cheap alternative to a hotel!