With so many alternatives to hotels, why restrict yourself when it comes to accommodations? Especially since hotels can take a big chunk out of your trip’s budget. With the options below, you can pay a fraction of the price and put your savings towards a memorable adventure or splurge on local food.
If you must book a traditional hotel, earn free nights with one of our favorite credit cards for hotel benefits and rewards.
1. Vacation Rentals
Imagine…a London flat, a villa in Barbados, a log cabin in Colorado. Unique and affordable, vacation rentals tend to be more spacious than hotel rooms, so they’re a good option for groups and families to spread the cost. Plus, cooking meals in your own kitchen can save you even more money by not eating out as often.
2. Short-Term Rentals
Quite possibly the most popular hotel alternative, short-term rentals include a room in someone’s house, a cottage or a private studio apartment, for low rates. If you’re two or more people, it’s often cheaper than a hostel dorm.
Short-term rentals are a way for hosts to make a little extra money on rooms or properties they could spare while giving you a local’s perspective as well as a great deal.
If you don’t mind using the bathroom down the hall, bed-and-breakfasts offer the coziness and attention you won’t get from hotels. Plus, breakfast is always covered. If you’re lucky, the room you’re supposed to share a bathroom with might not even be booked!
Although “youth” and “hostel” seem to go hand-in-hand, this hotel alternative is a good fit for budget travelers of any age. If you’re not down for a bed in a shared dorm, most hostels offer a basic private room with an ensuite bathroom for much less than the cost of a low-end hotel room.
5. Homestays & Couchsurfing
By far, the cheapest option is to sleep in someone’s spare bed or on a living room couch. In some cases, it’s even free! Couchsurfing is also a great way to meet to locals and get an authentic travel experience.
Love sleeping under the stars? You’re in luck, camping is one of the cheapest options on this list. If you cook your meals over the campfire instead of dining out at restaurants, you’ll be saving even more. Stay in a cabin or go glamping if you’re not too keen on sleeping on the ground.
If you’re traveling to a place with rivers, canals, a lake or ocean, check out the boathouse scene. Your options may include anywhere from a cruiser with a cabin to a fancy yacht. Got your boating license? You could even rent a boat for your visit.
This category covers working ranches, cattle farms, rural B&Bs and more, and you don’t necessarily have to milk a cow to partake in it. Tasks include feeding a bottle to a lamb, throwing down cornmeal for chickens, learning how to make cheese or even spinning wool. Farmstays are especially popular in Europe, Australia and New Zealand.
9. Academic Housing
When the students go home for summer break, some colleges and universities open their vacant dorms to travellers. These affordable accommodations are super basic, often with shared bathrooms.
10. Religious Housing
Check to see if there are any affordable accommodations offered by religious organizations where you’re traveling. If you’re going to Italy, look into convents and monasteries. Heading to Jerusalem? Hit up Christian or Jewish guesthouses. The local tourist board website will be your best friend in this search.
Sites: Monastery Stays
11. Home Exchange
Swapping houses is another way to enjoy all the conveniences of home – kitchen, laundry, Wifi, etc – while traveling. If you want to be a member of a home exchange network, you’ll usually pay an annual fee which costs about the same as one night in a hotel room.
For more tips on saving money, see our 99 Tips, Tricks, And Easy Ways To Save Your Cash.
Top Pages You May Like
Top/Trending Offers You May Like
- BMO Harris $200 & $350 Bonuses
- Chase Business Checking $300 Bonus
- Bank Of America $100 Bonus Offer
- Chase Total Checking® $200 Bonus
- TD Beyond Checking $300 Bonus
- HSBC Premier Checking $500 Bonus
- Aspiration Checking $150/$200 Bonus
- J.P. Morgan Self-Directed Investing $625 Cash
- Ally Invest Up To $3,000 Bonus
- Axos $100/$200 Checking & Savings Bonuses
- TradeStation Cash & Crypto Offers