Alternate Accommodation Options

With all the choices out there, it is quite hard to choose where to stay during your travels. However, most people opt for the hotel route without even considering the other alternatives available. Here are some alternate accommodation options out there for you to consider for your next vacation:

  1. Hostels. This is a popular choice for backpackers and an economical choice for those travelers who do not mind sharing their personal space. This cheaper option provides a bed to sleep in for the night in a shared room that can be either co-ed or sex-segregated. If you’re lucky enough you may find a semi-private room with a semi-private bathroom. Expect shared bathrooms, sleeping in bunk beds, and a lot of small talk. Some hostels also offer free accommodation in the long-term in exchange for part-time work at the hostel – excellent for backpackers with working visas!
  2. Bed and Breakfasts (B&B). These homey accommodation options are usually run by homeowners who rent out bedrooms for the weary traveler. They offer private rooms with either an en suite bathroom or a private bathroom that is usually shared with other guests. True to their name, B&B’s provide breakfast that is served either in the bedroom or in a shared dining area. This is the perfect choice for the young couple or family looking for a one night stop along a road trip. These quaint bed and breakfasts are well-kept and an excellent source of information on local attractions.
  3. Unusual local accommodations. This is a bit of a stretch for the regular traveler, but if you are going on apilgrimage or on a mission trip, your cheapest form of long-term accommodation is being hosted by the locals. A travel tip for all European bound travelers: consider staying at a monastery or convent. The costs are drastically cheaper and are usually closer to the local attractions than hotels (which are usually closer to the commercialized attractions).
  4. Couch Surfing. This isn’t something I have tried personally, however there are about 3 million people who have signed up for this bizarre program. The idea is that you find someone anywhere in the world that is willing to offer you their couch for a few nights. It’s an excellent way to get information on the local spots BUT there are risks involved and as the couch surfer or the couch provider, you are responsible for reviewing and choosing your surfer/provider wisely.
  5. Rental Car. There’s absolutely nothing wrong with sleeping in the car that you’ve rented. Park in a nice looking neighborhood and snooze away. This does not provide any other perks (such as showers or breakfasts) but if all you needed to do was sleep, it’s your cheapest option (considering the fact that you’re paying for it everyday anyway).

When you MUST resort to booking a hotel room, in order to cut back on any extra costs, consider these travel tips:

  1. Find places where a hot breakfast is included. (I mention HOT because anyone can offer you coffee and pastries, but the good ones offer you waffles, bacon and egg). If you have a good breakfast, you can opt for a lighter lunch later in the day saving you MORE money.
  2. If you’re staying in one place for more than a week, look for a place with a kitchenette (or a place to cook nearby – like public BBQ grill at a park). This really cuts down on your overall costs since you save money cooking your own meals instead of eating out. However, it does require a trip to the closest supermarket almost immediately upon your arrival.
  3. Consider a place with laundry facilities. This is particularly handy especially if you packed light or if you’re traveling with children. Travel tip: Make sure you bring a bit of your own detergent from home and have lots of loose change.