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Aside from airfare, lodging is typically the expense that takes the biggest bite out of a vacation budget. Below, we review 10 hotel alternatives and evaluate the pros and cons of each. This is a popular and ever-growing trend in the travel world—a cross between vacation rentals and homestays. Dig It Do you love the chance to meet people, see how they live, maybe play a midnight game of Scrabble or Call of Duty? Although you may score a cottage all by yourself, the cheaper options are usually a small bedroom with a shared bath.
Dump It If uncertainty keeps you awake at night, you may sleep better at a chain hotel. Many even welcome children with open arms and often have larger rooms set aside for families. Dump It Your room will be clean and functional, but if you want luxury, look elsewhere. The same goes if your kids are hellions, accustomed to running up and down halls screaming at the top of their lungs. Finally, not all religious accommodations will accept unmarried couples. They often have communal kitchens for those interested in making their own meals.
Dump It Some hostels can be sketchy—lacking not only privacy but also safety. Also, check whether the property is a member of Hostelling International , a U. You can organize a homestay through long-established hospitality networks like Servas International , or check out sites like Couchsurfing. For more information, see our guide to homestays and farmstays. You stand the chance of meeting interesting people and getting a close-up look at local life. Just super-social? Go with a Couchsurfing-type option. Dump It You must be trusting and trustworthy, flexible and friendly, for homestays to be an appropriate choice for you.
You also have to be patient—the Servas interview process takes about three weeks. CouchSurfing is looser and much more in touch with social media, providing plenty of opportunities to connect with locals and other travelers. A Paris apartment, a villa in the Caribbean, a log cabin in Vermont … vacation rentals offer unique and affordable lodging around the globe. And having your own kitchen can save you big bucks on restaurants.
Sites to try to include TripAdvisor and HomeAway. And make sure to read up about whether vacation rentals are right for you. Dig It The many options in the vacation rental world mean that this choice is great for a variety of trips. If you appreciate the convenience and savings of having a kitchen and a laundry room during your trip, then a vacation rental could be for you.
When students go home for the summer, many colleges and universities open their dorms to visitors. Expect very affordable but very basic accommodations bathrooms may be down the hall, for example. Dig It Restaurants, bars, and entertainment venues often surround college campuses, so there should be plenty of action nearby. Elevators and air conditioning are uncommon in older buildings, too. Farmstays are particularly popular in Europe, Australia, and New Zealand. Learn more about homestays and farmstays. Dig It If you think you might enjoy waking with the sun to feed a bottle to a lamb or cornmeal to chickens, a farmstay may be right for you.
You could enjoy a hearty breakfast, learn to make cheese or spin wool. The quiet, bucolic setting is perfect for relaxation, catching up on reading, or finishing handicraft projects. Dig It Camping is a great choice for anyone seeking a digital detox. Dump It Cooking a meal over a camp stove or fire, washing dishes in a bucket, waking up to rain-soaked sleeping bags—those who choose camping should be open to doing without a few comforts and conveniences.
Dig It All the conveniences of home—kitchen with all the gadgets, laundry with detergent, Wi-Fi—and usually, a location away from tourist traps and traffic. Will they trash my house? Am I safe in their home? If these concerns keep you up at night, do yourself a favor and sleep in a hotel.
It has been updated to reflect the most current information. We hand-pick everything we recommend and select items through testing and reviews. Some products are sent to us free of charge with no incentive to offer a favorable review. We offer our unbiased opinions and do not accept compensation to review products.
All items are in stock and prices are accurate at the time of publication. If you buy something through our links, we may earn a commission. Short-Term Room Rentals This is a popular and ever-growing trend in the travel world—a cross between vacation rentals and homestays. Shop the look. Raw Edge Pocket Tee.
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