Hotel Alternatives That Can Actually Help Save Money

It’s no surprise that a summer getaway can be expensive. And, even if you set aside enough funds to cover your entire trip, it can be a bit painful to shell out a ton of money to pay for your hotel — money you spend before you even arrive on holiday.

In order to reduce your sense of sticker shock, you can seek out cheaper accommodation for your trip this year. Hotels aren’t the only place to stay and, with the proper planning, you can find something equally as nice with a much smaller bottom line. Here are five ideas:  

1. Airbnb

You have probably heard about the Airbnb phenomenon that’s changing the travel game. If not, log onto their website and see for yourself. The site connects you with locals in the area in which you’ll be traveling. They have spare rooms, apartments or entire homes to rent out, depending on the size of your party and your budget.

On top of that, many of the available accommodations come with all of the comforts of home, including kitchens and laundry facilities, which could save you, even more, money on your trip. You’ll also find that a lot of the options are more unique and authentic than a hotel stay would be — thanks to Airbnb, you can live like a local in the city where you’re vacationing this year.

2. Home Exchange

You’ve seen it romanticized in movies, but home exchanges are the real deal, especially for vacationers who want to save a bit of money! All you have to do is log onto a website where other homeowners list their properties and find someone who wants to get out of town the same week you do.

Home exchanges do require a bit of coordination, since you’ll both be uprooting to a new city without much knowledge of the local area, customs, etc. Be sure to ask the most basic questions before you agree to swap: where is the local grocery store? Where will you hide the key? How do you turn on the shower? That way, once you arrive, you’ll be able to settle right into your home away from home and enjoy your getaway wholeheartedly.

3. Hostels

They’re not just for teens and twenty-somethings: hostels around the world have stepped up their game so that adults feel comfortable staying there, too. If you’re traveling with a larger group, you can rent an entire room with multiple beds together. Or, if it’s just you and another travel buddy, you can choose a private room so you have all the trappings of a hotel with a much smaller price tag. Many hostels offer free walking tours, breakfasts and other perks, too.

4. Your Own Vacation Home

Okay, okay, we know what you’re thinking: how can a vacation home be cheaper than a hotel room? But, if you go to the same place for vacation every single year, it might be worth it to make your residence in the area permanent. You’ll also be investing in a property rather than pouring money into a hotel room with no reward or financial gain on your end.

You can even make it so that the payments you make for your vacation home are made in the same way you would pay for any other home. You’ll also find that some lenders specialize in vacation home financing. For instance, because there are so many different kinds of vacation homes aside from your typical beach house option, you can usually find lenders that specialize in the specific kind of home you are looking for. For example, there are individuals and lenders that specialize in financing log cabin homes, a popular vacation home on the rise.

If you need any further incentive, remember that your vacation home’s resale value is likely to stay strong or increase since, you know, people will always want to go on vacation. You can even make extra money while you’re not enjoying your home by renting it out and charging guests to stay.

  1. Camping

Of course, you can forego all shelter and decide to spend your upcoming vacation outdoors. Even if you have to pay to set up camp in a specific park or on a particular beach, it’ll still be much less expensive than paying for a hotel; there are also plenty of campsites where overnight stays are free.

Camping isn’t for everyone, though, so don’t dive into it unless you know for sure you will enjoy the experience. Even if you’re saving money, it’s meant to be a vacation: if you look forward to time off to be pampered, then camping is probably not the right option for you.

To that end, there are plenty of other choices aside from the above five. You can find accommodation in churches, volunteer abroad, couch surf or find a temporary job that provides housing while you work. No matter which option you’ll choose, you will save on your vacation bottom-line and have an unforgettable experience. When it comes to traveling, you can’t ask for much more than that.