Sleep for Cheap: The Key to Finding Inexpensive Lodging Options

in Family Vacations, Travel Deals, Traveling with Kids, Trip Planning

One of the major expenses while traveling is typically lodging. Even “reasonably” priced hotels can cost upwards of $200 per night. Luckily, finding inexpensive lodging is not as difficult as one might think – you just have to know where to look. Here are some suggestions to consider for your next trip.

Housing Swap If you are traveling with your family or a group, a housing swap can be both economical and very convenient. The basic idea is that you trade houses with someone in another location. Typically, the involved parties draw up a contract that covers use of particular items (cars, appliances, etc.), cleaning fees and damage policies. As traveling families become more budget conscious, this option has become much more popular. There are several websites you can use to facilitate the swap. For starters, check out: (specializes in international house swaps) (specializes in both U.S. and international house swaps) (has lots of great and affordable listings for U.S. and abroad) CouchSurfing [caption id="attachment_4802" align="alignright" width="300" caption="Laguna Beach Vacation Rental Condos"][/caption] The term was coined by the non-profit group by the same name that connects frugal travelers in over 230 countries. CouchSurfing ( members host one another (for free) in their homes. According to CouchSurfers I know, these stays provide the opportunity for rich cultural exchanges and they have made connections with individuals living all over the world (who have offered to put them up whenever they’d like).  Think if it kind of like a study abroad “homestay” for adults. Though most CouchSurfers are single people or couples, there are opportunities for families to CouchSurf together as well. Hostels During my backpacking through Europe years, I got to know the Euro hostel scene quite well. Hostels are typically very casual hotels where you can rent a bed in a shared room (some also offer private rooms) and use the shared shower and bathroom facilities. Hostel qualities range from hotel-like to downright shabby and prices can vary from the equivalent of $10USD per night to $80USD per night. Some offer a continental breakfast (included in the price). One of the fun things about staying in a hostel is the variety of people you’ll meet—they are inherently more social places than most hotels. There are many hostels that do not allow children, so make sure you check first if you are traveling with youngsters. Finding out about hostels is much more convenient now than it was when I was “hosteling it” ten years ago. There are a variety of websites that provide international hostel listings and ratings. Check these ones out to start with: Vacation Rentals Though typically more expensive than the options listed above, vacation rentals often offer more bang for the buck, especially if you’re traveling with a family or group. With the international real estate market on the fritz, more and more home and condo owners are renting out their properties to make ends meet. This typically translates to great properties for reasonable prices. If you’re traveling with a group of friends, consider renting a house and splitting the price. The savings you’ll see will be amazing. There are many sites online that will help you find a vacation rental in the area you’ll be traveling in a price range that that works into your travel budget. Start by visiting theses ones:

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