10 Budget-Friendly Hotel Alternatives for Your Next Vacation

10 Budget-Friendly Hotel Alternatives for Your Next Vacation

When planning for a vacation, you know that the biggest chunk of money goes to accommodation. Staying at a hotel is the standard choice, but what if you’re on a budget? You don’t need to worry because there are lower-cost alternatives to traditional hotels.

These alternative accommodations will save you money while enjoying your journey. Moreover, they are pocket-friendly, so you still have the chance to splurge on food and other activities.  Check them out below:


This is the most popular choice in the list. Popularly known as “youth” hostels since this is one of the best alternatives for budget travellers. Aside from shared dorm option, travellers can get a basic private room as well. This alternative lodging is designed form backpackers and unscheduled travellers. Hostels often have communal kitchen and bathroom.

Home rentals and apartment

If you know AirBnb, then you’re aware that a lot of apartment and homes are for rent especially for travellers. Airbnb has so many choices – from private room to 3-bedroom apartment to studio room. It offers budget-friendly lodging for everybody. Sometime, hosts offer kitchen and dining utensils and free toiletries. Moreover, it also offers Wi-Fi and other entertainment options inside the apartment.

Home stay

Do you want to experience cultural immersion and learn more about other people’s tradition? Then homestay is the perfect choice for you. You can live with local family and be part of their customs and traditions for few days or few weeks. Know the family you’re living with and emerge yourself with their everyday lives and routines. You’re also able to try their home cooked meals and even their traditional dishes. Moreover, you have the chance for a guided tour by a local, checking out the best places of their country, city or province.

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Academic Housing

When summer vacation starts for college students, a lot of universities and colleges are opening their dorms for travellers and visitors. With academic housing, you should only expect cheap accommodation with basic necessities like shared bathroom. One of its advantages is nearby establishment like bars, restaurants, and entertainment places. So, it’s easier for you to stroll down the streets at night.

Religious Housing

This is probably a not a popular option in the list but it’s extremely cheap and perfect for budget travellers. Religious housing is an option for those looking for practical lodging. They can stay in convents, monasteries, and religious retreat centers – for a price less than of a hotel fee. If you get luckier, you can find religious housing that only ask for token fee as low as $15 a night.

Usually, this kind of accommodation is a perfect way to meet interesting people – both residents and fellow travellers. Religious housing provides relaxation and rest. It’s a simple lodging that includes private bath facilities and typically great for solo travellers. But keep in mind that it may have a curfew, so it’s required to be aware of its rules.

Couch surfing

You probably have heard the site Couch surfing, a hospitality and social networking service available in both website and mobile app. The site members can use it to organize homestays, provide lodging and hospitality, and join events. The concept of this is sharing one’s sofas or spare room for travellers. In exchange of this great hospitality, the travellers return the favor to fellow travellers if they are back at home.

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Keep in mind that couch surfing is not a luxury accommodation like hotel room. It’s designed for budget travellers and people looking got genuine travel experience with the locals.


Volunteering is awesome in two ways: travelling and giving back to community. In this way, you can immerse yourself in local communities while enjoying the perks of travel. But keep in mind to volunteer only for the right reasons and you genuinely support the cause, not just because you will have “free lodging”. Another tip is being cautious when choosing a program. It should provide skills to the community and doesn’t harm in any way.

Home Exchange

Have you seen the movie “The Holiday”? The premise is the two female lead characters agreed to swap homes for a much needed break in their lives. This option sounds exciting and practical. It also let you enjoy the comforts of home while you’re out there and experiencing new culture and food. It’s most likely for free, so you have more money to spend with other things.

You can experience all the conveniences of home. It includes kitchen, Wi-Fi, better laundry room, and more. You just need to find a home exchange network so it will be easier for you to home swap. Usually, it has annual fee, which is equal to a one night stay in a hotel room.

House sitting

Do you want a win-win scenario? Take house sitting. As a traveller, you can look after someone’s home or pets and homeowners would be delightful. But keep in mind that this option needs some pre-planning, especially with overseas sits. In exchange for lodging and good bed, a traveller has some basic responsibilities such as keeping the house clean and looking after the pets, depending on what the homeowner needs.

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This is a good way to get rid of comfort once in a while. If you own a tent, then it’s better to carry it as you can sleep at the beach, woods, and summit of the mountain. If you’re adventurous, this is for you. This is one of the cheapest accommodations you can ever have. Moreover, it’s considered unique yet romantic getaway experience for couples. Instead of getting meals in restaurant, you can cook your own food over campfire. This is a great choice for lovers who want to get away for a while and rekindle their romance.


“If sleeping in a tent is not your style you can look into caravans. A caravan offers all of the convenience of a hotel or an AirBnb while also allowing you to stay close to nature.”

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