6 Types of Alternative Travel Accommodation

6 Types of Alternative Travel Accommodation

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Housesitting provides travelers with fantastic long-term accommodation solutions.

If a landlord is going to be away from their home for an extended period of time, or can’t be present for some reason or another, they can list their home on one of many house-sitting services, and screen potential house-sitters based on a crowd-sourced rating and review system and past transactions.

HouseSit Match
Trusted Housesitters

Vacation Rentals

The renting of furnished rooms or homes as an alternative to hotels has been an ever-changing landscape. Vacation rentals helped shape what we know today as the sharing economy.

Thanks to a crazy demand, loads of press, and some industry behemoths having their way, the industry of vacation rentals has seen tremendous growth over the past 6+ years.

Like many great things, people found a way to capitalize and exploit something great. Today, you’re hard-pressed to find a bunk for less than $60 per night. Not exactly budget accommodation. Although, how else can you spend the weekend in a hobbit house with your friends?


Home Exchange

The concept of home exchange - or house swapping - is a means of alternative travel accommodation, where two homeowners or renters agree to exchange their homes for a defined period of time. Generally, there is no cost involved with house swapping, and can be considered a very budget-friendly alternative to traditional travel accommodation.

The idea dates back to the 50’s and has seen many renditions over the years, including non-simultaneous exchange - where two parties agree to fulfill the exchange at different times, and hospitality exchange - in which the parties take turns welcoming each other into their homes while they are present.

Long-term or short-term, this remains one of the most efficient and affordable forms of alternative travel accommodation.



The whole idea behind couchsurfing is a global network where hosts offer up their couches for other surfers to crash on. Each member has a public profile, where any other member can leave reviews or comments, and screen potential surfers.

Originally, CouchSurfing was a non-profit organization, run on donations from the community. In 2011, it changed to a for-profit corporation, resulting in much disappointment for the previously supportive membership. But with over 10M users today, the community is still going strong.

Be Welcome
Global Freeloaders


Originally born out of Germany in the early 1900’s as a cooperative community; an initiative to encourage Germany’s youth to be physically active outdoors. The youth would manage the hostel themselves, as much as possible, doing chores to keep costs down, and shutting down mid-day to give the youth time to get outside.

These days a hostel is a budget-oriented dormitory, with shared sleeping accommodations, usually bunks, and communal amenities.



In essence, it’s just camping, but there’s a twist; Hosts offer up space in their yard (or garden if you’re in the UK) for a fellow adventurer to pitch their tent. The service is often free of charge, although some networks charge a small membership, and occasionally a nightly fee.

For campers and travelers alike, camping offers a budget-friendly form of alternative accommodation, as well as a means to make new friends and gather local insight. There are camping opportunities around the world, and surprisingly not just in rural settings. You can find space to pitch your tent in cities, as well as farms, woodlots, or ranches.

Although this idea is relatively new in North America, it’s been around for quite a while longer across Europe and the United Kingdom.

Camp in my Garden

What’s your favorite source for accommodation? Do you have a go-to when planning a trip? Let us know in the comments below.