Hotels are just highly catered places of temporary lodging but there are adventurous, unique and cheaper alternatives for nomads.
The average American’s knowledge of hostels end with the film of the same name due to their rarity in the US. But in many other countries, hostels are are just as well known as hotels and are widely used by foreign visitors. Although the fractional cost of staying at hostels is attractive, their highly social atmosphere is the real reason for their popularity. In fact, there’s even an entire lifestyle behind it.
PRO TIP : I’ve used Hostelworld for about 80 percent of the hundreds that I’ve stayed at over the years. Best part is the high volume of reliable reviews to base your booking on.
COST: $5 – $50 Night
Long ago we were all once nomads living in the wilderness. But as we’ve gotten more advanced, our ability or will to live off the land has devolved. So many travelers today are reluctant to spend the night in the outdoors, even if it’s proper camping. With decent weather, equipment and legal space to claim your spot, the wild could be a greater alternative to hotels.
It could a night or two on tropical beach with just a blanket or a week in the mountains with a tent and supplies.
PRO TIP : Sleeping on the urban streets is not the same thing – it is universally unacceptable and or illegal.
COST: $0 or Permit Fee
We’ve all slept over at our friend’s homes on their couches but it’s not exactly ideal when you’re traveling to foreign lands where you don’t know anyone. There’s a service called Couchsurfing that connects like-minded people to make this happen, however. Safely and effectively in fact. It’s not so much about getting a place to stay for free but for cultural exchange and friendship. It sounds too good to be true but it works and I’ve personally met lot’s of good people this way around the world.
PRO TIP : Sign up for the free account and get started. Make sure you have an interesting and thorough profile. The more hosts know, the more likely they’ll accept.
COST: $0, Gift, Dinner, Etc.
Not long ago it was extremely difficult to find short term stays (1 – 30 days) in private homes and spaces or without a lease. Now with services like Airbnb, you can book actual houses and rooms with as much flexibility as hotels. The best part is, this is suitable for both cheap accommodations and lavish dwelling. They make great hotel alternatives to get a true feel of “home” in a different culture.
PRO TIP : Get $25 credit for your first stay with Airbnb. You can also find rentals on Craigslist and local ads of the city you’re in.
COST: $20 – $2000 Night
Sleeping overnight on a flight or bus is a great way to save on a night’s stay at a hotel but I’m talking about actually “staying” in a moving vehicle as if it was a hotel. Something like a week long journey on the Trans-Siberian Railway from China to Russia or a month in a rented camper van circling the entirety of Australia.This can be considered the modern nomad method of long distance travel. Not just a hotel alternative but also to flying.
PRO TIP : This is truest form of that expression; “It’s the journey that matters, not the destination.” So enjoy the ride because the journey is also the destination.
COST: $10 – $300 Night
Sleeping at retreats like convents and monasteries isn’t for everyone but that doesn’t mean you have to practice their beliefs or even be religious at all. Just an open mind, respect for others and a friendly mindset is needed.
There are a surprisingly a lot of retreats around the world that take guests, you just have to find them. Similar to Couchsurfing, it’s less about a place to stay and more about the cultural exchange and the experience.
PRO TIP : Unlike other hotel alternatives, you aren’t exactly allowed complete freedom to do anything you want. There will be rules for you to follow and often chores to complete, again, it’s about the experience.
COST: $0 – Small Donation