As luck would have it a whole new crop of non-hotel websites have popped onto my radar, thanks to a recent article in the New York Times Travel Section, titled Europe Without Hotels.
It’s a great article, definitely worth a read. To give you a short overview – basically, there are sites out there a bit more sophisticated and safer than Craig’s List, that offer rooms in someone’s home or apartment which can cost much less than a hotel room.
The other bonus with these types of rooms? You get to meet and hang out with a local in their city. Imagine the cultural lesson you could have. And the great local spots that they’ll point you too. Shopping, eating, walking, great music venues….the possibilities are endless!
Here are the websites that were mentioned in the article.
- AirBnB.com The site looks pleasing to the eye, there are reviews from others who have stayed and they have gotten alot of good press recently, which perhaps adds to their credibility.
- iStopOver.com This site also rents office space – but I searched for rooms in Paris and found about 76 options in the City of Light. Prices ranged from $100 to $2,000 per night and some of the photos looked gorgeous.
- Crashpadder.com If you are heading to London, this is the site for you. With over 1,000 listings available for rent, you are sure to find something that suits you. There are considerably less for France and Italy, but perhaps those numbers will grow over time. It’s certainly worth keeping your eye on this website.
I am going to add my own honorable mention. At a recent travel conference, I had the pleasure of meeting the founder of an organization called Casa Casa. Casa Casa is billed as ‘bed & breakfast hospitality on a budget!’ Right up my alley.
Hospitable folks interested in hosting travelers join for a small membership fee of about $20 and get to stay in a selection of 190 members’ private homes. You will only need to pay a small gratuity for your room, rather than the typical nightly room rate at a B&B. The majority of locations are in the U.S., but there are a handful of members in Europe as well.
These type of unique and up-close-and-personal travel experiences are definitely not for everyone. But for a budget-minded people-person, who loves learning about the local culture, it might just be perfect.
Would you seek out one of these options when traveling? Would you actually be a host and have travelers stay with you? And if you already participated in this, why not share your experiences in the comments?
Don’t forget to visit Cherrye for your second dose of travel tips!