People travel for many reasons – business, pleasure, and education are just a few. Whatever the purpose, most travelers are watching their budgets. Travel can be an expensive proposition.
As a frequent traveler, the topic people most often want to discuss with me is where and how do I find affordable places to stay. Today, there are so many choices, from hotels to shared rentals, it’s easy to find accommodations that will suit your needs and your budget. First and foremost, define the purpose of your travel. Second, determine your budget. Consider also your personality – do you like a lot of privacy and relish your time alone? Or are you super social and never meet a stranger?
It was during my travels to Rome that I first discovered how convenient and affordable renting a room in someone else’s home could be. It made traveling to Europe in the days when the dollar was weak against the Euro a lot more affordable.
More and more travelers are turning to Airbnb, Flipkey, VRBO, Metro Residences, and similar sites to book a home-away-from-home. The global boom in the sharing economy has made finding a place anywhere in the world easier – and less expensive – than ever.
Benefits of Alternative Accommodations
- You can rent a room or an entire home depending on how, much space you need.
- You may be able to afford travel to a destination that you’d normally consider too expensive, such as, New York City, Paris, London, Tokyo, or San Francisco.
- You’ll have the option to cook your own meals. I always look for a place that has at least a refrigerator available, since I love to shop at local markets.
- If you chose a shared accommodation, your host may be available to show you around the town, or at least offer some guidance.
- Corporate rentals always include utilities, cleaning service and on call assistance, 24 hours per day.
What if you’re traveling for business?
If you’re a business traveler, more and more sites are catering to you with listings that indicate the home is business travel ready. According to Jasper Ribbers, who runs the site Get Paid For Your Pad, many brands have a badge indicating they are geared to the needs of business travelers. Consider also that even though a home or apartment may not be marketed as a business or corporate rental, it could still be a good option for you. Read the site carefully for a list of amenities.
Metro Residences, located primarily in Asia, is 100% business travel ready offering features like self-check in, Wi-FI, hotel style amenities, maid service, and fully stocked kitchens. Metro Residences also offers corporations special rates. Truly everything you need for an extended stay can be found in an alternative accommodation.
I list part of my home with Airbnb, although it is not a BTR listing. Nevertheless, most of my guests are business travelers.
I once hosted a man who is a cardiovascular physician. I asked him why he chose my humble Airbnb over, say, The Ritz Carlton. He said he was tired of hotel rooms and found it a bit lonely, as he traveled so frequently. I countered that there is always the hotel bar if one felt in need of conversation. “That’s just chit chat.” He wanted to stay in a shared space for the option of having a real conversation.
I’ve hosted over fifteen people. I’ve shared meals, coffee, wine, and plenty of conversation. I even had one guest, Italian, teach me how to make risotto. My life has been enriched,and I know my guests have had a good experience because they leave great reviews.
Both as a guest and host, private rentals and shared rentals are, in my opinion, some of the most fun and budget-friendly.
Whatever your travel style, the newest trend for travel accommodations is almost anything but a standard hotel room. Check out some alternative accommodations – you’ll save money – and who knows, maybe make a new friend.
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