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Alternative Accommodations For Travelers

written by Penny Sadler

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.

Finding affordable accommodations & AirBnb alternatives:

As a frequent traveler, the topic people most often want to discuss with me is where and how 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 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?


business travel short-term apartment, airbnb alternatives

Pretty business travel ready apartment.

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. 


short-term apartment rental, alternative accommodation for travel

Gorgeous fully equipped private apartment

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 alternative accommodation.

Local Market Dallas

I love to stay in neighborhoods with local markets to explore.

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 alternative accommodations for the option of having a real conversation.

wine tasting at an airbnb alternative rental

A bottle of wine and a snack or always on the table.

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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Alternative accommodations for travelers




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Chris Corbet September 6, 2018 at 5:09 am

So true, in so many ways Penny. We’ve tried the whole all inclusive luxury resort thing, but our best trips have been the ones where we went off the beaten track and stayed in self catering spots. Some have been really nice, some less so, but the benefits of having your own space, being able to eat when you want, dress how you want and live to your own rhythm can’t be beaten. Airbnb and the like has really changed the way that we travel.


Sarah Carter September 4, 2018 at 8:35 am

II love the extra space that an apartment gives us and we recently started house sitting, when wer’re not in a hurry to go anywhere..perfect, especially when there is a great dog to walk as well!

Alyssa March 7, 2018 at 3:01 pm

Hi Penny! I love this post. This really helps people who are wanting to travel on a budget. I noticed you didn’t mention hostels. They are great sources of low cost accommodations. I wrote an article that has a video of my stay in a hostel. Check it out if you like.

Leadonna January 30, 2018 at 6:07 pm

Thanks for sharing your experiences in the “home away from home” business. It is a service we also provide here in Jamaica, except our home is much larger than the average home. It is great getting to know and interact with our visitors on such a more personal basis.

Tim Askew July 11, 2017 at 10:15 pm

You are a wonderful travel writer, Penny. Keep up the good and useful work.


Penny Sadler July 12, 2017 at 12:19 am

Thanks so much Tim!


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