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7 Unconventional Hotel Alternatives for Cheap Travel

7 Unconventional Hotel Alternatives for Cheap Travel

If you’re anything like me, you probably love to travel and discover new places.


BUT… your wallet doesn’t always have the same aspirations.

Luckily, over the past few years all kinds of new options have sprung up around the world for sidestepping expensive hotels and seeing new places on a budget.

Whether you’re a broke college student and HAVE no other options or you’re just looking to save a few bucks, here are some of the best cheap travel alternatives, both new and old, for seeing a little of the world while avoiding expensive hotels.

1. Airbnb and VRBO


Airbnb is one of the best and most well-known hotel alternatives for people traveling on a budget. VRBO works the same way. Users can post a space that can be booked, while other users request to stay.

You can find all kinds of lodging spaces on these sites: entire mansions, tiki huts, yurts, an idle RV or camper, or simply an extra room in a house or apartment.

Travelers can easily sort through the available options while looking in their specific price range. Rooms can be found around the world, and prices can range anywhere from $10 a night to over $1000.

Of course it’s good to be a safe when staying with strangers in a strange locale, so both travelers and hosts leave ratings and reviews for each other.

2. Couchsurfing

Just like Airbnb, Couchsurfing lets you stay in homes of real live people. On Couchsurfing however, it’s free.

With Couchsurfing you browse through personal profiles of hosts, and then message them telling them about your trip, and requesting a place to stay. Typically all users have available is a couch, but if you’re lucky you may get a pull-out futon, or even a guest room.

The point of Couchsurfing seems to be more about facilitating a cultural exchange between travelers and locals. Travelers get a more “local-ized” experience, and hosts get to meet a cool traveler from another part of the world. It’s a win-win.

Just be sure to be a good guest. Respect your host’s property, belongings, and schedule. You may even consider cooking dinner for your host during your stay.

3. Hostels

Although this may be an obvious cheap travel choice for people living in Europe or other parts of the world, people in the U.S seem to know very little about hostels.

Hostels are similar to hotels but guests stay in dorm rooms and typically sleep on bunk beds. Many hostels also have private rooms, though.

The environment of a hostel is also very different than a hotel and is geared towards socializing, meeting other guests, and hanging out in common areas. Many hostels also lead guests out to events and activities around the area.

Basically if you can stand sleeping on a bunk bed and not having much privacy, you will have an instant social circle.

Hostels are much cheaper than hotels as well. In the U.S. most hostels seem to cost anywhere from around $15-$35 for a night.

Check out or Hostelworld, or Hostelbookers to find them.

4. Work Exchange: Workaway, Wwoofing, and HelpX


For those wanting to stay in a location for a longer period of time, such as a few weeks, or even a few months, work exchange is a great way to see another part of the world and stay for free.

Workaway, Wwoofing, and HelpX all have hosts that would love to have you come stay with them in exchange for a few hours of work every week.

Opportunities include organic farming, housekeeping at hostels and guesthouses, or even helping families out around the house.

Wwoofing is focused on work exchange for organic farms, but Workaway and HelpX both post all kinds of opportunities.

5. Camping


Camping is a pretty common method for cheap travel, and has been around since the dawn of time (Although, the cavemen probably didn’t call it camping. They probably just called it, you know, living.) Luckily, it’s now easier than ever for campers and there are many websites that make finding a good camping spot a breeze. allows users to browse through and post free and cheap camping areas, and is a great resource for for the budget-minded traveler.

Sites like mostly has listings of paid campsites, but is also a great resource for both RVers and tent campers.

Also keep in mind that anyone can camp for free on U.S. National Forest land. Many National Forests offer paid primitive camping sites, but go just a few miles outside of these campgrounds and you’re welcome to camp for free.

6. Stay With People You Know (Or People THEY Know)

You don’t just have to stay alone or with strangers. If you have friends or relatives across the country many of them would probably love to have you visit with them for a few days. They may have a couch for you to sleep on, a space in the backyard for your tent, or even an entire guest room available.

But don’t stop there. You can also try reaching out to your Facebook friends. Tell your friends where you’re going and they just might be able to hook you up with someone they know that would love to host you for a day or two.

You never know until you ask.

7. Car Camping


This is probably my least favorite option for cheap travel, but it is also one of the easiest. If you’re especially lacking on funds and have no other options in the area you’re traveling through, car camping is always an option.

If you have a bigger vehicle like an SUV or a van you can probably make yourself a nice little sleeping spot in the back of your vehicle. Find a good spot and either crack open a window or load yourself down with blankets (depending on the season), and try your best to relax.

There are many public rest stops across the US, so they’re one of the best options for getting a good night’s sleep. Wal-Marts are also rampant and many are open 24 hours. Other 24 hour stores and businesses could be good options, too.

In addition to actual campsites, also lists many options for car camping.

So there you have it, several hotel alternatives that allow you to stay around the country (or world) with a minimal amount of money in your wallet. Personally there are some of these I prefer more than others, and I’m sure the same will be the case for you.

And of course all of these methods can be potentially dangerous, so be sure to travel safe and use common sense.

Stuck in the 9 to 5? Here Are 7 Methods for Leaving the Corporate Grind Behind

Stuck in the 9 to 5? Here Are 7 Methods for Leaving the Corporate Grind Behind


Many people see the 9 to 5 “corporate lifestyle” as an inevitability (if you’re still in school) or a necessity (if you’re working already) but as I get older I’m constantly learning about new ways of living and looking for alternatives to the typical work week and corporate culture.

Many people work themselves to exhaustion for 40+ hours a week for 30 years, waiting for retirement to come, and only then do they allow themselves to go travel and do the things that they’ve always wanted to do. Much of this is just part of our culture, it’s just “how it is” and it’s what most of the people around us are doing.

But if you look a little deeper, you’ll see that there are people living in all sorts of ways and there are always other options and ways to live your life. Here are some ideas and methods I’ve discovered during my search:

1. FREELANCE: Be Your Own Boss By Working for Manyworking-at-home-with-dog-1024x683

One of the top alternatives to the 9 to 5 lifestyle is freelancing. It all depends on your own individual skill set, but as long as you can provide a service that people out there need, you’re set. Popular jobs include freelance writing, web design, coding, photography, and graphic design.

With freelancing however, not only do you have to have the skills, you also have to find the work. Finding clients sometimes takes more time and effort than actually doing the job itself.

But as long as you can find a way to keep the income steady, freelancing may be just what you’re looking for to create a more flexible schedule for yourself.

2. DIVIDE YOUR TIME: 6 Months On, 6 Months Off

There are many variations of this method, of course, but one way to escape the 9 to 5 tedium is to escape it, but only part of the year. This may work best with jobs like serving or bartending, but some people may be able to find more corporate-type jobs that will allow for this kind of flexibility.

With this method, you work hard for a certain amount of time (say 6 months), save up, and then live off the savings for a little while. Then the next year, you do it all over again. Some travelers do this. They work hard for 6 months out of the year, and then the next 6 months they’re traveling around Europe or Asia or some distant locale.

Depending on the jobs you’re able to acquire, where you live during your off time, and how frugal you can be, your mileage may vary.

3. ENTREPRENEURSHIP: Start Your Own Business

Starting your own business is another common way to escape the 9 to 5. There are more types of businesses out there than you think and a million ways to go depending on what you’re interested in. You may want to start a multi-million dollar company, a small dropshipping business, or you may just want to set up your own shop on ETSY.

Of course if the main reason you want to escape the 9 to 5 is because you’re working too many hours, you may be barking up the wrong tree. Being an entrepreneur can take up even more time than the 9 to 5, especially in the beginning. If, however, your main goal is simply to work for yourself and have a stronger self-sufficiency and more freedom, entrepreneurship may be just what you’re looking for.

4. HIPPIE STYLE: Join an Intentional Community or Eco-Village hippie-girl-on-beach-1024x684

If you’re more of a free-spirit, you may consider trying to find an “eco-village” or “intentional community” to join. This is when a group of people join together to run a communal space on an organic farm, or other location, share responsibilities and chores, and even grow their own food. Personally, some places I’ve heard of groups doing this is in the mountains of North Carolina, in Arizona, and in California.

Similarly, you can also find jobs working at organic farms, hostels, and other organizations in exchange for room and board.

Workaway, HelpX, and Wwoofing are just a few of the many ways you can find one of these opportunities.

5. MULTIPLE INCOME STREAMS: $500 + $500 + $500 + $500 Still Equals $2000, Right?

Some people would like to leave their 9 to 5 existence simply because of a severe lack of variety. One great thing to do is to develop multiple income streams. You don’t have to get your paycheck for the month all from one place. You can be a server twice a week, play in a band once a week, sell some crafts on ETSY every week, and top it all off with some freelance writing.

6. FRUGALITY: Want Less, Need Less, Work Less

One alternative to the 9 to 5 grind is to simply cut down on expenses and work part-time instead. Take a look at your expenses and your possessions, then determine what you really need and what really makes you happy. If it’s excessive, cut it out. In doing so, you may find that you can live very well just working part-time. Whether that’s bartending, running your own business, or working a part-time corporate job, you may find that you don’t need nearly as much as you think.

Personally, I don’t need a Ferrari, 5 different video game systems, and 7 different 52-inch TVs to be happy.

But then again, we’re all different.

7. EARN HERE, SPEND THERE: Work Remotely While Living Abroadpeople-working-in-coffee-shop

What’s amazing is that in this day and age, we can make money anywhere. If you’ve chosen option #1 and are doing the freelancing thing, why not take it a step further?

Working remotely over the Internet is a great option, depending on your skill set, and can truly enable to you to live a life of freedom, going where you want when you want, and making money while on the move.

This works particularly well if you earn your money in USD, or currency from another wealthy country. Many freelancers AKA “digital nomads” earn money in USD or GBP while living in in a more affordable country such as Thailand, India, or Mexico. Many of these locations around the world offer a life of luxury and all the modern conveniences you could want for a fraction of the cost of countries like the U.S.

Nomad List allows you to look for international cities based on their Internet functionality, safety, and affordability, and is just one of the ways you can find a location that will be a good fit for your remote freelancing lifestyle.


So there you have it, just a few of the methods to consider as an alternative to the 9 to 5. Of course there are more where that came from, so if you keep an open mind I think you’re sure to find out even more ways that could work perfectly for you.

Do you have any other ideas than what I’ve mentioned above? Are you already making use of some of these methods and have experiences you would like to tell me about?

If so, leave me a comment below.

I would love to hear from you.