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Five Alternative Accommodations That Offer a Welcome Change to Hotels and Resorts

There is more to accommodations that just hotels and resorts. While these make up for the bulk of lodging choices, there are some interesting alternatives that can help turn your travels into more memorable experiences. Let's take a brief look at the pros and cons of five alternative accommodations that are becoming more and more popular with each passing day.

Apartment

Contrary to popular belief, apartments can be rented for as little as one night. While providing greater physical space, a fully-equipped kitchen and a "home away from home" atmosphere, the cost of a serviced apartment can be as much as 15-30% less that an equivalent hotel.

While staying at a serviced apartment has some advantages, finding one for many travel destinations is not that easy. The best place to start is Booking.com Serviced Apartments Listing.

Bed and Breakfast

Bed and Breakfast

Cozy is the perfect word to describe a bed and breakfast establishment. Usually, bed and breakfast owners live on the premises and, therefore, offer a personal touch to your lodging experience. Just ask and you'll pick up some helpful tips on places to see and things to do.

While most bed and breakfasts cater to couples, there are a few that accept children and allow pets. There are many romantic bed and breakfasts and even a few "haunted" ones.

Castle

Staying in a castle is a unique and unforgettable experience. Walk the halls of these fantastic structures that are thousands of years old and imagine yourself among kings and queens, dukes and duchesses.

Castle accommodations are usually not cheap but you can sometimes find a good deal. If you have the opportunity, it is definitely worth cutting back on other expenses to have this experience.

Dude Ranch

Experience the Old West on a Dude Ranch vacation. While you'll get hands-on experience in such ranch activities as cattle drive, hayride, cook-outs and horseback riding, many ranches offer a lot of the amenities and comforts you would find at a nice hotel.

You can play golf or tennis, swim in the pool and relax in the hot tub or sauna. Of course, if you really want to "rough it", you can find dude ranches with far less amenities and far more authenticity.

Accommodations at a ranch house can vary. Some only offer a room in the main house where all guests stay. Others offer a separate cabin for each family. Of course, the latter is more expensive.

Home Exchanges

Home exchange programs have experienced exponential growth over the past few years. It's no wonder with the many benefits a home exchange offers. You get a home instead of a room and a yard instead of a lobby. Better yet, there are no rental fees. Your accommodations are practically free. I say "practically" because you will have to allow complete strangers to stay in your home in exchange for the right to stay in theirs.

In addition, most home exchanges include car swaps. There is no need to rent a car. The savings for some has been as much as $2000. You can read a more detailed description of home exchanges in our report Travel More for Less. (Right click the link to save the report.)

One of the most popular home exchange programs on the internet is Home for Exchange. They have been called the eBay of home exchange by Travel & Leisure magazine. Visit Home for Exchange for more information.

Five More Alternative Accommodations - Stay Somewhere Different

In the first part of this article on alternative accommodations, we looked at apartments, bed and breakfasts, castles, dude ranches and home exchanges as affordable substitutes for hotels and resorts. Today, you'll discover five more accommodations to add to your pool of lodging options.

Farm Stay

Farm Stay

More than likely, you live in the city. Nearly half the world's population does. More developed nations are about 76 percent urban. Compare that to only 3% in 1800.

A farm stay offers you the opportunity to not only experience country living but to also have a taste of life as it was just a couple of centuries ago (without all the modern machinery, of course).

You'll enjoy fresh air, real home cooking, spectacular views and a sense of well-being. Kids especially enjoy farm stays because most have lots of animals they can feed and pet. Beyond the usual horses, cows, goats, sheep, pigs, rabbits and chicken, you might find some potbelly pigs, mini donkeys, dwarf sheep or llamas.

Many farm owners organize outdoor activities for their guests such as trekking, horseback riding, fishing, canoeing, etc. It's a great way to get away.

Hostel

Hostels aren't for everyone. If your major concern is a cheap place to stay, a hostel may be for you. However, don't expect a good night's rest. It may happen, just don't expect it.

Hostel facilities vary widely and your best bet is to do your research and plan ahead. Look for private rooms or, at least, small rooms with few beds. This will limit the number of people coming in and out of the room. Also, choose a hostel with a curfew. Trying to sleep with people stumbling in at all hours of the night is next to impossible.

While not all hostels take reservations, some do. If you have your trip well-planned, make reservations and avoid having to search for a place to stay each time you arrive at a new town. You can search thousands of places to stay worldwide at Hostel World.

Dorm Rooms

Many universities throughout the world allow travelers to rent dorms during winter and summer breaks. While dorm rooms don't offer the amenities you'll find at a hotel, they do offer pretty affordable prices.

Other factors that may spark your interest are the history of the school and the arquitecture of the buildings.

If you are interested in trying a dorm stay, contact universities in the places you plan to visit to find out if they allow travelers to stay.

Monastery

If you've read the bestseller The Servant : A Simple Story About the True Essence of Leadership, you have an idea of what it's like to stay in a monastery.

A monastery is a place to get away from the stress and chaos. It is a place of peace and tranquility where you can focus on things that are truly important. It's a great place to examine your own life and reflect on your purpose, values and goals.

RV - Recreational Vehicle

RVing has become a craze over the last couple of decades. More and more retired people are spending their golden years traveling throughout the country in an RV.

Of course, you don't have to wait until you're retired to travel the country in an RV nor do you have to fork over tens of thousands of dollars to buy one. You can easily rent an RV.

RV rental saves on many vacation costs. One study showed that a family of 4 can save more than 53% when traveling by RV. If you think you might travel frequently by RV, you might consider buying one. RVT.com has successfully connected RV Buyers and Sellers for over 10 years. Visit them to find the RV of Your Dreams.

An RV eleminates the need for airfare, train and bus costs. There is no need to pay for a hotel and average campground fees are $23 per night. Instead of eating out, you can cook your own meals.

RV travel is a great way to spend time together and to see much more of a region of the country. Own an RV or trailer? Join the Good Sam Club and save on camping fees at 1,700 RV parks and campgrounds. Click for more information!

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