When You Don’t Want to Stay in a Hotel

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Cute little cabins I stayed in during a trip to Iceland. It felt literally like the middle of nowhere!

When you are planning a trip away you generally automatically think of booking your accommodation in a hotel. But about if you want something a little different? Cheaper? Perhaps a more authentic “experience”? There are many reasons why you might opt for a different style of accommodation and it’s easier than ever before to book online.

♥ Hostels

Firstly an obvious one for the budget or youth traveler. But you don’t have to be either to enjoy the benefits of hostel accommodation. Not only is it cheaper but it is also a lot more social. When I am travelling alone I quite like staying in a hostel purely for the social aspect (although I must admit I nearly always get a private room, I need my personal space when sleep is involved!) I was alone in Iceland and booked into a nice, simple hostel. The initial reason was that I simply could not afford a hotel in Iceland (the prices were crazy before the bank crash!) However I soon met several lovely people from the hostel and had instant friends. We rented a car together and did our own driving tour around areas of Iceland and also took in a Sigur Ros concert together. We also all pitched in for groceries and took turns cooking meals (much cheaper and often healthier than eating out every meal!)
I also would like to mention that at every hostel I have stayed in there has always been a range of ages (even families and kids) so please don’t be turned off the hostel idea if you don’t consider yourself a young backpacker who just wants to party.
Now what is the best place to find a hostel that is not cockroach infested? This site is my hostel holy grail! I have booked all my hostel/budget accommodation through here. Whether you are after a hostel, budget hotel, guesthouse, apartment or campsite this site has unbiased reviews from previous guests and the rating score helps you easily sort the good from the bad (I generally ignore any property that has scored below 80%).

The Green Tortoise Hostel in San Francisco, a great hostel I found through – I had a great time here!

♥ Someone’s Apartment

Whether you have visited the city previously and are after a more authentic local experience, you prefer the convenience of having kitchen facilities or you just want something a little different, then consider staying at a strangers apartment on your holiday! It’s not as weird or dangerous as it sounds. Websites such as offer a chance for renters and travelers to connect (currently in 148 countries!) If you are nervous about the quality of the accommodation or perhaps a less than desirable renter than make sure you only look at places with several reviews. That way you can see feedback from previous tenants and know it’s legit!

An example of someone’s apartment available on

♥ Not an apartment and not a hotel… an ApartHotel!

I’ve recently been booking ApartHotels, a serviced apartment complex with a hotel-style booking system. I think it’s the best of both worlds, a safe booking system (for those nervous about booking directly with apartment owners or brokers) with the faciliites of an apartment (yay kitchen!) I love having kitchen facilities in my room, if I am too tired or sick of eating out all the time I can prepare meals in the comfort of my room and save money. I recently stayed in an ApartHotel in Melbourne (Alto on Bourke) and have booked myself in to the Citadines in Tokyo after reading very favourable reviews. has literally hundreds of ApartHotels scattered across the globe.

The Alto Hotel in Melbourne, and a shot of it’s very useful kitchenette

♥ Weird and wacky accommodation

Want to stay in an ice hotel in Sweden? How about a tree house in Costa Rica? Or perhaps underwater in Florida? You will be amazed at what kinda of crazy accommodation you can stumble upon with your good friend Google!

The Ice Hotel in Sweden which I am desperate to visit some day!

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