Let’s say that you are keen traveller who: doesn’t need luxury, is fine with basic comfort and doesn’t need a high level of comfort, loves new obstacles and adventures, who loves to meet new people. Maybe you cannot afford expensive hotels? No matter what is the reason, but these are some options for low budget lodging. And I’m sure – some of these options can become a great experience! Creative travelers who are willing to consider alternatives to hotels could pay a fraction of that price —or nothing at all — by taking advantage of the following options. And it's not only about money - it's also about people :)
Of course the first place we can imagine if we don’t stay at a hotel is hostel. Though they're commonly known as "youth" hostels, this form of accommodation can be ideal for budget travelers of any age. Even if you're not up for the cheapest option — a bed in a shared dorm — you can often get a basic private room at a hostel for significantly less than the cost of a low-end hotel.
The next coming into my mind are homestays. I guess the most popular of them – CouchSurfing. Sleeping in someone's spare bedroom or on the living room couch is by far one of the cheapest ways to travel. Mostly it's free, and it's also a great way to meet locals. You can organize a homestay through long-established hospitality networks like Servas International, Hospitality Club or CouchSurfing.com.
You can try to find academic housing. When students go home for the summer, many colleges and universities open their dorms to visitors. Expect basic but very affordable accommodations (bathrooms may be down the hall, for example). University-Rooms.com is one to try — but it's worth calling a few local campuses directly to see if anything might be available during your trip. The local tourist board may also be able to help.
Take your tent and go camping! Sleeping under the stars can be a magical experience — and it's one of the cheapest options on the list, especially if you cook your own meals over a campfire instead of eating in restaurants every night.
Religious housing. Depending on where you're traveling, there may be affordable lodging offered by religious organizations — such as convents and monasteries in Italy (see MonasteryStays.com), or Christian or Jewish guesthouses in Jerusalem.
Farmstays. From rural B&B's to working ranches and cattle farms, this type of stay can cover a wide range of accommodations — and you don't necessarily have to be willing to milk a cow to take advantage of it. Farmstays are particularly popular in Australia and New Zealand.
B&B's with shared bathrooms. And also bed & breakfasts can often save you money over hotel rooms, especially if you're willing to use a bathroom down the hall!