Affordable Alternatives to Hotels for Families and Groups

There’s a lot that goes into planning a vacation. Finding appropriate lodging can often be an expensive pain point. Hotel fees and taxes add up quickly from the advertised price. Sometimes, pricey hotels can even push you further away from the attractions that brought you to the area.  

A place to stay doesn’t have to be the most expensive part of a vacation. Read on to find out about cheap alternatives to hotels that can make traveling more accessible to everyone. 

RV Rentals from Cruise America

You don’t need to own an RV to feel the freedom of the road or experience the pleasures of seeing the country by RV. You don’t even need to be a camping professional. RV rentals come with everything you’ll need to make your trip a success and guarantee a well-maintained and safe vehicle. Depending on what kind of vacation you’re planning, renting an RV from Cruise America may be a wonderful alternative to hotels. You can visit the website to find a Cruise America RV rental location near you today.  

Pros and Cons of Renting an RV 

Taking an RV trip may not be for everyone. Here are some of the upsides and downsides that may factor into the decision to vacation this way. 

  • Freedom – Go ahead and wake up to somewhere new every morning or stay awhile on your own schedule. You decide your vacation as you make it.  
  • Kitchen on board – There is no need to rely on only eating fast food or at restaurants near the road. Go ahead and cook for yourself and enjoy the health and financial savings.  
  • Parking – You’ll still need to find a parking place, and sometimes that will mean additional fees at a campground. There are plenty of places where you can park for free if you’re willing to find them.
  • Not for Cities – Not ideal for vacations to visit a big city or urban area; RVs are best suited for adventures into nature. 

Rent an Airbnb 

Airbnb is one of the most popular alternatives to hotels that lets people with property rent directly to others looking for a place to stay. Whether you’re looking for just a room, a whole house, or a unique accommodation such as a treehouse, yurt, or even a hobbit hole, you can find just about anything to suit your style on Airbnb. For longer stays, Airbnbs are wonderful and often offer discounts for stays lasting weeks or months. Just browse the website for what you need and the dates to see what is available. 

Pros and Cons of Renting an Airbnb 

The choice between renting an Airbnb or booking a hotel can be tough at times. Pay attention to fees as your Airbnb stay may not actually be the cheaper alternative. Here’s a closer look at the pros and cons. 

  • Amenities – Usually, Airbnbs come with a kitchen and full household amenities to make your stay feel like you’re at home in someone else’s home. Often they even offer amenities based on location, such as kayaks for waterfront cabins. 
  • Helpful Hosts – Hosts can be a valuable resource if you have questions about the property, your stay, or any of the included features of the home. 
  • Plan in advance – Unlike a hotel, you can’t stop into an Airbnb on a whim. You will need to book online in advance and early if you’re looking for a great stay in a popular area. 
  • Not always private – Pay attention to the listing. Airbnbs can be whole units or just single rooms in someone else’s house. Your host may be onsite. 


Like Airbnb, VRBO is another online platform that helps people find long- or short-term rentals. VRBO stands for Vacation Rental by Owner and actually has been helping people find a cheap alternative to hotels for longer than Airbnb. VRBO only rents whole spaces, so you will always have full access to the entire home, condo, villa, or cabin that you rent. Enjoy a stay that feels like a home away from home that can accommodate just about any number of guests.

Pros and Cons of Renting a VRBO

Before finding a vacation rental on VRBO, it is important to know the biggest pros and cons of using this service. 

  • Private – Never worry about sharing your vacation with anyone else and enjoy the use of the entire unit with every VRBO rental. 
  • Perfectly suited to your needs – Use the awesome search features on the website to find the rental with all of the amenities and the perfect location for you and your traveling companions. 
  • Fewer Options – VRBO has fewer listings than some other house rental sites. 
  • No included services – You’ll have to clean up for yourselves before leaving the rental property and won’t have access to a service like a concierge to help direct you to fun things to do. 


HostelWorld is the best site for finding and booking a hostel anywhere you’re hoping to travel. Hostels are often an extremely economical option instead of a traditional hotel. Be prepared to pay extra if you want to secure a private room, but hostels are generally dorm-style housing. More than just large shared bunk rooms, hostels often have breakfast to offer as well as other group activities for travelers to meet each other. You can even find hostels in the US if you’re planning a vacation a bit closer to home. 

Pros and Cons of HostelWorld

Staying in a hostel may not be the perfect choice for every person and group. Here are a few pros and cons to consider before trying it. 

  • Interesting people – In such close proximity, you’re bound to meet international friends ready to swap stories of past adventures. 
  • Pre-Arranged Activities – Beyond your regularly scheduled excursions, enjoy planned activities at the hostel. 
  • Lack of Privacy – Unless you’re paying extra for a private room, you’ll have to contend with the noise and behavior of other people while you’re trying to unwind. 
  • Security Risk – Without a dedicated space for your things, sometimes theft can plague hostel-stays. Many hostels are actively working to combat this with security or locked private lockers and safes. 


For solo travelers or occasionally the adventurous couple, Couchsurfing can be an exciting alternative to hotels. There are Couchsurfing hosts all over the world, and you’ll never be too far from a welcoming place to spend an evening. As the name suggests, you’re only guaranteed a couch or mattress to sleep upon. Save in money and maximize on experiencing local culture and secrets with a well-selected host. 

Pros and Cons of Couchsurfing

Before signing up for the website, be aware of the biggest pros and cons of this cheap alternative to hotels. 

  • Free – That’s right, completely free lodging. 
  • Community – Take the opportunity to meet locals, and make friends with hosts and other travelers. See your destination far off the usual tourist-beaten paths. 
  • Shared Living – There’s no escaping that you’re just rooming with someone else in their home. There may be less privacy than expected, and you may not have access to your bed if the host isn’t home. You cannot share this experience with your whole family. 
  • Must plan in advance – It can be tricky to secure a host as a Couchsurfer who is just getting started. Be prepared to reach out to up to 30 or more hosts before finding a place to stay until you can get more reviews.  

Experience an Unforgetting Vacation With Cruise America 

There are several cheap alternatives to hotels available, but almost all of them keep you rooted in place. If you want to explore and enjoy the complete freedom of following the road where it takes you, try a Cruise America RV rental today. Even if you’ve never gone on an RV road trip before, Cruise America makes it so easy to get started with all of the amenities you could need inside each of their RVs. Embrace the open road and visit Cruise America to learn more.