Dorms & Hostels

  • Trading places

    I hadn't listed Sweden as a preferred destination, but a family in Stockholm's Old Town asked about an exchange. By the time I sent them information about my home, they'd found one elsewhere, and I exchanged instead with a family in southern Sweden.

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  • Staying with Airbnb

    Apparently, hotels are so 20th century. These days, people are staying anywhere but. They’re renting vacation homes through VRBO and HomeAway. They’re house-sitting at They’re staying for free at, and And they're especially staying at, which was founded in 2007 by three young San Franciscans who rented an air bed to a desperate conventioneer and now is a publicly traded company valued at $100 billion.

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  • On budget in a dorm

    Until recently, my memories of college dorms mostly involved sloppy drunks, sloppier roommates and a bathroom shared by the whole floor. Then my husband and I stayed at Marquette University in Milwaukee. It was as quiet as a cathedral, and we had a private bath and a panoramic view of the city from our 17th-floor picture windows.

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  • At home in a hostel

    To get a bargain on lodgings, you can try Priceline or Hotwire. You can clip coupons or use AAA or AARP discounts. You can try every angle, but a single traveler still won’t find a bed that’s cheaper than those at hostels. Many Americans think hostels are used only by college-age backpackers in Europe. That’s how most of us discover them.

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