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 Caretaker.org. They’re staying for free at HomeExchange.com, Servas.org and Couchsurfing.org. And they're especially staying at Airbnb.com, 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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