3 Websites That Prove Sleeping in a Stranger’s Bed is the Best Way to Travel

AirBNB, couch surfing, hotel alternatives
For travel, the “sharing economy” can mean sleeping in a stranger’s bed.

But Airbnb normalized that concept for the masses. Now, many budget-minded travelers are skipping traditional hotels in favor of this alternative to find much cheaper lodging. Here are the three best peer-to-peer websites for finding the perfect place to crash while traveling.

Couchsurfing

Couchsurfing helped launch an entire generation of backpackers and millennial travelers. The concept is simple: strangers open their homes to other (mostly) vetted strangers in exchange for the opportunity to meet someone from another part of the world.

On its face, it might sound crazy. But, the site has thrived since its launch 2004, due in large part to a system that allows users to vouch for one another. It’s similar to eBay’s buyer/seller review system, ensuring that future hosts can vet potential guests to ensure their own safety. The website offers a well-established, tight-knit community of millions of like-minded travelers looking to connect with other travelers around the world. Unlike most other accommodation websites, it’s free. Tip: the best guests are those who opt to bring a housewarming gift for their host or chip in with light duties around the house (cleaning the dishes, cooking a dinner, etc.).

Airbnb

Airbnb took Couchsurfing to the next level by allowing hosts to act as ad hoc innkeepers and charge for accommodations. It’s arguably the most comprehensive site of its kind, as rentals vary widely from a basic futon mattress in a shared living room to a sprawling, seven-bedroom chateau in the south of France. The site has also gained popularity for its one-of-a-kind rentals which can be bucket list destinations in their own right. Looking for a tropical overwater bungalow somewhere in Asia? Check out this one in Bora Bora. How about a luxurious, ocean-view treehouse? There’s one overlooking San Francisco Bay. And this stunning fisherman’s cave house in Santorini is worth the trip just for the views of the Aegean Sea. Tip: cleaning fees can add up quickly but are often negotiable so don’t be afraid to haggle with potential hosts.

VRBO

VRBO (Vacation Rental By Owner) works in much the same way as Airbnb but with a whiff of luxury. Where the latter often targets shorter term rentals for budget-minded travelers, VRBO is a repository for owners looking to rent their often-lavish homes to medium- and long-term guests seeking full-featured lodging with all the comforts of home. Many rentals offer full kitchens, laundry rooms, multiple bedrooms, and prime locations in the world’s most sought-after destinations. Rentals are typically offered on a per-week basis and owners tend to be much more hands-off. Tip: many owners provide deep discounts on long-term stays, so consider a multi-week (or even a month-long) stay if it fits your schedule and budget.

Outdoors

HoverGlide Is a Clever ‘Floating’ Backpack Designed to Save Your Spine

It might sound like infomercial-flavored nonsense but it's rooted in sound science.
Grooming

Why You Should Use a Shaving Brush (and the 10 Best Options to Buy)

While not required for a good shave, a shaving brush is absolutely necessary for a great one.
Living

This Unique Barn-Inspire Home Stands Out for Standing Out

Half of the home float precariously over the ground and looks like it will tip over at any moment.
Travel

What to Do in Mexico City: 33 Best Restaurants, Bars, Shops, and Destinations

CDMX is a vibrant metropolis filled with some of the best museums, eateries, and hotels in the world.
Travel

Things That Go Bump in the Night: 9 Most Haunted Places in America

With Halloween lurking around the corner, we thought it only pertinent that we list some of the eeriest and most haunted places in America. Read our roundup ... if you dare.
Travel

Why Fall is the Best Time to Visit Chattanooga Tennessee

Like rock climbing? How about beer? Fried chicken? Well, then it is time to visit Chattanooga, Tennessee.
Travel

A New Class of Retro Designer Motels Recalls California’s Bygone Surf Era

Embrace an endless summer of sick surfer hair, salty beach air, and some of the world's best breaks.
Travel

Romotow Is a Futuristic Travel Trailer With a Hidden ‘Party Deck’

One button turns this sleek travel trailer into an eight-person, off-grid party pad.
Travel

New Brightline Train Will Connect Vegas to Southern California in Just 2 Hours

Soon you'll be able to spend a lot more time feeding your face at the casino's questionable seafood buffet.
Travel

Ski Butlers are a Thing. We Went to the Rockies to Find Out What they Do and Why

Why the saviest skiers and smartest shredders enlist the help of a ski butler to service and set up their gear.
Outdoors

Elite Sniper School: Shoot at a Mile-long Target in Jackson Hole, Wyoming

Fewer than 10,000 people in history have joined the "One Mile Club."
Travel

8 Airplane Hacks That Make Air Travel Suck a Lot Less

We’re fond of any tip that makes flying a little easier.
Food & Drink

Bon Appetit: Sweden Set to Open a Disgusting Food Museum

One man's week-old trash is another man's delicacy ... at least at the Disgusting Food Museum.
Travel

The 4 Most Incredible Lighthouse Hotels in the U.S.

If you're a salty maritime soul at heart, staying at these lighthouse hotels will feel like coming home.