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 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 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 (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.


Newfoundland Road Trip Itinerary: Where to Visit, Eat, and Stay on the Canadian Island

One of Canada’s most remote provinces is also one of the most spectacular places to visit within the massive country.

A List of Road Trip Essentials You Should Never Journey Without

In travel as in life, it’s the little things that make the biggest difference.

Escape in Style With the Best Ultra-light Travel Trailers of 2019

It doesn't matter what kind of traveler you are — weekender, hardcore explorer, gear hauler, etc. — there's a camper for you.

The Best Time to Visit the 5 Most Popular U.S. National Parks

Hint: Be flexible and visit when most other people don't want to.

Get Paid to Live on Luxury Yachts for a Year with HushHush

Uber-luxe shopping site HushHush just announced that it's in search of one very motivated Yacht Tester. The best part: No experience necessary.

North Carolina Road Trip Itinerary: What to Eat, Drink, and Do in the Tar Heel State

It all starts by landing in Asheville, the state’s most progressive and welcoming community, where you can pick up your car rental and head to town.

New Mexico Road Trip Itinerary: 10 Can’t-Miss Stops to Add to Your Route

Road trips across New Mexico should consist of breakfast burritos, vintage Americana, stunning desert backdrops, and a little relaxation.

The View of an American Road Trip from the Back of a Motorcycle

One day while heading to my favorite peak, an idea formed: "What if I could tour the Rocky Mountains of the West on the motorcycle of my dreams?"

The Most Jaw-Dropping Natural Swimming Holes in the United States

You don't need to trek to Thailand or South America to find sparkling depths and crystal-clear waters.

The Best Road Trip Songs: Hit Play Then Hit the Gas

Ah, the open road! It beckons us to cast aside responsibility, embrace the unknown, jump in the car, and just go. Take this mixtape with you.

Weird Roadside Attractions: 10 Picture-Worthy Pit Stops in the U.S.

From Cadillac Ranch to Salvation Mountain to Lucy the Elephant, wonderfully bizarre roadside attraction line American's highways.

Here’s What Happens to Your Body on a Long-Haul Flight

This is why you really should (but probably won’t) skip that third Bloody Mary en route.

Win a Free Vacation- But Only If You Promise to Bartend Jamaica’s Most Notorious Floating Bar

If you've got the mixology skills, you could spend a week in paradise at Jamaica's most notorious dive bar.