Over at About.com’s budget travel section, there’s a 4-page rundown of alternative lodging ideas to consider. There’s an emphasis on pricey Europe, where some creative thinking can pay off handsomely, especially if you are traveling as a family. There are some good links on home exchanges, villa rentals, convents, college dorms, and more.
As the writer Mark Kahler says at the end, the first step is thinking differently about what’s possible. “Many of these suggestions on these pages might be too unusual for you, and some are downright impractical. The point here is to start your creative juices flowing. If a city’s rooms seem a bit too expensive for your budget, look at every possible alternative. You might be surprised to find a place that is both affordable and memorable.”