Couchsurfing, hostelling or AirBnB?

When you think of a road trip, what kind of accommodation comes to mind? Since I’ll be travelling in Canada – land of the great outdoors – a lot of people have asked if I’ll camp along the way. I assume they ask because:

1. it’s the best way to get cozy with Mother Nature, and

2. camping is one of the most frugal ways to find a place to sleep while travelling.

But I’m not going to camp because I need wifi at night (to update this blog), and I don’t particularly want to have to set up a tent every night for six weeks.

So, the question is, where to stay along the way?

Well, I won’t be staying at the Chateau Lake Louise. I’m going to be on a budget, which is going to be half blown on gas, and I’d like to have some cash available for fun things like impromptu guided canoe trips, and admission to toque museums.

I’m not too fussed about my sleeping quarters. I’ve slept in some pretty sketchy hostels in my day, so I’m thinking one or a combination of couchsurfing, hostelling, staying with friends/family and possibly a night or two at an AirBnB. Now, the first choice, of course, would be AirBnB, because it’s the neatest thing since sliced bread – imagine staying in a yurt or an ice castle or a Manhattan loft for less than the cost of many hotels? You get personalized accommodation with interesting hosts.

What more could you ask for? Well, you could ask for it to be even cheaper. Which is where hostelling comes in. I’ve done a lot of hostelling in New Zealand (if you go, try BBH), and it can be a great way to meet other travellers. Plus, it’s cheap (I think the average hostel cost in Canada would be around $25-30/night for a room in a dorm), but then the downside is you have to share a room with a bunch of 20-something hippies (granted, I used to be one of them, but now that I’m in my 30s and no longer have dreadlocks I’m less inclined to want to stay up all night getting drunk with young hippies).

And then there’s Couchsurfing, which to me sounds a little too good to be true (I can stay at your place for free, no catch?), but I’ve set up a profile and even had an offer already from a nice woman in Princeton who is willing to put me up for a night.

Have you ever tried any of the above? What’s the best type of accommodation on a road trip?


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