Yrene lives in the Okanagan, British Columbia, Canada, and is the founder of BackcountryCanadaTravel.com. She was born in Switzerland, lived and worked on different continents and has travelled the world. Yes, that's me, an Entrepreneur, wilderness nut and animal lover who prefers off-the-beaten-track places. I write about things I love. Mostely.
Cheap Accommodation Canada: Other than Camping and Hostels
Hostel prices are expensive, especially if you book your own room. And if you want it cheaper, you have to stick to the hostel dorms and you have to put up with a bunch of strangers snoring all night. Starting the day tired because of lack of sleep, the hostel dorm price seems to not be worth it.
What about other types of cheap accommodation and places to stay? What choice do you have if you don’t want all that, but also don’t want to pay the money for a hotel room?
What about not paying for accommodation at all? Wow, that sounds like a super deal, especially when finances get low.
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Cheap Accommodation – Staying with Locals
A few websites offer you exactly that:
Locals open up their homes for you and teach you something about their culture and their way of life. You can find these services in various cities where the hosts offer a place to stay at their homes. Sometimes you get a bed, sometimes it’s a couch, and sometimes just a corner in a room. If you are looking for cheap accommodation, this is worth checking out.
Maybe you’re not sure about using these sites, wondering whether they are safe. Check the verification levels that all the sites have and read the reviews left by other travellers. These sites are not only for solo travellers, many hosts take couples and families as well.
Home exchange programs have been around for years. They are growing in popularity, especially among older travellers who already own a home. It’s just as described, you exchange your home with somebody from another country.
Check out the website Home exchange for more information.
Another less well-known website is IHEN
If swapping homes is not your thing, you might consider house sitting as an alternative to other cheap accommodation choices.
House sitting jobs tend to be best for people who can stay in a destination for at least a couple of weeks. In exchange for watching and maintaining someone’s home, while they are away, you will get a free place to stay. Often there are dogs and cats to take care of, but it could be horses and cows as well.
Before accepting a house-sitting job, make sure you know exactly what you get yourself into.
I’ve had a few house sitters over the years, and I will write about this in another blog.
Various house sitting websites are on the market and most of them request a sign-up fee. Once you are registered, you get access to the database of available houses. Find a place, contact the homeowner, work out an arrangement, sign any documents (it’s important to ensure everyone is legally protected and your responsibilities are clearly spelled out), and off you go.
You also can find house-sitting jobs on local websites and in the local newspaper, and in a travel magazine. Trusted Housesitter is the world’s largest house and pet sitting website and is very well established in Canada as well. That’s the one I will sign up as a host when I need someone to house sit my ranch again.
Here are other house-sitting websites:
This is one of my favourites. You will find plenty of cabins to rent in Canada, lots of them at wilderness resorts. Local newspapers and websites like Kijiji are also good sources to check out.
Cabin rental can be expensive if you are a solo traveller. However, if you don’t travel solo and can share the costs, this might be a great alternative to other accommodation choices. Most cabins have cooking facilities, so you can save on food costs.
During winter it is usually more difficult to find a cabin for rent, away from the resorts. Because of severe winters and cold temperatures, many cabin owners shut the cabins down for winter. It’s easier than having to deal with frozen water pipes.
If you want to experience farm life in Canada, this option might be for you.
The concept behind a farm stay is simple: you spend a night as a guest on a working farm. From there, though, the concept flies off in many directions.
Farm stays may involve activities such as feeding animals, planting and harvesting crops, helping with construction, general farm chores, or cooking. It usually includes a number of organized outdoor activities. Living on a farm gives you the opportunity to practice English and learn new skills.
Most farms are located some distance from the nearest town. You have to be aware that you are trading nightlife and shopping for a backcountry adventure in Canada. Facilities range from basic camping to rustic cabins to luxury rooms, depending on the farm.
Staying on a working ranch is similar, but usually involves cattle and horses.
Prices vary depending on where you are and what is included. Expect to get good country food.
WWOOF is an exchange – In return for volunteer work, WWOOF hosts offer food, accommodation, and opportunities to learn about organic lifestyles. Remember, you are an adventure traveller and the purpose of your trip is to experience new lifestyles and acquire new skills.
All the WWOOF programs are similar and you have to pay for membership to use them.
To find cheap accommodation in Canada, all you have to do is think outside the box!
- Backcountry Accommodation
- Working Holiday Visa for Canada
- Work and Travel Canada
- Wwoofing Canada – Tips from a host
- Destination Guides
- Travel Resources