Stay with locals, live in a Masai village or try dog-sitting instead of a hotel

Kenya Maji Moto Masai Village
Kenya Maji Moto Masai Village

Here are six of the best hotel alternatives for solo travellers from cheap university rooms, house-sitting, dog-sitting or living with locals. Travel more and find cheaper rooms.

These days, there’s no reason to stick to hotels when you’re booking your travels, especially if you’re travelling solo.

Skipping the identikit anonymous hotel experience means you could find accommodation with more personality, a unique experience or a budget option, not to mention the chance to meet fellow travellers.

Here are six of the best alternative accommodation for solo travellers:
University rooms
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Cheap accommodation in great cities: a St Hughs university room in Oxford

As students head off for the holidays, their accommodation lies empty between terms making it a perfect way to explore some of Europe’s great cities, including Paris, Rome and Barcelona through University Rooms.

But with 400 university colleges across the UK, Europe, USA, Canada, South Africa and Australia, you could stay in walking distance of the beautiful Alhambra in Granada for €14 (£10) per night for an ensuite room, Milan from €35 (£25) and Turkey from €54 (£38.50).

Live like a local

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Live with the locals through G Adventure

One reason we all love travelling is surely getting to experience a different culture and way of life – and one of the best ways to do this is by living with locals.

The Local Living holidays from G Adventures offer the chance to head right off the beaten track to see hill tribes in Thailand or nomads in Mongolia, as well as staying in the Ecuadorian Amazon or a Masai village in Kenya.

But there’s plenty to discover in Europe too, including Icelandic customs from a house in Reykjavik, as well as cooking and exploring Rome from an agriturismo in Tuscany.

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Stay in this Tuscan farmhouse in the countryside

House-sit and dog-sit and stay for free! 

Discover another side to a city from a true local’s point of view, by house-sitting for residents.

Trustedhousesitters are particularly good if you’re an animal lover, with properties worldwide where you’ll exchange cat feeding and dog walking for the chance to stay in someone’s home.

With thousands of places on offer in Europe alone, especially France, you’ll also find Amsterdam, Copenhagen and Oslo among the choices plus the chance to make yourself at home in Australia, New Zealand, Canada and the USA.

Registration costs a monthly fee of £5.99.

Cruises designed for solo travellers
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A single cabin on board Norwegian Epic

Cruising has worked hard to shake off its old-fashioned image and if you’re looking to visit more than one location on your travels, it’s the perfect option for singles.

Norwegian Epic is one of the new style of ships catering particularly to solo travellers, including a private complex for those voyaging alone, studio staterooms with no single supplement, a studio lounge to meet fellow single cruisers, plus freestyle dining, an ice bar and spa.

Itineraries include Barcelona and Lisbon, or Naples, Rome, Florence and Pisa among others, with discounted sailings on Iglu Cruise.

Stay in an upmarket hostel

Okay, we might be a bit old for a hostel. But if you’re travelling or taking that well-needed sabbatical to India, Europe or another bucket-list country, then you’ll be pleased to hear that these days hostels have private rooms, rooftop bars and female-only floors.

As well as the option to meet fellow travellers, you can stay in some unbeatable locations – St Christopher’s Inn Canal in Paris has a waterfront setting and free WiFi, as well as twin and double rooms from £70 per night, while L’Imbarcadero in Venice has a deluxe double with private bathroom near the Grand Canal. Available through hostelbookers.

Stay in a country house

Harness House - stay in a country house
Harness House – stay in a country house with a resident chef

Who would choose a hotel when you can fulfil a few period drama fantasies by staying in a country house? There might not be a butler and staff to run around after you, but checking in to Hassness Country House in the Lake District on a Ramblers Countrywide Holiday is the perfect way to relax after a day walking. With a resident chef, you can refuel after a spot of Nordic walking or enjoy some mindfulness among the mountains on the company’s short breaks.

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