With a name like Hotel Scoop, our focus is obviously on hotels and resorts. We review lodging options that you can pull up on the likes of HotelsCombined and find a hundred choices of places to stay in a given area.
A hotel is not always the best option in that area, however, and we’ll admit that there may be better alternative lodging choices now and then. This is especially true if you’re planning to stay more than a few nights, you’re traveling as a family, or you’ve got a whole group of people. Here are some of the other lodging options to consider for your vacation in the USA.
Villa, House, or Apartment Rentals
Villa rentals existed long before AirBnB came along and there have long been vacation home rental companies matching up renters with owners. We’ve written about All Star Vacation Homes in Orlando that offers a good alternative there and we’ve done plenty of stays through the different HomeAway companies like VRBO.
These options aren’t ideal for a short stay and can often be more hassle during check-in and checkout. You are expected to clean the place up a bit and do your dishes before leaving. They can be the best bet for family vacations of a week or so in one place, however, especially for multi-generational families. Or if you want to stay in a real neighborhood where people live instead of in the tourist or business zone.
Take Your Room With You on the Road
What if your sleeping quarters came with you and you didn’t have to unpack the whole time? No, we’re not talking about the floating convention hotels known as cruise ships, but rather the portable one-bedroom units that go on the road. If you have your own RV, or recreational vehicle, you already know about the benefits of getting to where you want to go and then also having your own bed to sleep in each night.
Known as camper vans in Europe, these rooms on wheels are usually set up with cooking facilities, plenty of storage, and maybe even your own bathroom and shower in the larger ones. You don’t have to lay out the price of a small house to get your own though. An RV rental company called RVShare lets you rent idle motorhomes from owners all across the USA.
If you wanted to do a Skyline Drive and Blue Ridge Parkway trip and then explore the coasts of Georgia and the Carolinas, for instance, you could rent a large unit like the one pictured above for less than $150 a night in Virginia and use campgrounds all along the way. (There are 359 to choose from in that state, from pop-up campers to luxury RVs worthy of a touring rock band—going for $750 per night.)
Or the one below is one of 497 campers and camper vans you could rent in North Carolina. Some of those motorhomes for rent sleep 2-4, but others sleep 8 or more, even some of the ones going for less than $250 per night.
Book a Park Cabin
Did you know you can stay inside the borders of a national park or state park in the USA?
You can, in a lodge or cabin, but it takes some patience and a good bit of planning. That’s because you usually have to reserve them well in advance. Supply far exceeds demand for these reasonably priced options, especially if you’re trying to set up a trip when the kids have summer vacation. You can find the national parks ones on a single website, but you’ll have to track down the states ones in different places.
Quirky Extensions of Hotels
Sometimes hotels and resorts have a regular building, but then they have some option off to the side that’s really special. In some cases that may be a train car caboose you can sleep in, or a lighthouse. Maybe you will sleep in a pioneer cabin on an island or bed down where the Shakers slept in Kentucky.
If you want to know what it’s like to spend the night in jail, no problem. You can buy a bottle of Maker’s Mark or Heaven Hill bourbon nearby and then book an original jail cell in Bardstown. Or you can find a treehouse, a yurt, or perhaps a glamping tent for your next stay.
What’s your favorite kind of alternative lodging? Leave us a note in the comments below!