I’m always a fan of alternatives. Especially when it comes to vacation. Although I have been to all inclusive resorts, which are especially great when the kids are small, I am more of a ‘let’s find that unique place, that gem nobody knows’ kind of girl.

So, planning our vacations usually takes up a lot of research time.

If you too want to spend your vacations differently, maybe save some money, I am saving you the research time as I have made a list of my favourite ways to vacation.

Homeexchange

HomeExchange is a social network where members exchanges their houses and apartments to go on vacation. This can be reciprocal (you stay in their house while they stay in yours) or with Guest Points (they stay in your house and you earn points or you stay in a house of your choice and pay with points).
The good thing is that you do not have to let people stay in your house to be able to benefit from it the first time. By signing up, completing your profile, getting verified and putting your house/apartment up (without having to make it available), you make enough points to take yourself on a long weekend away.
I’ve opened my house twice to visitors and had a great experience. I am now looking at houses for our trip to Florida next year.
Isn’t it great to be able to stay in bigger places in the center of the action and not pay a thing?

Campspace

Campspace is a Dutch startup. Their mission: make camping cool again.
 Camp anywhere is their motto. Because they already think camping is cool, but it’s much better if you can camp anywhere. So not only can you search for special places to camp, you can also rent out your garden for people to use. As you may know, I have quite a big garden and have now had quite a few people camp in it over the past two years. It’s a great way to stay at the best spots, meet new people and save money (if you’re camping) or make a bit of money (if you’re renting your space).

Vawaa – vacation with an artist

Why not learn something while you travel? Vawaa lets you vacation with an artist. How about learning the art of tattooing in Brazil, to tango in Argentina or Ikebana in Japan? Vawaa offers unique experiences you do not get anywhere else.
I have asked to be part of the artists as there are currently no offers in Luxembourg. So stay tuned!

WWOOF

WWOOF is a worldwide movement linking volunteers with organic farmers and growers to promote cultural and educational experiences based on trust and non-monetary exchange, thereby helping to build a sustainable, global community.

As a volunteer (or WWOOFer) you will live alongside your host helping with daily tasks and experiencing life as a farmer.

As a host farm you can open your home to receive visitors from your own country or abroad who want to connect with the land and support the organic movement.

Workaway

Workaway is the world’s leading community for sustainable travel and cultural exchange. On their website you can find: Volunteering opportunities, Family Exchanges, Homestays, Farmstays, Working Holidays, Travel Buddies, Language Learning and Cultural Exchange. A few hours honest help per day in exchange for food & accommodation and an opportunity to meet others. What’s not to like?

Trusted House Sitters

If you have a pet, you know that going on holiday can be difficult (and pricy).

Trusted House Sitters look after your pet and your home while you’re away.

Or you can take care of someone else’s pet while you stay at their place and vacation.

Additional house sitting site:

Nomador

House Carers

Mind my House

Couchsurfing

Couchsurfing is a service that connects members to a global community of travelers. Use Couchsurfing to find a place to stay or share your home and hometown with travelers. You can also register if you only want to hang out or be a guide in your town for visitors. It’s a really cheap way to staying somewhere and meet new people. It may not always be comfortable and may not be easy as a family though.

Book Culinary Vacations

This website allows you to easily discover, plan, and book unique culinary travel experiences anywhere in the world. Pastry making in the Loire valley, Sicilian cooking in Italy, Greek cuisine in Athens.

The makers of this site also offer martial arts, yoga retreats, surf camps, cycling holidays, safaris and more.

Monastery Stays (Italy)

If you’re looking for a calm and quiet environment in Italy, Monastery Stays,  religious housing, may be for you. Many even welcome children with open arms, and often have larger rooms set aside for families. Bear in mind that these rooms are not necessarily luxurious, that loud kids may not be appreciated and partying into the wee hours is a no-no. But if you are looking for a get-away from busy life on a budget, this one is perfect.

University Rooms

Always wanted to go back University? You don’t have to be a student  to stay at empty uni rooms that are cleared and cleaned for you.

Enjoy the lively student neighbourhoods of major cities throughout the world.

Do you have any other suggestions to share?

Then please leave a comment below!