Better Than the Van
- free places to stay for bands on tour. Sorta like Couchsurfing, but for travelling musicians.
is a web site that allows you to find or offer rooms, couches, apartments, houses, backyard tents, treehouses, castles, islands... for rent. Terrific for travellers on the cheap or who want unique experiences in lodging. There are some fantastic properties on here--many of them reasonably priced.
AirBed and Breakfast
connects people who have a spare bed (or couch, or whatever) with people who need one. Hosts can set the price (or a charity donation), throw in breakfast (or not), and refuse any guests they want. Guests can find available options by date range, location and any other criteria (e.g. WiFi), pay by credit card, and leave reviews. Not quite enough locations yet, but otherwise looks pretty useful.
The Educator's Bed and Breakfast Network
Lodging for US $34 per couple per night, and breakfast too! Required - a house of your own (or maybe a large apartment, I suppose) to host fellow members. Membership costs $35 per year with a one-time $10 initial registration fee. "Educators" is a broad category which includes teachers of all sorts, writers, journalists, researchers, librarians, probably DJ's....many bloggers...
Where To Stay In Portugal And Spain:
You could do worse than try Secret Places
, an ambitious and delightful website that has the advantage of emphasizing unusual and charming accommodation. I don't know about Spain, but the places they recommend in Portugal, the Azores and Madeira are top notch and not at all touristy. These are the fairly priced rural inns, private homes and hotels we Portuguese repair to when our batteries need recharging. Although Portugal is a big tourist destination and there are loads of accommodation websites, I'm sorry to say that this is the first I've seen that's any good. I'm not so sure about the other hotel chain websites highly praised in a New York Times article
[ registration required; with pop-ups
], although the Ian Schrager Hotels
] one is quite attractive (in an early Nineties way) and very efficient reservation-wise.
Only 24 more days til the Ice
opens! You may have heard of the Swedish
, well now they are building
one in Canada
. A hotel built from ice and snow, and rebuilt every year.
It looks beautiful, but I have to wonder, do they bother putting ice machines
out in the hall next to the soda machine? Are hair dryers and irons banned? Would you spend a night at an ice hotel? Just remember to pack your fur lined footie pyjamas!