Hospitality Clubs for Low-cost Travel
If you enjoy meeting locals and staying in their homes, two hospitality clubs based in Washington state may be of interest. Both are geared to somewhat older travellers, and have similar designs and membership and travel costs.
For international travel, the Affordable Travel Club (www.AffordableTravelClub.net) is the choice. It includes mainly American hosts, but also has members in countries as diverse as Australia, Israel and Kazakhstan. To join you must be over 40, and must be able to host guests yourself occasionally. This group boasts 2400 hosts, and membership costs $65 a year if you want an online directory of fellow members, $80 if you require a paper copy.
The cost to stay with a member is $15 single and $20 double per night in North America. Overseas hosts may charge $10 per night more.
If you are over 50 and looking to travel only in North America, the Evergreen Club (www.evergreenclub.com) may be for you. It operates on similar principles, joining willing hosts and guests who pay a small fee for bed and breakfast in someone's home. The rate is $15 single, $20 double. Membership costs $75 a year, and members are expected to be both hosts and guests.
Evergreen has 2000 hosts in the United States and Canada.
For both clubs, members must arrange their own lodging by contacting fellow members-- the organisations do not match them up.
This sounds like a great way to meet people and save money on lodging at the same time. And I like the fact that, unlike competitor AirBnB (www.airbnb.com,) these groups are non-commercial, so there is no concern about local laws or tax regulations for hosts.