Hosteling has been our primary accommodation when we travel abroad. In Italy, we ended up staying in one star hotels, which are basically the same thing as hostels. We haven’t tried couchsurfing, although it does sound fun, it also seems much more likely to pick a crazy person to stay with than pick a crappy hostel.
As I was browsing through the archives at Ginger Won't Snap, I read about how she rents part of her apartment through Airbnb. This is basically like paying to couch surf, and individuals or commercial businesses can list their places and users can search listings to find somewhere to stay.
I’m always trying to balance quality and price when it comes to housing because for two people on a two week trip, it adds up quickly.
After a quick perusal of the Budapest and Vienna results, it might not be cheaper but the quality might be better. If we do end up going to Budapest and Vienna, I think I know the general area we want to stay in while visiting Budapest, but the high cost of central Vienna lodging leave me wondering what might be best.
On the other side, this sounds like a fascinating way to host visitors and make some money too. The only downside it that I doubt we’d by living in a very touristy spot, so the desirability would probably be lacking.
The only downside I see to this is that they take a few percent from the host and a fee from the renter. For a week in Budapest or Vienna, the fee ranged from $15-17, which is a bit high especially when compared to some of the hostel websites.
We haven’t tried this, and maybe we won’t, but there are great travel sites popping up left and right!