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The Real Old Country: Unique, Affordable Europe Lodging

family friends meal dinner homeStaying in a vacation rental, where you rent out a resident's house or apartment, is an interesting way to plug into the life of a neighborhood. Our own article on Finding a Vacation Rental has a solid list of places to start looking for vacation rentals worldwide.

Another alternative is to stay as a guest in someone's home or on a farm. Learn more about this option with our guide to Homestays and Farmstays.

If you're looking for inexpensive lodging, don't count out hostels. You may be turned off by the idea of staying in dorm-style accommodations, but many hostels also offer clean (if basic) private rooms, with either shared or private bathrooms. The best place to start searching for hostels is Hostelz.com, which promises more listings than any other online hostel database, along with "real uncensored reviews" from both travelers and hostelz.com paid reviewers.

Another interesting resource is Lonely Planet's Hotels and Hostels page, where you can browse properties that have been reviewed and recommended by Lonely Planet authors.

Occasionally sites will list vacation rentals, agritourism outfits, B&Bs and inns in the same place. Here are some more I've come across over the past few years:

Italy
Agriturismo.net
Agriturismo.it
Agriturist.it

Spain
Agrisport Agriturismo - Spain
Nekatur.net

France
France by Heart
France: Homestyle

Great Britain/Ireland
IrishFarmHolidays.com
B&B Ireland
Farm Stay UK

bed and breakfast B&B inn sign lodging accommodationsThroughout Europe and Worldwide
Agrisport World Guide
Villas International
Agritourism World

As you browse these sites, reviews can appear in many languages; use Babel Fish or the Google tool bar to translate them and you may find you have a true local's perspective -- in the native language!

The Farther You Go, the Deeper You Get
One rule of thumb: The farther afield you search, the deeper into the culture you may find yourself. We hope the tips and resources above will help you escape the tyranny of the search engines and find your way out into the Europe known mostly, but not exclusively, to Europeans.

Go Anyway,
Ed Hewitt
TravelersEd@aol.com
Features Editor
The Independent Traveler

Editor's Note: IndependentTraveler.com is published by The Independent Traveler, Inc., a member of the TripAdvisor Media Network.

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