Long stay holidays are the perfect way to submerse yourself in an exotic new world and actually find out what it’s like to live like a local; there’s only so much you can get from 5 star resorts with pristine private beaches and packed hostels in the middle of a bustling cities! In order to truly experience your destination away from the overpriced tourist hotspots, you’ll need to venture off the beaten track. With just a little research and some cash to burn you could be enjoying weeks or even months of authentic adventures in a new found home. Here’s our pick of the best options for travelers who want to lodge abroad:

The Homestay – Your home away from home

If you’re looking for the real deal when you go abroad, there’s nothing quite like staying with a local family. Homestay is a great site to check out if you’re looking to return each day to a delicious home cooked meal instead of an all you can eat buffet. They advertise homestays all over the world and are very reasonably priced for long trips (on average you can expect to pay around the same or less than a hostel). You can also read detailed reviews for every host to help you decide which will be most suitable for your needs. Airbnb also offers a selection of homestays where your host will be available during your stay. We also recommend trying GoDifferently if you’re interested in visiting Vietnam or Thailand. Apart from offering amazing homestays with local people, GoDifferently also give their guests the opportunity to mix holidaying with volunteer work. For some handy do’s and don’ts whilst living with a family check out this blog post by GoOverseas. If you’re willing to compromise a little, MonasteryStays offer incredible deals on rooms in stunning churches and monasteries all across Italy. All their accommodation is run by real monks and nuns, so be warned of their strict room policy, like no unmarried couples sharing rooms. If you’re cool with sticking to the rules and are in the mood for a tranquil location in some of Italy’s most idyllic cities this might just be for you.

If you’re a homeowner yourself, you could even try a home swap vacation. Instead of paying to stay in someone’s home you can search the internet and find someone who’s willing to come and live at your house whilst you try theirs! It might sound like a logistical nightmare but there are entire sites dedicated to matching people who want to find the perfect swap. LoveHomeSwap, Homelink and HomeExchange are some of the best sites to use on the market and are tried and tested by thousands of users. Home swaps are a fabulous option if you can find your ultimate match, but they aren’t free. Most sites will ask for a monthly or annual subscription to access their property swapping services, which can range from $50-$100 per year – even if you only plan on using it once in those 365 days we think it’s totally worth it!

Free Accommodation – Give a little, to get a whole lot more!

If you don’t have savings in abundance but still want to escape to your dream destination you could always volunteer your time in exchange for a free stay. So it’s not exactly ‘free accommodation’ but it is as close as you can get without sleeping on the streets (especially for those on a shoestring budget). There are plenty of people all across the globe that would love an extra pair of hands to help them out with the daily running of their businesses. For just a couple of hours of your time you could be enjoying a holiday with free food, free accommodation and the opportunity of a lifetime. Volunteering can give you the chance to try out some pretty extraordinary (and sometimes outrageous) things like milking goats in Hawaii, conducting llama treks in Peru or meditating on an organic farm in the Himalayas. Some of the best sites to search for work-trade volunteering opportunities include, WWOOF, Help Stay, Workaway, Caretaker and HelpX. For a really in depth guide to volunteering abroad make sure you read blogger Nomadic Matt’s post on ethical volunteering.

Private Lodging – Get off the beaten path

For people who like their privacy whilst on holiday, private lodging is a great alternative to homestays. If you have the budget for the additional costs you could enjoy a dream home all to yourself. Airbnb is a leading site and has a very good range of properties all over the world including castles, penthouses and cottages – if you’re feeling extra fancy. Their prices can be on the higher side if you’re looking for a long term options so make sure you factor this in before you book. Spotahome is another great site that specializes in mid to long term holiday rentals – so it’s naturally much more cost effective plus it gives you way flexibility. Spotahome currently operates in major European destinations like Barcelona, Paris, London and Rome so you’re guaranteed to have a true taste of chic city life. For a slightly more rustic experience away from the big city lights Tep highly recommends trying out ‘Glamping’ (aka glamorous camping). It’s the perfect blend of outdoors and comfort so you’ll be able to take in the scenery, go on long walks in the countryside and will still have all the luxuries from home like running water, a bed and even electricity. GoGlamping or CanopyAndStars are the top websites to check for unique camping experiences all over the world.

For any travel plans you make, we always suggest you research the location and all of your options carefully. Apart from comprehensive travel and health insurance we also recommend you bring along your mobile, tablet or laptop (if you’ll have a safe place to store it) when you go on holiday. Not only will these devices let you stay in touch with loved ones, they’ll also let you explore the world around you more quickly and efficiently – Google Maps and TripAdvisor are on our ‘must-not-travel-without’ list for obvious reasons. Unfortunately adventuring comes with a high probability that internet access will be sparse and when you do find it, you’ll either be logging onto to dodgy public wifis or will be getting charged the earth for using your mobile’s data roaming. For a full overview of the pitfalls of holiday wifi and data roaming check out our informative post here.

Thankfully Tep has come up with a solution for modern wanderlusters who need to stay connected even when they’re off the beaten path. For a fixed daily cost you can have access unlimited internet through Tep’s portable wifi device. The small pocket sized device can easily be transported when you’re moving from one destination to the other and it works seamlessly across over 80+ countries so you won’t even have to worry about buying local SIM cards or paying for overpriced wifi access! It’s perfect for uploading holiday snaps, blogging about your travels, keeping in touch with friends and family or just simply helping you navigate unchartered territories. For more information on how Tep works or to rent a device for your next trip click here.

Finally, Tep’s affiliate program is one way for bloggers to generate income from their website and we already have a few on board such us Travel with Bender, Gypsynester, TravelingMom and Traveling Well for Less.