Here’s a really appealing sounding new website for finding dirt cheap lodging around the world: Hovel Stay, which describes itself as the anti-luxury listing site for budget conscious travelers.
Hovel Stay is aimed at college students who might prefer a hovel to a hostel, in accommodations ranging from a hay bale in a farmer’s barn in Germany to a treehouse in a backyard in Oklahoma. Actually, I did sleep in a farmer’s barn during a backpacking trip through Europe after college.
Hovel Stay’s press release says “students may stay at a hovel for a day, week or semester”. All hovels are priced under $99 a night, which multiplies out at up to $700 a week or $3,400 a month for a hovel. A real apartment would be cheaper, especially if the rent is shared with another person.
Dirt cheap lodging is limited to anybody with a verifiable .edu email address, which means college professors also can stay in a hovel on the road.
Hovel Stay represents what it calls simple, sometimes unconventional lodging, while giving accommodation suppliers, called Hovel Hosts, a chance to “monetize free space”.
Sounds to me like a competitor for AirBnB, although anybody can book an AirBnB lodging. It’s not limited to budget conscious college students or their professors.
Hovel Stay also will feature user reviews, but there’s no word yet on whether the approval system will feature stars or some other icon, like a pig or an unmade bed.
For the moment, it’s free to register your free space. There’s a 3% fee for both Hovel Hosts and hovel guests for bookings.
Hovel Stay has secured more $1.2 Million from private investors in London and Dubai to launch the site. Most certainly, private investors who can put up $1.2 million don’t live in hovels, but perhaps they will rent them out.
Founder Michael Bolger comes from the vacation rental business, and was appalled by how many properties described themselves as luxury when they weren’t. He’s right, of course.
On a family vacation a few years ago, I booked us into an upscale condo building through the resort’s own reservations system. There was no information on the website, or when I spoke on the phone to a reservations person that each condo unit is individually decorated by the owner.
Our condo turned out to be a hovel, with cheap furniture, a refrigerator on steroids that froze all our food, and bedspreads that seem not to have been washed since the building was constructed.
At least if you know you are renting something that is described as less than luxury, you won’t be disappointed.
Who knows, you might even be talking about or writing about your experience sleeping in a barn for the rest of your life.