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Hotels are an obvious lodging choice, but they aren't your only option; there are plenty of other ways to stay in Boston, some with much more affordable rates than your average double room. Bed-and-breakfasts in general often get a bad rap for being too cloying, cutesy, or dusty, but many in the Boston area are updated, clean, and modern, and well worth a look. If you don't need fancy service or amenities, stay in the simplest lodging possible: a hostel.
If you don't mind doing a bit of legwork, you can look into apartment rentals or short-term sublets. This option generally provides a home base that's roomy enough for a family and comes with cooking facilities. Home-exchange directories sometimes list rentals, and many of the B&B agencies also handle apartment, cottage, and house rentals.
Bed & Breakfast Agency of Boston (617/720-3540 or 800/248-9262. www.boston-bnbagency.com.)
Bed & Breakfast Associates (888/486-6018. www.bnbboston.com.)
Bed and Breakfast Reservations: Cape Ann/Greater Boston/Cape Cod (617/964-1606 or 978/281-9505. www.bbreserve.com.)
Greater Boston Hospitality Bed & Breakfast Service (617/393-1548. www.bostonbedandbreakfast.com.)
Host Homes of Boston (617/244-1308 or 800/600-1308. www.hosthomesofboston.com.)
A home-exchange organization will send you its updated listings of available home swaps via either email or printed brochure. It's up to you to make specific arrangements.
HomeLink US (954/566-2687 or 800/638-3841. www.homelink.org/usa.)
Intervac U.S. (800/756-4663. www.intervacus.com.)
Hostelling International (HI), the umbrella group for a number of national youth-hostel associations, offers single-sex, dorm-style beds and often, rooms for couples and family accommodations. Membership in any HI national hostel association, open to travelers of all ages, allows you to stay in HI-affiliated hostels at member rates; one-year U.S. membership is about $28 for adults; hostels charge about $10-$45 per night. Members have priority if the hostel is full.
Hostelling International New England. Hostelling International New England provides information on membership and on hostels in the Boston area. 617/718-7990. www.hinewengland.org.
Hostelling International Australia (www.yha.com.au.)
Hostelling International Canada (613/237-7884. www.hihostels.ca.)
Hostelling International New Zealand (03/379-9970 or 0/800/278-299. www.yha.co.nz.)
Hostelling International UK (0800/0191700. www.yha.org.uk.)
Hostelling International US (301/495-1240. www.hiusa.org.)
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