Very rarely when Charlie and I travel do we stay in a hotel. We usually rent a flat, apartment, or cottage for our lodging which, in the past, we have located on VRBO.com (Vacation rental by owner).
For our trip to Richmond I also wanted to locate a room not in a hotel. For one thing the price is almost half of the cheapest hotel/motel and the accommodations are generally far superior.
Recently I have been introduced to another website: airbnb.com. This site allows people to offer rooms in their own home as a short term, as short as one day, rental. This is the service where we found our Richmond, VA, rental.
Much like the bed and breakfasts in Europe, the owner can offer a single room in his/her own house in a regular residential neighborhood, although larger spaces are also available and usually you have use of other parts of a house. It’s very low-key.
My advice for first time users is to choose a price range, read the reviews, and contact the host. How do you like to travel?