collegeWelcome to the third installment of my five part series on unique Family Budget Accommodations.

We’re embracing budget travel as a means to get creative and partake in experiences my family would never find otherwise.

Want to expose your kids to a college campus without the reality TV and party atmosphere? Many college campuses open up their dorms during the summer and other holiday breaks for budget prices. We spent a few nights in a one of Edinburgh, Scotland’s many academic quarters turned guest rooms. We paid roughly $70 for two people in a small room with free breakfast of pastries and coffee. 

You can find dorm rooms just about anywhere but might have to do some extra sleuthing to come up with options. Not all dorm room travel lodging is widely advertised – especially in the United States. Your best best is calling the university housing office directly to inquire about dorm room rentals during the summer months. To get started, try


Dorm room stays can pose a challenge for large families and those with very young children. Many dorms only come equipped with two single beds or a double bed and a tiny bathroom. If you’re traveling with one small child and another adult, sharing one bed may be perfectly comfortable depending on your comfort level. Families with older kids can invest in an additional room next door or across the hall or look for accommodations with additional beds or adjoining rooms. Always call in advance if you have any special needs or concerns about your stay instead of relying on online reviews. What works for a 21-year-old backpacker probably won’t work for a family of 5.

Our tiny dorm room in Edinburgh was barely big enough to stand in together, but it was still perfect for us. We always intended to spend the duration of our stay outdoors and were more concerned with safe and clean budget options than space. Also note that many dorms and small accommodations abroad feature a small bathroom. And I’m talking small. Walk inside and you’ll find a scant shower curtain with no step in or out of the shower. The entire bathroom is the shower and taking out dry towels and toilet paper may be a necessary precaution.

The perks are exploring a college campus with the kids. Overseas universities often provide an exquisite look at architecture and artwork. But even domestic colleges and newer buildings can offer a look at what it’s like to live on campus. Only you get the benefit of peace and quiet.

Want more ideas? Catch up with me on convent stays and yurt stays for more innovative family budget travel options.