The very young and the very old enjoy special privileges in travel. I'm not suggesting that the in-betweens are denied the same privileges, but I am referring to organizations that were deliberately designed to permit "youngsters" and seniors to pay radically-reduced rates for their overnight accommodations when they travel.
Take the case of the world's increasing supply of "hostels", formerly known as "youth hostels". Very few facilities in travel are as fast-growing as hostels. If you will consult the major websites that describe the hostels available to travelers--HostelWorld.com, Hostels.com, HostelBookers.com, HostelZ.com, and others--you will find that an astonishing number of new hostels have opened in the past several years, and even more are scheduled for future years. In nearly all U.S. cities with populations of more than 200,000, and in all the major touristic cities of Europe, entrepreneurs have bought up old hotels and converted them into modern hostels charging as little as $25 and $30 a night for dorm accommodations, and only slightly more for private rooms. Although these hostels have no maximum age requirement, and accept people of all ages, their primary clientele are persons under the age of 30.
A typical new hostel? In the super-expensive New York City, where average room rates are now $266 a night, the new Chelsea Jazz Hostel in the heart of Manhattan charges $35 a night per person in dorm rooms on weekdays, $40 to $45 a night on weekends. Those rates are considerably higher than those charged by hostels in other U.S. cities, but they are a godsend for persons living on a budget in the "Big Apple". Scan the various hostel websites listed above, and you'll find even lower rates.
For seniors, the top cost-cutting facilities are two hospitality travel clubs that supply such older travelers with spare rooms in private homes--usually in the homes of "empty nesters" who now have extra space to make available to guests. In existence from as far back as 1982, the two immensely-successful clubs are EvergreenClub.com and the AffordableTravelClub.net--be sure to access those exact addresses. Fiercely competitive and with thousands of members apiece, AffordableTravelClub claims to limit its members to persons over the age of 40, while EvergreenClub imposes a minimum age of 50 (but both clubs obviously cater to an older group). Both charge yearly membership fees of either $65 (AffordableTravelClub) or $75 (EvergreenClub). And both require that travelers pay a small daily fee to their hosts ($20 single, $25 double, for Evergreen members, slightly less for Affordable members), to offset the expenses (a big breakfast included in all stays, laundry, etc.) incurred by hosts.
Once you join either club, you then have access to electronic directories describing at great length the some-2,000 housholds (for each club) in both the U.S. and overseas, that will put you up free-of-charge (except for that small daily fee of $20/$25) in their homes. To join either club, members must also agree themselves to occasionally accommodate other members in their own homes, again for no charge other than the nominal daily fee. In other words, members cannot simply be "takers", they must also be "givers".
It's important to distinguish these two hospitality clubs from the altogether-different "home exchange" clubs in which members stay in another person's home while the latter stays in their home. Members of Evergreen and Affordable need not time their visits to mesh with another's vacation, but can use their membership at any time when they travel.
The fact that Evergreen and Affordable have lasted so long, and with such evident success, is strong proof of how valuable are their services. For seniors over the age of 60, they provide an excellent means of virtually eliminating accommodations costs from their next trip.