05/02/2013 11:32 am ET Updated Jun 28, 2013

Home Is Where the Local Is

Magdalena Wosinska

Savvy travelers know the best -- and often cheapest -- lodgings are not hotels, but private homes or apartments. Here, they can more fully experience a destination by shopping at the local bodega, mingling with their temporary neighbors and discovering all the neighborhood nooks and crannies. Heck, that's why services like AirBnb and Couchsurfing are so popular.

Here at Global Yodel, we know that staying in a private residence offers the most authentic experience of a destination. The only problem is you have to travel to do it.

To get some insight without paying for a plane ticket, we reached out to our contributors and asked them to share pictures of their homes, bedrooms and kitchens, as well as the lodgings of their friends and neighbors.

We hoped that through their photos we could learn about a destination, the people who live there and the stories their lives tell about the area. As usual, we were not disappointed.

Firewood stored in a Latvian home shows how the locals prepare for winter. A precarious pile of houses in Amsterdam tells the story of the city's growth. In Austria, a small village serves as a reprieve from the hustle of Vienna.

Click through the slideshow below to meet a speedo-clad man named Cloudy Cloud, see a LA pillow fight and learn what happens when a group of travelers take over a 4,000-square-foot warehouse.

Written by Helen Anne Travis

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Where People Live