No deposit. No credit card number. No stressing about “incidentals.” Sound to good to be true? Then it might be time to make a trip to North Carolina. Mountain Light Sanctuary, just over 30 miles from Asheville, runs on a pay-what-you-can mantra that welcomes everyone, from traveling hippies to those seeking a unique lodging experience or just a few days away from the digital grind.
There’s no formal payment process. In fact, whipping out a credit card will likely draw awkward stares — guests simply leave what they feel is appropriate underneath the gnome on their way out. According to the sanctuary’s website, there are suggested rates depending on where a guest stays on the property, but ultimately the decision lies with the guests themselves.
Mountain Light Sanctuary also appeals to the growing trend of wellness travel. Unlike so many hostels around the world, the focus here isn’t on partying. There’s no bar-hopping bus or cheap pitchers of sugar-coated booze in the lobby. What travelers find instead is peace, quiet, and tranquility — all draped over plenty of spaces for meditation, yoga, and personal reflection. 18 separate “crash pads” dot the seven-acre property. Some are more remote than others, but all offer a higher level of comfort than traditional camping.