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student in a hostel
December 9, 2019
3 mins read

Places to stay during the holiday residence closure

The UBC Life Residence Guide

It’s almost winter break. Time for a much needed step away from student life. Get some sleep…but first, you need to know where to sleep.

Winter break is great, but it can be stressful if you still need to figure out your plans. First-year residences (Totem Park, Place Vanier, and Orchard Commons) are closed during the break (that's from 12:00 pm on Thursday, December 19 to 12:00 pm on Sunday, January 5) for safety reasons. So what should you do if you don’t have the option to go home?

Whether you’re strapped for cash, considering housing off campus, or wondering what UBC has to offer, here are some suggestions to keep you safe, warm, and happy during your time off.

Stay with friends

If you have close friends who live in Vancouver, ask around to see if anyone’s able to take you in for the break. Spending your vacation with your pals is always fun. (On that note, if you live in or near Vancouver, ask around and make sure your friends from out of town have somewhere to stay!)

Stay in a friend’s place while they’re away

Even if your friends aren’t from around here, they can still help you out. If you know people who live in suite-style residences (Walter Gage, Ritsumeikan-UBC House, Fairview Crescent, Tallwood House, Ponderosa Commons, Marine Drive, Thunderbird Residence, or Exchange Residence) who are planning on leaving for the break, it’s possible to borrow their room. If you’re interested in doing this, you and your friend can get the forms from the Commonsblock Front Desk in any residence. You’ll need to okay this with your temporary holiday roommates before submitting the forms back to the Front Desk.

Alternatively, if you have friends who live in apartments off campus, ask if they’re willing to take you in! During my undergrad days, I generally visited family during time off, so I had trustworthy friends stay in my place plenty of times while I was away.

Keep it clean and water their succulents—everybody wins.

Hostels and Airbnb

Hostels are a simple and affordable way to get off campus, but stay in Vancouver. The city has lots of options at varying prices and lots of different locations. Check out Hostels.com and HostelWorld to see what’s available. Once you’ve found something promising, it’s worthwhile to contact the accommodation directly to book—they’ll often give you a discount for skipping the third party.

For something that’s more cozy and homey, see what’s available on Airbnb. The options are really varied, from entire homes to tiny rooms in apartments, so you can find something perfectly suited to your needs. Make sure to pick a verified host and read lots of reviews before making your choice.


While it isn’t an option for everybody, winter break is a great time to travel. You might know other people in a similar situation who want to tag along, or you can do some soul searching by travelling on your own. Take this opportunity to explore BC (maybe it’s finally time to check out Whistler or Victoria?), head down to Seattle or Portland, or maybe even live the American dream by spending your break at Disneyland!

If you’re (almost) out of options

Hopefully, some of the above options will be helpful to you. If you're really stuck, contact your Residence Advisor or Residence Life Manager right away. Your Residence Life team can help you find a solution.

Here's how to contact your RLM if you need assistance: 

Totem Park

Place Vanier

Orchard Commons