Student reading in apartment
November 5, 2021
3 mins read

Places to stay during the winter break 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 feel like an added challenge if you still need to figure out your plans. Totem Park, Place Vanier, and Orchard Commons close during the break for safety and security reasons—from 12:00 pm on Thursday, December 23 to 12:00 pm on Sunday, January 9. So what should you do if you don’t have the option to go home?

Whether you’re not able to travel home this year, 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. And 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! 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.

Stay in an upper year's place while they’re away

Even if your friends aren’t from around here, they could still help you out. If you know people who live in an upper-year residence who will be away for the break, it’s possible to borrow their room.

These residences include Brock Commons - Tallwood House, Exchange, Fairview Crescent, Fraser Hall, Iona House, Marine Drive, Ponderosa Commons, Fairview Crescent, Tallwood House, tə šxʷhəleləm̓s tə k̓ʷaƛ̓kʷəʔaʔɬ, Ponderosa Commons, Marine Drive, Thunderbird and Walter Gage, along with Ritsumeikan-UBC House, which is a first-year residence building that will be open throughout the break.

Don’t know anyone who is able to lend out their upper-year room? No problem! You can try to find someone on the Winter Break Room Lending Forum. Be aware that you need to apply to lend/borrow a room at the front desk of an upper-year residence. 

Whether you’re staying at a friend’s or borrowing from an upper-year resident, keep it clean and water their succulents—everybody wins.

Hostels, Airbnb, and VRBO

Hostels are a simple and affordable way to get off campus but remain in Vancouver. The city has lots of options at varying prices and lots of different locations. Check out 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 or VRBO. The options vary significantly, from entire homes to tiny rooms in apartments, so you can find something suited to your needs. Make sure to pick a verified host and read lots of reviews before making your choice.

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