It’s been 8 months since I’m away from home. And there wasn’t a single night I paid for my accommodation. In these 8 months I spent 3 months in Italy, 4.5 months in Brazil, a week in Uruguay and now in Buenos Aires where I’ve been having a free bed and breakfast until February. Usually travelers pay the same money for the bed as their daily budget for everything else, so I will tell you how to make your expenses double less.
The top list of 8 free accommodations:
But. Warning! The fist and the main point in free accommodations: No, there is nothing free in this world. But. Yes, you don’t spend any money because money is not everything. All the links below are not free places to come, sleep and leave. The most important thing – these are the platforms to learn, teach, share, trust and have fun. Ok, here we go.
www.couchsurfing.org – The first one and the best invention of the travelers’ social network ever! You can host a traveler or surf in someone’s house. The trust is based on references. If 20 other people wrote this person is nice it might be truth. It’s a bit hard to start when you don’t have references yet, but everything is possible. Registration is free.
www.bewelcome.org – Much less popular and newer than Couchsurfing, but can save you from the street when you can’t find anything else. I used it few times in Europe and met amazing people through it. Registration is free.
www.helpx.net – The website where you can find a place and usually but not always breakfast or full meals as an exchange of 3-4-5 hours of work daily. The listings are very different including private houses, farms and hostels, both inside the city centers or in countryside. Registration costs 20 euros, which lasts for 2 years worldwide for both single and twin memberships.
www.workaway.info – Similar as HelpX, Workaway is a platform where you can find volunteering in a family or a farm. Additional to this here are also listings of small organizations or NGOs (which is very rare in HelpX). The fee is a bit higher, it’s 29.00 USD for one year for individuals and 38.00 USD for couples or two friends.
wwoofinternational.org – If you are a fan of farming or rural lifestyle – this is your place. Usually you live with your host and are expected to join in and cooperate with 4-6 hours help – exchange for a full day’s food and accommodation. In wwoofing you usually stay as a family member, so you can really get involved into culture and learn the foreign language. Listings are usually farms, so they are far from the city centers, so be ready to stay in remote ares. The fee is a bit higher than on the previous sites. The annual fee is 30.00-40.00 USD depending on the country. And, yes, you also have to pay for each country to be registered.
6. Guest to Guest
www.guesttoguest.com – This is sort of home exchange website, when you exchange homes at the same time. But as a new member you can get some points which can be exchanged for few nights without offering your place. Registration is free.
7. Home Exchange
www.homeexchange.com – Similar to GuesttoGuest, you swap your place for another one at the same dates. You post your listing with photos of your house and set up the desire destination and dates. Once you found a suitable option you discuss the details with the other owner – the trust is up to both of you, so you better arrange a skype call or something before leaving your house and going to the other side of the globe. You need to pay 150 USD for one year membership, but even though this website is much more famous then Guest to Guest. I personally think it’s a fair price if you have a big house and going to travel with a family or kids.
Nowadays many owners care about reviews of their listings. I tried it myself and know friends who successfully use this option. You contact the hostel/bnb/homestay/small hotel and offer them a positive review on all the most used websites like tripadvisor, lonelyplanet, booking and hostelworld and a post in your blog (if you have one) as an exchange of few nights of staying. You can also check their websites and see if they might need some other help with some photos or writing.
And after you’ve done of the options above you are opened for the bonus option
9. Friends and friends of friends!
This is also a great option. Usually I’m shy to ask people. But, if you are going to see the world – you should get out of your shell and start talking. People are usually very friendly and would love to show you their city even if they never met you before, but their old friend told them about you. Just imagine if your friend would ask you to host their friend, wouldn’t you refuse? Sometimes I even stay with parents of my friends or parents of my friends’ parents. And it’s been always great!
If you have any questions or you’d like to add some other platforms, feel free to use the comments to this post!
After making this post someone told me also about this website http://www.worldpackers.com
I never used it myself, but seems like a good alternative option.