When you’re traveling, usually, accommodation is the most expensive part. Sadly, it is also one of the necessities as you can only sleep on floors for so long without breaking your back (been there, done that!). When I was in Europe, I managed to live off a budget by skipping out on eating in restaurants and doing all sorts of things to scrimp on money.
I was doing perfectly fine until I reached countries where a dorm bed costs $30. This immediately blew a hole through my not so hefty budget. What if I told you that you can travel the world and get free accommodations? Say what??
Yes, I said it. Traveling and getting free accommodation is possible! With a little planning and a lot of help from websites online, you can save yourself a big chunk of money by never paying for a place to sleep again. Sounds too good to be true? Now I know everyone is already familiar with couch surfing, but apart from that site (which is great by the way), there are other website that are equally as helpful to help you score free accommodations so you can get your beauty sleep.
Try your Luck at House Sitting
Do you love animals and don’t mind taking care of a few pets while you’re on holiday? Well, if you do, this one’s for you! Often people go away on holiday and end up leaving their beloved pets behind. The solution? Find a house sitter! Not only do you get to stay in an awesome house where you can cook and get to know the local community, you also get some cute pet snuggles at night. We’re not kidding when we say some of the houses listed are insane.
We even know of a couple that house sat a castle once! We recommend TrustedHousesitters simply because they have the largest network out there, providing you with more options on house sit opportunities.
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Interact with others and use Go Cambio
Go Cambio is an awesome site that connects travelers with hosts, in exchange for some language lessons. In exchange for a bed and a few home cooked meals, all you have to do is spend a couple hours of your time helping your host (or their kids) improve their English. The best part is it can all be done informally. While at the beach, strolling around a park, or even cooking a meal. What I love about this site is you can also get free accommodation in exchange for other skills.
Are you good at painting? Cooking? Playing an instrument? The opportunities are pretty much endless. Although we’ve never used this site, we are looking forward to do so while we are in Europe!
Tired of your digs? Try doing a Home Exchange
Have you ever seen the movie The Holiday? You know, the Hollywood blockbuster where Kate Winslet and Cameron Diaz switch homes and end up falling in love with someone from the other side of the world? Well, I can’t promise that you will meet Jude Law and live happily ever after, but the thought of swapping houses is kinda cool!
Imagine being able to travel to different places, staying in other people’s home which gives a different kind of experience from the usual hostel hopping every backpacker goes through. Unfortunately, this doesn’t apply to us because we are currently homeless nomads with no home to exchange!
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Take a Chance and Go Couchsurfing
Naturally, the ever so popular, Couchsurfing makes the list. I spent majority of my time in Europe sleeping on friend’s floors or couchsurfing. I won’t lie. I had the best time! To me, couch surfing is such a great way to see a place and experience the local culture and vibe. I had an amazing host in Italy who would take me to the city center every morning so I could go exploring.
In the afternoons, he would pick me up after work and we would cook at his home, drink wine, and hang out with his friends! In the same way, our host in Versaille, Spain would invite all his neighbors over where we drank wine and ate cheese…all night long. Couchsurfing is also a great way to meet locals as they often organize community events.
If you can’t find a place to crash, you can join meetups to get to know the local scene better. I can’t encourage Couchsurfing enough! Apart from Couchsurfing, there are other sites like Hospitality Club and Global Freeloaders.
Phone a Friend
Lastly, phone a friend. The beauty of being a traveler is you make friends from all over the world! Post a plea on facebook, message personal friends, reach out and ask. Nothing bad can come out of it! I had a guy that I briefly met ages ago offer his apartment while I was in Berlin just because he saw my facebook message.
He moved in his girlfriend’s flat for a couple of days and let me stay at his! How awesome was that? So go ahead, don’t be shy, send a facebook message to that random person you met on a bus three years ago. After all, fellow travelers are more than happy to help each other out!
Apart from that, if you are traveling around more scenic camp friendly places, go outdoors! We know of some couples that backpack with a tent and they’ve camped in some pretty sweet spots! We’ve personally slept on airport floors, hammocks, and crashed with friends, all in the name of saving a little bit of cash, but with a little bit of resourcefulness, a lot of planning, you CAN travel and get free accommodation.
Insider Tip: If you don’t have any luck with any of these, try looking at Airbnb places. We’ve found them to be much cheaper than hotels! If you haven’t signed up, click the photo below to get FREE $33 credit on your first trip
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20 thoughts on “How to Travel the World and Get Free Accommodation”
Cool options! I have a friend who managed to couchsurf his way through Europe. He definitely had lots of savings because of that 🙂
Loved this! There were many I didnt know about!
I’ve watched The Holiday. In fact, I found the prospect of exchanging home weird back then. I didn’t know that this happens in real life.
I’ve done Couchsurfing once and my experience was so bad I’m officially traumatized. I deactivated my CS account because of it and I’m never using it again. I’d rather pay for an accommodation that be treated badly by a host.
Anyway, I’d love to try house sitting because I love pets! It would be so awesome to stay in a home with full of them.
Go Cambio sounds like something interesting. It’s the first time I hear about this site.
House Sitting is another thing I would love to try. Though, so far, there haven’t been any house sits near us, when we were checking. Some day … 🙂
We hope to do some house sitting in Europe to make travel much more affordable! Being a family of four our options are a bit more limited but there is definitely free or almost free options out there!
Family of four definitely makes it more challenging, but it is doable!!
I have never heard of Go Cambio. I think I need to look into this. I love couch surfing. It is a great way to meet locals and explore new places.
A wonderful overview of how you can get accommodations for free! Some of these won’t apply to us, sadly, as there are four of us, plus we do like some personal space while we travel, but we’ll definitely be checking out Go Cambio and are thinking of home exchanges some time.
Hi! Thanks for your tips of cheap travel – I am member of Trusted housesitters, but I dont find so many assignments in SE Asia. I think I will give a try to those other sites that you recommend! Thanks for sharing!
Yes, I think there are more houses listed in Europe and North America! We are going to give Nomador a shot as well.
Excellent tips and advice, thank you! I’d never even heard of Go Cambio. It’s likely that a house sitting opportunity would be ideal for us come this spring. I’ll be sure to look into the house sitting sites that you highlighted. I really miss having a pet, it would be so awesome to have an opportunity to care for animals again!
We’re excited of the idea of house sitting and we are keen to try it out when we get to Europe as well! Good luck and let us know if you have any fun experiences.
I,didn’t know about any of these sites except couch surfing I’d you’re on a budget and willing to have an experience all of these are worth checking out.
Definitely! Some of them are awesome and will surely make great experiences.
I love the idea of Go Cambio! This is such a fantastic idea and a great way to get to know a place, a brilliant idea!
Go Cambio is new to me! I like the idea of a value exchange, rather than a total freebie. I got a sad face, though, when I saw your admission that you skipped out on restaurants. Your servers were no doubt stuck with your tabs.
Hahahaha! I meant not eating in restaurants at all @betsy I would never eat at a place and not pay 🙂 I opted for picnics instead of eating in restaurants
Oh! Hahahaha, glad I misunderstood! When Americans “skip out of restaurants” they “dine and dash” without paying their tabs! LOL sorry! We just say “skip” as in “skip eating in restaurants. I’ll go back to the Yankee corner now! 🙂
Hahaha! I’ll change it just for good measure- don’t want anyone misunderstanding that one. :p Thanks x
Oh my goodness! I’ve never heard of Go Gambio but I love the concept. My husband and I haven’t tried any of these yet but are getting closer to stepping out of our comfort zone and giving it a try.