How to Get Free Accommodation While Traveling

Posted February 21, 2013 by Kenza Moller in Budget Travel
Couchsurfing

Flickr image by satemkemet

Whether you’re planning on traveling the world or simply going abroad for a week, expenses quickly pile up between flights, tours, transportation and food. But thanks to the many online tools, we can now easily travel the world without paying for accommodation. Cross that expense off the list and use the money you’re saving on a new adventure!

Couchsurfing

Couchsurfing allows you to find couches to crash on during your travels and gives you the option of hosting travelers at your own place. Not only is it a way to find free accommodation abroad, but it helps you connect with locals. Friends and couches? How could you say no?

If your “stranger danger” alarm is going off, don’t worry. Couchsurfing gives people the option of verifying their identity using a credit card and previous surfers can write reviews on users. Similar sites – with varying requirements and restrictions – include Global Freeloaders, Servas, and the Hospitality Club.

House-sitting

Want to stay in a house abroad rent-free? If you’re willing to water the plants, do some cleaning, and feed the pets, you may just be the perfect house-sitter for someone. While you’ll need to plan your vacation around someone else’s, it’s a cheap option that offers up an entire home rather than just a couch. Trusted House Sitters has a big range of house-sitting gigs on offer from around the world. Also check out House Carers and The Caretaker Gazette for opportunities.

Alternatively, if you have your own place, consider swapping your home for one across the globe with Home Exchange, Love Home SwapStay 4 Free, and Roof Swap.

Work for accommodation

WWOOFing has grown in popularity as a  method of traveling over the past few years. Organic farms around the world host travelers (accommodation and food included!) in exchange for volunteer work on the farm. Before visiting, hosts and travelers connect online at WWOOF – World Wide Opportunities on Organic Farms – where they arrange a certain number of volunteer hours and the length of the stay. Similar working programs can be found at Grow Food, HelpX, and Work Away – and not all of them are related to farming.

Become a deckhand

If you love the ocean and traveling, consider working on a ship – there are several websites that provide a place for boaters and travelers to connect. Hard work is expected of you, but you will get a roof over your head and the opportunity to sail to several different locations. Listings can be found at Sailing Point, Crew Traders, and Luxury Yachts.

Have you ever used any of the above services? Any tips or tricks for finding free accommodation abroad?


About the Author

Kenza Moller

Kenza Moller is our magazine editor and also our expert on budget travel. She is originally from the Dominican Republic and currently wrapping up a writing degree in Victoria, BC. She ran a non-profit foundation for animals and also interned at Canadian Geographic, and is happiest when traveling, scuba diving, writing or running. Check out her blog at www.kenzamoller.com.

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