Accommodation is often the biggest expense when traveling. So think of how much money you could save, and how many more trips you could go on, if you could get free accommodation! It’s totally possible!
Apart from saving money, another benefit is that they often lead to more memorable and meaningful travel experiences because you become more immersed in the culture of the country you are visiting and make connections with local people.
But, of course, there’s no such thing as a free lunch, most of these ways to get free accommodation involve some degree of work but very little money to be exchanged.
8 Ways to get Free Accommodation when Traveling
Couch Surfing is basically where you stay on someone’s couch for free. The Couch Surfing website is free to join, it connects a global community of travelers with members who are willing to host them and it is also a great way to met local people and hosts will often show you around their hometown and share local knowledge and culture. Join up to the Couch Surfing website.
Work for Accommodation in a Hostel
Hostels are busy places and many hostels will let you work for accommodation, and sometimes meals, in exchange for helping out with cleaning, house keeping and reception duties at the hostel and you are also likely to met lots of other backpackers and like minded people. You can often find opportunities to work for accommodation on Workaway or search for hostels at Hostelz.com and contact them directly to ask.
Many home owners need someone to look after their house and pets while they go away. Websites like Trusted House Sitters put home owners in touch with potential house sitters. It’s a great way to get a whole house worth of free accommodation but if you try house siting to get free rent you do need to be responsible enough to look after the pets and keep the house is a good condition. There is usually a fee to sign up and house sitting gigs can be competitive so you will need to build a professional looking profile.
I haven’t tried this one, as I don’t own a home, but if you do you could stay in someone elses home for free in exchange for letting them stay in your home. Websites like Home Exchange connect home owners looking to house swap.
There are several websites where you can find opportunities to exchange your skills for food, accommodation and authentic local experiences and cultural exchange .These websites also offer the opportunity to help out by volunteering for free at a grassroots level and avoid paying the extortionate fees charged by international companies offering ‘voluntourism’ holidays.
Usually volunteers work 4 hours a day and you can do many kinds of work, from working in a hospitality, to teaching English, helping out around the home or working on a farm. Most websites do require a small yearly membership but you can find interesting opportunites all over the world and see reviews too. Try WWOOF ( Willing Workers On Organic Farms) Workaway or Helpx
Worldpackers is my favourite site for free volunteering and work exchange opportunities abroad. Worldpackers is a collaborative platform that connects you with hosts from 170 countries around the world where you can travel exchanging your skills for a free stay.There a re more than 1.5 million travelers who have traded their skills and time for accommodations with 5,000+ verified hosts in the Worldpackers community.
There is a huge variety of exciting and worthwhile projects you can get involved in including volunteering with NGOs, communities and ecological projects, teaching English, animal conversation projects, working in hostels and helping out in local family homes where you can exchange your help to receive free stay, food and other benefits.
Worldpackers beats the other volunteering platforms as they offer great customer service and support to help you find the perfect project and help you every step of the way. All the hosts are verified to ensure they offer a safe and rewarded experience and if anything should go wrong the Worldpackers insurance will put you up for 3 nights at a nearby hostel and help you to find another project.
Yearly membership costs $49 but if you use the code GLOBALGALLIVANTING you can get $20 off the membership fee! Bargain! Check out the opportunities with Worldpackers and join here.
Your travel reviews and experiences can influence others so your opinions are worth money! You could start your own travel blog but it will take a lot of work until brands will want to work with you but you once you have built up a good readership you could offer your promotional services in exchange for a free stay or you may even get invited on an all expenses press trip but don’t underestimate the amount of work to provide the return on investment for the companies.
Even if you don’t have a travel blog you could still get free accommodation in exchange for your reviews, check out The Hostel Group they need ambassadors to review hostels in exchange for free accommodation.
If free accommodation isn’t enough check out my tips on ways to get make money while traveling
Good Old Fashioned Ways to get Free Accommodation
Stay with a Friend
Once you’ve been traveling for a while you will probably have friends all across the world so don’t be shy to reach out to them and ask to stay. Perhaps offer to bring them their favourite foods or something they miss from home in exchange for their hospitality. If you don’t have any friends then how about looking up those long lost relatives and reaching out. Worth a try …
After the initial cost of the tent, wild camping is another way to sleep for free and get back to nature, why pay for a 5 star hotel when you can a million star one for free! Just make sure that you are allowed to camp there or you may find yourself moved or, or worse fined. If you have a camping stove you can also cook yourself up some dinner while you gaze up at stars.