8 Ways to get Free Accommodation while Travelling

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

With hosts and new friends in Vietnam
With hosts and new friends in Vietnam

Couch Surfing

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.

House Sitting

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.

harvey dog house sitting
House sitting often means you will have to look after the pets

Home Exchange

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.


Woofing in Australia
Woofing in Australia

Write Reviews

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 


kerala blog express press trip
On an all expenses paid press trip with Kerala Tourism

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.

free travel camping


Do you have any more tips to get free accommodation?

Related posts

How to Volunteer in Southeast Asia for Free with Worldpackers


10 Simple Ways to Save Money for Travel (without moving back in with your parents!)


6 Reasons to Stay in Backpacker Hostels 



Michael Huxley April 23, 2015 at 6:54 pm

Great article! I have to add though it takes a TON of work before you can offer enough value and reach to work with hotels and brands, but if you are willing to put that work in it is possible. Go Cambio is another new site similar to couchsurfing which is really good,

Anna Phipps April 23, 2015 at 7:57 pm

Thank you – I’ll check out Go Cambio. Yeah you are totally right and you would probably be better off to get a minimum wage job and pay for the hotel yourself than spend all the hours building up a travel blog just to get free stuff but with the hostel group they just wanted me to review the hostels for their website in exchange for a free stay – I think anyone could do that 🙂

Gabor Kovacs April 24, 2015 at 9:09 am

We have done a lot of Couchsurfing in our travels, and apart from being a way to save money on your travels, what mattered the most to us is that we got to know a place through a local’s eyes. The other ways you mentioned are also great, we love camping, although here in Catalonia freedom camping is prohibited and you can get a huge fine if you do that.

Anna Phipps April 24, 2015 at 11:33 am

Thats such a shame about the camping but I guess you have to be careful and check out the local rules. I totally agree with you about couch surfing – its great to meet local people. Keep enjoying your travels 🙂

MOZ Eli April 24, 2015 at 9:11 pm

To Know about Ways to get Free Accommodation in my country .contact us.

Tiana April 24, 2015 at 11:55 pm

Great ideas! Free always sounds good!

Matt December 2, 2017 at 8:41 pm

That is a superb summary, Anna. Keep it up!

Anna December 4, 2017 at 6:20 pm

Thank you 🙂

Bhabes Kumar Labh May 10, 2018 at 4:57 am

You have shared valuable ideas and insight for free accommodation. Thank you very much.

Anna May 13, 2018 at 7:28 pm

Thanks, glad its helpful for you 🙂

Dhanay December 10, 2018 at 4:55 pm

Great article. Camping is my favourite. I have always enjoyed it a lot. But I want to experience work exchange now. I don’t have much knowledge about it but it sounds exciting. I came across this website named https://hippohelp.com. It was for finding hosts and to be honest, I did not find it hard to locate them through their map based system. Also, it had a free sign up policy. But, before I finalise a trip, I want to know somebody’s first hand experience. Have you tried it?

Anna April 21, 2019 at 2:48 pm

Thanks for the tips, No I haven’t heard of them before so I haven’t tried it myself.

Cerightech February 13, 2019 at 1:17 pm

nice Hotel


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