One of the biggest and most stressful expenses in travelling is accommodation. At anywhere from $10-$40 for a hostel each night, or much, much more for a hotel, finding somewhere to sleep is a huge budgetary restriction. But it doesn’t have to be. If you’d rather spend that dough on activities, food, and even extra destinations, here are some amazing, totally free options for finding accommodation abroad.
This internationally popular website is a backpacker’s dream. Travellers in all corners of the globe offer spaces in their homes for free, because they understand what it’s like to travel without money, they like meeting new people and showing their hometowns, and they’re just super nice. Every user provides plenty of information about themselves and you can read reviews from other couchsurfers to decide whether you trust the host. Also, for women travellers who are more comfortable staying with other women, you can filter the hosts to only see other ladies. Not only is couchsurfing a great economic option, it’s an amazing opportunity to get a genuine taste of local culture and lifestyle, as well as to share a bit of your own.
Work at a Hostel
This is a great and fun way to exchange some of your time for a free stay and sometimes free food as well. Because you’re not working for money you don’t have to worry about a work visa, and you get to work with other travellers and make lifelong friends (I’m speaking from experience here). It’s usually really easy to find a hostel job, as they have huge turnover due to their wanderlusty employee-base. Just email around to hostels in the area and you’ll be hired in no time.
This is a great option for the plant-loving freegan hippie living inside of you. World Wide Opportunities on Organic Farms is an organization that lets you work on a farm and learn how to cultivate, grow, and harvest organic produce, as well as sleep and eat for free. Your work day will average around 5 hours, and will take you to some amazing and beautiful landscapes.
This is another amazing website that lets you lend a hand doing anything from babysitting to volunteering at an orphanage to working on a tea farm in exchange for a bed and three square meals. For a small registration fee you get access to an amazing worldwide network with tons of volunteer opportunities to suit every interest.
This is a great option for people who hate the noise and crowds of hostels, prefer a restful night to a night of partying, and are up for something a little different. There are many places where you can stay in monasteries for free, often with (very simple) meals included. Around the world, both Christian and Buddhist monasteries will open their doors to weary travellers, asking nothing in return. There are many websites now that can help you locate monasteries who offer this service, giving you the opportunity for a very unique and budget-friendly accommodation option wherever you go.