As humans, we need three substantial things: food, air and a place to rest our head. When traveling, having a free place to rest your head means you have more money left for food and all the other fun things. But how can you get free accommodation? Is that even possible or are there only scams that claim that?
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How Can I Score Free Accommodation?
There are actually a few ways to stay somewhere without having to pay for it. Here are some of them:
1. Sleep on someone’s couch
I’m referring to Couchsurfing, which lets you find hosts that take you in for free. There’s no catch. They’ll offer you a couch, bed, mattress, hammock or patch of their floor for free. The idea is that you can experience their culture and maybe, in turn, teach them some of yours. It sounds a little too good to be true, and also dangerous. But Couchsurfing has developed a fantastic feedback system, helping you to find a safe and free place. If you want to know more about it, read this article.
You could do a workaway, which would offer you free accommodation. There’s also different volunteering organizations that provide homes to their volunteers. Maybe you also know someone where you’re going, but you don’t know them well enough to ask for a free homestay. You could offer them help in exchange for a bed. We also got an entire article covering that here.
An alternative to work away is WWOF, where you do voluntary farm work in exchange for free accommodation and food.
3. Housesit or exchange your home
Living in other people’s homes can have many advantages, including a fully equipped kitchen and experiencing living like a local. There are two ways to arrange a stay like that. One of them is a home exchange. It means you open up your home to strangers, and while they live in your place, you live in theirs. That way you can visit many places in the world for free. One website to find a home exchange and free accommodation is home exchange. The cool part is that as a family, you can exchange homes with another family, meaning you don’t have to worry about space.
If you don’t live in a desired destination or you have other reasons you don’t want to open your home up to strangers, consider housesitting. Many people have summer houses or travel for long times. They need someone to watch over their home. Usually, this involves taking care of their pet. You can find housesits at trustedhousesitters. The fee is pretty hefty at around 100$ but consider how much you usually would pay for lodging.
Lying under the stars while hearing the wildlife rustling around you can be exhilarating. And the best part is, many times it is free. Of course, many campsites will expect you to pay. Some countries allow you to camp in the wild if you follow certain rules. Belarus and Estonia have laws which let you roam freely on farmland and in forests. The Nordic countries of Norway, Finland, and Sweden have the allemansrätten, which allows you to camp in most areas if you follow certain rules. Austria and the Czech Republic allow only limited access to campers. The same applies for the United Kingdom. In the United States, there is no freedom-to-roam act, however, certain states have established statutes for recreational use. Generally it is always a good idea to ask the landowner for permission.
Often hostels or resorts will let you pitch your tent or hammock on their property, for free or a small fee. It’s not quite as comfortable as having your own room, but it’s one of the cheapest options if you don’t want to camp in the wild.
Certain remote places don’t have accommodation for you to book. And while camping can be an option here, having a safe place and roof over your head is always nice. Temples aren’t your everyday option, but if you’re in need, they will usually provide you with a place to sleep. It might just be a patch of concrete floor, but it is free. Even though they probably won’t ask for anything in return, giving a donation is always a good way to show your gratitude.
6. Make friends
Without trying to encourage you to be annoying and parasitic, this can be fun and save a lot of money. A cool way to find people is hitchhiking, because sometimes the driver will offer you a bed and a dinner – don’t go in expecting anything, though. This one is the least reliable option because the main purpose of making friends is making friends, not sleeping for free. But it can happen – you meet someone, and they invite you to stay at their place. How can you win friends?
I suppose there are many other options to find a free place to stay if you’re creative. What do you think, would you do this or rather pay for a comfy bed? What are your ideas to score free accommodation? Let us know in the comments!