Traveling (traveler more than tourist) could be expensive… or not. Is up to you how much you want to spend on your trip. Some of us can´t easily afford traveling for different reasons. In my case, I came from a Latin American bankrupt country (Today 1 USD is 37 Pesos) and that’s just for TODAY, besides being the most expensive city in Latin America. But everybody has different realities, and some just have the same problem but others just can’t spend much money on a new adventure. However, for a real traveler, the call of being on the road can’t be denied. Hence, with these 8 ways to not spend any money on accommodation, there are no excuses to take a hike!
Choose one or use many of these alternatives to not spend any money on accommodation
1. Use Helpex, Workaway or Woldpackers: For a very small fee, you can register in these websites where you can find a volunteer job in exchange for free accommodation and food in farms, backpacker hostels, lodges, horse stables and even sailing boats. My experience was directly using Helpex, and I can fully describe them as magnificent! However here are a few important tips from my side who has really experienced this alternative: First, write a distinctive profile, say something that distinguishes you from others, don’t type: “I want free accommodation” express what’s you can really give away and what are you expecting back. Complete your profile info honestly, from your heart. Then when you engage, ask EVERYTHING in advance: How many hours will be working, what kind of job is, how is the place where you will stay, if the agreement includes food (not always happens) and then check out previous references, and. In my opinion, be working 5 to 6 days for 4, 5 hours are fair enough, otherwise, I am willing to say is Labor exploitation.
2. Volunteer on an organic farm in exchange for work. WWOOF is similar to the websites named above. The main difference is you will be working on sustainable and organic farms and properties. You will be living out of the cities with like-minded people, whose really want to make a change in the environment and do something beneficial for the planet.
3. Volunteer in Hostels. It comes along with the first tip. The main difference is you can have the first contact directly with the hostel before you arrive or already there. Are plenty of backpacker’s hostels that need extra help in high season in exchange of a bed. My advice, for this option, is basically taking a timeout before deciding where to pop in: choose the city you wish to go, then send to all the hostels a direct email or have an approach by Social Networks. Once you have been chosen, remember, have a straight talk about the conditions in advance. Usually, they need cleaners or receptionists.
4. Carry a tent with you. You can sleep not paying accommodation (almost) everywhere. Some countries have free camping and I have met kindness people who allow backpackers camp in their backyard. Moreover, if suddenly the night is upon you, don’t hesitate and just set up the tent right next to the road.
5. Become an Aur pair. Are some websites where you can register as Au pair: Greataurpair is one of those, but also are Facebook groups from different countries where you can get in contact with families free of charges. You will be living and helping a host family by looking after their children and doing some housekeeping. In exchange, you get a free room, learn a new language and what is the most important you MUST receive a small salary. So, keep an eye on this as some families, because even in their countries where is not legal, they don’t want to pay a wage.
6. Housesitting or Pet sitting: Are you a pet lover? Can you describe yourself as a reliable person? If so, you can watch someone’s house while you stay on theirs. A fully equipped house will be available for you. Points to be noted: If you don’t like animals or you already are thinking on throwing a party house there: better don’t do it. Some owners have cameras, and reputation is extremely important. Trusted Housesitters, is just one site where a website registration is needed and everybody’s accounts are insightfully verified. but also I have read either in Facebook groups or local websites this kind of offers and there you don’t have to pay a fee. Sometimes couples have priority.
7. House-exchange. First of all, decide a destination and afterward, you could exchange your home for someone house in that place. Both should agree and give a vote of confidence. In this opportunity, ill definitely recommend a reliable website like www.homeexchange.com due to the properties exchange booths owners needs a far deep commitment. However, browsing you can also see these kinds of exchanges on Facebook groups.
8. Couchsurfing. By far my favorite way to not spend money on accommodation. This platform has been online for several years. Your reputation is sometimes highly important here for request a couch (sometimes is literally one, luckily is a room). But the real idea is not just free hosting, as a non-paid hotel. You must be a real surfer, what means, be willing to spend time with your host, if both agree of course, and have the desire to get immersed in the local lifestyle. I’m an active user of Couchsurfing yet, I always try to spend time with my host or surfer. Be neat, respectful and if I’m the visitor, always help with household’s task or maybe cook dinner. Some people tell me is hard to be accepted, I disagree: if you build a fully complete profile, start hosting in your house, and slowly gain a good reputation, send personal requests (not copy-paste) and are respectful, in the end, you will be a compelling person. Being also a solo traveler has more chances for being accepted.
I personally have experience 5 from the 8 ways to not spend any money on accommodation, and I have friends who have tried the other ones. Therefore, I truly know all the pros and cons. Anyways I’ll write in detail each alternative in another’s articles. Meanwhile, no excuses are allowed! You already have options for backpacking and hit the road again!
Claudia Cejas for Digital Communication CCC