Accommodation is probably the most expensive part about traveling. So if you can figure out how to limit the costs of where you stay while you travel, you can travel longer! And I don’t just mean two weeks instead of one… I mean more throughout your life!
Find ways to travel that incorporate where you’re going to rest your head. If you can figure that out, you’re set! And options aren’t limited to just “hotel or hostel”… Get creative, save a ton of money, and see more of the world!
Choose which best suits your travel needs and find the cheapest accommodation available! Most are pretty much self explanatory, so I’ll get straight to the point and just give you a list to choose from!
In each section, I have one or two that are highlighted that are my favorite.
Great for longer stays than just a few nights in a hostel. Find an apartment downtown to sublet for the summer!
House sitting just like babysitting, but instead of taking care of a baby, you’re taking care of someone’s house. This might include taking care of pets (feeding, walking, etc.), checking the mail, watering plants, and other simple chores. In exchange, you get to stay someplace for free. This is a great way to see the world for very little money, but you will need to schedule and coordinate with the owners and take your responsibilities seriously.
Prices are per year.
Mind My House ($20)
House Carers ($50)
I say “free”, but these websites aren’t just for a free place to crash for the night – they are about connecting with people from other cultures…
House swapping is definitely the way I’d travel! If only I had a house… But if you have a house or an apartment that you’re not planning to leave any time soon and you don’t mind someone else staying your home, you should definitely check this out!
There are two types of house swapping: (1) simultaneous exchange, and (2) non-simultaneous exchange.
A simultaneous exchange is when your family and another family exchange house on the same dates – you go to their house, and they come to your house… and you can wave to them in the air as your planes pass by each other.
A non-simultaneous exchange is (usually) based on points. If you leave for a vacation and your house is going to be vacant, you can list your house as being available for a swap instead… If a family stays in your house, you earn points to use at a later date some place else in the world.
While you’re in your new city, you can live like a local – walk to the market, to the beach, cook dinner, etc. Also, a lot of house swaps offer car exchanges as well! So now you really have ultimate freedom to explore and now worry about hotel nonsense and rental cars.
Every website is a bit different and usually charge a fee, so read each one and decide which is best for you. Most of them also give a free 14-day trial (but be careful, because if you hate the website and forget to cancel, they’ll end up charging your credit card) or let you sign up for a very basic membership which lets you search for houses, but doesn’t let you communicate and plan with other house-swappers.
And, yes, home-swapping is safe. HomeLike says “HomeLink is celebrating its 60th anniversary this year. In all of the years we’ve been in business, there’s never been a case of reported theft or vandalism. In the end, they’re staying in your home and you’re staying in theirs, so mutual trust is fundamental.”
Listed below are some house swapping websites to get you started:
Home Exchange ($119.40 per year)
Love Home Swap ($14 – $26 per month)
ivhe ($159 – $375 per year)
INTERVAC ($99 per year)
HomeLink ($39 per year USA only, $89 one year, $142 two years)
I think the most commonly known of this type of travel is called “wwoofing” (like the sound a dog makes). It stands for “World Wide Opportunities on Organic Farms.” Travelers contact a farmer that is in need of some extra help, and in exchange for a few hours per day (typically 4-6 hours) of help on the farm, the traveler gets a place to stay and food (and I’ve personally heard from some travelers that the farmer let them use his car whenever they wanted to go to town for the night). Aside from all the obvious benefits, I’m pretty sure that most “wwoofing” is done “under the table” so those impossible work-visas and permits do need to be bothered with.
helpx (€20, about $28 for two years)
VOLUNTEER CREW MEMBER
OK, this might be the most “out there” for some of you, and probably the least talked about / popular… but I this is something I will definitely try soon!
Volunteer as a crew member on a private yacht! Private yacht owners take on volunteer crew members to, perhaps, be up at night to make sure the ship is ok, or to simply wash the dishes. In exchange, you’ll get to travel with them to islands that most people will never see.
CrewSeekers ($117 for 6 months – $192 per year)
Latitude 38 Crew List (free, link is directly to listings)
FindACrew.net (free & premium membership)