Although we are currently restricted from leisure travel, that can’t stop anyone from dreaming about their next big trip. When all this is over, many of you will probably be looking for a long, extended vacation. However, traveling can be very expensive. This is especially true if you are looking at an international destination. What if I told you there were options for free accommodations while you travel? Here are a few suggestions for those who are looking to stretch their travel budget to reach exotic locations.
Free Hostel Accommodations
Although they are typically referred to as “youth hostels,” this type of accommodation is great for travelers of all ages on a budget. Hostel accommodations are just as diverse as the people who use them. Typically, you will have choices ranging from a bed in a shared dormitory to a private room with your own bathroom. Sites like Hostelworld are a great resource to check out the facilities and reviews before you arrive.
The greatest advantage of staying in hostels is that they are a fraction of the cost for a hotel room. However, if you are a long-term traveler and looking to save money, you may be able to arrange free room and board. Hostels usually employ a combination of permanent and temporary staff members to clean, check in guests, or arrange outings. If you are looking for free accommodations while you travel, you can email management before you arrive or discuss it in person. Not only does it offer free accommodations to stretch your budget, but you will also have the opportunity to meet people from around the world.
Couchsurfing is another excellent option to meet new people and experience the local flavor. This social networking site connects travelers with an easy-to-use platform. Simply set up your profile, and then you can begin connecting with and messaging other couchsurfers. It is absolutely free to join, but you can pay to have your profile verified for greater security.
In addition to a free place to stay, you can also choose to meet locals for dinner or drinks. The site also organizes events for members to meet up in cities around the globe. I personally love couchsurfing because you can experience the city from a native perspective. Instead of falling into the usual tourist traps, my hosts take me to their favorite entertainment spots and introduce me to their friends. Some of my best travel experiences have been because of the wonderful people I have met through the site.
WWOOF for Free Accommodations
The WorldWide Opportunities on Organic Farms, or WWOOF project, is a global movement to connect organic farmers with environmentally conscious volunteers. Local growers and producers offer hands-on learning and accommodations in exchange for free labor. Since no money changes hands, it’s a great way to educate yourself and find free accommodations while you travel. The entire movement began as a way to promote organic agricultural practices and build global sustainability.
In order to join the community, you have to create a profile and pay a small annual fee. Once confirmed, you can browse the forums and directory to find an opportunity that suits your travel plans. Each listing will specify the hosts’ specific needs and description of daily responsibilities. Many farms are located far from the bustling city which is perfect if you are looking to get back to nature. Educational opportunities range from farming and animal husbandry to construction and renewable energy projects. WWOOFing offers a unique and rewarding way to save money while you travel.
Although your current travel plans have been postponed, it never hurts to look at your options. These are just a few alternatives to help you find free accommodations while you travel. There are tons of options out there if you just think outside the box. Your next great adventure could only be a click away.
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Jenny Smedra is an avid world traveler, ESL teacher, former archaeologist, and freelance writer. Choosing a life abroad had strengthened her commitment to finding ways to bring people together across language and cultural barriers. While most of her time is dedicated to either working with children, she also enjoys good friends, good food, and new adventures.