People are unable to travel for all sorts of reasons: maybe a family member is sick, or they just had a baby, or they’re just super unwilling to miss an episode of Game of Thrones and risk seeing spoilers on the internet.
I get it. We all have priorities, and if travel is not a priority for you then there is nothing I can do to make you book a flight. Still, I talk to people all the time about their travel hopes and dreams, and the #1 reason I hear for why someone won’t take their dream trip is always – wait for it – money.
I bet you saw that one coming a mile away.
Yet, where there is a will, there is a way. Sure, maybe you can’t afford staying in a luxury five-star villa, but that doesn’t mean you shouldn’t travel at all.
What if I told you that there are ways to travel without paying for accommodation?
Here are six:
Work Exchange – Just what it sounds like, trade in your (legal) skills for a place to stay. Companies such as Worldpackers, Workaway, and HelpX, all keep a database of hostels, communes, farms, wineries, volunteer organizations, etc. that will give you a place to sleep in exchange for work they need done. Keep in mind that while staying at these locations will be free, the sites to book yourself into them charge a small fee. I realize a “fee” defeats the notion of “free”, but $10 for a couple of months of accommodation is pretty darn good.
Couchsurf – No backpacker worth his/her salt should be without a Couchsurfing account. This website helps you find generous hosts all around the world that will let you crash on their couch for free. Both hosts and surfers alike are subject to a rating system, so you will have a good idea of the conditions of the place before you show up. Safety first, folks!
Housesit – Believe it or not, there are people all over the globe who are willing to let you stay in their houses in exchange for looking after them and, more often than not, their beloved pets. For a nominal annual fee, sites such as Trusted Housesitters and Mind My House will help pair you with a host.
WWOOF – WWOOFing (World Wide Opportunities on Organic Farms, or Willing Workers on Organic Farms) is essentially the same principle as a work exchange, except it is an organization particularly for those who want to volunteer on organic farms. WWOOF has hosts in over 100 countries, and for just 4-6 hours of work a day hosts will give you free accommodation and food. Winning!
Au Pair – Ever wonder how you could see a new place while putting your nanny skills to good use? Become an Au Pair! Stay with a host in a foreign locale and essentially become part of the family while you help them care for their children.
Camp – Don’t feel like staying in someone else’s accommodation at all? Don’t! Grab your camper-van or tent and set up shop in one of the many free camping spots around the globe. There are many online resources to help you find the perfect free spots, it’s worth a look!