Have you ever wondered how people can travel the world with next to no money? I’m here to provide you with some answers to this question. Anybody can implement these methods and they don’t require you to be a travel blogger or have a following on social media. This series is about how anybody can travel the world for free.
This week we are looking at accommodation. Another one of our basic human needs. Accommodation is essential when travelling and here are some ways of getting it for free!
Couchsurfing is my most used travel app (other than Google Maps). Couchsurfing involves travellers sleeping in a host’s home for free – no strings attached. I love this community spirit and have started hosting people in my apartment in Chengdu. The process is so simple and I have had some incredible experiences whilst Couchsurfing.
Don’t bother paying for verification of your profile. Firstly it costs about €50. This takes away from the spirit of Couchsurfing. If you pay for verification the likelihood is that you will be seeking to get value for money rather than embracing the generosity and kindness of the host. Highly recommended as a host and a surfer.
USE YOUR NETWORK
This might be an obvious one but people seem to forget that they have a network of people who are willing to help them out. I rarely see posts on social media of people asking their network for help when travelling. A simple post on Facebook or Instagram can land you a friend of a friends’ couch for a night.
Also, you probably don’t know where every single one of your Facebook friends or Instagram followers are in this world. One might be in the place you’re going. This has worked wonders for me and can work for you too. Use your network!
SKILL EXCHANGE PROGRAMMES
There are so many skill exchange programmes out there now. In October I took part in an English language course called Angloville. This entailed spending 5 nights at a hotel in the Polish countryside spending each day chatting to Polish business people in English. In return for just chatting, we got 3 free meals a day, free accommodation and return transport from the city to the hotel.
There are also many other volunteering programmes which can provide some sort of accommodation plan for you in return for some daily/weekly hours of work. Some examples are Workaways, WWOOFing, Find a Crew, HelpX, WorldPackers and working in hostels.
House sitting seems to be a great concept. It helps to link worried homeowners who are going to away from their home with travellers who are looking for free accommodation. There are many organisations working in this space now and here are a few of them HouseCarers, Mind My House, or Trusted Housesitters, Home Exchange, Luxury House Sitting
This is not just for all you singletons out there. Using sites like Tinder, Bumble, Miss Travel, Grindr (gay men) and Tantan (Chinese Tinder) are great options. Get swiping and chatting when you get to a city and you could bag yourself free accommodation (and maybe even more). If you’re not on the site to hook up with people then make that clear on your profile. Many travellers are using Tinder in particular as a neo-tour guide resource.
One way of using Tinder is to purchase Tinder Plus. For a small fee, you can have unlimited swipes, change your location and can boost your profile to the most seen in your area for 30mins. If this works out for you once a month then it already covers your investment. Here’s a great article on Tinder for Travelling.
Another way is to avoid the dating sites and just go ‘paratrooping‘. Here’s the Urban Dictionary definition.
“When you’re in another city and you go in a bar with the sole intention of sleeping with somebody just so you have a place to stay.”
Of course, camping is a great free option. Pretty straightforward. Find a tent or hammock. Find a location. Pitch. Free night’s sleep.
Again, this is back to the basics. ASK! Like Joe, the homeless pickup artist, just approach people on the street. Tell your story or be a charmer. You never know unless you ASK.
Same goes for companies. Build rapport with people working in the company. Show them that you’re a nice human being. Sell your story. You can do this. Seduce the free accommodation.
SLEEP ON TRANSPORT
When you’re travelling between places it can be great to travel overnight. This can allow you to get a few hours of shut-eye without having to pay for accommodation.
However, I am yet to get a good night sleep on any mode of transport. Every little helps though.
Those are some of my tips for finding some shelter and saving your cash whilst travelling.
Come back next week if you want to find out how you can get free transport all over the world.