How to Find Cheap & Free Accommodation (5 Simple Ways)

Do you want to travel on a budget? Below are five super easy methods for finding budget-friendly and even free places to stay. From travel hacks to insider tips, this guide will ensure you get to explore the world without breaking the bank

1. Offer to House Sit

Many people often put off their travel plans. Mainly because they simply can’t find people in their lives who are capable or willing to take care of their houses or pets while they’re away, this is where you come in! You can find these assignments on one of the house sitter websites, you might notice they are many of them, so below we have listed the ones we have enjoyed using.

We have managed to save over $100,000 in four years by not paying for rent and house sitting around the world!

The basic premise of a house sitter entails that you’ll look after someone else’s house while they’re away. In this case, you’ll be able to stay in their homes for free while they’re off traveling. 

But if you’re wondering how to start house sitting, then below are some places to find house sitting assignments.

We recommend that you check out:

  • Trusted House Sitters
  • Aussie House Sitters
  • House Sitters America
  • Nomador

A lot of these services require you to pay an annual membership fee, just to ensure that you’re a reliable and trustworthy candidate.

 However, the fee is often way lower than the price you’d spend on one night’s stay at a budget hotel. Hence, it’s worth it if you’re serious about spending less money on accommodation during your travels.

2. Work and Stay On a Farm for Free

WWOOF is a global effort that makes free farm stays possible all over the world. WWOOF stands for ‘Worldwide Opportunities on Organic Farms.  The whole point of it is to educated individuals on responsible and sustainable farming methods.

All you need to do is find the site that corresponds with the country that you’re traveling to. For example, this is the WWOOF website for farm stays in Australia. All you need to do to enjoy free meals and boarding at an ecological farm is volunteer to complete farm work for four to six hours a day.

While you would technically be working, the experience of being a ‘WWOOF-er’ is highly rewarding. Not only would you be providing some much-needed service that’ll help support wonderful farm efforts, but you’ll also reap amazing agriculture experiences. For example, you could help milk cows, plant trees, and even save wildlife creatures.

3. Sign Up to Work at a Hostel

You’ve probably heard of hostels as cheap places to stay while on holiday. But have you ever heard of working at a hostel for free accommodation in exchange? More often than not, if you work at a hostel, you’re guaranteed a free stay and your meals will also be covered!

So not only do you get to enjoy free basic accommodation but you can also save tons of money on food costs during your trip! In some cases, the management at hostels may even go above that and offer you wages for a job well done!

Some of your responsibilities as a hostel staff will include …

  • socializing with other guests
  • cleaning the hostel and maintaining its upkeep
  • checking people in upon arrival.

But much like other jobs, you can’t just offer your services for a week before bolting off to your next travel destination. No, you’ll have to be able to commit to this job for about a month or so.

Hence, working at a hostel is a great choice for people who like to travel slowly. And it’s perfect for those seeking to learn what it’s like to do things as the locals do.

4. Look For an Airbnb Place

Renting an Airbnb place is another excellent alternative to staying at a hotel.

It’s also extremely popular amongst budget travelers. It’s one of the best alternatives to hotels because it offers the widest variety of places to stay, and the price ranges also vary a lot. If you’re looking to score a cheap Airbnb, look for ones that don’t have many reviews or are new. You can try to negotiate a cheaper rate in exchange for a review.

It’s also a step up for individuals who are looking for a more substantial place to stay than what’s offered at cheap hostels. 

More often than not, Airbnb places will also include a kitchen. This makes it excellent for those who prefer to cook than to eat out.

It’s also perfect if you’re on a budget. This is because it can greatly keep your overall costs to a minimum. As we all know, eating out isn’t cheap and it can add up during your holiday.

5. Trade Homes Through Home Exchanges

Home exchanges can also be known as home swaps. And there are many home exchange sites online that you’ll be able to easily find online — the most popular being Home Exchange

HomeExchange.com has been around for decades and it’s still used by many people today. It’s perfect if you’re looking to travel internationally and are struggling to find someone to house sit for you. Plus, if you’re not a large hotel lover, you’ll enjoy the fact that you can stay in a real house during your trip.

Of course, this option is also way cheaper than staying a night at any hotel. The initial fee for HomeExchange.com only comes up to about $150. And once you’re all signed up, you don’t need to pay much more. You won’t have to pay for the person that’ll be staying at your house, nor vice versa. In a way, it’s a house and hospitality exchange. 

Ultimately, home exchanges are good because you’re essentially swapping lives with another person. This means that you not only get to live in their house but you also get to use their car. (Cha-ching! You’ve just saved money on car rental services!)

House Sitting Etiquette

6. Try Couchsurfing

There are thousands of local, ex-pat, and friendly people who offer up a spare room, couch, or blow-up mattress on Couchsurfing.com

You will gave to make a profile to get started. Here are tips;

  1. Add your social media account. This way the host can see you’re a legitimate person
  2. Make sure you have a read of the previous reviews. This will give you an idea of the host and if they will make you feel comfortable in the space.
  3. Include all the interesting things about yourself. Where have you traveled, what are your funny/ weird skills? Hosts want to meet interesting people, not just someone looking for free accommodation

You will meet lifelong friends on the couchsurfing app we highly recommend it!

Taking care of other people’s homes or working at a hostel while you’re traveling are great accommodation gigs. This is because they’ll easily land you a free place to stay. And you might even get paid for a job well done!

But if you’re not big on socializing or want more privacy during your travels, then house sitting, Airbnbs, and home swaps are the way to go. 

Either way, there are many ways for you to find cheap (and even free) places to stay while on holiday.

If you have another suggestion that we haven’t mentioned that please be sure to let us know! We’re always on the lookout for saving money while exploring the world!

Author: Britt

I am Britt. I have been house-sitting and pet-sitting for the past 7 years. I have cared for 25 dogs, 35 cats 1 turtle, and 1 rabbit over 80+ houses in 15 countries.

The opportunity to experience different homes, cultures, and communities has been extraordinary.

Through house-sitting platforms like Aussie House Sitters and Trusted House Sitters, I’ve connected with homeowners seeking reliable sitters. This unique way of living has allowed me to save money on accommodation, explore new cultures and meet new people.

Being a member of these platforms has broadened my horizons and opened doors to short- and long-term house-sitting jobs. I’ve found joy in providing excellent pet care and ensuring the home is well-maintained.

I get many questions about how to start as a housesitter, so if you have any questions, please reach out! I want everyone to enjoy this incredible lifestyle as well!

You can read more about Jay and me here!

Or connect with me on Facebook or in our house-sitting community on Facebook.

House Sitting in Salon-de-Provence
Me (Britt) House Sitting in Salon-de-Provence, France

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