Are you looking for cheap accommodation while you’re traveling around Europe?
There are loads of ways you can find cheap accommodation across the EU. It takes a bit of organization and research but it can be done. From working in hostels to activities as cheap and fun as camping, there are many alternative options to staying at pricey hotels.
Plenty of people do this every year, and you can be one of them.
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Work at Hostels
Working at a hostel is a lucrative option if you want to stay around the city areas. In most cases, a hostel will let you work and stay for free, and in most cases pay you a standard rate. This just depends on the hostel though.
This is a good option if you already have your bartending license and have worked in a fast-paced environment—or at least can keep up! The only downside to this is that you’re stuck in one city for some time; however long you’ve agreed with your employer.
House sitting is a popular and great way to travel slowly around Europe for free. There are endless amounts of opportunities on different websites offering up to three months of free accommodation.
There’s pretty much something for everyone on these sites, from watering plants to minding Dalmatians to minding a goat and a cat. Whatever you feel comfortable doing could end up staying in a beachside home in Malta for free.
Doing this sort of thing though takes tact and the ability to sell yourself to the person on the other end of that e-mail server. It takes the tenacity to say, “I am the right person to look after your pet”, which is what the person on the other end wants to hear.
If you’ve grown up with pets, or house-sitting before, or just feel that you can convince that person that you are the right person for the job, house-sitting is probably going to be the option for you.
Here are a few websites you can have a look through:
Mind a home
Happy House Sitters
In Europe, you can camp in most places because there are very few restrictions on camping in Europe. Always check the law for each country though, because some countries, like Italy, will fine you.
Some of the off-the-beaten-track spots you can find yourself staying on across countries like Switzerland and Montenegro offer a special experience you wouldn’t get paying a pretty penny to stay at a hotel—of course, each serves their function; camping is mostly free.
Lithuania, Turkey, Finland, Armenia, Georgia, Belarus, and Moldova essentially have no restrictions on wild camping, so you could practically live in these places for free for months and no one would bat an eyelid—just be prepared.
Europe has a strong outdoors culture, so you’ll be able to find cheap and good quality camping equipment at places like Aldi or Lido.
Some great camping spots I’ve listed below:
Tartaruga Camping, Zakynthos, Greece
D’Olde Kamp, Ansen, The Netherlands
Le Clos du Lac, Provence, France
Camping Mexico, Bregenz, Austria
Camping Camino de Santiago, Burgos, Spain
Woofing or Staying at Farms
Europe has a strong woofing culture where you can work on a farm and stay at a lodging for free.
You won’t get paid that much, but you can stay from as little as two weeks to six months at some of these places. There are a variety of different websites that post ads wanting average people to work on a farm that you can scour through.
This makes a great immersive experience as well. These are just some sites that offer woofing experiences:
WWOOFing (World Wide Opportunities on Organic Farms)
A creative way to get yourself over to Europe is by doing a house swap. Essentially you agree to swap your home with someone over in Europe.
You wouldn’t normally exchange money in this instance, and you’d need a home you’re prepared to swap.
Several websites facilitate this sort of exchange, some are free and others charge a premium, but just keep in mind that the accommodating is free.
Couchsurfing is a really niche accommodation option that’s only really suited for short-term stays. Generally, on these sorts of websites, even though the accommodation is free, the person that is allowing you to stay on their couch, or in their spare room for a couple of days only.
Travel in the Shoulder-season
The shoulder seasons are spring and autumn—when accommodation isn’t going to be expensive for the skiers around winter time, and accommodation won’t be expensive for the beach-goers in Summer.
Doing this is economical, because hotels, and flights, all drop down to reasonable prices.
Avoiding the peak seasons can get you a really good deal. This takes planning! Book your flights nine months in advance. When visiting Europe, consider going in May or September instead of July and August when summer starts to crank up and other Europeans are going around traveling too.
Stay in a Monastery
Monasteries, of all places, actually offer dorm rooms and cheap accommodation. There are some cheap and nice ones in Greece and Spain (and all over Europe really). You’ll find them sitting precariously on top of a view-whipped mountain so this will take a bit of research but they’re easy to come by (maybe not easy to get to).
They can cost around $50 USD per night, but some only want a donation or might be free.
Again, this is a different experience to add to your travels.
Staying at Budget Chain Hotels
It’s possible to stay at budget hotels that can cost roughly $30 a night, which is as much as a cheap hostel can cost. The bonus to this is that you have your own room, unlike sharing with ten other people in a hostel. But this just depends on what you’re feeling and what’s local to you.
The great thing about hotels is that you have the luxury of ordering food to your room and having breakfast at the hotel; Air BnBs won’t provide this for you (even though it’s in the name). Air BnBs aren’t all that cost-effective, because most places will want you to tidy up after yourself; you have to organize your own food; and most of them require a car to get to (if you’re staying somewhere unique).
There are more benefits to paying that extra money for a hotel that will cover your cleaning, and breakfast every morning. But again—this just depends on what you value more, location, or not having to organize your own breakfast on holiday for a change.
Asking Family Friends
We all know someone who knows someone who is staying in Berlin or has a house somewhere in Europe. This is a great option to get you started on your trip to Europe. Friends and family are good because they won’t charge you and will always tell you that you can stay for as long as you need.
Of course, be sure to offer a donation, or offer to do the dishes, or clean: something to show your appreciation for them letting you stay.
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 nothing short of 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 not only allowed me to save money on accommodation but also offered a plethora of cultural exchange opportunities.
Being a member of these platforms has not only broadened my horizons but also 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 get start as a house sitters, so if you have any questions please reach out! I want everyone to enjoy this incredible lifestyle as well!
You can read more about about Jay and me here!
Or connect with me on Facebook or in our house sitting community on Facebook