People have different preferences when it comes to accommodation during trips. Depending upon their travel style, some would love to unwind with a warm bubble bath, glass of wine and a big comfy bed. While others, just need a couch to crash on. This post is for the latter 😉
Traveling on a shoestring budget can be quite a challenge. And not having to spend on accommodation leaves you with more money for other desired adventures. There are plenty of options that make it possible to sleep for FREE during your travels. The perk is that you get to meet really nice people, blend in and basically experience and live like a local.
It’s a simple concept:
Sign up – each user has a profile, where interests and personal information are listed. It allows users to offer their couch/ spare bed to travelers, and people can contact each other asking for a free stay. You don’t have to “pay” for the hospitality offered, but are expected to interact and share a cultural connection. Sometimes, it is also considered cordial to bring a gift or groceries or even offer to cook a meal. Users write reviews/ references which help in future stays. After all, when you want to choose someone to share a roof with, even if it is for just a couple of days, online reviews are what COUNT. On the other hand, other platforms follow a slightly different route. Here is our list of platforms.
Bewelcome lets you share a place to stay, connect with travellers, meet up and find accommodation on your journey. It is operated by BeVolunteer, a nonprofit organization organized as a voluntary association registered in France, which is composed solely of volunteers. The site has about 125,500 users and is a free, open source and democratic community. They also support local communities and social initiatives and encourage their members to take part in their activities.
Trustroots is over 45,000 members strong and is popular with hitchhikers. That being said, everyone is welcome to join even if you have never hitchhiked before. It is a free and open source platform. You can join groups, or as they call it “tribes” to connect with people sharing similar interests.
A super concept , Gocambio is platform that allows people to pay for their accommodation not with money, but with time & skill. You can offer any skill say eg. cooking, language, programming etc. You not only benefit the host by sharing your knowledge, but sometimes can learn a thing or two from them too.
Oh you must have expected Couchsurfing to be on the list ! Yes, it is a very successful platform and is used by many across the globe. However, being a host or guest now requires a “contribution”. If you are OK with paying a small fee, read further for other alternatives.
Pet lovers are going to love this one! You offer to take care of a house and it’s pets in exchange for free stay. To put your mind at ease, trusted house sitters offer insurance coverage at no extra cost to you or the owner. They also have a 24/7 vet advice helpline, should you need it. Even though you don’t have to pay for accommodation, there is an annual membership to be a part of the community.
Exclusively for Bicycle Tourists, this platform is a “cyclists’ support network” whose members may offer free amenities and services such as meals and lodging. They have around 96,000 hosts in 161 countries. Since the target audience is very specific, it may not be your best option. However, people truly passionate about cycling get the opportunity to meet fellow enthusiasts and share their love for cycling tours. Since June 15th, new members will have to pay a one-time registration fee.
Exclusively for camping enthusiasts. In this platform, Camp spaces are offered by nature lovers who are happy to share their outdoors with guests. You can choose from a number of spaces depending on if you are camping with kids or pets. All you need is a tent. However. it may not always be free, hosts get to choose their own price. They stay true to their claims of encouraging sustainable travel.
PS: None of the above are affiliate links.
Already used any of these platforms? Leave us a comment with your experience.