Thought Catalog
June 17, 2015

8 Ways To Live For Free (Or Close To It) While Traveling

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Finding cheaply priced accommodation is no easy task, but with a few tips and tricks, you can now find a place to rest your head at night without having to field phone calls from your creditors.

1. First, check a hotel price aggregator to compare prices and get a general baseline for per night rates. I like using Trivago and then cross-checking reviews with TripAdvisor. However, be aware that many countries impose a room tax and these extra fees might not be shown until the final checkout.

2. Check out AirBnB. Rooms/Houses here are listed by owner and are generally nice, located conveniently, and within your set budget. (Fun Fact: I stayed in Montreal in a wonderful room for only $20/night)

3. Hostel is not exactly an accurate representation of a hostel. Hostels are clean and most importantly affordable. These days, staying in a hostel doesn’t necessarily mean you even have to stay in a dorm as private rooms are available and often much cheaper than a room you might find in a hotel.

4. Hotel Bidding: Let me be honest, it takes time and patience to do correctly. Especially in the United States, certain websites have popped up like Priceline that allows you to pick your own price. However, be careful. This option only really works if you’re ok with staying at any hotel Priceline picks for you within your dates of stay, zone, and quality preferences. This means that Priceline will give you a 4-star hotel in section A, but it might give you a 4-star hotel in the part of section A you don’t want to be in. In large metropolitan areas where there’s plenty of fast public transport though, this is OK. There’s a really handy guide here.

5. Exchange homes! Although you might get more traction if you live in a more desirable area (read: Paris, France not Paris, Texas) and you have to trust that the person you’re swapping homes will respect your home, this is a great option that is cheaper than renting out a hotel room and affords you use of the whole space. Love Home Swap membership fees starts at $20/month, which means that you pay $140 annually – that’s cheaper than a night at 3-star hotel in New York City.

6. Or you can just house sit! Housesitting on websites like MindMyHouse will set you back about $20, but many homeowners are looking for house sitters provided that you pay the utilities and maintain the house to their liking. I’ve even found a luxurious house in France that’s all yours as long as you weed their garden!

7. Go CouchSurfing. Couchsurfing, while technically “free”, lets you stay with a local. However, be sure to help them out with the costs and spend time with them. It’s mostly a cultural exchange and you will learn a lot more about your destination with them than from Fodor’s.

8. Try your hand at working on a farm or just by working. Many sites offer accommodation and possibly board as well in return for work. The most popular ones include WWOOF and HelpX. TC mark

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