Free Accommodation? It’s Real! And Pretty Easy to Find

Free Accommodation

The only free accommodation I thought was possible was staying at my parent’s house. How can you possibly find a free place to stay that doesn’t include sleeping on your friend’s futon when you visit? It turns out there are a lot of options out there (including staying on couches), you just have to look! I’ve compiled a list of sites under various categories that provide free accommodation.

House Sitting

House sitting is when a homeowner lets you stay in their house for free, usually for upkeep and/or to take care of pets. This free accommodation type requires a little work, but is definitely worth it to have an entire home available for your trip! And while the actual house sitting is free, you usually have to pay a membership fee to use the booking sites. This is also a situation where the homeowners get to be very picky, so your reviews matter and it can take time to build a portfolio that allows you to be chosen for more desirable locations.

Free Accommodation - House Sitting
Photo by Scott Webb on Unsplash

Volunteering/Work Exchange

By doing work, you will receive room and board. This can be a great way to travel if you want to give back to communities, or even to just work on a farm for a while. This free accommodation type provides a lot of options. Just make sure you are not breaking any laws if you decide to use it outside of your home country. Many countries have limits on the amount of volunteer work you can do on a tourist visa.

Free Accommodation - Work Exchange
Photo by Joshua Lanzarini on Unsplash

Couch Surfing

Couch surfing is when someone lets a friend or stranger stay at their place for free. This is a free accommodation types that has no obligations. Someone out there simply wants to meet travelers, and is allowing them to stay on their couch (or in a room, if you’re lucky) at no charge. The biggest complaint I see about couch surfing is that some hosts are only in it to hook up with guests. Not my first choice, but if the reviews were right and the host a woman, this could be a great way to meet locals.

Free Accommodation - Couch Surfing
Photo by Naomi Hébert on Unsplash

Home Exchange

If you’ve seen The Holiday, you know exactly what a home exchange is. Homeowners can decide to swap houses for a specified period of time. This free accommodation type is interesting, and in fact does not always require that you have a mutual exchange. If you think your home is vacation-ready, check out some of these!

Have you used any of the sites above? I would love to hear about your experiences in Companach’s Facebook Group