How to Find Cheap or Free Accommodation while Traveling

How to Find Cheap or Free Accommodation while Traveling


There are several ways you can score cheap or free accommodation while traveling. On the Postcard Academy podcast, I chatted to Jema Patterson about how to live rent-free by house-sitting around the world. You can also use your credit card travel points, go camping, take an overnight train or bus, or simply sleep at the airport. Here are some more fantastic ideas Jema shared on how to travel more and spend less on housing.

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Work exchange. “I want the entire world to work exchange,” Jema says. “Basically, trade four hours of your time per day in exchange for room and board. And you get to live with a local family, and you get to be part of the fabric of their lives, and it's just so cool and such an incredible way to explore any area. You've this instant network of friends and connections. In New Zealand, I was giving a pony a haircut and weeding the vegetable garden. I've milked sheep in Italy — that was super fun — and made cheese. There's so many cool things.” Options: Workaway and Hippohelp.


Couchsurfing. “If you're a host you can say, ‘Hey, I don't have much, but I have a couch to sleep on.’ And then a traveler is, like, “Cool, I would love to sleep on your couch,’ then you just connect. I’ve couched surfed lots all over the world.”


Language exchanges. “You're getting free accommodation and food in exchange for helping people learn a language better, and it's usually English and it's often business people.” Check out Diverbo.


Van life. “This is becoming a real, legit, genuine thing — these aren't just weirdos down by the river anymore. There's this baseball player Daniel Norris and in the offseason he lives out of a van. I've done this twice. I lived in a van in New Zealand for a year, and then in the back of a truck in the U.S. for six months. People aren’t spending money on housing and instead getting to spend their time and attention on the things that they really, really care about.” 




If you found this article useful, please share it, and subscribe to the Postcard Academy podcast. Each week, expats and adventurers share their insider travel tips on the best food, nightlife, and cultural experiences in the most interesting places around the globe. I’m your host, Sarah Mikutel, an American who's spent the last 7 years living in, and traveling around, Europe.