Travelers often wonder if they can find cheap travel accommodations after trying many hotel traveling sites. Well, the answer is yes. There are different kinds of cheap traveling tips that you can access. Some are host networks, work exchanges, house sitting, house swapping, and hostels. We will review each type.
One network that is very popular among travelers is CouchSurfing. CouchSurfing is a network of individuals that will open their home to travelers. This gives you the opportunity to not only travel cheaply, but you get to interact with your host who is a local resident that can provide you with a lot of information about the area that you are visiting. You must sign up and create a profile before being accepted as a member. You can be a surfer (someone who travels and stays at other homes) or a host (someone who provides their own home to surfers) or both. Their is no charge for joining but a recommended donation of $25 to cover network cost (this is totally voluntary). Hosts are not allowed to charge for staying with you; however, it is accepted that a surfer may offer to reimburse for cost of food or other items consumed. Also, gifts are permitted by surfer which could be a material gift or help such as cleaning the house, cooking, gardening or any help that the surfer may wish to offer. The network has a system that screens and helps to provide safety to all members.
Another network which is very popular is AirBnB. AirBnB is network made up of hosts and travelers and provides a means for them to find each other. A traveler can search the site for accommodations, but cannot make reservations until the traveler creates a profile with AirBnB. Hosts creates a listing after creating their profile. Unlike CouchSurfing, AirBnB is not free. The hosts actually get paid for renting their property at a price that is set by the host. It is usually much cheaper than any hotel stay in that area where the host resides. The host pays a service fee of 3% to AirBnB when the reservation is confirmed. The traveler pays a service fee of 6-12% to AirBnB when they make the reservation. AirBnB accepts major credit cards, Paypal, and other various types of payments. The rent charge is sent to the host less the service fee charges.
CouchSurfing would be more appealing to someone who has an itinerary which is very flexible whereas AirBnB is better for travelers with a more organized travel plan.
Work exchanges are networks that provide food and accommodations in exchange for work. One such exchange is WWOOF which provides food and accommodations for work opportunities on organic farms. You usually live with your host and work on many farming tasks 4-6 hours per day. You may also sign up as a host if you need help with your organic farming. A subscription fee may apply for 0 – 72 USD or 0 – 56 Euros depending on which country you may be going to.
Another work exchange network is HelpX. Although similar to WWOOF, it is not limited to just farm work. It could be painting, many general labor task, or even cooking. You can register for free, but to have full advantage of all offers, helpers could update to a Premier membership for 30 USD or 20 Euros.
A third exchange network is Workaway. Workaway helpers are called Workawayers and will pay $29 for an individual for a two year registration or $38 for a couple for a two year registration. If you have the time and the ability, a work exchange could work for you with an opportunity to meet people from other parts of the world.
House sitting is a great way to travel with little to no cost. The offset is that you will be required to care for the home while you are there including things such as upkeep, pet care, yard care, gardens, and pool areas. The responsibility of paying the cost of utilities is negotiable between the sitter and the owner. The owner gets the advantage of having someone care for their home and pets while they are away. When the sitters register, they will pay a registration fee. Such networks include HouseCarers which charges $50 per year registration and Trusted Housesitters which charges $ 96 per year registration. Check out these sites to decide which one best suits your needs. A lot depends on where you want to go.
House swapping is another way to travel for less. The idea here is that there are two people living in different places who swap homes at the same time. They stay in each other’s home while vacationing. A popular movie called “The Holiday” shows this type of arrangement. You usually join a site for a fee. You then can log on and search for homes in the area that you want to visit. Arrangements are made between the home owners. You can swap apartments, but you better check with your landlord if they allow this. Swapping vehicles can also be arranged if the owners agree to this. Some of the sites are Home Exchange.com which charges $150/year and International Vacation Home Exchange which charges $159/year or $375/year depending on which plan you choose. You will need to communicate with each other by email, phone, etc. before making the exchange to get to know each other and feel safe. If you are uneasy with this, then maybe house swapping is not for you.
Finally, there are hostels which is another method of cheap travel. Hostels are found all over the world. Hostelworld.com is a great site to find many hostels in the world by searching and booking as you would with a hotel. You can also get hostel bookings all over the world with Booking.com. Hostels are very budget oriented where you can rent a bed. Usually it is a bunk bed in a dormitory setting where you may share a bathroom and sometimes, even a kitchen. Guests are usually a younger crowd, but it is by no means limited to younger people. Backpackers frequent such places. It may not be as luxurious as a hotel, but it is a lot cheaper.
These are some of types of accommodations that are available at a much cheaper cost. Some are more adventurous than others. Explore and check out some of the ones that may fit your traveling style.