When you are normally planning your next trip, what are the two most expensive parts of your travel? Your flight is probably the most expensive part, followed by room and board right? Well it doesn’t have to be. With a growing online community of travelers there are more resources than ever before to drastically reduce the cost of room and board, if not eliminate it completely:
Airbnb.com is our favorite way to travel. While not as cheap as some of the other options on this list, you get a much better value for your money then a traditional hotel and better accommodations than a hostel for about the same price in some cases. The best part about Airbnb is that you get to find very unique accommodations. If you’ve ever dreamt of sleeping in an igloo, a tree house, or even your own personal island getaway, than this is the site for you.
Hostels are probably the number one accommodation people think of when they think of budget travel. While today the word hostel conjures up images of slums and the risk of kidnapping, (thanks hollywood,) there are actually some pretty amazing hostels all around the world for a fraction of the cost of a traditional hotel. Some even offer private rooms to give you a little more peace of mind and privacy.
WOOFing (World Wide Opportunities for Organic Farmers,) is a great way to see the world on the cheap. Farmers all over the world are willing to supply room and board to travelers in exchange for a few hours of work a day. Most jobs require you to work on the farm for 4-6 hours a week and generally around 4 days a week, giving you plenty of time to take in the sights. While the room might be free it does cost a fee to get a list of hosts in each country. Luckily this is pretty cheap itself.
Couchsurfing is fast becoming one of budget travelers favorite sites. By signing up with this FREE site you can contact other hosts or travelers from all over the world. If you are traveling and need to stay there are hosts available to take you in. And while normally you will just be offered a couch to sleep on some hosts provide a room or full guest house. While the site and accommodation may be free, it does help to be verified to attract hosts and this is done by paying for it or getting verified by a current member.
Many websites online now connect people needing a pet or house sitter with travelers. This is a great way to fully immerse yourself in the local culture by living right along with them. While you are housesitting you may be expected to look after the house, feed and walk animals, water plants, or any other tasks the homeowners ask of you. As far as free options for stay go though you can’t get much better than getting to stay in an entire house as you travel.
Other Volunteer Work
Travelers need accommodations, and business owners and charities need cheap labor. Because of this it is possible to find short or long term volunteer work anywhere in the world you are traveling to. The Peace corps has been sending volunteers all over the world for years and if you have a degree in a field related to what they need you may find that is a great way to travel while doing some good at the same time. If you are looking for something a little less intense there is workaway.info. This site connects volunteers with hosts looking for all sorts of different jobs. You could help renovate a school, teach english, or work on a farm and everything in between, all in exchange for a place to stay.
As long as you have a tent, bivy sack, or covered hammock you can always just try camping. While not always free it generally doesn’t run more than $15/night for a campsite anywhere in the world you go. But if you are sneaky enough and get up before dawn and not get caught you can pretty much camp anywhere.
Just because most people think that room and board is extremely expensive, this doesn’t have to be the case. If you are willing to do a little work for someone or give up a few of your normal amenities you can find plenty of cheap accommodations. Hey, it’s not like you plan on spending all of your time in your room anyway, as long as you have a place to set your head for the night you should be good.