One of the biggest expenses to any traveler’s budget is room and board. Hotel rooms can quickly eat away at your savings if you’re not careful. Sure there are plenty of budget options for the weary traveler, but for the extreme budget traveler the trick is to finding free accommodations while traveling. It’s not impossible and can be achieved by anyone willing to forgo the normal amenities of a hotel or hostel.
Camping is the oldest way to sleep for free while traveling. While there are parks that will charge you to pitch a tent, plenty of places allow for free camping. Camping is a great way to get in touch with nature and a night under the stars makes for a sound sleep feeling refreshed in the morning. Even if you’re not somewhere that allows for free camping you can alwayssleep just about anywhere with just a sleeping bag or bivy sack. Just make sure to set up after dark and leave before sunrise and no one will know you were ever there.
While not exactly legal squatting can be a way to get a roof over your head for the night. If you happen to stumble upon an abandoned building that no one will be coming to check in on any time soon, and can sneak in undetected, you can get out from the elements and find a place to sleep. Use this option at your own risk because if you are caught you could be looking at serious fines or even jail time.
3. COUCH SURFING
Couchsurfing.com is a website that brings travelers and hosts together. Travelers in need of a place to stay contact hosts who offer at the least a couch and sometimes a full room or more. This is a great way for travelers to meet locals and experience the culture of their destinations up close.
4. WORK EXCHANGE/VOLUNTEER
There are plenty of sites online that connect volunteers with companies and charities in need of man power. If you are willing to work for your bed this could be a great option for you. You can learn a new trade, build your résumé, give back to the community, and meet locals all while getting a free place to stay. If your lucky you may even be able to get free meals out of the deal as well. Look into websites like http://www.wwoof.net/, http://www.workaway.info/ orhttp://www.peacecorps.gov/
5. CRUISE/YACHT WORK
A double threat that could cover not only your accommodations but the cost of travel expenses as well. Working on a yacht or cruise line may not be the easiest work in the world but you will be able to see beautiful locales while at port. Whether you are cooking, serving guest, or cleaning the boat this is a perfect way to see the world, have a place to sleep, and even make money for your travels.
6. HOUSE SITTING
House sitting is a way to walk a mile in the shoes of the people who live in your travel destination. If you are comfortable taking care of somebody’s house, plants, and even animals than you could stay in a full house while you are traveling. While some people do charge for their house sitting services most simply appreciate having a place to stay while traveling. Don’t treat this like your own home though. You will be expected to clean and care for the house and sometimes even pay for utility bills. Contact your host to find out the details and work out the arraignments.
7. OVERNIGHT TRAVEL
If you are simply looking for one night of sleep than your method of travel may be all you need. While a bus or plane ticket isn’t free itself you wont have to add on an extra hotel or room cost if you plan it right. Book a night train or plane and simply sleep until you arrive at your destination. It may not be the most comfortable option in the world but it certainly beats spending extra money on extra accommodations.