I have to tell you something.. most of the places we stayed at when I was traveling with my mom were free..
And surprisingly, those places were very nice.. almost glamorous. And did I mention free? You can read more about how to stay in hotels for free here.
Ok before I make some of you envious (and plot a way to rob our house again like what happened last 2013), let me tell you that there are ways for you to have free stays too. Here are some options:
1. Volunteering – I was able to go to India and Thailand because of a volunteer agency. In exchange of the work that I did for non profit organizations, I was able to learn the language and culture of the country, was able to get a nice apartment, and I was able to travel as well.. on a budget of course.
2. Couchsurfing – although people see this as a way to get free accommodation, you are expected to barter something. Like cultural exchanges, and a little bit of household chores. There are generous souls who I met that did not ask for anything but as a responsible guest, I did my best to reciprocate the generosity I’m receiving. This is my room when I was in Nepal, not bad for a “couch”
3. Stay at family homes – because most Asians are family oriented, most also prefer to stay in houses of relatives when traveling. That’s why sometimes it’s the advantage of a large family clan. My family clan is scattered around the Philippines so when I get to travel around, I almost always have free places to stay. You don’t have a large family clan? No worries, families can be in a form of organizations or friends.. ask to be adopted by one ^_^
4. Join Contests – well, unfortunately I was not lucky enough to win in such contests.. so I made my own contests :)).. check out my posts about how grasya.com gave free accommodation in Nepal and Thailand, hopefully grasya.com can give away more contests in the future ^_^
5. Get sponsored – From our last trip, I was not able to volunteer or couchsurf, we also don’t have families in Thailand and Vietnam. But lucky enough, advertisers are able to fund my trip so we got to stay in fancy hotels. I also got promo codes from Airbnb so it reduced our accommodation budget significantly.
Despite that, since I’m all about transparency, I still will post stories about not so nice experiences don’t worry :P
There are also other creative ways to get free accommodations which include house sitting, woofing, work exchange, and I’m still experimenting on Trampolinn. But I haven’t done those yet, probably I’ll do it when I get to Europe as I intend to stay in that continent for a bit longer.. as you see, I do love long term travels… We’ll see what the future holds.
How about you? Do you have tips on how to get free accommodations when you travel? Do share your tips.