How to book cheaper accommodation and travel for FREE!
Ever wondered how people can afford to travel all the time? Think they must have secret rich parents or a lottery win nobody knows about? Well I’m here to tell you it’s easy to travel cheaper and even to travel for free. Yes free, like zero pennies. You don’t even have to have an Instagram following or a travel blog. If I can do it, you can too! Here’s how:
This has to be my most used travel resource, among others like Skyscanner and TransferWise, it can save you heaps of cash without having to do anything! Booking.com provides accommodation in 227 countries, in fact I haven’t been anywhere that I couldn’t find a place on Booking.com (apart from Havana which was fully booked, more on that here). They offer hotels, hostels, apartments, B&Bs and more handling over 1.5 million bookings a day. If you are a loyal customer you get great discounts on accommodation and bonus perks like free breakfasts. They also do great last minute discounts and “Deals of the day” where you can save even more. Convinced? Check them out below:
There is some controversy with Air BnB especially in Europe. Commercial outfits take over a large number of flats for rental to tourists and push up the house prices so locals can no longer afford to live in the city. Read more on this here. Bad news for sustainable tourism and sometimes for us as they’re actually often charging more than the hotels. But be careful to book from single lettings and you can have some really great experiences with locals. Sometimes you can end up with a whole apartment to yourself for a fraction of the price of a hotel room. Best of all the majority of your money is going to locals rather than some multi national conglomerate hotel chain.
Hostelworld comes in top place for booking dorm rooms in 170 countries. It has 36000 properties listed and cannot be beaten on price, they will even refund the difference if you find it cheaper elsewhere! Hostels are a fantastic way to travel especially if you are on your own, they cut down on cost and are a great way to meet other travellers.
A legitimate way to travel for free, Couch surfing has been around for the last 20 years but have you ever tried it? Many people are concerned about how safe it is but it works just like Air BnB. There is a huge community with reviews and ratings all highly monitored by couchsurfing.com, it’s in their interest to make sure it’s safe. It’s a great way to meet locals, get local tips on where you are staying and save a load of money in the process!
Planes, trains and busses can be a bore and frankly a bit of a waste of a day when you could be out exploring. A skill you master quickly when travelling is the ability to sleep anywhere (these soundproof earphones are a must). So if the journeys more than 8 hours why not sleep through it? I’ve had some great experiences in Vietnam and Peru with surprisingly comfortable overnight trips and even slept in an airport in New Zealand once to save a few bucks. Always read reviews about safety and look after your stuff, but you’re saving a nights hotel cost and it’s a great way to travel for less. For the cheapest public transport in Europe book with Omio below;
So we’ve probably all done a bit of plant watering or looked after someone’s pet at some point. People with nice houses want the same kind of peace of mind when they leave their home unattended. The best part is often it’s because they need someone to look after their pets too. That’s right FREE accommodation with included pets! To any long term traveller this is an absolute dream and a great way to travel for free. It can be great for relaxing holidays too. Live like a local while exploring a region you’re interested in. Earn good reviews and get more interest in you as a house-sitter. Couples are very popular but large groups aren’t usually allowed.
Here are some great sites to get started;
An added bonus is you will save even more money by not eating out and sometimes there’s even use of the family car thrown in if the place is out of the way. Travelling for free never seemed so easy!
Free camping means pitching up a tent, well, literally anywhere that’s not private land. Obviously some common sense is required, don’t just set up on a dangerous bend on a busy road, and check it’s legal in the country you are in. In places like Norway where accommodation is super expensive free camping is an extremely common way of getting around and a great way to save money and travel for free.
If like me your tenting days are behind you (apart from the odd trek like the Inca trail obviously!) Camper vans are the next best thing. Obviously there’s the initial payment or rental from companies (like Air BnB in some places like New Zealand) but then you don’t need to pay a dime! Any parking space or field can be your home for the night, always ask permission and check local laws, but generally you’re good to go. There are even people that do this with a mattress in the back of a car (but I would argue an emergency toilet and a shower are essentials)!
Work for your lodging
Work Away is a great site for finding jobs that give you free accommodation in exchange for work. Hotels, hostels and farms are after your help in exchange for a place to stay and often free meals. Seems simple right? That’s because it is! Get under the skin of the next place you travel by becoming a working part of the community. Travel for free and add something to your CV while you’re at it.
A similar idea to working while travelling, volunteering your time and energy to a charity can be a great way to get to know a place. Get involved in a project that makes a difference, travel for free and leave with a new perspective. Voluntourism isn’t a new phenomenon and many places are charging fees now to put off travellers that turn up and don’t do any work. But if you are really interested there are still a few really great opportunities that offer free lodging for your hard work.
Want to make money while you’re away?
If you have a place left empty at home why not rent it out on Air BnB and earn money while you travel? Depending where you live and where you are going you could earn enough to pay for your accommodation plus spending money! Now that’s how to truly travel for free! Click here to sign up
I hope you enjoyed this post and now you believe me when I say you can travel cheaper and even travel for FREE! Drop a comment below if you know any other ways of saving money on accommodation. Want to know more about making money while travelling? Sign up below to receive top tips with actual links on 10 ways you can travel for a living. Anything is possible if you put your mind to it.
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How to travel better for less
These are the companies I use to travel the world for less. The reason long term travel is cheaper than you think is often down to shopping around for a great deal, here I’ve done the hard work for you!
Booking.com – I always book with this site if looking for cheap accommodation as the filters are so easy to use. Become a genius member after five bookings and get great discounts too!
Air BnB – Sometimes you can find great local places to stay on Air BnB. In some countries, like Cuba, it’s the only way to book!
Transferwise – A debit card you can use all over the world and get great exchange rates with no hidden fees. This bank has saved me £100’s in bank fees!
Monzo – A similar travel card to the above with additional features like joint accounts and bill splitting.
World Nomads – Travel insurance is one of the most important things you can have while travelling. Don’t leave home without it! World Nomads provide the very best cover.
What to pack – Here is my ultimate list of what to pack for every trip, available on Amazon. Plus eco friendly alternatives to your toiletries.
Omio – The place to go for all of your public transport needs in Europe. Save a bundle!
G Adventures – A sustainable, fun, responsible travel company. I’ve travelled with them many times and wouldn’t hesitate to recommend any of their amazing trips of a lifetime.