Everyone loves to travel. I do. And that’s probably why you’re also here, too.
But the thing is, life doesn’t always happen our way. Time constrains us (but if you are already planning for 2017, check out this cheat sheet for upcoming PH holidays), and so does our budget. True, many of us always go for promo airfares to fulfill those travel dreams, but we are faced with yet another obstacle: accommodations and sleeping arrangements.
Also read: Excuses People Make When They Can't Travel
Did you know that it is possible to find a place to sleep for the night, free of charge? In fact, a lot of seasoned travellers have mastered this art and we’re here to share with you some of the best ways to get free accommodation without finding yourself in the streets.
1. Friends and relatives
Although many of us would rather want to enjoy privacy during travel, it isn’t really that bad to check with friends and relatives to see if they have beds or even floor spaces to share with you for the night. If you travel in the Philippines, visiting families during fiestas also ensures that you get unlimited food without having to worry about going over-budget.
Image credit: Wonderlane
Couchsurfing is perhaps among the oldest sites catered to travellers. Basically, what it does is connect travellers with fellow travellers who are willing to share their couches (or beds and rooms) for a night or even a few more. Some hosts are generous enough to offer food, beer or even a tour around the city.
Hospitality Club and Trampolinn are also alternative sites to consider.
Image credit: anmin
In the US, there are paid memberships that will allow you to sleep in any of the campgrounds belonging to their network. In the Philippines, however, campgrounds are not that many and organised but there are certainly some hidden gems in most provinces. You can either camp in the mountains or by the beach, depending on your preferences.
Luxury accommodation is a great experience but would you rather stay in a five-star resort or under five billion stars?
Also read: A Guide to Camping for the First-time Camper
4. House sitting
House sitting isn’t very popular in the Philippines just yet but it is starting to grow in popularity in other Asian countries. Among the most popular sites to do this is called Trusted Housesitters where you can connect with homeowners who are looking for people to look after and take care of their house for a certain period. House sitting is often a free service offered by travellers in exchange for free accommodation (and sometimes free food).
5. Home exchange
Older travellers who already have a home can definitely join this program. Just as its name suggests, this involves swapping homes with another family (usually abroad) for a certain period of time. You can get most of the comforts that you would get in your own home in another city, but for free.
Stay 4 Free and Home Exchange are the best places to join this program.
6. Become a crew
Image credit: Chris Parfitt
If you have some background as a crew member in a boat and love the open water, you will love this idea. There are quite a number of captains looking to build their crew -- you can check out for opportunities at Find a Crew or Crew Seekers.
For those who are not quite confident in the water, there is another option! Many of you might not realise this but there are actually quite a number of hostels that are willing to provide free accommodation in exchange for helping out with cleaning and other housekeeping duties. You can also volunteer to man the reception or, if you are an influencer or a blogger, you could also try to use that to your advantage. Hostels like Mad Monkey Hostel in Cambodia provides free accommodations for creatives.
Also read: Why I Got a Working Visa in New Zealand
Or if you are great with kids and would love the opportunity to stay with a host family, you can try becoming an au-pair. It’s basically similar to working as a nanny wherein you are responsible for childcare in exchange for free board and lodging and monetary allowance. Au pair is a French word which means equal to as they are intended to become a temporary member of the family. An au pair is required up to 45 hours of work each week, depending on the country, but are not required to do other tasks other than looking after the kid.
Image credit: strikeael
A very unique way of finding free accommodation while travelling is by becoming a farm volunteer. Cool, huh? Well, if you have always been curious how life on the farm truly is, you can connect with World Wide Opportunities on Organic Farms (or Willing Workers on Organic Farm) and find out how. You don’t need a background in agriculture just as long as you are willing to learn and work hard.
Most farms provide free food and accommodation in exchange for volunteer services which could involve cooking, gardening, landscaping, milking, teaching English or designing marketing plans for the farm. In the Philippines, however, most WWOOF members ask volunteers to stay for a minimum of two weeks.
9. Volunteer opportunities
There are many other ways to volunteer all over the world that require different skills. You can check out the following sites to see if there is an opportunity that fits you:
- Help Exchange
- Help Stay
- New Zealand Department of Conservation
See? Even the entire world is conspiring so you can travel with ease. Be creative and start looking for opportunities around the world. Who knows where you might wake up next time!