When embarking on such a long trip around the world for a year, we have to consider ways to save money on one of the top expenses of the trip: lodging. There are many options when it comes to free or cheap lodging. Here are some of our top picks that may be helpful for keeping your lodging expenses low.
- Couchsurfing – Gives you a chance to stay at a place for little or no cost while meeting locals and living like they do. You may have your own room, or literally a couch to sleep on. Hosts can provide many insider tips on the area you are staying in and show you more of the off-the-beaten path activities instead of just the mainstream tourist traps that a hotel is paid to tell you about.
- Servas International – Somewhat similar to Couchsurfing in the hosting and visiting aspects, but the premise is a cultural exchange that facilitates peace and understanding between peoples. To get in, you will need to be interviewed by a local representative. Once you are approved, you are part of a worldwide network of hosts and travelers. We plan to get involved and host some travelers before our trip to get some credibility. We love showing off our city, so this is a great opportunity to do that!
- WWOOF – A non-monetary form of exchange with organic farms around the world. You live and work on the farm, and during your downtime you can explore the country and local area. These exchanges are available in more than 100 countries. It is hard work, but you may find it rewarding.
- HelpX – Similar to WWOOF but not limited to working on organic farms. It also includes working on non-organic farms, sailboats, ranches, or other various volunteer work. You will typically commit about four hours a day in exchange for food and lodging. Not a bad deal at all! Workaway is a very similar program so you can take a look at both and see which site works best for your needs.
- Hostels – If you are comfortable sleeping with other people in the room and like meeting fellow travelers, this is for you. Usually stays are quite cheap and hosts can offer a lot of information about the area. You are typically in a dorm setting with 4-10 beds in a room. This is the preferred accommodation for most backpacking types who are constantly on the move. You can sometimes get small rooms for pretty cheap at hostels for a little extra.
We are looking to explore many of these options during our trip depending on our needs and what works best in each location. Do you have any additional tips for lodging that we missed? Please leave them in the comments. Here are some other resources to help you save money on lodging.
- House Sitting – Watch over someone else’s home for a free stay