If you’re wondering how to get free accommodation and perhaps think it’s impossible, let me happily prove you wrong! I know it sounds a bit too good to be true, but not having to shell out tons of money for a place to sleep every night while you’re abroad isn’t a dream, it can happen!
It’s one of my favorite ways to travel longer. Accommodation is often the biggest budget buster and half the time you’re not even there because you’re out exploring. So if there’s a way to get free accommodation, I’m going to assume you’re all for it, right? Amazing, here are the best 11 options for you!
How to Get Free Accommodation
We have 11 ways for you to earn free accommodation listed here but not every opportunity might be for you. Read through them all and choose the best options that suit you.
Always make sure to read reviews of hosts, be truthful in your applications, and don’t take advantage of anyone when traveling the world using these extraordinary opportunities.
Quick List of My TOP Ways to Get Free Accommodation:
1. Free Accommodation Using Worldpackers
Let’s get this one out of the way; I won’t make you wait long to find out one of my favorite ways to get free accommodation! Worldpackers, in short, is a platform that connects you with locals you can do a work exchange with for free accommodation.
When using Worldpackers, you can help locals with English, reception at their hotel, farming, NGOs, bartending, or even kitchen help! You can do these fun volunteer opportunities, make friends with locals while doing it, and get a free room! Pretty cool, right? Here are a few categories for you to explore, but there are plenty more.
- Teaching English
- Volunteering with children
- Hostel or hotel work
- Building, farming, gardening, and other chores
I recently went to Guatemala for half the price I would have spent because I went there doing two Worldpackers experiences and had so much fun!
I helped Krista with her English while in Xela and did what I do in real life, photography and social media, in Lake Atitlan. I got to live in both places for free while having a ton of extra time to explore the areas.
You can read more about Worldpackers or if you’re convinced, start exploring opportunities here! You can browse for free, but you’ll need to sign up to start sending applications. Make sure to use NINA10 for $10 off!
OK, so next it’s my least favorite. I know, why would I list that? Well, it’s kind of the old school and original way to get free accommodation while traveling. No list can exclude Couchsurfing.
You contact people, crash at their place, and it’s free. Not a bad deal!
It’s just not a personal favorite because I don’t like crashing at people’s places like this. I want to be a bit more… comfortable. However, I do like their forums and meet-ups! Those are tons of fun. I don’t use it as a way to get free accommodation anymore but that doesn’t mean this isn’t still a viable option!
3. Free Accommodation Using Trusted Housesitters
Another favorite is Trusted Housesitters. If you’re obsessed with animals like I am, then this is going to be your favorite way to travel without having to shell out tons of cash for a room. Sign up to Trusted Housesitters and you’ll be connected with people around the world who need someone to help watch over their pet.
The hosts are going on vacation and can’t take their animals but don’t want to pull the animals away from their homes either. So that’s where you come in! In return, you get to live in the house for free! Does life get any better? Free accommodation as well as free puppy and kitty cuddles?!
You can apply to opportunities in the area of the world you’re in or apply to opportunities in a spot you’re getting to very soon. You can potentially fill a good chunk of the year with free accommodation AND pets in your life.
I travel too much to have my pets, so you can tell I don’t care too much about the free stay and it’s really the dogs and cats that are the main perk for me!
SOLD on this? I would be too. You can sign up with Trusted Housesitters here, you’ll get a discount at checkout!
4. Home Exchanges
Home Exchange and Love Home Swap are two networks that can help you find some free accommodation. The only catch with this one is you need to have a home already and a semi-desirable one at that.
This type of exchange is for people who have a home and are willing to swap with other people who have a home.
So maybe you live in Orlando, not too far from the Disney parks, you could switch with another homeowner that lives in downtown Madrid, Spain, for example.
You both swap homes and explore those respective cities/countries, and that’s it! Another way to get free accommodation! Well, at least you’re not paying extra, you, unfortunately, don’t get to wiggle out of your mortgage payment.
WWOOFing stands for World Wide Opportunities on Organic Farms and is another excellent way to get free accommodation. Similar to the work exchanges above, you can trade some time helping your host, and in return, you’ll get a free place to stay and often food too.
The only difference is this network is for people who want to work on a farm. You’ll learn about farming methods and different ways they integrate sustainable systems and, of course, get to work in the great outdoors.
You’ll often be set in a beautiful rural area and will indeed have a great time but like everything else on this list, always do your due diligence when choosing a host. Not every experience on these sites will be worth it.
6. Become an Au Pair or Travel Nanny
Becoming an au pair or a traveling nanny is another way that you can get free accommodation and get PAID. As in cash! This is my favorite type of opportunity for free accommodation because, seriously, the only thing better than a free place to stay is some extra money for your hard work.
Of course, this is only really a good job if you love kids… This is exactly why I’ve never done this for a free place to stay. So if you love little ones, don’t mind doing some household chores, and can keep a routine while becoming a member of another family for a little while, then this is the job for you.
There’s a good chance you’ll be doing activities with the families (which includes traveling!), which is a fun extra perk, and of course, you’ll be automatically “in” with a local family, which is nice to have when new in another country.
This is going to be a job for a younger set of travelers, you can’t have your own kids, and you should set aside a good chunk of time to do this job as it’s not a job where you can float around as easily as some of the other things we’ve mentioned but remember – you’re getting free accommodation and paid!
You could easily do this for a chunk of time and then travel for a few months in between your next job.
7. Teach Abroad
Another paid job that also offers you free accommodation is teaching abroad! Now, not every country or school is shelling out cash for your accommodation just because you’re coming over to be a teacher, BUT some do!
South Korea, China, and countries in the Middle East pay for your flights and rent, in addition to actually paying you for being a teacher too. Not only that, but these are some of the highest paying countries to teach English in as well.
One thing to keep in mind, though, is that sometimes these opportunities are reserved for teachers with experience or extra qualifications, but you never know what you may find… I’ve even seen places in rural Thailand offering free accommodation and a small amount of pay to anyone who was a native English speaker!
Work on a yacht, make money, get a free bed… Yep, this is a thing. If you don’t get seasick and are willing to work hard for good money, you’ll love this opportunity!
A yachty makes some serious dough; they also work hard, so there is no need to apply if you’re looking for an easy job. You will WORK, but you’ll be handsomely rewarded.
You can make some serious bank without shelling out a dime for a place to stay as your accommodation will be free on the boat. You won’t be paying for food either, so you’ll be able to stash away some serious cash with this gig.
9. Points and Travel Hacking
Get yourself a travel credit card if you’re looking for ways to get free accommodation. It’s one of the easiest ways to earn free travel perks, which can get you even more than a free stay, like miles for free flights too.
There are tons of credit cards that can earn you tons of great rewards, BUT the main thing to always note is never to get a credit card if you can’t pay off each bill each month. If you start accruing any interest at all, it’s going to cancel out all the rewards you get.
If you’re able to pay it off each month, then getting a credit card to earn you free accommodation couldn’t be any better! See my top credit card recommendation here and sign up for one!
10. Free Accommodation With Hotels.com
I’ll use any booking platforms out there, honestly! I’ll check who has the best deals or the best listings and see which one works for me at that time. However, I must say, hotels.com will win if the same property for the same price is listed here.
After you pay and stay for ten nights, you’ll get your 11th night for free. It’s a pretty easy way to get free housing while on the road for a while, or even if you’re just on a few-week vacation! Who wouldn’t take a free night’s stay?
Hotels.com takes an average of what you spent on the previous ten days, and that’s how much your free night stay is.
11. Free Camping
Last but not least, if you’re a van lifer, or thinking of becoming one, yes you can get free accommodation too! There are plenty of wild open spaces where you can free camp but do be sure to ALWAYS respect the land you’re on. Leave absolutely nothing behind and don’t take advantage.
There’s plenty of BLM land and other public lands in the US which allow free camping. Even some Walmarts and other large stores often allow free overnight parking.
There’s wild camping allowed across New Zealand and Australia as long as your vehicle is self-contained, and in many areas of Scandinavia, they have “Right to Roam” policies in place for free camping opportunities. It just takes a small amount of planning your trip in advance!
In fact, even in expensive Iceland, we found a free campsite for van lifers that was very much appreciated! A quick Google will show you if certain countries have this opportunity and how to best use this awesome resource but not abuse it.
Which Are My Favorites For Getting Free Accommodation?
For my personal favorites, and ones I’ve actually done, here are my top three:
- Teaching English is one of the easiest travel jobs out there and the job that got me traveling in the first place! Do this one if you want to stay abroad longer AND make some cash.
- Worldpackers is another great choice because they have so many cool opportunities to do some work for free rent while helping and making local friends. It’s just a win-win! You get to explore the town you’re in deeper too, which I love! Don’t forget to sign up with this link so you get $10 off for a full year of access!
- Trusted Housesitters is, of course, one of my favorite options for getting free accommodation because you get the added perk of having PETS! You can apply solo or with your friend/partner and literally live in places like Madrid, Rome, Sydney, and Wellington for a few days or even a few weeks or a month, for free! Of course, again, I have an exclusive discount for you that’s added at checkout with this link!
- Credit Cards earn you points you can use for free nights at hotels, upgrades and flights! Find my favorite travel cards here.
I sure hope this helped open some doors for you so you can travel longer and better!
Nina Ragusa is an adventurer, messy bun master, breakfast fan, and full-time travel blogger. She’s been abroad since 2011 and blogging on Where in the World is Nina? for nearly as long. Nina helps people like you move around the world while making money. She loves talking about how to work abroad and online to travel longer!