It is certainly possible to stay almost for free in some countries! These opportunities may require you to join a club or network and there may be fees involved in the registration or the stay, but overall, if you are a simple person with very few needs other than a place to rest, you will be happy to hear that there are many decent options to spending the night in the airport or on a park bench.
Most people dream of foreign vacations where they visit exotic places and open up their eyes to new experiences and new cultures. How about seeing and enjoying new places while spending almost nothing on accommodations? A shrewd traveler can easily find discounted or free accommodations internationally.
Homing for Charity?
Monasteries – Religious places such as monasteries and churches may offer a weary traveler accommodation. Most monastic orders take their vows seriously and cannot turn away anyone asking for help.
Some of these places may ask for a meager $10 or more for the stay. If you can afford to give, please do so as regular hotels around some of these places may charge ten times as much. Also, you may get free food along with your stay. Make sure that you follow the rules of the monastery and respect their wishes for silence or thrift in using their meager resources such as water or electricity. Do not expect much from their sparse room and board and thank them with whatever you can afford to give in return.
Charity programs such as Amnesty International, Oxfam, World Vision, etc need young energetic individuals to go to places where the public gather and distribute pamphlets and papers on their organizations to spread word about their work and also to collect some money. Travelers looking for free accommodation or to make some extra money on the side can join these charity missions and help them out while at the same time they can also utilize the opportunities provided by these charities as a return on investment of their time. Many of these organizations provide conveyance and food allowance in addition to the free accommodation.
These are the most common of type of accommodations that can sometimes be completely free. If you are traveling to a foreign country and a person from that country wants to travel to your country, isn’t it perfect if you can both exchange your homes to save each other bundles of money?
This idea is now spreading like wildfire and more and more sites have come up online to bring people together and save everyone a lot of money.
Members can search the database and contact prospective hosts, explain the details of the trip that they are planning and request help and accommodation. You can even request someone to give you a ride from the airport to the host’s home. Hospitality goes both ways, so this group encourages the guests and the hosts to help out every which way they can. Hosts can help by giving directions, being city guides, etc and guests can help do some of the chores, babysit, clean up or help the host family in some way other than monetarily.
When you go try to find a host in another country, it’s important to check them out very well via references or face-to-face communication before deciding on the exchange. Some of these people are as friendly and welcoming as we are, but there are also experiences of come travelers who were fleeced by crooks who get into this system and abuse the privileges. Especially in cases where women travel alone, thorough background research on the system of security in the foreign country, the host families and the area where the home is located will alleviate a lot of problems down the road.
Hostels used to be dormitory style with bunk beds full of backpacking youth resting after walking all day from place to place. Nowadays, however, they are more like budget hotels where rooms may be rented by multiple people, each paying a fraction of the sum they would pay in a regular hotel. Compared to the old hostel atmosphere, there are better facilities such as full-service kitchens and Internet cafes with 24-hour service.
People of all ages now use hostels. Babies as young as six months and senior citizens as old as 80 use hostels while traveling. There is no membership required, but you may need some form of identification if you would like to rent a room by yourself of as a part of a group. This is a wonderful place to meet people of your own age from different countries.
These hostels may be built by organizations such as the YMCA or sometimes by the charity associations in the area. Although this is a good place to meet youngsters and get to know many languages and customs, one should also be aware of the crime and possibility of getting sick in crowded quarters. Overall, this is a safe place to stay so long as you can get along with the rest of the people.
Are you a language expert?
If you can spare a year or two to travel and work at the same time, this may be a great opportunity that gives you discounted or even free accommodation.
Encouraging Cultural Exchange
There are many types of free cultural exchange accommodation. Farming families or governments offer homes for young people who can help them in some way. Clean, modest accommodation is offered free of charge to people who are eligible. Again, this is a way to provide travelers with some food and accommodation in exchange for a few hours of work.
Overall, as we have seen, there are several options for people traveling on a small budget. If you avail of any of these free accommodation deals, it may be a good idea to take some of your country’s products and non-perishable goods to give as gifts to your host family. Items such as dried fruits, nuts, candies, candles, items made of wood or clay or any specialty from your neck-of-the-woods may be happily accepted by your hosts.
Above all, be courteous and kind, helpful and generous of your time and effort and make your country proud!