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I want to travel abroad cheap, and I would prefer to find some place to stay through a person or website, rather than book a hotel or hostel. There is couchsurfing.com, which I know about. Can you recommend other resources where I can find free accomodation?

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9 Answers

up vote 17 down vote accepted

Honestly, I would stick with couchsurfing. I hate to sound like the news and say craig's list can be dangerous, but I know some people that have had bad experiences... really bad experiences. I would say stick with a site that validates users.

If you don't mind working, you can always go with somethign like WWOOF. Also, working in a hostel is usually a pretty good gig. Free place to live and some cash. Typically you can easily find work at one by just walking in and asking.

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Thank you for the wwoof link. I had no idea opportunities like this were available in so many places. This is further feeding my escapist fantasies. –  russjman Jun 22 '11 at 18:49
    
I would argue that this is not "free accomodation accommodation" since you are offering labor in trade. To call it so would be to suppose that your labor has no value. –  Keyslinger Jun 22 '11 at 22:51
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@Keyslinger Touche. However, there is no monetary exchange. To get completely technical TANSTASFL. Nothing is ever free. –  Ginamin Jun 23 '11 at 2:21
    
Apart from travel.SE advice? ;) –  Mark Mayo Jul 28 '11 at 8:09
    
@Mark Mayo Hah, indeed. Good add to the wiki as well. –  Ginamin Aug 1 '11 at 13:50
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CouchSurfing is the best choice. Also there is http://hospitalityclub.org, but it is going to stagnation from year to year, and http://bewelcome.org. Try it all, and you'll get the variant to stay.

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Couchsurfing and Hospitality Club are the most common, for sure. However you can also consider bar work - in some countries (eg England) it often includes accommodation. Similarly, working in a hostel often scores you a free bed as well. And sometimes just chatting to friendly locals may work in your favour.

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Yeah, you can often get a free bed in hostels (but no pay) in Australia quite often if you work for the hostel. A bed is usually between $20 (dorm) and $40 (private room) per night in a hostel, but the minimum wage there is $15.51 per hour - so try not to get ripped off by working 6h/day in the reception for a free bed. Just sayin' :) –  iHaveacomputer Jul 28 '11 at 7:55
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You can try http://www.airbnb.com/. I have used the site to figure out accommodation for some of my travels and have found it pretty useful.

The downside, you cannot book an accommodation right away. You need to communicate with the owners and see what works for you. This would mean you start your search pretty early.

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Airbnb is the best place in my opinion. We only stay there. Definitely worth looking at. Hosts are helpful in discovering what you want to get out of your vacation and will even offer suggestions on cheap ways to travel or things to see that aren't typical tourist attractions. You should check it out. –  AtlasRN Jun 22 '11 at 12:15
    
Thank you SO MUCH for listing this. You have literally changed the way I think about finding accommodations. –  Keyslinger Jun 29 '11 at 16:56
    
Thank you for that! Made my day. I have the best hosts to recommend if you ever want to try it when you go to New York City. Seriously, these people make me want to start my own place to have people stay! :) –  AtlasRN Jun 30 '11 at 0:01
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airbnb is not exactly 'cheap'. Like 60% cheaper than a hotel, not 80% :) –  Kaushik Aug 23 '11 at 17:38
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You can try the subreddits of individual cities, and ask to crash over. I've had far better experiences off of Reddit than off of Couchsurfing, perhaps because people often "stalk" my Reddit posts before offering me their couch, which means that they're often more interested in me.

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After a look at these regional subreddits (e.g. my local one), I doubt this would work elsewhere than US (plus UK and possibly some other west European countries). In most parts of the world Reddit isn't that popular. –  Jonik Jul 8 '12 at 20:02
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Couch Surfing sounds good, but if you like luxury, there is a luxury version of couch surfing: house sitting. I know two websites that offer house sitting: Houses it world and Care Taker. The idea is the owners offer free accommodations in luxury or holiday houses and you clean and guard their homes.

The only problem is that for subscribe to these sites you have to pay a small fee.

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Sometimes you could be interested in sleep in your arrival airport so you can save the money for the first night in a new place. There is a page that will help you to decide if one or other airport is more convenient to sleep there: Sleep in Airports.

NOTE: It could sound crazy, but I've sleept a lot of times in different airports and if you have no problems to sleep with some noise, that's a good option if your flight departs too early or you arrive too late to your destination.

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Also you can exchange your home, like Cameron Diaz and Kate Winslet in the film "The holidays". That's an option ideal for families due you will save a lot of money and you have not to work. The problem is you have to be very confident with your guest. Some webs: Home for Home or Home base.

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As a host for both Helpx and WWOOF, I ask that anyone using those services does not treat them as free. It can cost dearly to host someone, especially in a remote area where they have to be fetched and then returned to some mode of transportation. There is lots of opportunity for fantastic experiences, for both the host and the volunteer. There is nothing worse than having someone waste my time and energy by taking advantage of the situation, and behaving as though it is a vacation. Only use those services if you have the intention and integrity to be productive and self responsible. It is NOT a babysitting service...it is a job and has basic commitment levels to fulfill.

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