Free Lodging Around the World11/30/2010
When traveling, the price of lodging can range anywhere from thousands of dollars to $0, all depending on your method of travel. In this blog post, I will outline the pros and cons of various lodging strategies. I stress the importance of making your dollar go farther than ever. Thus, my favoritism leans strongly towards lodging that allows me to save big bucks.
The most common form of lodging travel and most expensive are hotels. Hotels offer convenience, safety, privacy, and comfort at a nominal price. You get what you pay for.
For extended vacations I highly recommend AGAINST lodging exclusively in hotels. The main reason is of course price. In addition to price, you don’t get the experience of hanging around other travelers and they tend to push even pricier tour packages. You would be better off with some of the methods listed below.
I do recommend hotels for smaller trips. I use them a lot for business travel and commerce within the United States.
Hotels are also ideal for families. Most families aren’t looking for really long vacations to take anyway. While pricey, the use of a hotel in this situation enhances the travel experience. I would love to hang out on a beach one day in a private villa with all my closest friends. I’ll put that dream off for a bit and focus on cheaper options.
With that being said, hotels are my least preferred lodging choice on my travels. Expensive and touristy I prefer my next choice…
Now hostels are an awesome way to travel. These days hostels aren’t just catered to the youth backpacker. Hostels now include middle aged backpackers, families, and even senior citizens. Although most still bring a youth crowd, hostels have made it affordable for anyone to travel.
In addition, hostels are cheap, most ranging between $15 – $25 a night in Europe, and provide a great travel experience. On a few instances I ended up traveling with others from the hostel for a week at a time.
They are especially useful for the solo traveler. Nevertheless, hostels have also done a great job recently of accommodating families. A cheaper option than hotels, hostels continue to rise in popularity. I spent about 90% of my lodging in hotels on my recent trip.
Vacation and Home Exchange
Now here is a fantastic way to travel. Imagine you want to visit a coastal town in Dominican Republic for a few months during the summer. You find somebody through HomeAway or HomeExchange who wants to stay in Austin, Texas during the same time. You have the option of doing whats called a “home swap”.
Home swaps are a great way to live like a king in someone’s house and not have to pay a dime for the privilege. Million dollar + homes are frequently exchanged through this great service. The big aggregators like HomeAway do a great job of providing a safe, fun service.
I personally have not done a home swap, but you can bet the day I buy a house I’ll be looking to share my palace with others.
My new favorite way to travel. The best part, 100% FREE LODGING! Knowing what I know now, I would have taken advantage of this service more when I was doing heavy traveling.
The way couch surfing works is you contact a host in the location you plan on traveling. In exchange for a simple review, you are provided a free couch and in most instances your hosts will show you around the city.
I couch surfed once in Budapest, Hungary and really enjoyed it. My hosts provided me with entertainment, free meals, and introduced me to their friends.
Currently, I’ve been hosting couch surfers in Austin. It’s been an awesome experience learning from their travels and sharing ideas throughout their stay. This is a great service that ALL ages should take advantage of. Ideal for small groups and solo travelers.
Other Lodging Options
Tents – What better way to travel than to bring your own lodging with you! I met a couple traveling who placed their tents a few hundred yards away from nearby hostels. Free lodging + hanging out with travelers at the hostel = a great way to travel! Great for the wilderness as well.
RVs – Another option that falls under the category of “bring your own lodging with you”. Sell your home, buy an RV, travel the world. The new American dream! Again, something I have yet to do but one day I plan on trying this lifestyle.
Rentals – Check Craigslist and look for places to rent out if you plan on staying in a location longer than a few weeks. There is a price to pay for peace and quiet. Ideal for students that need a comfortable for long study hours.
Stay with a Friend – Know of someone staying in a location you will be traveling? See if they will let you crash at their pad for a few days. A highly recommended FREE way to travel.