Couch-Surfing from Ways You Can Stay Free (or Super Cheap)

Ways You Can Stay Free (or Super Cheap)

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Flickr/Jamie Hunter


This travel trend has become significantly popular because it brings travelers into the homes and lives of hosts all over the world. Extroverts hoping to catch a glimpse of local life will love couch-surfing—it’s free (although you might need to pay a website membership or bring a small gift for your host) and you’ll likely have access to a personal tour guide and a full kitchen.
If you’re interested in couch-surfing, take a look at our favorite website,

Flickr/Adam Franco


Camping might not be a perfect fit for every trip—say, if you’re staying in a major city—but for those who can camp, it is an inexpensive (sometimes free) option. Granted you’ll need to invest in some essential gear up front, but the years of cheap travel under the stars are well worth it.

Flickr/Steve McFarland

Academic Housing

When students head home most on-campus housing is left empty. Some colleges are putting those empty rooms to good use housing travelers and usually offering extremely low rates. Many schools are in prime locations, with dining and entertainment nearby. If you can do without hotel amenities and put up with potentially sharing a bathroom, you could save big. Either call colleges or universities around your destination or visit our favorite website,

Flickr/JR P


Best known for housing young backpackers, hostels have a bad reputation, which is usually undeserved. Hostels are a classic cheap place to stay and many are actually nicer than low-end hotels (and yes, the picture on the left is actually a hostel in Derbyshire, England). With the right research, you can easily find a clean, safe and affordable hostel in almost any corner of the earth and they’re a lot more unique than your typical hotel.
Take a look at our favorite hostel booking website,

Flickr/Adam Brill

Farm Stays

Farm Stays bring travelers to a working farm and house them overnight in exchange for help with chores, or payment, or a bit of both. Each farm stay is unique; some adhere to strict schedules, whereas others allow you to make your own plans and each farm has a different specialty. A farm stay might not be a great choice for everyone, but those willing to get their hands dirty will be right at home.

Flickr/Dennis Jarvis

Monastery Stays

A monastery stay is an overnight accommodation within a religious community. Contrary to popular belief, you don’t need to be religious to experience a monastery stay, many locations only ask that you be respectful of their rules and rituals and most places offer access to events and retreats. A monastery stay won’t be a great choice for the late-night partier, but if you’re looking for a peaceful experience and a new perspective, you should give it a shot.

Bed & Breakfasts

Bed and Breakfasts might not be significantly cheaper than hotels in the U.S. but abroad they are a lower-priced option. They also include breakfast which will save you even more. If you don’t mind meeting a few strangers and potentially sharing a bathroom, a B&B might be the solution to overpriced hotel rooms.

Flickr/Gilas Rom

Home Exchange

Home exchanges (or house swaps) are becoming increasingly popular as they allow travelers to experience life as a local in a foreign country at no cost. Some people include cars in the swap, eliminating the cost of a rental car and access to a kitchen lowers food costs significantly. There are a few options in home exchange and many choices for websites that will connect you to other home-swappers, find more information here.

Ways You Can Stay Free (or Super Cheap)