Accommodation is a big vacation expense; sometimes a preventative altogether. But if you could get free accommodation, would you reconsider going away? Good news: there are lots of ways to get free accommodation on your next vacation! Here are some ideas.

4 Ways to Get Free Accommodation on Your Next VacationHouse-sitting

I'm writing this from the Caribbean island of Grenada, where I'm house-sitting and dog-minding for three months. You got it: three months of free accommodation in the Caribbean, with my own hut 50 yards from the beach.

Around the world, house owners go away (for days, weeks, or months), and need somebody to be a security presence for their home, to water their plants, feed the cat, walk the dog, or perform other tasks that allow them to rest assured that all is good on the home front.  

In trade for house-sitting, you have a free place to stay (and sometimes other perks like use of a car), in addition to relaxing in the comforts of "home" and not a sterile hotel room.  

If house-sitting takes your fancy, check out this house-sitting article which gives you the full scoop.  

Here are some web resources for finding a house-sitting gig:

House Carers

Trusted House Sitters

Mind My House

House Sit World

Aussie House Sitters

House Sitters America 

Home Exchange

On the house-sitting vein, would you like somebody tending to your own home while you're house-sitting for somebody else? Then a home exchange could be perfect. There are many home exchange sites and forums, and not all exchanges need to be simultaneous. With lots of options available, you could find some comfortable free accommodation perfect for your next vacation.  

Check out this article on home exchanges for more information, including a profile of 13 different home exchange services.  

Work Exchange/Volunteering

If you're willing to do some work in trade for your accommodation, you can have an enriching vacation experience, learn something new, and often do something good for the world.

When it comes to volunteering - and voluntourism - as a vacation option, not all positions are created equal. Some entail fees that range from tiny to exorbitant. Do your research though, and you'll find some gems. I've found volunteer positions in New Zealand, Hawaii, Australia, Grenada, and Spain that cost nothing except enjoyable time spent volunteering with others.

Here are some resources for free (or almost free) volunteering in trade for accommodation:

WWOOF

HelpX

World Help Link

Caretaker Gazette

Hospitality Exchanges

Maybe you'd like to stay with the locals, make new friends, and learn how people abroad live. Then a hospitality exchange is for you!

Although there's no fee to stay with people on a hospitality exchange, it's customary to give your hosts a gift, and to help out around the house - as any good house guest would do. Also, don't expect to stay for more than a few days, since you don't want to wear out your welcome.

Here is a list of reputable hospitality exchange sites. They also provide information about safety, conduct, and terms.

Couch Surfing

Hospitality Club

Servas

Staydu

Global Freeloaders 

These are just a few ways to explore free accommodation for your next vacation. Do you have any experience with these or other ways to stay for free? Please share in the comments!

Related Blogs:

Take a Free Family Vacation with a Home Exchange

Have you Considered Voluntourism as a Vacation Option?

House-sitting: Feel Right at Home on Vacation and Save Big Money

Nora Dunn, Life Balance Blogger for CareOne Debt Relief ServicesNora Dunn

Nora Dunn is The Professional Hobo: a full-time traveler and freelance writer. She is a contributing writer under the CareOne Debt Relief Services Life Balance blog. Having sold her business and belongings to travel, she has been on the road since 2007. She travels in a financially sustainable manner, taking advantage of creative volunteering positions. As a former certified Financial Planner, she is financially responsible for her actions along the way. She believes there is a fine balance between planning for tomorrow, and living for today. Compensated Blogger for CareOne Debt Relief Services. You can follow Nora on Twitter @hobonora

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