The alternative to the hotel (and with free accommodation)
A small list for all those who have not yet decided what to do this summer
Now you no longer need to look for a hotel or apartment to enjoy a vacation away from home. Currently, there are many alternatives for free or at a modest price, which will make it much more affordable to go on a trip this summer.
A small list for all those who have not yet decided what to do this summer:
CouchSurfing is one of the best known channels to travel in an alternative way. It is a social network that connects people who give their couch, bed or floor to a traveler. The operation is very simple: a person who does not know you accepts you as a tenant in your home for nothing. It only seeks to help and share another experience, another way of knowing the world and making new friends. More than getting a free place to sleep, it is a cultural exchange.
The most important thing in this social network is your profile: it is your cover letter. Depending on this, people will leave you or not a space in your house. On the other hand, it is good to look at the references that other users give about the place you want to go or the guest you are going to have in your home. It helps a lot to know what you’re going to find.
WWOOF is a non-profit association. What it does is put volunteers in contact with farms or rural people who need help. In exchange for going to work there for a few days they will give you food and free accommodation. They also promise to leave you free time so you can get to know the country better.
Generally, four to six hours a day are worked. Like the CouchSurfing, it is a different way of knowing the country, since it allows you to share the stay with native people and volunteers who come from very diverse places. There is never any financial compensation and the relationship that is built must be free and voluntary.
In this association it is important that the farms within the project work mainly with ecological and sustainable methods. That way you can sleep without paying money in exchange for working for a project. Although previously you must pay a small fee to access the list of farms for a period of one year and be able to know the contact information.
Of course, it is important to know the conditions previously. Each farm can put what they think is convenient and before going you should be sure that you agree with them.
Camping in the Garden
This website is the ideal alternative for people who want to go on vacation with the tent, but without paying the price of a camping. They put in contact people willing to give up a space in their garden for a small fee, between 5 or 7 euros per person per night.
Apart from letting you sleep in your garden, depending on each host will be added other advantages, such as the use of a pool or tennis court. What they usually give access, most people, is to the bathroom so that tenants can clean up.
This project, which started in 2013, already has more than 500 hosts in France and more than 1,200 spaces. Now it is beginning to expand in Europe.
There are different websites that put families in contact to make a home exchange during the holiday period. Most have similar rules. Normally, in order to access the database, a fee of around 100 euros per year is requested. Once paid you can access all the information and you can make as many exchanges as you want during that year.
It is recommended to correctly specify all the requirements and how is your home so that there will be no confusion later. It is also very important to tell what sites you are interested in visiting and at what dates your house is available. The process to reach an agreement is usually extended for a few months, so it is necessary to be proactive to make this type of travel.
Many people are afraid to leave their house to a stranger, but this method is based on mutual trust: you are in the house of those who occupy yours. Therefore, it is believed that people will not do anything they do not want to do in their home. In addition, these portals have different means of verification and security to make the exchanges. You can always choose who you want to do it with. Many times the car is also included in the deal.
Caring for someone’s house
If you do not have a house to exchange, but you are willing to take care of another one and travel for free, this is your alternative. In portals such as Mind My House or House Carers you can find different offers that in exchange for attending someone’s house while the owners are on vacation, they will leave your home for free to stay during that period.
In most of these platforms they ask you to register before paying a fee. From that moment you have access to the database. You can search among all offers and contact the owner that you think is the best option. Between the two you will have to decide what services you have to provide in exchange for the use of the house and sign the corresponding documents.
Sleeping in monasteries
Another option is to go to sleep in monasteries. Not all have the same conditions. There are some that are very luxurious with a high price. But you can also find places that give you food and sleep in exchange for donations or that are free. They usually have only the basics and the food is what the monks or nuns who live there do.