Travel For Free II: Free Accomodation!
(Link: Travel For Free I)
(Link: Travel For Free III)
Did you know that accommodation costs are the single largest expense of any vacation?
If you ever thought you were the only traveler without any money to make your dream come true, this post is for you!
What’s a Hospitality Exchange or Service?
It’s a centrally organized network of travelers (usually connecting through the Internet), which offer or seek accommodation without monetary exchange.
What are the benefits?
Believe it or not, saving money is not the only goal of travelers who use Hospitality Exchanges. These are some of the great benefits of participating:
- Making new friends
- Get in touch with the local culture
- Live “the real thing” and get off the tourist map
- Practice a foreign language
- Intercultural exchange
- Encourage understanding, tolerance, mutual-respect, and why not? Peace.
- Meet people who share the same interests/groups than you (in the case of specialized networks)
In 1949, Bob Luitweiler founded the first hospitality service called Servas Open Doors as a cross national, non-profit, volunteer run organization advocating interracial and international peace.
Another one of the pioneers was Mensa’s Sight hospitality network, founded in 1967. If you are part of the 2% of the smartest guys in the planet, the network is still live and kicking!
In 2000 the Hospitality Club became the first internet based service. Now it’s the world’s second largest site.
Finally, in 2004 CouchSurfing was launched and the rest is history. With 40 million daily page views, this site is the most visited hospitality service on the Internet.
Other Hospitality Exchanges:
- Lesbian and Gay Hospitality Exchange International
- Warm Showers - Hospitality network for touring cyclists
- Pasporta Servo and TEJO - for Esperanto speakers
- WWOOF - "Worldwide Opportunities on Organic Farms", help on the property is exchanged for food, accommodation, education and cultural interaction.
- Freagle - "Free Camping, worldwide!" - Uniting Outdoor Lovers Through Hospitality and Mutual Help.
- HelpX - "Help Exchange", help is exchanged for food, accommodation, experience and cultural interaction
- Homeshare International -- charitable organization providing exchange of housing for help in the home
- Ridester -- ride sharing for travelers
How about Home Exchange?
- Home Exchange
- Green Theme International Home Exchange
Last but not least, how does a cabin in the mountains next to a lake, or an amazing condo in front of the beach sound? There are many housecaring opportunities in the classifieds or the internet. Try HouseCarers.com, MindMyHouse and House Sitters.
Written and contributed by Ruth Cuadrado