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How to get free accommodation while travelling

Travelling can be expensive, especially for solo travellers or those who want to 'slow travel' for longer durations. Accommodation costs can quickly add up and put a dent in our travel budget.

So, you might ask: How can I get free accommodation while travelling? There are a few options, read on and we'll tell you the best platforms to find and book free stays for your next trip.

Published by
Caitlin Moore·28/05/2024

7 ways to get free accommodation while travelling:

Getting free accommodation while travelling can help you minimise your budget for your trip.

2024 has seen a rise on travel trends including; solo travel, becoming a digital nomad, and slow travel. This means paying for accommodation alone, or for longer durations, which can make travelling on a budget feel impossible.

Fear not, if you're up for something unique, immersing yourself in local culture, or doing a bit of work... you can actually find a lot of free accommodation options.

  1. Volunteering or working in exchange for accommodation

  2. House sitting

  3. Couchsurfing

  4. Home exchange

  5. Camping

  6. Sleeping in airports (Not for your month-long trip, please)

  7. Spend a night in Ibiza for free

We'll go into more detail below.


Programmes like Workaway and Worldpackers allow travellers to volunteer or work exchange for accommodation. There are loads of options on the website for various roles and destinations. Accommodation types and hours of work differ, so you can find an option that suits your travel needs.

House sitting

Use a platform such as TrustedHousesitters to find free accommodation. You look after someone's pet in exchange for staying at their home. The possibilities are endless as there are houses all over the world, you could even bag luxury accommodation. Since you'll be in someone's home, you'll also have facilities like a kitchen to save money on food expenses.

It's not entirely free, as you will need to pay for the annual membership, starting at £99. But it's a great investment if you like to travel often.


Stay with locals and embrace the culture of the area you're staying in. You can meet like-minded travellers and people who are willing to have you on their couch (or spare room) through Facebook groups or the CouchSurfing website, which lets you meet and stay with locals all over the world for free, through a trusted platform. You just need to search and request a stay.

Home exchange

Cottage in Surrey, complete with Jude Law, please.

Just like 'The Holiday', there are platforms like 'HomeExhange', where you can connect with people from all over the world and swap homes. This one requires a bit more planning, so it's less for the spontaneous traveller.

We love this because you can use all the amenities and facilities to keep other costs, like food, down. It's a great way to save money on a family trip.

The annual membership starts at $220. Using the website saving calculator, a family of four could save $1757 on a week-long trip to Barcelona, based on average 2-star hotel prices.


Although not all campsites are free, there are plenty that are. So, if you have a tent, you could stay for free by making use of free campsites around the world. is a great website to find free campsites nearby or to plan a camping trip on a budget. It's a community platform, where users can share camping spots they have found on their travels.

It's a great option for those looking to reduce their accommodation costs, but not share a space with strangers or work on their travels. But, it does come with its downfalls, if you're not a seasoned camper, you may miss facilities like a kitchen and proper bathroom.

Sleeping in airports

Aaaah yes, nothing screams "holiday" like the cold, concrete floor of an airport and the smell of Maccies.

But seriously, who wants to pay for a night in a hotel if your flights departs at 6 am? Sleeping in the airport the night before your flight is a short-term solution for free accommodation.

Some airports will be comfier for sleeping than others. This article has all the info you need on sleeping in airports.

Free night in Ibiza, with a catch

Fancy a free stay in Ibiza, where prices are usually super high? You could get one free nights' stay at the 4-star Paradiso Ibiza Art Hotel, you'll just have to be up for staying in a glass-walled room in the hotel lobby. Yes, really, it's a thing.

How safe are free accommodation options?

We've listed a few different ways to stay for free while travelling, so each option has its own safety concerns. Having common sense in situations that involve free accommodation is a must.

  • Make sure you use a trusted website.

  • Let someone know where you're staying and keep in contact with a relative.

  • Keep your belongings secure when staying in shared spaces.

Report a legal concern