This post is about websites that have changed the travel game in the past 5 years. Why? Because money, or the lack of it, was the cause that kept so many travel enthusiasts at home, instead on the road. Those flexible to give up the turist standard profile, of prepaid holiday in shiny resorts…have benefited loads from these websites.
Have you heard of couchsurfing and skyscanner? I think you did, at least of one of the two. I shall tell you about more.
So, how much money do you need to travel like me, for example? I travel 8 months per year, with money I save in winter working in a ski resort.
If you are ready to sleep on the beach in a sleeping bag, in a tent in a camping, or in people’s’ homes in exchange for some of your time, than it will come cheap. Why? Because accommodation is the money burner. You can buy a flight ticket with 20 euros if you know when and how to search, but accommodation prices, rarely drop to 80 % Off. So check me out from time to time, to see that I haven‘t been eaten by a crocodile, kidnapped by pirates or abducted by wild beasts..If you still see me, it means that sleeping outdoors is still safe.
cheaper or free accommodation
Work exchange programs – long-term
WORKAWAY is one of my favorite programs. You get a room and meals, in exchange for 3–5 hours of your time each day, 5 days/ week (more about my work away experiences, soon in a future post).
HELPX is similar, membership costs 20 euros, for 2 years
WWOOFING is similar to workaway, is just that its more focused on organic, self sustainable farms. The Wwoofing website charges per country, so its an AM of 15 euros for each country you are interested to got to.
accommodation for free, stay with locals, short-term:
COUCH SURFING – is a platform for those who want to offer their sofa (or if your lucky, bed) for free, to enthusiastic travelers. You will contact the host, and if they are available and like your profile, they will host you. Its free, so no annual fees. All you have to bring with is common sense, a smile and maybe a token of gratitude. So far, I had amazing couch surfing experiences.
Stay for free and Housesit, long-term:
House owners all over the world go on holidays, study, leap years or just away from home for a week or 2 years. So, they need their house, pets and plants to be well cared of in the mean time. They need someone to live in their home. That could be you. You could find a housesit on any continent, but you will have to go through an interview and be accepted by the host, which usually get a lot of requests. So check,
TRUSTEDHOUSESITTERS – is my favorite, 92,4 euros AM,
MIND MY HOUSE – 20 euros AM and its mostly for UK,
HOUSE CARERS – 50 euros AM,
LUXURY HOUSE SITTING – 25 euros AM
here is an example of housesitting destination: Tuscany
Stay in a Monastery:
Pay for accommodation but low fares:
AIRBNB – “book homes from local hosts” is their motto, so locals rent a room in their home with access to all utilities or rent the whole house or apartment. The beauty of it is that you live where the locals live, not in a neutral touristic hospitality resort.The Host meets you to hand you the keys and that is when you get to know about the local salt & pepper. Ask them where their favorite fresh market is, where they dine out, where they eat ice cream, where do they go in the evenings.
HOUSETRIP – same concept as airbnb, and I can only recommend them. I have stayed in locations booked on housetrip in Uk, Spain, Hungary, Romania, Italy and I had only positive experiences. Great customer support also.
sharing your car with strangers or being a stranger in somebody’s car can be fun. I did it a few times and I will tell you why it’s fun: you are not alone on long drives, you get to talk, share, witness somebody else’s life experiences. Share the coffee table at stops, eat together and get some extra little cash for it.
How I do it:
- check the flight cost
- register for a price alert-so when the price drops, they let me know
- check the same flight with all low cost companies I know (Rynnair, Wizzair, Blueair, Germanwings etc) by going directly on their websites
- register for notifications of ticket sales or daily sales. Wizzair and Rynnair offer regularly sales when you get your ticket for 10–30% of its value
- I am flexible: if on my dates, the flight from Budapest to Corfu is too expensive, I try to fly to Zakynthos or Athens and I will take a ferry or find my way around to where I wanna be. After all, being a traveler is about loving to be exposed to adventure.
- Buy the tickets, early in the morning, as early as 5 am, and on Tuesdays – this is a tested hint. For some reason, the airline companies reassess their sales at the beginning of the week. Of course, you may find the same price on a Friday, but chances are it is going to be a better price between Tuesday and Wednesday.
Lately, I have paid 30 euros for roundtrip to Amsterdam, 35 euros for a round trip to Rome, 68 euros for a roundtrip to Sardegna, 70 euros for one to Zakynthos.
hitchhike, sleep in a tent, in the car, in a hammock, travel at night and you get to sleep on the plane, in the train, or in the bus. The next day, just take a double espresso and a deep breath and you’re as good as new to start the day.
Travel is only expensive if you choose to make it that way.
All these websites have changed the travel game and made it accessible to everyone. The sharing concept has been around for years now, as Couchsurfing was founded in 2003 and Airbnb in 2008, but became mainstream in 2015 and continues to grow.
websites saved in my favorite List:
Workaway (work exchange)
CouchSurfing (free accommodation)
Nomadlist (remote jobs, city reviews)