How would you like free accommodation? If you love pets or gardens and don’t mind looking after them, then you could find yourself with a free house-stay via a house-sitting website. For pet owners, having someone they feel they can trust look after their special friends while they’re away means that getting someone in to stay is a great option. House-sitting websites allow homeowners and prospective house-sitters to connect, and if you’re willing to keep an eye on things, then you might find yourself with the keys to days, weeks or even months of house-stays for nothing.
If you want to get off the tourist trail and you’re willing to put in four to six hours a day helping out, the Wwoof-ing may be for you. World Wide Opportunities on Organic Farms connects you with organic growers worldwide offering accommodation and food in exchange for a few hours of work a day – from tending a vegetable garden in Japan to helping build an irrigation system in Argentina. Another website to check out is Volunteer HQ, where you can volunteer for a variety of projects – including healthcare, teaching and wildlife conservation – in 30 countries.
COUCHSURFING AND CARPOOL
The couchsurfing phenomenon is perhaps the purest form of the ‘sharing economy’, enabling travellers to save hundreds of dollars every night. While staying in someone’s lounge or spare room isn’t for everyone, if you want to experience a city like the locals do, then there’s no better way. Another aspect of this new economy that’s taking off is ride sharing. Using BlaBlaCar (in Europe), you can find a ride to destinations across the continent for a small fee with someone already going there. It’s another great way to get to know a place and its people.