A while ago I posted a map of our trip on social network. Just after that I received a bunch of messages and questions, how do we make it. Do we really have so much money saved? The answer dissappoints everyone. For a long term travel you don't necessarily need a lot of money. To make it even more paradoxical, I claim that slower you travel, cheaper it can be.
Following is the second from series of articles about traveling with extremely low budget. You can read first on the link: Transport.
Accommodations we just can't avoid. We're all human, we all need a place to sleep. People in renowned tourist industry know this very well. It can quickly happen that you'll have to spend the majority of your budget only for sleeping. Actually we came to the point where it seems completely obvious and we don't even think that somethink here is not right. You went to travel because of that paradise on Earth that you saw on the internet, not because of the hotel that offers us less comfort than our own home. But we're still willing to spend more money for one night than we have expenses at home in whole week.
Let's see how to find a place to stay completely free of charge.
There are many options. First is Couchsurfing. According to Wikipedia it is: “a hospitality service and social networking website. The website provides a platform for members to "couch surf" as a guest at someone's home, host travelers, meet other members, or join an event.”
Telling short, it's a social network, where we can find people from all over the world, willing to host travelers in exchange just of company. On the other side, anyone can be in the role of a host. Security and health of community is maintained by writing mutual references. After the stay, host and guest write each other a reference. Number of positive references is an index of user's reliability. At the first glance it may seem stupid but anyone who will advise not to use Couchsurfing, I hope he/she will do it by his/her own experience. But it's true that like with anything else in life you have to use some common sense.
Couchsurfing is intended for shorter stops from one to a couple of days. For longer periods there is something even better - Workaway. I will quote Wikipedia again “Workaway is an international organisation that enable travellers willing to work as volunteers to contact hosts (who can be individuals, families or groups) wanting help with their projects or activities.”
So, if we're willing to do minimal work in return, we can find free accommodation, with included food and unforgettable experience of living with local people. There is a wide variety of works offered. From teaching foreign languages, housekeeping, helping on the farms, hostels, and to professional works. In Australia I noticed a post of retired gentleman seeking for someone who would help him set the model railway :) Unfortunately we weren't able to find a timeframe that would fit both of us. Many times the hosts are travelers themselves or people with open minds. Security is, similarly as at Couchsurfing, maintained by mutual feedbacks and messages to head organisation. Workaway is not without the competition either. Check also WWOOF and HelpX.
When we're planning how to travel from one place to another we can save on accommodation too. If we decide for a night bus, train or flight, we already avoid paying for one night.
Let's say nothing mentioned seems to suit our taste. We decide we're willing to pay something for a peaceful sleep, but we still don't want to pay 100€ for a hotel room. There is a solution for this too. It's called AirBNB.
According to Wikipedia it's: “an online marketplace and hospitality service, enabling people to list or rent short-term lodging including vacation rentals, apartment rentals, homestays, hostel beds, or hotel rooms.”
In practice it means we can find whole house for 4 persons on Bali that will cost you no more than 50€ (offer on image below left.) Or we choose just a room for two for 23€ (below right.)
When I started this trip I put a small tent in my backpack. “In case everything else fails it's good to have my own roof above the head,” I said to myself. In five months I haven't use it not even once. In Thailand I finally decided to send it back home. We have to know that even if everything mentioned fails, there will always be some railway or bus station, airport or just a restaurant open 24 hours, which will give us warm and safe shelter. McDonald's is everywhere, some are open all night, they have free WiFi and no one cares even if you don't order anything :)
In the next article I'll show you that even free food is not a mission impossible!