Ah, the ultimate trick to saving the travel budget and making the most of your stay abroad is to have free accommodation during your trip.
Finding accommodation while traveling is not always an easy task. In addition, often half (or even more) of the budget is spent on housing.
To save money, you’ve probably already tried CouchSurfing, right? When it started, in 2004 (yes, yes, it dates), it was literally a hit. Imagine, at the time, there wasn’t even Airbnb, so it was revolutionary to be able to sleep with people – FREE.
That said, crises and problems quickly replaced the beautiful stories of meeting between travelers and generous hosts. A lot of dirty stories (rape and murders, to put it bluntly) have happened in the world of couchsurfing. On closer inspection, we realize that more than 70% of the hosts (those who welcome the travelers) are men. We are not surprised to see that they almost always accept women… It’s up to you to make your own assumptions…
In fact, more and more women, who have had bad experiences (harassment from a host guy, unclean invitations, etc.) have quite simply decided not to use such a service anymore.
Basically, everything that is free is a bit shady, right? But, hola, watch out, I don’t want to paint a couchsurfing blackboard. There are some very good experiences to be learned from it, that’s clear. But, well, for those for whom it is not their thing to sleep with a stranger, I decided to write a small article on alternatives to Couchsurfing.
Because yes, if you are looking for free travel accommodation, then there are plenty of options for you.
Besides, maybe this article is mainly for women, although I sincerely believe that a lot of men will find great alternatives. Indeed, for many of them, finding accommodation on Couchsurfing is not so easy because priority is given to women… ..what was I telling you? I’m not even talking about male ethnic minorities who often say that they can’t find a host at all.
In any case, having plans other than couchsurfing can always be useful, so here is the list of the best sites to sleep peacefully while traveling:
The best alternatives to Couchsurfing in 2019
I can already sense your surprise. You tell yourself that the only truly free site is CouchSurfing. That if there were other free traveler accommodation sites, it would know.
Okay, so it’s a bit true, I admit. In this list with alternatives to CouchSurfing, some are enjoying increasing success.
In short, here is the list:
1. BeWelcome – Ideal for backpackers
BeWelcome is a pure alternative to couchsurfing. Again, we are dealing with a non-profit corporation. So in itself, this is great if you don’t have a budget for accommodation. The difference with couchsurfing is that it is more focused on travelers.
If you’re looking for free accommodation for your next trip, that’s it, right?
Having said that, since it’s free like Couchsurfing, the site can end up having the same problems as the latter. That is to say, you might as well run into perverts or hot bunnies. Likewise, that there is no very present customer service. Not all ads are verified, therefore. So you may very well come across a nudist who “forgot” to put it on their ad. Also, there are fewer ads, but certainly better quality than couchSurfing.
But, well, it’s still not bad. I know quite a few backpapers that use it very often and they have never had a problem with BeWelcome.
2. Trustroots – Great for hitchhikers and vegetarians
Trustroots started in 2014 and initially targeted hitchhikers. Here again, we are dealing with a non-profit company: an association. This is probably very ideal for backpapers and traveling travelers. It may be the perfect site if you want to join a large community of travelers online. The site wants to promote intercultural exchanges between different travelers from around the world. Moreover, a map geolocates all travelers, which is very practical for finding accommodation.
Reviews on Trustroots are very rare on the web, which is why I placed it in 2nd position. I even hesitated to put it in first place, but since it is more suitable for traveling travelers, I decided for second place. Besides, I personally haven’t tried it (yet). I was based on the experience of a friend who travels in a van across Europe. Also, if you’ve used it before, I’d be curious (and readers too) to read your review in the comment section of this article. Please, share your tips 😉
3. Warmshowers : Free accommodation for bicycle travelers
Now I have to tell you about this site which also operates as a non-profit company. Moreover, if you have a charitable soul, you can always make a donation to the association.
Like I said in the title, this is a kind of free couchsurfing geared towards bicycle travelers. I know there are many among you. This is the only site I have found that offers accommodation for those who travel by bicycle.
Very good platform easy to use and downright practical. If you know a bicycle traveler who is struggling to find accommodation, this is the right tip for them.
4. HomeExchange : Free hosting exchange between individuals
Surely you have heard of this wonderful concept before. If not, know that it’s a great concept that is gaining more and more followers around the world. There, I would say it’s a better alternative to Airbnb rather than CouchSurfing. Moreover, I think it works as much as Airbnb which has become over time as expensive as a hotel (which was not the principle at the start).
The concept is very simple: you can sleep abroad for free. To do this, you too will have to leave your accommodation to strangers. Good process exchange to put it simply. For expensive cities like New York, San Francisco, Sydney or Stockholm, this is a great tip for not paying for accommodation.
how it works?
In fact, you don’t have to host the same person who hosted you. This is what is good and practical. The HomeExchange site works with a point system: GuestPoints (GP). The more people you host, the more GPs you have. Of course, it is with these same GPs that you can sleep with locals. Depending on the location and the type of house, GPs are higher or lower, but it is still affordable, especially since it is not “real” money.
What if we don’t have a home to exchange?
Yes, yes, I anticipate your questions! Well, the site has thought of everything. If you have no accommodation to exchange, you will have to pay for any accommodation, the sum of 10 euros per night. It is still ridiculously cheap compared to Airbnb. Otherwise, you can always opt for the Optimum option which consists of paying only 130 euros per year to have more than 500 bonus GP. If you plan to travel often during the year, don’t hesitate to use HomeExchange .
Conclusion on free alternative accommodation to CouchSurfing
I hope you are satisfied with this list of the 5 best alternatives for finding free travel accommodation.
I could have added sites like Belodged or GlobalFreeloaders , but I find that these sites are a bit dated and that it does not make people want to subscribe too much… Yes, aesthetics also matter! Personally, I have a little preference for HomeExchange , I find it so much more practical.
I also prepared an article which this time groups together free accommodation in exchange for small tasks, like woofing or other. I think you’ll love this post too (seriously, it’s a great way to travel, by the way).
>> Read the article: Free accommodation abroad and while traveling in exchange for small tasks;
Otherwise, I would still be curious to know your opinion on these sites? Is it missing? Do you often use the Couchsurfing site or how do you find free accommodation when traveling?