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6 Ways to Get Free Accommodation While Traveling

6 Ways to Get Free Accommodation While Traveling

The thought of traveling abroad for lengthy periods of time fills our minds with thoughts of adventure, exploration, and intrigue. However, our budgets have a way of undermining our daydreams of international travel. Unfortunately, the consensus today is that traveling is viewed as a costly luxury. Interestingly enough, there are a number of ways you can travel anywhere in the world and spend little if any money on lodging.

Before you start thinking that I have lost my mind, bear with me for a moment. I have traveled the globe extensively over the past several years and have saved a great deal of money by getting free accommodation at many of my target destinations. There are 6 ways that I have found to be very effective for gaining access to free accommodation and I have shared them with you in the following article.

1. Couch Surfing

The term “couch surfing” typically refers to sitting on your couch and surfing the internet on your laptop. However, it is also a method employed by travel hackers to find free lodging and accommodation when visiting different global destinations. Couch surfing involves being a guest at a variety of other people’s houses and utilizing more improvised sleeping options (e.g. sleeping on a homeowner’s couch).

Though CouchSurfing is the most popular option, there are several competitor sites worth a look, too.

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2. House Sitting

If there was ever an ideal way for a person to travel the world and get free accommodation in the process, “house sitting” is the way to go.

The basic premise behind this is reciprocity. In other words, you stay in a person’s home for maintenance and security purpose while they are traveling on vacation. It’s a win-win situation when you consider that the vacationers have peace of mind knowing that their home (and occasionally pet) is safe and secure while at the same time, you stay there free of charge. Additionally, you’ll save on food expenses as well.

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3. Home Exchanges or House Swapping

This is another great way to obtain free accommodation when traveling abroad. Basically, the two parties involved in the home exchange or house swapping format agree to live in each other’s homes with no exchange of money taking place.

The concept of house swapping dates back to the early 1950’s when people were looking for a more cost-effective format for travel accommodation. The idea eventually pioneered what has been entitled the “Collaborative Consumption Movement ” or “Shared Economy.”

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4. Using Loyalty Programs and Travel Points

The use of frequent flyer miles and rewards programs has become the norm for many travelers and vacationers today thanks to the increased use of the internet. Ironically, the same does not hold true when it comes to using these types of loyalty programs to take advantage of free  accommodation and many of the other perks involved with hotel stays.

This includes certain factors such as free breakfasts, free room upgrades, and so on. This is another great option for the travel hacker with the “never pay for your stay” mentality. Additionally, I have often found that the smaller hotel chains offer more of these freebies and perks than the larger ones.

5. Volunteering

Granted, you could pay a lot of money by volunteering to work in a variety of international destinations. But why would you do that when you could get free  accommodation (and even food) just as easily by volunteering your time? One of the first things that often come to mind is the concept of worldwide work on organic farms or WWOOFING as it is more commonly referred to.

However, there are a number of other volunteering-for-free-accommodation activities to participate in including:

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  • cooking at recreation centers or retreats
  • designing marketing plans
  • gardening and landscaping
  • milking farm animals
  • teaching conversational English

Trading some volunteer time for free accommodation will not only save you a great deal of money, it is culturally rewarding because it gives you a better feel for the local community that you are working in and provides you with an immersive lifestyle as well.

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6. Work Exchanges

Don’t confuse work exchanges with finding employment overseas, but there are literally dozens of ways to earn your lodging accommodation and save money in the process. With the right work exchange, you can trade your services and skills for free room and board in hundreds of international destinations.

Whether you’re interested in babysitting, construction work, ditch digging, or just about anything else, you could earn free accommodation by assisting families, farmers, or even social initiatives.

It’s All Possible!

One of the things I noticed as I’ve traveled the world is that most people feel like travel has to be expensive. That if you’re not paying an arm or a leg, then you must be staying in some low quality dive on the “wrong side of the tracks.”

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It’s simply not true, as these real life examples show:

Once you cut down your accommodation expenses you’ll have more fun for all the adventures and activities that make travel worthwhile in the first place. Now all you need to do it pick your favorite option and get started. Happy Travels!

Featured photo credit: Sarah Ackerman via flickr.com

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Last Updated on July 8, 2020

18 Benefits of Journaling That Will Change Your Life

18 Benefits of Journaling That Will Change Your Life

The act of writing in a journal often seems daunting or unnecessary to many people. Even authors who work on novels might shun the idea of daily diaries. What purpose does jotting down words on a regular basis do if not contributing to the next novel, play or song? I know from experience many benefits of journaling that I wish to share.

1. Understand Yourself Better

Though many people and even writers avoid keeping journals, I vow to do it more often. Not only do I desire to take up daily journaling but also I plan to do it with pen to paper.

Some of the benefits I’ve found from my more active days include finding myself in the sense of understanding what matters to me and what I want out of life. I’ve been incredibly fortunate to find a spouse who is my best friend and advocate in raising children. I attribute this and much more to what I learned about myself in keeping journals for years.

2. Keep Track of Small Changes

I’ll admit that I never got very far with my guitar lessons, but in writing in a journal, I have seen the ability to track small changes like those that come when you practice anything.

Those learning a musical instrument often fail to see the small improvements that come with regular practice. Writing won’t help you switch chords any faster, but it will help you to develop a better sense for language and grammar just by doing it.

3. Become Aware of What Matters

As you continue to write in a journal, following a stream-of-consciousness feel, you can look back on the topics that you chose to write about. Those issues and emotions that poured out of you will provide insight on to what matters most to you.

You may not even realize that you’re job is depressing you or that you want to spend more time with your kids until you look over your thoughts that you weren’t really thinking about.

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4. Boost Creativity

The idea that the brain and its neural activity across hemispheres encourages learning also shows up in increased creativity. Just like with learning an instrument, your increased activity will inspire your thoughts to connect and reconnect in different ways.

When I wrote in a journal, I often wrote poetry as well as just my thoughts as they came out. I started to hear poems more in my mind; so much so that I took to scrawling lines on napkins and finding metaphors in mundane activities.

You really are what you do, so writing helps grow more than being a writer. Writing boosts the way you communicate and structure language, which really is a creative process.

5. Represents Your Emotions in a Safe Environment

A journal is as private as it gets. You can lock it in a safe or tuck it under a pillow and no one will accidentally share it on social media or have an opportunity to “leave a comment.”

Write about your sorrow as much as your happiness and frustration and know that you don’t have to keep your emotions inside your body. You can put them on paper.

6. Process Life Experiences

When you take the time to look back over what you’ve written, be it a week or a year later, you will have the distance you need to more objectively interpret your raw feelings.

Everything from losing a job to losing a loved one can emerge in a new light for a fresh perspective. Figuring out how the benefits of journaling affect your perspective on life will create connection and increase creativity.

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7. Stress Relief

In combining the exercise inherent in fine motor coordination that comes from the act of writing with the emotional release of self expression, those who maintain a journal relieve stress.

Try it out. Go home and write about your day. Write about the traffic. Write about the coffee order the barista got wrong but you didn’t have time to change. See how you can physically purge some of that pent-up stress by putting it on paper.

8. Provide Direction

Though journaling is often conducted as an activity without much direction, it often provides direction.

One of the biggest benefits of journaling is that your chaotic thoughts merge to show a direction in which to head. Asking the right questions is the only way to achieve the best solutions, so look to your journal to find your way toward your next goal.

9. Solve Problems

Just as in practicing math problems, we all get better at finding hidden solutions through the act of processing.

Think of your next goal as X and solve your life problems by reading your journals as word problems. The benefit of journaling here is that you write, explore and process to recognize and then solve problems.

When life is too in-your-face, you have to step back to see reality. Living in the moment allows us to write in the moment and use that expression to solve problems.

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10. Find Relief From Fighting

Solving your problems only comes after time to process, recognize and strategize. Just as in the benefit of journaling where relief comes from the act of writing, relief from fighting comes when you decide to “sit this one out” and communicate one-way.

Fighting is only productive when the fighters care to communicate and find common ground. When the emotions are as high as the stress levels, writing will function as the best time out.

11. Find Meaning in Life

Journaling will show you why you are living, whether you are wallowing in things you wish to change or striving to make the changes. Your life will begin to take on new meaning and your own words will reveal the actions that got you where you are so that you can assess and pave a new path for your future.

12. Allow Yourself to Focus

Taking even a small amount of time out of every day will provide you with not only peace of mind but also increased focus. Taking a break to meditate in writing and journaling will sharpen your mental faculties.

13. Sharpen Your Spirituality

When we write, we allow all the energy and experiences to flow through us, which often provides further insight into our own spirituality. Even if your parents didn’t raise you to follow a specific religion, your thoughts will start to show you what you believe about the universe and your place in it.

14. Let the Past Go

I’ve mentioned a few examples where going back over your writing offers advice and direction, but the simply truth is that writing down our feelings can be the best way to let them go. We can choose to literally throw these pages away when they’re filled with negativity and hate.

15. Allow Freedom

Journaling is the perfect way to not only express yourself but to also experience the freedom of being who you are. Your books can stay private or you can publish them. Your freedom stems from your sense of self and your perception of your thoughts.

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16. Enhance Your Career

Again, the private act of pen-to-paper processing provides the benefits of journaling mentioned above, but you can also enhance your career when you take similar ideas and categorize, edit and publish them in an online blog.

Your thoughts will often be personal and express emotions, but another benefit of journaling is uncovering fresh ideas about your work.

17. Literally Explore Your Dreams

All the benefits I’ve mentioned explore ideas, thoughts and emotions, which is also what our dreams and nightmares do. Through writing down your dreams from the previous night, you can enhance your creativity as well as connect some of the metaphorical dots from the rest of your journal.

18. Catalog Your Life for Others

No one wants to think about dying, but we all die. Leaving a journal will act as a way to reconnect with family and friends left behind. The ideas you wish to keep personal while you process the life you’re living will serve to rekindle and inspire those who loved you through the process.

We consider our partners our life witnesses, but writing provides a tangible mark on the world.

Now that you’ve learned all the benefits of journaling, it’s time to start writing a journal:

Featured photo credit: Kelly Sikkema via unsplash.com

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