Today marks a rather interesting milestone for me. I have officially travelled for 10 months without paying for a single night of accommodation! Go me. Here’s how I’ve done it.
1. I’ve abused my friends and family.
The great thing about travel is that you meet a ton of people from all sorts of different countries, many of which you will probably want to visit one day. The great thing about being a human is that you’ve automatically got a whole network of family, and if you’re lucky, some of them will be spread out around the world, too. The great thing about having no conscience is that you can abuse these family members and new friends when you’re on the road. Bonus: If you play your cards right, they won’t even realize you’re abusing them. ;)
2. I travel on overnight trains/buses/ferries whenever I can.
Overnight buses generally suck. They do. But overnight trains and ferries have both been excellent in my experience. I take them whenever I can, because it means no accommodation costs and I’ll be spending the money on transportation anyway, so why not do it when I’m sleeping?
3. I’ve been couchsurfing like it’s my job.
For me, couchsurfing is not only an excellent way to save money while you’re travelling, it’s also perhaps the best way to meet and interact with locals of the country you’re visiting. I’ve had some fantastic experiences couchsurfing, and made some life-long friends in the process, too. (www.couchsurfing.com)
4. I have an insatiable love of airports, and sleep in them whenever I can.
I don’t know what it is, but if you like to travel, you probably get this. I love the hustle and the bustle of airports, and I find the constant influx and outflux of people jetting off to different destinations to be absolutely fascinating. So if there’s a night when couchsurfing fails, or when I don’t have family or friends to abuse in the region, I find the nearest airport in the area (a bonus is that there are nearly always airport buses or some sort of transportation available from city centres) and find a floorspace or a chair and get comfortable for the night. (www.sleepinginairports.com) I’ve also been known to sleep in train stations, but those are the worst. To be avoided whenever possible! ;)
5. I find jobs that pay for my room and board.
Let’s face it. It’s not all fun and games when you want to stay on the road for a long time – and unless you’re wonderfully self-employed and location-independent (something I hope to be one day!), you’ve got to stop and work here and there, too. The job I had from March-August in Korea, and my upcoming job in Turkey both provide furnished apartments. When you’ve tired of sleeping in airports and exhausted all your family and friends, this helps. A lot.
--> And to all you wonderful people who have housed my sorry ass over the last ten months: thank you, thank you, THANK YOU. You’re the greatest. I don’t know what I’d do without you. Probably be broke and sleeping in a ditch somewhere. ;) So in that respect, thanks for saving my life. :)