For those budget travellers out there, apart from the usual booking of hotels and hostels like Booking.com, Hotels.com, Jalan, Agoda, Trivago.com and Marriott, did you know that there are actually other options for your accommodations? Listed below are some websites that not only provides you a place to stay, you could also have the opportunity to make new friends from all over the world and create awesome memories:
Couchsurfing is a website that provides a platform to connect people from all the world, where members get to stay as a guest at someone’s home, host travellers, meet other members, or join an event. This concept helps travellers to save money and meet locals from their travel destinations. Some hosts even bring the travellers around the city as a tour guide, giving the traveller a more in depth view of the lives of a local.
2. Work Exhange:
Workaway, HelpX and Wwoof offers travelers accommodation in exchange with volunteer work. Travellers can select job types according to their preference, and working hours could also be arranged according to the traveller’s schedule. These kind of programs link volunteers with local business owners (farmers, artists, surfers etc) to promote cultural and educational experiences based on trust and non-monetary exchange, thereby helping to build a sustainable, global community.
3. Short-term Rentals
Short-term rental is just like a hotel, just that the house is privately owned by local. Airbnb, one of the largest short-term rental platforms, helps locals to rent their houses or vacant rooms to travellers and earn side income. Some hotel owners also use the online platform to engage their business. The major difference between short-terms rental and hotel booking websites is that travellers could often rent a house with cheaper rate from short-terms rental. Other than Airbnb, they are HomeAway , Vrbo, HouseTrip and Windu.
Most of them are only available in westerns countries like USA, Australia and Europe. It is still not common in Asia due to the difference in culture. Security issues is still the main concern for home exchange (Stay4free, HomeExchange), home sitting and pet sitting (TrustedHousesitters). However, if any travellers are planning for a trip to these countries, it is important to note that farm stays (Farm Stay UK, Farm Stay US and Farm Stay Camping Australia) are a great way to recharge the batteries, change the pace a bit, and relieve yourself from the hustle an bustle of city life. Breathe in the fresh air, stay in scenic cottages, enjoy the misty mornings an the long evenings and share special times with family and friends with the activities that these accommodations have to offer. Moreover, The Warm Showers is a cyclist organization which helps cyclists to solve accommodation issues while cycling over different countries.
Leasany strongly recommends travellers to try and experience Couchsurfing and Work Exchange. They are easier ways for travellers to meet friendly locals. They are generally helpful from the heart as both sites do not involve any financial exchange. However, please do not expect much from Couchsurfing and Work Exchange as they are both free of charge. The experience in Couchsurfing and Work Exchange will surely be a special and unforgettable experience.