Sleeping in a local house for free or almost free is one of the best ways to travel cheaply and meet the locals. Here is the list of trusted sites to stay with the locals.
Sleeping in a local house for a low price
Airbnb – the American must-have
AirBnb is nowadays more and more known throughout the world. It allows travellers and holidaymakers to sleep in a private home for a much cheaper price than in a hotel or a traditional rental. Having tested it last year during a stay in New York and Quebec, I can say that the site is easy to use and that the ads are serious. The quality of the hosting is regularly checked by the site thanks to the opinions left by the customers.
BedyCasa – the European outsider
Bedycasa offers the same type of services as AirBnB. If it is older, it is still a little less known. However, the quality of service is just as qualitative. To discover absolutely. With a slightly more roots-oriented spirit than AirBnB, Bedycasa often attracts travellers and backpackers who want to sleep in a private home more than mass holidaymakers.
Home exchange – Home swapping
There are several sites that allow you to place an ad to exchange your home with other travellers. But the most famous is undoubtedly Home Exchange (TrocMaison in French version).
On Home Exchange, the principle is simple: you create an ad for your house, you search for a house in the country where you want to travel and you exchange houses between the two families. However, the service is not free: a subscription of $120 per year is required. But thanks to this rate, you have access to more than 55,000 homes in more than 150 countries! And your accommodation on site will therefore be free of charge.
So if you are not afraid to welcome people into your home when you are not there, choose Home Exchange!
Gamping – for camping enthusiasts
Do you prefer your Quechua tent to a good hard roof? No worries, Gamping offers to put you in touch with private individuals to plant your sardines in their garden. You can enjoy the evenings around the fire but in your hosts’ garden. I love the idea, I will have to try!
Sleeping in a local house for free
New trend since a few months, I propose you nightswapping, bartering nights of accommodation! The principle is to save nights at the inhabitant’s house by accommodating visitors and travellers yourself. Totally free and great! To get an overview of how it works, you can go to the major Nightswapping site (you earn free nights when you register).
By capitalizing on nights (so by staying yourself before), you can then use them as you wish all year round to go on a trip. All you have to do is ask other nightswappers if they can accommodate you during your trip. If so, hop on! Free hosting is yours!
There are also 2 very well known sites allowing you to stay with the habitant for free, which I invite you to discover if you don’t know them.
Couchsurfing is probably the most famous in the world. The concept is to connect people who want to travel with others who want to host people from all over the world. More than hosting, it is first of all sharing that is highlighted on the site. The mind is good-natured, open and based on the willingness to meet new people for many exchanges. Today there are 6 million members on Couchsurfing. A must!
Hospitality Club was born in Germany thanks to several students. The idea was to use the Internet to bring together travellers from all over the world and strengthen intercultural exchanges in order to promote peace and ecology in the world. This beautiful utopia is now followed by hundreds of thousands of hosts and travellers who host each other and discover each other with happiness. And you?
Not yet arrived but very soon, HostHelp offers hosting in return for a contribution of know-how. Basically, we learn by accommodating travellers and/or we find a roof for free against a little teaching of what we know how to do. I love the idea so I put it on this list. However, you will also have to wait a little while before you can see this exchange service online.
In addition to the large commercial hosting sites, these alternative opportunities will delight all those seeking contact with others, enriching discovery and open-mindedness. Quite often you will have unforgettable experiences and you will even make new friends!