This is a guest from by Emmalee of Red Head Dating Theory, which has explicit, adult-only content.
In less than a week I will be embarking on a long-awaited San Francisco vacation with my boyfriend. Traveling can get very expensive and the small costs can quickly add up. There are plenty of ways to travel for little or no money at all.
House swapping and sitting are great ways to travel somewhere new, while not spending a dime on a place to stay. HouseCarers.com is a great Web site to find a house sitter or an opportunity to house sit. An added bonus if you need your house to be watched this Web site also offers additional pet sitting. HomeExchange.com is meant for families looking to swap houses as a vacation. A membership is required, but those who pay may be serious and safe for swapping.
If you are willing to work for a place to stay, there are plenty of farms that will exchange some work for lodging. WWOOF is an organization that matches people willing to volunteer on organic farms with people willing to provide food and accommodation in exchange. Other organizations like SERVAS International and GrowFood.org attempt to connect people looking to change the world in exchange for accommodations.
If you do not own a home or are not planning on staying in one place too long, some Web sites offer a place for you to crash, as long as there is an offer exchanged. My favorite Web site, Couchsurfing.com allows people to travel all over the world and stay on another surfer’s couch for the small price of opening your home to them for a visit. This non-profit organization’s purpose is to making it more accessible for people to travel the world and exchange experiences. GlobalFreeloaders.org is another organization dedicated to bringing people together while saving money.
You may ask, is this or house swapping safe? Most of the Web sites have an “educate yourself” policy that leaves it up to traveler to contact the people individually to decide if they are safe. Unfortunately, there is no way to check everyone’s background, especially when most of the Web sites are free, but every Web site does have an FAQ page explaining ways to ensure your safety.
These Web sites are dedicated to the progression of free travel and help for those who vacation on a budget. Although I will not be couch surfing in San Francisco, I booked the trip through Travelocity which saved me $350, a win-win for everyone.