I've been living without a permanent home for nearly 15 months. During this time, I paid about $180/€150 for accommodation in total. Yes - this was all I spent on places I slept in during an entire year. Most of the nights were free, and most of them - though I love camping outdoors as well - were spent in cozy homes.
There are several services I've been using to make this possible.
People go away on vacation (or for any other reason), I live in their place while taking care of their dogs/cats/rabbits. They can travel without worries, I get new furry friends and my own home.
I find housesits through Trusted Housesitters. Yearly membership costs $130/€110, but you can get 20% off if you use the link below to join.
*Other similar services include Mind My House, Nomador and more. It's also a good idea to look for location specific Facebook groups if you want to find sits in a certain area.
Disclaimer: If you use my link to subscribe, I'll get two free months added to my current membership.
My first time housesitting abroad consisted of taking care of these three cuties in the little village of Luthermuir, Scotland
The options of volunteering in exchange for accommodation (and often food) are endless. Stay with families, couples, single people or communities, help with animals, crafts, computers, children
or gardening, live in cities, villages, deserts or yoga resorts...
Join Workaway for various options all around the world, which include many pictures and references that can help you choose your adventure (yearly membership costs $35/€30 for singles, and $45/€36 for couples if you choose to travel and volunteer together).
*Two other similar websites I haven't tried myself yet are Worldpackers and HelpX.
Disclaimer: If you use my link to join, I'll get three additional membership months for free.
I stayed with a family in Rohrbach, Switzerland for a month. During this time I played with the children, cooked and helped renovate the big wooden house. Here I was cycling through the fields to the supermarket in the next town.
In Corris, Wales, I did a short Workaway at a craft shop where recycled wood is used to create furniture and art. I had the chance to learn some pyrography and created a few little souvenirs like this one, which I later gave to drivers who picked me up as a thank-you gift.
My stay in Rohrbach coincided with Advent (the month before Christmas), so I got to participate in some Christmasy activities such as walking around this market in Huttwil, making candles and walking around a candle-lit lake on a freezing night
This community is full of people who love meeting and hosting travelers, as well as other travelers who want to hang out together. I met many new friends through Couchsurfing, and even attended my hosts' wedding.
You can use Couchsurfing for free and message up to 10 new people/week, or verify for $60/€70
(per year) and send as many messages as you want.
*Other similar services include Trustroots, BeWelcome and Warm Showers (free accommodation for cyclists).
A random house in Ioannina, Greece. I stayed in this rainy town during my journey to complete 20,000 km of hitchhiking around Europe. My hosts were a couple who work with refugees (there are many camps in Greece nowadays) and I learned a lot about the situation from them and from their coworkers.
A waterfall near Bethesda, Wales
Christmas decorations in Volos, Greece
The Maas river in Maastricht, the Netherlands
Keep in mind that you can explore these websites without paying anything at all. I'd recommend exploring them to see if there are enough listings you might be interesting in, and registering as close to your departure date as you can (while still leaving time to arrange sits, workaways or stays) in order to be able to enjoy the full membership year.
Any questions about housesitting, volunteering or couchsurfing? Ask me!