Get to the heart of the local scene with these sharing economy platforms. From staying in penthouse overlooking the church domes of Cuenca, Ecuador to harvesting olives in exchange for room and board in Tuscany, these resources are your ticket to affordable lodging and cultural immersion.
Renting a local’s home—be it a mansion or a spare room– is becoming wildly popular thanks to alternative lodging sites like, Airbnb.com. Opt for a private room within a home for lower prices and unparalleled local interaction.
Airbnb ($35 credit)
Volunteer at a yoga retreat, cooking school, language center, wildlife sanctuary, or organic farm. Trade a few hours of your time for room, board, and an invitation into the community.
Between Couchsurfing, TrustRoots, and BeWelcome there are over 10 million people across 200,000 cities involved in this travel community. Join with an open-mind and an equally giving spirit (host if you can), and you will see it’s not about “free,” it’s about trust, breaking down barriers, and making friends around the world.
Award Travel 101 Resources
Return to main Free Flights & Lodging page for more tips on lodging, flights, and immersive travel experiences.