Free accommodation around the world for freelance translators (but not only)
Free accommodation for nomad translators
Whether you are a digital nomad, travelling the world as a freelance translator or just want to live abroad for a while, you can find free accommodation in every country and I am not talking about park benches or homeless shelters.
Stay with friends
The easiest and safest way to find a free place for the night is to stay with friends or friends of friends. The more you travel the bigger will be your network.
Be an excellent guest – keep your room or sleeping place tidy, offer to clean the house, cook a meal from your region or country, share some travel anecdotes, help your host to improve his English and learn more about your country. Don’t be a freeloader!
Become a host yourself. Invite friends to stay with you. If you live in a shoebox and don’t own a couch, offer to show friends your home city, have a meal together and hook them up with your friends. Your network will expand rapidly.
You do not have any friends?
Make new ones.
Just hang around alternative bars, clubs, cafes, theatres, art galleries, farmer’s markets, vegan restaurants or health food stores with your backpack. It will take less than 10 min before you have the first invite to spend the night with somebody. If you are lucky your new friend will ask his friends to host you as well. If language barriers are an issue, try the expat and gringo hangouts.
There are also websites where hosts offer a couch, warm shower or a bed for free.
CouchSurfing is the most well know, but after the non-profit initiative turned into a for-profit company, many founding members left the website and started their own initiatives. Now CouchSurfing has millions of users looking for a free place but there are only few hosts.
Therefore, I recommend you also have a look at the many alternative sites:
- The Hospitality Club
- Global Freeloaders
- Warm Showers (and accommodation for cyclists)
- TravelHostDate (travel dating community)
- TravBuddy (Find travel buddies and locals)
In order to increase your changes to stay with a host, fill out your profile as detailed as possible, add a few pictures and verify your account. This helps to build trust among hosts and guests.
Staying with a host is perfect for people who want to learn or improve the language of the host and his culture. It is less suitable for freelancers who need to work a lot while staying with their host.
Couch surfing is usually also only possible for short-term stays. But in many places you can hop from one host to the next and really get to know a city or place through its people.
Things to keep in mind
Lack of privacy and free time can be an issue. Imagine you have to finish a translation but your host wants to show you his city. It would be rude to decline his offer.
Most hosts want to spend as much time as possible with you, cooking and eating together while listening to your travel stories and practising their English and other foreign languages. They want to learn more about your culture and share their culture with you. I usually reserve the evening for my host. In the morning I get up early and finish my work so I’m available for sightseeing. If you can stay for more than a night than your “free time” increases because your host knows you already and is busy working, studying or shopping. But sometimes hosts are with you every waking moment which can become a little bit too much. I also had the opposite – hosts giving me their keys to the apartment and going to visit a relative for the weekend. It is best to mention to your host, before you arrive, that you are a freelancer and need some time for yourself in order to work. If they do not understand than it is best to find another host.
In my next post I will give you some advice about how to stay safe while couch surfing.