Maybe you’re a self-professed planner that likes to have everything planned and sorted in advance, before you embark on any trip. Maybe you’re more of a go-with-the-flow traveller that loves the trill of not knowing where you will end up and what you’ll experience. One thing that every traveller will eventually need to figure out; is where to sleep.
A great way to save some money is by staying with people instead of booking into hotels and hostels. That’s what my sister and I did on our last travel. We contacted family and friends that we knew, and asked if they would be home and have space for us. It can never hurt to ask, the worst that can happen is they say no and then you’ve lost nothing. The great thing is that you get to spend some time with people you may not have seen in a while, and get re-acquainted.
You don’t know anyone where you’re going? Then couch-surfing (or similar services with other names) is a good option, and one we used when travelling to Belgrade and Budapest. I’ll probably get around to write a blog about my experience with that and advice. The site also have some advice about how to figure out how to best use the service.
So why stay with someone rather than have your own space? First of you get to meet people, people who actually live where you want to visit. They likely have a lot of information about the place that you can use. Good places to eat, places worth seeing, which places are just touristy and which are more local, how to get around cheap (if you don’t plan on walking everywhere), and unknown hidden gems worth experiencing. The beauty of it being, you don’t necessarily have to follow their suggestions. You may also end up with your personal guide, who can show you around. Let’s agree, some places are just easier to navigate than others (which can be part of the experince), so if there’s a place you really want to go, they can get you there. Another nice thing is that there’s a kitchen, which you can often use and cook your own food. That way you don’t have to eat out all the time.
Maybe you’re considering bringing your tent along for a trip. I grew up spending many of my summer holidays camping in Europe. I love camping and the camping-vibe. Waking up in a tent that’s just too warm to stay in and forcing you out and exploring the day. Sitting in the evening with a hot beverage and read, talk or play cards by torchlight. Camping sites still cost and depending on where you end up, some more than others though. I still haven’t convinced anyone yet to go travel with me a summer and just plonk down our tent wherever we find ourselves in the middle of nowhere. Sweden have a concept called Allmansrätten, or “Every Man’s Right”, which means you can camp more or less anywhere. If you’re interested in knowing more, you should read this. Norway and Finland have a similar philosophy too.
If you live far from Scandinavia and don’t have plans of making that journey any time soon, I recently found a website that may interest you. It’s called Campinmygarden, and is what it says. I must admit I haven’t gotten around to trying it out yet, but would love to hear from people who have. Basically it’s a bit like the camping version of couch-surfing. You contact people about camping on their property, and you can read what facilities there are. It only started in 2011 and is therefore still relatively new, but I think it has potential. The UK and Netherlands seem to be the two that have the most options at the moment, but that can be changed.
Maybe you don’t have the opportunity to travel much at the moment, but you could always host a traveller.
So guess this was my first “proper” post. Still getting the hang of how I get all the things in my head down in writing. In a coherent manner. But I would love to hear if you’ve used the options I mentioned, or you have experience with other online/app services.