Next to flights, accommodation can be one of the most significant components of your travel costs.
Over the years, we’ve stayed in everything from 5-star hotels to caves and tree houses. We’ve camped A LOT and, more recently, stayed in luxury houses while house and pet sitting.
On this page, you will find resources, tools, and links to help you find the best value accommodation of every type in every destination, including FREE stays.
Section 1 – Provides a selection of resources, including links to our preferred booking engines.
Section 2 – Links to our other posts and pages relevant to booking flights and flying.
Of course, resources such as websites, apps, and booking platforms, constantly evolve.
We try to keep up, but please tell us if you know of products, services, and tools you think are superior to those mentioned. We’re always excited to learn about and test new things.
Section 1 – Accommodation Resources
Our favorite Hotel Accommodation Booking Platforms at the moment.
- WayAway – We’ve made most of our recent accommodation bookings through Booking.com via the WayAway PLUS platform. We get all the benefits of our Bookings account PLUS cashback. They’re awesome! Read the full review HERE.
- Booking.com – if you don’t want to use WayAway (for reasons I can’t fathom), then use Booking.com directly. We have never had an issue with them in more than a decade.
- Agoda – Occasionally, a property we find on Google Maps isn’t on Booking.com, especially in Asia. In that case, I head to Agoda to see if they are there. I also get push notifications for coupons that sometimes make a listing cheaper. I’ve never had an issue with the platform in over a decade, and I have used customer support which turned out in my favor.
- Hostelworld – We don’t stay in hostels very often anymore. But when we do, I usually book via Hostelworld for the largest range.
- Airbnb – We are not as big of a fan of Airbnb as before (for too many reasons to go into here.) However, it’s often the best option for apartments and guesthouses in smaller places, especially with bikes. So we usually have at least a couple of stays a year. Customer support is getting better.
- Homestay – Because we’re not as enamored of Airbnb as we used to be, we’re now looking at alternatives. Homestay seems to reflect many of the original values of the sharing economy. We’ll check it out more thoroughly and provide an update when we do.
It wasn’t that easy though when we had the camper van years ago, especially with no internet.
Here are a few sites and apps we’ve used over the years and a couple we jsut discovered as part of planning for our next trip.
- HipCamp – Quite new. It as regular campsite but is also a bit like Airbnb where people are hosts. Lots of sites in North America, and it seems to have expanded to the UK and parts of Europe, Australia and NZ. It’s FREE to join and has a neat referral program – Here’s $10 credit towards your first booking.
- Caravan and Camping Club – Discounts for members, member-only sites, and affiliations with European sites. We stayed at many of their locations over the years. Well worth the membership if you intend to camp for more than a week a year.
- Caravan and Motorhome Club – the main competition to the one above.
- Recreation.gov – We used a lot of government campsites in the US. This is a good place to start. The various Passes are excellent value if you visit more than two national parks.
- Wiki Camps US – We extensively used the Australian site for our Trans Australia ride. It shows free and paid sites.
Australia & NZ
- Wiki Camps Australia – We’ve used this site extensively for camping in Australia. It has Australia’s largest database of campgrounds, caravan parks, backpacker hostels, points of interest, dump stations, visitor information centers, water taps, toilets, showers, and more.
- Camp Australia-Wide – Another site with extensive listings.
- CamperMate – Not used this one but it looks to have an extensive list of sites and info.
Let us know you’re favorite campsite booking sites so we can add them to the list.
Warmshowers.org – Hosting of touring cyclists by cyclists. We’ve used Warm showers extensively when bicycle touring. It’s not just about free accommodation. We’ve made a lot of good friends along the way.
We look forward to a time when we have the opportunity to host other cyclists and return the hospitality.
Couchsurfing – Meet and stay with locals all over the world. We’ve never done this, and I don’t think we ever will. We’ve read a few horror stories but also know some fabulous Couchsurfing hosts. So it can be a good option, especially for solo travelers, if you do your due diligence.
WWOOF – Not strictly free, as you have to give something in exchange. As a WWOOFer, you will participate in the daily life of your host, help on the farm, learn about sustainability, experience a new culture, meet new people, and receive free room and board during your stay.
WorkAway – Volunteer around the world in exchange for board and accommodation.
House and Pet Sitting – We do this often with so many benefits. Check out the resources page here for everything you need to know.
House Swap – If you have a home (we don’t), swapping properties can be a great way to explore new destinations with no accommodation costs.
Disclosure: Note that some of the links and advertisements and links, on this page (such as those to WayAway) lead to products from our partners. If you buy something after using those links, we may earn a small commission from the sale. However, you have our assurance that you won’t pay any more than you would by buying directly from their site. And we promise to only link to products or companies we’ve used personally, been recommended by trusted family, friends, or travel buddies, or researched thoroughly before adding them to the list. You may also see other links served to you by Google. These will display products that Google thinks you want to see. If you click on those advertisements, we also get paid a small (minuscule) amount. If you want to know more about how you help to fund our travels without costing you a cent – then CLICK THIS LINK for a more comprehensive explanation.