Digital Nomad Guide to cut down costs on accommodation

If you are often on the move, accommodation probably represents the largest part of your expenses.

For Digital Nomads, long term backpackers, or simply for those going on vacation, here are my tips that can make you save big time on places to stay.

Couch Surfing

You probably want to play nice and give away some gift to the generous hosts letting you in their own space for no money in return, but other than that it would cost you nothing to go down that route.

Other social platforms of this type exist, but is without doubt the most popular one.

Join in, post a message with your needs. Members willing to let you sleep on their sofa or even their spare bedroom for free will get back to you.


  • Free.
  • Good for socialising with a locals.
  • Join a vibrant community of generous hosts.


  • Hit & miss — being free, the demand is obviously higher than the offer.
  • Hosts might not honour their offer, no contract there. Make sure to have a plan B.
  • Short stays.
  • The unknown. Some hosts have a very clean and comfortable place, but in many cases it’s just a place to crash. Don’t have high expectations.

Tips: Make sure to fill in your profile with much information about you. Put the best picture of yourself, you don’t want to look like a freak or some anonymous user. It’s all about trust, hosts will probably ignore you if they don’t totally feel comfortable letting you in their home.

Social groups

It’s a bit similar to couch surfing, but here the idea is to join a community of expats or hobbyists — and get a favour from them: Stay at their place.

It goes from free to sharing their rental costs, here is the two most effective online communities to join:

Free and premium plans to join — it’s probably the largest online forum for expats. Monthly events take place where professionals meet in a public venue to connect.

Free to join. Meetup is a huge platform for hobbyists, you will find groups to join and share your love for particular activities.

By doing so, you will get to meet locals or travellers like you, socialise and get opportunities to share their place.


  • Free or cheap.
  • Fun, connect with people.
  • Less risky than Couch Surfing.


  • Requires time and efforts.
  • Need to meet people in person and socialise with members .
  • Does not work well in small cities.
  • Does not work if you hop to new places frequently and never come back.

Tips: Combine this approach with others form of accommodation— once you have a place to stay in a given city, join as many groups as possible and start socialising. Always throw into conversations the fact that you need a place to stay, and be clear you are willing to share certain costs or give something in exchange (lessons, cooking, whatever you have to give in return).


Usually non-profit, you can find organisations that need extra hands. Education centres, farms and hostels near you are probably offering free accommodation in exchange of your time.


  • Stable stay.
  • Socialise with both locals and foreigners.
  • Fun to help communities.


  • Commitment to a fixed length program
  • Commitment to working hours.
  • Usually needs planned in advance.
  • Quality of accommodation varies.

Tips or decent tricks I have missed? Comment to share ideas to save on accommodation costs.