Plenty of places exist to grant one a good night’s sleep. Here are a few sites that can help assist with a place to stay for little or no cost.
— If you want to be more engulfed with the culture of a specific region or country, I highly recommend Couchsurfing. Couchsurfing allows one to encounter people from all over the world. You can ask them for advice about the area, culture, and vice versa. That is only skimming the surface. Couchsurfing was created to bring the distant people around the world together. Many surfers offer their homes for travelers to stay and any advice possible. This site is a gift to many travelers!!!!!! And should not be used for someone who is just being cheap or a bum. The Couchsurfing project is a community of travelers that help each other make life easier. So with this, I encourage fellow travelers to simply offer what they can. Cleaning, groceries, cooking, or whatever one can offer goes a long way. Remember, Couchsurfers are volunteering their home and item’s that they spent their own money on to provide strangers with a positive experience. Many surfers will take their guests to the hot spots and let them know the dos and don’ts of the area. The information the locals provide is priceless. Some of the most important things to know Couchsurfers have to offer.
— Hostelworld provides you with an ample amount of hostels and hotels. The best part about this site is that it’s rated by other travelers just like you and I. They also show photos, give detailed descriptions, tell you what each one has to offer, and a price. When reserving a hostel/hotel, you pay a small percentage ($1-$6) and then the rest in full upon arrival. Hostels are a great way to mingle with other travelers and book tours together. It is a smart idea because you can usually save money when you book as a group.
— Workaway offers hosts and helpers to connect across the globe. Hosts provide room and board in exchange for work or assistance on his/her estate. Hosts range from farmers and ranch owners to eco hotels willing to accommodate guests. Often helpers work four to five hours a day, with a day or two off, in exchange for three meals and a place to sleep. My experience with workaway has granted me a lifelong friend. My host was wonderful and went above and beyond to make sure I enjoyed and learned as much as possible from my stay. I learned how to sail, horseback ride and fly an airplane to name a few while off duty. I’ll admit the work I did was intense some days, but you have a great feeling of accomplishment at the end. Besides, I was working with many different kinds of animals and learning new skills, such as chain sawing and gardening. Lifelong lessons and memories were created with my experience that will always be cherished.
–Tripadvisor is a helpful and resourceful tool for all types of experiences while traveling; including accommodation, food, entertainment, and tours as well.
The following review was written by Jose Merlos (contact info below)
The benefit of using warmshowers.org for a traveling cyclist: more than having a place where to spend the night, sometimes a nice meal, and obviously a warm shower it is the opportunity to exchange stories from the road with other cyclists, the chance to learn something about the area you are passing through or something about life in general, people that have something in common with you; the courage to embark on a journey that could last from a few days to months and sometimes years. My experience with warmshowers.org has been more than great; phenomenal is a better word to describe this service. After a long day on the bicycle, exposed to the elements, dangers on the road and the vulnerability to traffic you find yourself in desperate need of a place where you can sit back, relax and catch a break from sometimes a hectic routine. Warmshowers.org offers that and much more, most of the hosts registered on this site are understanding about the needs a traveling cyclist, a much wanted warm welcoming and great hospitality.
After your stay with a hosts, you not only leave with clean clothes and a full stomach (where applicable) depending on the services the host may offer, you leave with a better perspective on the people you just met, it is a learning experience about the community of touring bicyclists. Sometimes friendships are created through this great site, for me as I travel through the lower 48 states of the U.S. warmshowers.org has been a positive window to fully experience the hospitality of this beautiful country. Members from this site are also registered in other countries, so if you find yourself on a journey that covers more than one country, do not hesitate to try something different, become a member on warmshowers.org and let the adventure begging.
Jose Merlos—Transcontinental Cyclist Extraordinaire. Accomplishing the lower 48 states of the U.S. from March 2011 to October 2012.