Location: Geelong, Victoria
Making your money last longer whilst you’re traveling sounds like a bit of an oxymoron. No not you! What I’m saying is that saving money whilst you’re traveling isn’t a counterintuitive notion, and it’s not about keeping your purse strings tighter than what they already are. If you can aim to save money on the big things that eat up most of your budget like accommodation, then who knows, that one month trip might stretch into three!
In a previous article I wrote about the question I get asked the most: ‘How do I afford to travel so much?’, in which I gave a very brief overview on the different ways you can save money in the lead up to your travels. This time around, I write this as someone who is currently on the road and looking to save as much money as possible so that I can extend my travels a little bit longer.
I never thought the stories of working for your accommodation were actually true, but they are! After meeting a pair of English travelers in Japan who had been traveling for over two years continuously without taking on any form of full time work, their secret was hostel work. A lot of hostels do in fact offer accommodation and access to facilities in exchange for a few hours of work. The work will vary depending on what they need but includes house keeping, cleaning, laundry, front desk work, and gardening.
We have already used this option twice on our current travels through a very cold and wintery Victoria, and so far we have done photographic work for one hostel, and house keeping and laundry work for another. Both hostels required no more than two hours of work a day, however, this option is ideally suited to those who don’t mind getting their hands dirty, and are looking to stay put in a place for longer than a few weeks as most hostels prefer long stay staff (e.g. a month or more). Sometimes this can lead to paid work at the hostel, especially if you can learn front desk skills, and if you are staying for a while you can also find a paid job in the local town to supplement your travels. See you can not only save money, but you can also make money while you’re traveling!
If you think that people wouldn’t want a stranger looking after their home and pets, surprisingly, then you’d be very wrong! Siu On and I signed up with Aussie House Sitters and after only two weeks had managed to line up three house sitting gigs for the next two months. How it works is that you sign up and pay a fee to access a list of people looking for a sitter, and when you find one that is suitable you email them and then if they are happy with you, you get a sit! The only downside is that we spent many days emailing dozens and dozens of people about house sits, and then coordinating time in between to get to the location whilst making sure we hadn’t doubled booked ourselves was a headache at times; however, if you’re organized it shouldn’t be too much of a hassle.
Our first house sit was a very successful one, with the house needing very little in the way of cleaning and gardening, and the pets were absolutely adorable, it was hard to leave when the owner returned! The best part about this set up is that it usually costs you only what you eat, as the home owner continues to pay the bills on the place, and you get access to a kitchen, bathroom, laundry and it also allows you to explore a place longer.
House sits differ in lengths and needs and the sign up fee is made back within the first few days of the house sit, so you do actually save a lot on accommodation and if you pick your location right, you can still do day trips and explore the area.
This is one I had always been too scared to try especially because I’m pretty uptight about my personal safety, and hearing the odd story of sleazy hosts who taking advantage of naive travelers was enough to put me off. However on this trip, we tried it out in a very controlled and safe environment with one of Siu On’s friend’s. I signed us up for free on the website, and put in a request with’s Siu On’s friend who hosted us in his spare room for a few nights. He had done couch surfing all through Europe and never had a problem with it, and so persuaded us to try it as he found it to be a great way to find out local knowledge about a place.
The only downside we’ve found with couch surfing has been the difficulty in finding people who are willing to host a couple, and I can understand that your dwelling type may not be conducive for multiple guests, but we’ll keep checking the site incase there is an opportunity to try it again.
Hopefully these three ways to save on accommodation, that we’ve tried out ourselves, will help you extend the life of your holiday! And if you need any more inspiration you can follow us on Instagram (@thetravelleur), or leave us a comment over on our Facebook page – we’d love to hear from you!
All photographs by Jelena Stipanicev except final photo by Auyeung Photography.