Blog Marketing

Travel For Free: This is How You Pay $0 for Your Next Holiday Accommodation17 min read

How to travel for free (FULL guide)
How to travel for free

I paid $0 for my last holiday accommodation.

(In words — ZERO dollars.)

And the holiday before… Even the one before that…

And so on over the last 2 and a half years…

I literally have no accommodation costs — FREE stay.

(And it’s not a budget travel such as CouchSurfing or any other apartment-sharing platform.)

You actually get accommodation similar to what you typically get at or

With the full comfort and the entire house/apartment to yourself (some houses have a jacuzzi and a swimming pool).

And guess what?

It’s free, and everyone can do it.

When my girlfriend told me about this platform, I could not believe it… (Nor will you.)

But then, I put two and two together…

And the way I look at vacations has changed completely ever since.

Let me tell you more.

(You probably expect some cheap-flight hack or loyalty programs, but it’s not that.)

How much goes out of your pocket every holiday?

Vacation costs per state (Credits: BusinessInsider)

An average person (from the US) spends $1,979 on a summer holiday alone (on average).

If you add the winter season and holiday/autumn brake there, this could go up to $10,000 a year.

Of course, if you go with kids and/or a partner, there will be “a bigger hole” in your pocket.

To sum that up…

Over your lifetime, you will spend $500,000+ on holidays…

But what if I told you you can avoid 73% of those costs?

(The accommodation (lodging) costs are typically 70 – 80% of the total spent…)

Why not save that money for something more practical?

(While still enjoying the hot sand under your feet or the marvelous mountain view at a ski resort.)


Here is how…

The free accommodation platform

The platform I will share with you is similar to Booking or Airbnb (at first sight).

(It’s a catalog where you browse available homes based on the destination for the desired dates.)

But what’s so special about it, then?

Well, you don’t pay any money for the accommodation listed on the platform (there are 450,000+ houses to choose from all over the globe).

Come on… Who gives anything for free?

It’s very simple…

You let others stay at your house while you are in their house (it’s a sort of exchange).

All right, all right.

But what if you cannot agree on the dates or if you don’t want to necessarily go to their house at the same period (perhaps you are not interested in the location)?

You can still accommodate the guests to your house and earn points that you can spend later on the platform and get any other house you want (at any location and any date you choose).

(So yes, these points serve as the platform currency.)

The best part?

Everyone can join and start looking for the next accommodation totally FREE.

Here are some exchanges I completed recently (I have been to France, Cyprus, Austria…).

My recent free vacations

Guess how much I paid for these?

Zero dollars (I like saying this).

So, travelers, listen up!

The platform is called HomeExchange.

Click here to head over to HomeExchange and hit the orange “Sign up” button from the menu to travel for free

** If you use the invite link I shared, you will also get EXTRA 250 guest points for your next vacation! (You are welcome.)

Affiliate disclosure: If you sign up through the links in the post, my HE account might get some free points (at no cost to you). (I will use those to travel even more!)

How does it work?

Let me tell you how to get started quickly.

(I am sure you will love the platform after a while because you will travel literally for free).

  1. Create a free account by clicking here and hitting the orange “Sign up” button from the menu (it’s pretty much a standard signup form as anywhere else).
  2. Complete your HomeExchange profile (add photos, personal details, and confirm your identity) to add credibility and appeal better to others (no one likes default avatars) — see my profile & consider adding me as a friend.
  3. Receive 1,250 Guest Points for free (welcome gift by HomeExchange) to get some head-start for your first exchange.
  4. Add a listing of your own house so that others can find you quickly and request the exchange — click here to add your property.
  5. Start browsing for free accommodation for your next holiday — there are 450,000 homes available in 187 countries to choose from.
  6. Request the exchange by writing a message to the homeowner where you briefly introduce yourself and tell them what dates you want to stay in their house.
  7. Once the owners accept your request, you can “finalize” the exchange (which concludes and “seals the deal”).

One important note here

Account creation, home listing, and home searching are entirely free.

This means you can start looking for the ideal home for your next vacation right after you complete the free registration.

However, before you “finalize” the exchange, you must buy a membership at HomeExchange that costs $175 per year.

Remember, this is a one-off payment, and you can have as many exchanges as you wish afterward (the membership renews after 1 year, on your request).

If you ask me, this is a fair game — HomeExchange already gives you 1,250 points to get started once you complete the steps above (+ much more).

Even though you must buy the membership and pay $175, you can immediately use the guest points (1,250 points is more than enough for a 7-day holiday to any destination you can think of).

So, you are already saving money.

(And that’s not all — for the membership price you pay, HE also guarantees the safety of your house (and you as a traveler) with the maximum amount of $1,000,000 should something goes wrong — more on it later.)

And the best part?

Every next exchange you organize is completely free of charge (and there is no limit on the number of exchanges you can have per year).


Go ahead and create the free account at HomeExchange today.

** If you use my invite link to register, you will get EXTRA 250 guest points for your next vacation!

Wait, what are these guest points precisely?

Guest points explained

All right. Let me explain.

There are two types of exchanges that you can organize.

The first is the reciprocal exchange, where you go to someone’s house at the same time they visit your house (it’s a home swap, basically).

In that situation, guest points are less relevant because you agree to swap houses.

Now, the fun part.

If someone asks you to come to your house (but you don’t want to go to their house), you can organize a one-way exchange (so-called guest points exchange or non-reciprocal exchange).

It’s simple- you host the guests and get the guest points in return.

After the exchange is confirmed, these guest points get added to your account (after the exchange gets confirmed), and you can use those for future exchange requests.

(This is how I travel for free and save hundreds of dollars on each trip.)

There are 450,000+ homes available in 187 countries (enough even for the pickiest ones).

To give you an idea, this is an apartment in Lisbon, Portugal (with an Ocean view) that you can have for 226 guest points per night (cool, isn’t it?).

Click here to head over to HomeExchange and hit the orange “Sign up” button from the menu to save money on vacation

And, of course, you can find a house for as low as 50 – 70 guest points per night if you don’t mind some older furniture or suburbs.

And yes, you will spend most of your free holidays in the guest-point exchanges (the reciprocal exchanges are less frequent).

Should I search for reciprocal or one-way exchanges?
I recommend the guest points one. It can be challenging to agree on the dates and locations for the reciprocal exchange.
As a new user, how many house owners should I contact to land my first exchange?
When you are a new member, getting the first exchange takes slightly longer (simply because you have no reviews). So, you should send around 10 requests; usually, one will work out.
How much time does it take to send a single request?
It’s a matter of seconds… Just browse the desired dates and locations and check the listings. When you find the one that suits you, click the orange button “Contact” to write to the house owner and suggest the exchange.
Well, I only have one house, how can I let someone other stay?
Most of us have only one house. Even then, it’s possible to organize one-way exchanges. Just ask a friend to stay at their place for a few days (while you host the guests in your house). In my case, I stay at my girlfriend’s place during the one-way exchange, and she travels with me in return.
Do guests expect that the house will be completely empty from all the personal things?
Not at all. It’s actually the contrary. You leave all your personal things behind (but ensure they have enough space for clothes etc.). So, they know that you live in the house and don’t expect it’s like a hotel room.

You get to travel for free, but is it safe?

I remember when I got my first guest-points exchange…

Ohh boy… How afraid I was…

Who are these people, is this platform safe enough, and can I let my apartment with complete strangers for 10 days?

(It was a senior couple from Austria.)

But what happened next I couldn’t believe…

When I returned to the apartment, it was cleaner than what I had left behind…

And a bottle of an excellent chardonnay wine was waiting for me at the kitchen top (next to a tiny letter with words of gratitude).

From then on, I leave my apartment with absolute confidence that everything will be all right

And so far, so good – I only have the best words for the guests who visited my place (here is my profile, so check some reviews).

But what if something still happens?

You remember that you pay for the membership.

Well, HomeExchange actually guarantees you a successful & happy exchange.

  • As a host, you get up to $1,000,000 for house damage (never happened to me).
  • As a guest, they pay you $120/night if the host cancels on you at the last minute (never had any issues of this sort).

Click here to see all the guarantees HomeExchange provides.

If you ask me, this is a pretty good guarantee (at par with Booking and Airbnb).

You must be excited about this new way of traveling (and good that you are as it saves tons of money).

But let me share with you even more…

I want to tell you something that will make every exchange an unforgettable experience.

Travel for free like a Pro: Extra tips

How to travel for free (tips)

You know what?

There are a few “tricks” that I learned from my numerous exchanges that I want to tell you.

(And some of them are absolutely a must.)

Here is the list you want to read before your first (and every other) exchange.

  1. Add as many details to your profile as possible to maximize the response rate from other members (add a clear photo, write a catchy description, and share a few interesting facts about yourself).
  2. Confirm your identity by adding your phone number and let HomeExchange verify your profile (you will get an email from HE asking you to do so anyways but do it sooner rather than later as it boosts credibility).
  3. When adding a house listing, take some high-definition photos of your apartment and list all the conveniences of the house (make the description as detailed as possible so that your listing ranks well).
  4. Always check the reviews for the users asking you for a stay and the ones who will host you (make sure they have at least 1 exchange and a 4 stars+ rating — but I also hosted people with 0 exchanges, and everything was fine).
  5. When you write to other house owners to ask them for an exchange, tell them a bit about your plans and why you want to stay in that city exactly (and in their home — what attracts you).
  6. For the approved exchanges, always ask for a WhatsUp phone number and call your host 7 days before your trip (to discuss the keys handover and other particularities).
  7. Whether you are a host or a guest, always talk about the house rules early (make sure everyone is aligned and knows what to expect).
  8. Discuss who cleans the house — some homeowners won’t ask you to clean the house but will suggest a small cleaning fee (as they would rather pay a cleaner) — you can do this for your apartment as well (typically $60 – $70 per checkout).
  9. Leave a welcome gift to all your guests — e.g., a lovely chocolate and a bottle of fresh water or wine (if you are the guest, leave a letter to the owner sharing your gratitude).
  10. Always leave a review to your hosts sharing your experience (and when you are a host, ask the guest to leave a public review).
  11. Don’t bother the guests too much — make sure they have your contact and know how to reach you if they have any questions.
  12. If you are not physically present, arrange that someone hands over the keys (for instance, I leave the keys at a nearby cafe very often).
  13. Be flexible about the check-out time (people know to appreciate this).
  14. Share the HomeExhange invite link with your friends so that you can “earn” some extra guest points as they join the website.

Have more questions? Ask in the comments.

Click here to head over to HomeExchange and hit the orange “Sign up” button from the menu to travel for free.

Should I accept the exchange request from someone who has 0 reviews?
It’s up to you. I was initially afraid of this but later found it was for nothing. HomeExchange verifies each new member and provides money guarantees for any damage in the house. So, you are pretty much covered.
How much time does it take to complete my profile (and verify it)?
It’s a standard registration that you do for most websites out there. It should not take more than 15 minutes.
How much time does it take to list my property?
It’s a quick process and should not take more than 15 minutes (provided you already have high-definition photos).
How should I look after the other people's houses?
Similar to your own. If you agree with the owner, do the cleaning yourself (before you leave) and make sure the house is at least in the state it was when you arrived. (Hint: turn off the airconditioning/heating when you go outside — everyone likes saving on electricity costs.)
What can I use once in the house?
The rule is that you can use everything that’s in the house. For instance, a bicycle, a beach umbrella, weights, or any other equipment left in place. If the owner does not want you to use something, they will tell you explicitly (this rarely happens).

Some final thoughts

There was one song saying

The More Rivers You Cross the More You Know About Rivers


And it’s 100% correct.

The more you travel, the more you know about people & life in general (based on my experience of visiting 36 different countries).

In the article you’ve just read, I shared with you what I believe is the best way of traveling right now.

(And no, it’s not a budget-like travel option, but it still allows you to travel for free.)

HomeExchange is the platform that allows you to save tons of money over the years on your holidays.

An American spends more than $500,000 on holidays over a lifetime.

So why not take some of that money back?

With this platform (and the tips I shared here), you should be ready and set for your first exchange.

(And for your first significant savings.)

Good luck, and see you around.

P.S. Perhaps our paths cross on the HomeExchange as I intend to keep using it (more and more).

P.P.S. If I missed anything, write a comment!

Click here to go ahead and create the free account at HomeExchange (if you haven’t done so).

(If you use my invite link to register, you will get EXTRA 250 guest points for your next vacation.)

Avatar photo

By Igor Jovanovic

Founder & Full Stack Tech Consultant

Experienced tech professional with a strong track record in web services and fintech. Collaborating with Silicon Valley's multi-billion tech giants and offering a range of services committed to excellence. Check the Services page for how I can help you too.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *