Nora Dunn may have sold her Toronto financial planning practice to travel full-time in 2006, but she hasn’t given up saving and spending wisely. As the author of several books, such as How To Get Free Accommodation Around The World and Working On The Road: The Unconventional Guide To Full-Time Freedom, not to mention a travel blog where she’s known as The Professional Hobo, Dunn is an expert on how to live around the world without emptying your bank account.
Here are five ways that she finds free accommodation and cuts out what often becomes a traveller’s biggest expense.
“I’ve painted murals, I’ve designed marketing plans, I’ve milked goats, I’ve led eco-treks on llamas, I’ve done landscaping, all kinds of different things, and of course my own share of cooking and cleaning, as well,” Dunn told INSIDER. “I’ve lived in retreat centres and cottages and and all kinds of really interesting places, all volunteering to trade for accommodation.”
“As a location-independent entrepreneur and writer who requires a certain amount of time to do work every day, house sitting is perfect,” she said. “I can set my own pace, my own schedule, but I’m also living a real, authentic slice of local life. It’s great because I enjoy the comforts of home — somebody else’s home, of course.”
Live on a boat
“There’s an entire nautical world available to you, and once you get on one boat and get to know one captain, all of the sudden you’re plugged into an entire community,” said Dunn, who has lived on five different boats spanning three countries.
Hospitality exchanges (also known as couch surfing)
“If you want to spend time with a local in their environment, hospitality exchanges are awesome because it’s a true cultural exchange,” she said. “The drawback of couch surfing, if you’re travelling full-time like I am, is they tend to be much smaller, much shorter gigs.”
“It works very similar to house-sitting, except while you’re busy staying in somebody else’s house and taking care of their stuff, someone else is staying in your place and taking care of your stuff,” she said. “I haven’t done that because I don’t have a home to exchange.”
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