6 Apps to Find Cheap or Free Places to Stay When Traveling

By | December 19, 2021

Whether you’re looking for a budget hotel, or looking for a work vacation, this app will help you see the world on a budget.

You don’t have to be rich to travel, seeing a new country isn’t as expensive as you might think. This is especially true for your accommodation bookings. There are tons of apps available to help budget travelers find rooms for cheap or nothing.

Some of these apps require you to exchange your services for accommodation, while others offer a free couch you can sleep in or help you find a bed for under $10 a night. So money is no longer an excuse, if you want to see the world now is your time.


With over 35,000 properties located in 170 countries, Hostelworld is an excellent app for finding budget accommodations in almost any location. Depending on the country, you can easily find a variety of beds for under $10 per night. The app features dorm-style rooms at super low prices, as well as private accommodation if you’re willing to pay more.

What really makes this app great are the added bonus features. This includes a Hostel Chat function that allows you to contact other guests who will be staying during the same time period as you to make connections before you arrive. There’s also the Hostel Speak feature, which lets you instantly translate your words into 43 languages.


Couchsurfing has been a staple for budget travelers looking for a free place to stay for more than a decade. After you choose travel destination, you can join one of more than 14 million users and hosts in more than 230,000 cities around the world. Although the company has recently started charging a reasonable monthly or yearly subscription fee to take advantage of its services, it is still cheaper than booking a hotel.

What makes Couchsurfing so great is its ability to stay with local people, either in a spare room or, as the name suggests, on their couch. It gives you the opportunity to make local friends and learn about the towns’ best restaurants and best sights, all from someone who actually lives there.

The app also has a Couchsurfing Hangouts feature that lets you connect with nearby couchsurfers who want to meet up. It also lists the thousands of Couchsurfing events held around the world, giving you more opportunities to meet new people while you’re traveling.

Download: Couchsurfing for Android | iOS (Requires subscription)


If you want to travel with a purpose, Worldpackers is a good app to try. The company has hosts in 100 countries who will offer you a place to sleep in exchange for help. Worldpackers has three types of programs for you to choose from:

  • Work Exchange: This is where you trade your skills with a place to stay. Jobs include cleaning, running the front desk at a hotel, construction, or even helping run a business’s social media accounts.
  • Social Impact: This program involves volunteer work through NGOs, schools, or social projects. Here, you can help build an orphanage, teach children English, or work in a Tanzanian women’s program.
  • Eco-Friendly Program: If you want to get away from civilization, this is the program for you. Here, you will work on a farm, in an eco-village, or with permaculture.

While Worldpackers is free to use, there is an annual subscription model if you are interested in unlimited contact with the host and exclusive discounts through the company. However, without paying, you can still apply to as many work programs as you want. To get it, your skills must match the job or the host will likely not approve the application.

Download: Worldpackers for Android | iOS (Free, subscription available)


Dorms.com is an excellent app for finding cheap hostels in almost any country. The company has more than 30,000 hostels in its database, many of which offer private and shared rooms for $5 per night. You can also find a variety of budget hotels, bed and breakfasts, guesthouses, and apart-hotels.

When shopping for cheap accommodation, the Dorms.com listing has a wealth of information about each property. This includes a selection of activities and entertainment, such as cooking classes, tours, bars and games. The app also includes a “Take me to my hostel” feature so you can find your booking easily and info to help you find tourist attractions.


If you’re an animal lover who likes to travel on the cheap, TrustedHousesitters might be what you’re looking for. With this app, you can find pet owners around the world who are looking for someone who can look after their home, and their pets, while out of town.

This will give you free housing, usually in a rather nice house, for free. Generally, all you need to do instead is feed the animal, walk the dog, and keep the place clean.

The available locations all depend on where the host lives. This means you may end up in the suburbs outside the city or somewhere in the countryside. You should also travel according to their schedule, planning your trip while they will be out of town. This can range from days to months. So if your travel plans are flexible, this is a great option.

Download: TrustedHousesitters for Android | iOS (Free, subscription available)


To find the lowest price for a hotel, it’s hard to beat the Hotellook app. When you type a search on Hotellook, the service will compare hotel offers across 80 different online booking agencies. This means you can see the best prices from Booking.com, Agoda, Hotels.com, Expedia and more all with one quick search.

Prices on these apps can range from very cheap hostels for under $5 per night, to expensive five-star resorts. However, regardless of the price per night, you are pretty sure you will get the lowest price for the room you book when using this app.

Which App Should You Choose

If you want a cheaper Airbnb alternative on the go, you have plenty of options.

For budget hostels, both Hostelworld and Dorms.com offer some great deals. If you want a free stay, Couchsurfing is probably the best option if you don’t want to switch jobs for your stay.

However, if you don’t mind volunteering your time for your accommodation, check out TrustedHousesitters and Worldpackers. For nicer rooms for the lowest possible price, it’s hard to beat Hotellook.