Free Accommodation while Traveling



Free Accommodation while Traveling

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To Alex about traveling and living for free with

Hello Alex,

I think that if the passion for traveling life has been nipping at your heels for the past four years you should give it a go. So I say strip down your life, work 70 hours a week for a little while to save some money, sell what you can, and try to chase down your wandering dreams. You can always go back to living whatever lifestyle you are living now whenever you want to - seriously. It is my impression that people are rarely ever really stuck in any particular way of life. If you have the urge to travel then run it out: buy a one-way ticket to some far off land and find out what happens. You can always go back at any time, so I think that there is nothing to loose and only memories, harsh life trials, and good times to gain.

So, man, I say if you find yourself staring into maps and daydreaming into globes for long durations each day, then you should harness this Wanderlust and give it the expression of life.

You ain't got anything to loose.

About traveling with computers:

I travel with a computer because I work a lot everyday on them (often 5 to 8 hours! haha) trying to make up the money to keep traveling. This is just a new way that I have found to make up travel funds, and is probably the hardest and most time consuming that I have yet encountered. I cannot say that I recommend this internet crap to anyone . . . I use to do real work with my hands in real life while traveling, and worked far less for far more money haha (and probably will have to again real soon because these ends are not meeting up as I would like them to haha).

But I say that if the computer and internet work figures into your plan to make up the bean money to travel, then you should probably carry a laptop with you. If you don't plan on using a computer to make money to travel (very, very difficult)  then I 100% agree with you that you should not carry one. But to trade Hobohideout pages for free accommodation, I think that it would be way way easier if you carried a laptop. Honestly speaking, I think that it may be hell fire to try to do all of the work that is necessary to make a good site from public computers in an internet cafe. To do the Hobohideout work well takes around 20 hours per hotel, and 20 hours in an internet cafe messing around with computers whose operating system is written in a language that you cannot read is a long time.

I am currently traveling and working with an Asus Eee PC, and it has kept up well. These little computers are less than nine inches long, are very light, and well made. They also only cost around $400. You can get them with a Windows XP operating system and they have an SD card (digital camera card) slot for you to save your files on (they only have 4 gigs of built in memory). These computers are made for traveling, and many travelers are using them. So if you want to travel with a computer and put up pages on, I recommend the Asus.

But I am sure that if you are diligent enough, you could put up Hobohideout pages on public computers in internet cafes. Just be warned that public computers are a little hard to come by in some regions of the world, such as in Europe, and can be expensive to use. Whereas, there are many places (cafes, restaurants, hostels, hotels) that offer free WIFI that you can only access with your own computer.

About making pages:

To start making hotel pages on you must first make an agreement with a hotel or hostel to make them a site as a trade for a free bed. Then go to and go to this page, and follow the prompts and start loading up the hotel.

I have been contacting hotels in two ways:

1. I walk in and talk to them directly and show them the site on my computer (I have the pages saved in advance and I just open it up to show them). I think this is the best way to trade for a bed in countries that tend to have a low English speaking proficiency (Latin America, Africa, Asia).  During this time I show them the pages and tell them the wrap about

I say that it is a massive database of hotels from all around the world that acts as a "one-stop" site for people to plan their travels from. I say that visitors to the site can just type in a city of the world and then take virtual tours of hotels and find one they want to stay in prior to arrival. Basically, I just explain the site and a little of how it works.

I say that is an easy to use site that is essentially made in a way to come up well in the search engines, and that if someone was to do a search for "XX place hotel" there is a good chance that a hobohideout page would come up very highly in the results (it is almost amazing how well hobohideout comes up in Google searches).

Tell them the stats. To find out this information, go to the bottom of any page on the site and click on the little square that is at the very bottom. This will take you to the site meter. The last time I checked it was getting over 5,000 unique visitors a day (150,00 a month). This is a ton of traffic and proves that people are really using the site. also has an Alexa rank within the top 200,000 pages on the entire internet (and it was just officially launched 4 months ago).

Just be honest and tell them that it is a free promotion for their hotel and that they only have to keep you in a spare room of their hotel until you finish making the site (around 7-10 days). Try to go for ten days because it takes a while to make these pages, and there is no point in you traveling cheaply if you are just looking into a computer screen all day.

2. The other way that I have arrange Hobohideout trades is by sending the hotels emails in advance. This is good because you can send the emails to a lot of different hotels in a given city and set things up before you arrive. This saves you from walking around like a dummy. But the usefulness of this tactic diminishes in non-English (or whatever other language that you can speak) proficient countries, and it also makes it much easier for the hotel to brush you aside and get rid of you. I think that it is best to walk in and talk to the hotel managers face to face and really show them what you can do.

This is a sample letter that I send to hotels feel free to use any part of it that you wish:

Hello  XXX Hotel,

My name is XXX, and I am a traveler who makes websites for hotels and hostels around the world as a trade for a place to stay. Currently, I am in XXX place making a website for the XXX Hotel (functional link) and I am planning on visiting your city on XXX date. 
I am wondering if you would be interested in a free promotion for your hotel by allowing me to make a 20+ page, 60 photo website for you in exchange for accommodation for XXX days (ask for 10 if you want)? is a massive, high-traffic site that is essentially a world wide "encyclopedia" of hotels and hostels. The site focuses on all forms of accommodation and travel rooms and are collected together in one easy to use site for visitors to easily browse and find accommodation. Each website includes:
I take all of the photos, make the videos, and write all of the text myself, but you are free to make any changes or alterations that you wish. This is a website to promote your hotel, and, as I want you to be satisfied with the results, I will make sure that you are include in the creative process.
Hotel websites on are designed to rank highly in the Google search indexes, so that they can promote your hotel/ hostel to the fullest. I will also link to your website (insert URL if applicable) in an effort to draw more traffic to your site and hotel

the past four months has grown from receiving 10,000 visitors a month to over 150,000. To view the monthly visitors stats please go to, To view the daily visitor stats for the past month go to, now has a Google page rank of 3/10 and, as of July 2008, an Alexa ranking of 189,000 (out of the entire internet, it is the 189,000 most visited site. You can check out the Alexa ranking for yourself at Keep in mind that the site has only been officially launched for a little over three months.

I offer you my services completely for free, all that I need is a bed to sleep in for one week.
I am just asking for a place to live for a week, and after a week I will be gone, but the site that I will make for you will remain for years to come. I
To look at some of the web-pages that I have previously made for hotels, please follow these links (put in your own links after you have made a few pages):
Poets' Corner Hostel in Olomouc Czech Republic
Golden Sickle Hostel in Prague Czech Republic
Hotel Casa Shalom in Antigua Guatemala
Hotel San Pedro in Santiago Atitlan Guatemala
I would love to make a website for you, so if you would like me to do so, please email me back at this address. I should be leaving xxx place on xxx date, and I can be at your hotel/ hostel on xxx date.

Thank you very much,

Wade Shepard

So that is about it, if you have any more questions for me or about, please do not hesitate to ask.

Thanks for reading,


P.S. If this information helps you out at all (or if you just appreciate my effort in trying haha) I would love it if you could tell or email a friend or two about Vagabond and/ or the Song of the Open Road Travel Blog. Thank you!

Question from Alex about traveling and trading for free accommodation with

Hi Wade my name is Alex. I am 24/m; I ve done alot of thinking over the past 4 years and have come to the conclusion that traveling around is something I keep continuing to put off. I have moved several times in the last 4 years but one passionate idea keeps coming back up. That is to see the world. I keep getting that stagnate bored feeling. My good friend Kim is very supportive and she has essentially motivated me to take the plunge and jump away before turning into another sheep as the USA already has too many. I am sure she would come with me but she has two kids she is raising. And we are both at different crossroads in life.My family is kinda supportive but hates to see me leave.They all live in Oregon I am in Denver,Co at the moment. But I am glad that they admit to remembering me bring this up in the past. I have no major debt and I am planing on selling what little I do have. I have decided the only electronic items I want to bring with me are my camera and probably an ipod for music. I don't think a phone is gonna be necessary. If I absolutely need to get in touch I am sure I can figure that out on the go. As far as my laptop goes I am betting that I don't want the extra weight or valuable item along with me. I d really appreciate any advice on the whole laptop thing.To bring one even its just cheap one to get by or not one at all. Which brings me to the post on your site about you and Andy making websites for hotels to get by. If that's good a method to get by to pay for a room, I d love to be taught those methods and be one of the 25 or so wandering website for hotel guru's. The main reason I contacted you is that I saw you're in Europe. I am planing on starting in Czech Rep. and seeing as much of Europe as I can. Ideally maybe even just stay in Europe. But the other part of me wants to see the whole world. So who knows. How is the whole language barrier thing? I am trying to learn German but that is it at the moment. Also how is backpacking through Europe? My goal is to pack as lite as possible. So any advice or extra info would be greatly appreciated. Thank you for your time. Keep living the dream. Hopefully I ll see you over there soon.
Sorry for the extra long message.
Alex the Nomad

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