This is a personal list with 13 alternative places to crash out when on the road. followed with some resources to find more long-term eco-oriented possibilities to keep the eco-nomadic lifestyle flowering forever.
- renting a spare room in a local house:In many Latin countries there are families willing to rent a spare room for a small fee. Especially in more off-the-beaten-track locations it is possible to find a relatively cheap place to stay. Also in eastern Europe.
- hostels that are not mentioned in lonely planet: Personally, I like these a lot better than the ‘normal’ backpackers’ hostels, even though it would not be for everyone. The places are usually less convenient and less renovated hence older. It can be a bit chaotic, maybe even dirty. These places have more of an anarchist squad vibe to them then of an actual hostel. It all depends on the people there, it can feel more like a community, or the other way. Some examples I have seen on the road:
- Kasa Libertad in San Cristobal de las Casas, Mexico.
- “Charly’s” camping space in San Cristobal de las Casas.
- Old fancy hotel in Vilcabamba, Ecuador, used by artesanos for camping. Swimming pool included!
- Kaza Azul in Boquete, Panama.
- CouchSurfing : big community with millions of members worldwide. Due to its popularity, it attracts all kinds of people, but with a thorough search some high quality people can be found. Nice virtual space to meet like-minded people and make new (traveler) friends. Works well everywhere in Europe. In developing countries it is a lot more effective in cities then in rural places, even though there is the group for promoting rural couch surfing. There are some privacy issues with the selling of the ‘company’. Who knows what the future will bring for the members. It might even become a paying service.
- Be Welcome : open source version of couchsurfing. A lot less people. At least this is never going to be a paying service and it promises a more democratic approach. More active members would be a nice improvement to this great website.
- Hospitality Club : to be complete, was already a thriving community long before Couchsurfing existed.
- Warm Showers : for cyclists and sympathizers. Has as goal to provide a ‘warm shower’ to those traveling by cycle.
- Global Freeloaders : not a very attractive name! With this site it is important to host exactly as much as you stay with other’s. The connection goes on to a less personal level, there is a mass e-mailing function.
For longer term staying and working for food and board, here’s a list of websites to find a possibility. I do use them sometimes but I have better results with just letting my life flow and rolling into the most magical situations. From medicinal plant projects in the Peruvian jungle to opening a coffee shop and running a small hostel. Even just helping out a family running a small cafe in Croatia secured me with a lot of love and hospitality from their part.
To finish some handy websites that try to make directories from eco communities and villages all over the world or in specific areas.