Tired of paying through the nose for hotel and motel accommodations that aren’t worth the price? If you’re ready, you can determine that, as of today, you are done with that world and move into the ranks of travelers who stay outside of the travel industry. You’ll be able to travel much more and see more fun details when you break free of the expenses of temporary housing.
Camping is one option. Plan to meet your own needs minimally and pack a lightweight setup to take care of yourself. If you’re willing to work at it a bit, you can approach virtually any place as you would a wilderness area. I’ve been known to stealth camp in the center of metropolitan cities, on the edge of international airports, and alongside major highways. Wherever you go, there you are. Keep it simple.
Services exist dedicated to introducing you to local hosts wherever in the world you choose to go. Some are more formal while others are decidedly casual. Most ask that you host travelers in your home, as well as staying with others when you travel, but each give you options to participate in various ways. Some are specifically designed for bicyclists, while others are open to everybody. Try out a few to find the best one for your needs.
Different cultures have differing attitudes toward wayfaring strangers. I’ve discovered that most of the world’s poorer people are thrilled to host a respectful person from another culture, especially when I’m willing to buy groceries. For much less than the cost of a restaurant, I’m able to eat truly authentic local cuisine and experience the culture up close and personal.
Even in the USA, it never hurts to ask. Most anybody will provide accomodations to a polite person who is willing to work for the favor. Try asking in a small business where you can look the owner in the eye. In those places where it’s too difficult to find people to ask, there is generally a social services net, if you’re willing to go there. Besides helping to develop humility, staying in a shelter can put you in touch with the other side of your own culture.
The bottom line always seems to be the same. You get what you pay for, but you don’t have to pay for anything you don’t choose to consume. Life is free to those who choose to live that way. Keep yourself pleasant to be around and others will choose to be around you. We get by with a little help from our friends, be they old friends or brand new ones.