My Accommodation In Chichica, Panama

How The Happy Nomad Tour Rolls – Accommodation

How The Happy Nomad Tour Rolls

How The Happy Nomad Tour Rolls

Many people have asked me how I could just leave my job and seemingly travel perpetually. How can I afford it? How do you find places to stay for free all the time? How do you find places to volunteer? All questions I’ve received by email, and now I’m sharing the secrets in a series of posts about how The Happy Nomad Tour Rolls and what things are like behind the scenes.


The more you can adapt and live like the locals the less money you’ll spend.

So yes, staying in a Hilton or Marriot in Jakarta to have an American/Western bubble separating you from the city outside will cost a pretty penny. If you can stay in a local hotel, it’ll often be cheaper and more authentic/local though I hate to say anything about a hotel is authentic.

So far on my trip, I’ve only stayed in hotel/hostel a few times. Mostly it has been to visit friends or if my plan changed at the last minute , New Year’s at the beach in Venezuela, or to break up long journeys (and often I’ve written reviews for another website in exchange for a few free nights). But these are few and far between leaving nearly all of my accommodation free.

How I Find Free Places To Stay

My biggest resource so far has been I have been a member there for over two years now and it has been an amazing asset of epic proportions. Apart from helping me find volunteering opportunities, I have used it a lot to stay with hosts for free.

My Accommodation In Chichica, Panama

My Accommodation In Chichica, Panama

Again, I like to stay with local people/families because yes, saving on accommodation stretches out my savings out for the trip, but more importantly living with local people in each country has been a priceless experience. You learn so much and you get to know a person/family in the country. This is all but impossible when you stay in hostels or hotels, yet it should be an aspect of your trip that you remember the most.

Sometimes housing comes along with the volunteering opportunity. I have slept in an NGO’s office, a cooperative store’s showroom, and on the floor at a budding eco-tourism startup.

The more flexible you are, the more opportunities you’ll find. And this partly relates to how I find volunteering opportunities since the more remote the opportunity, the higher the probability that I’ll need to stay with them as there is no other option. These remote opportunities have been some of the best experiences on my trip so far.

My Friend Luis And I On New Year's Eve In Venezuela

My Friend Luis And I On New Year’s Eve In Venezuela

Another option I haven’t explored too much is house sitting. There are tons of sites online dedicated to staying for free (or paying a nominal fee) in people’s homes while they are away.

And, it goes without saying, but I have stayed with friends in Colombia, Venezuela, Ecuador, and Peru. Also wonderful 🙂

Before I started this trip, I was a bit of a princess when it comes to sleep. It had to be dark, silent, etc. I still use earplugs, but I can sleep in a much wider variety of circumstances now. I have to be able to!

But my method seems to be working. Eight months into the trip and I’ve spent less than $200 on accommodation. Not bad.

Anything Else?

If you have any more questions, put them in the comments below and I’ll either answer your question there or write a new post covering it.

8 replies

Trackbacks & Pingbacks

  1. […] biggest expense in travel is accommodation. But as I already shared, I outsource my accommodation! I do this to save money, of course, but also because it’s an opportunity meet local people […]

  2. Q&A Answers says:

    […] are lots of ways to save money. You can see some here for accommodation and how I afford this trip. But there are lots of options if time and location are […]

  3. […] own apartment, digging deeper into the local culture, and volunteering more. Now, as a nomad with outsourced housing, I’m limited in many ways as I operate this trip on the slimmest of shoestring […]

  4. […] except for one thing… money. I learned how to travel on the slimmest of budgets, spending less than $900 in 918 days of travel on accommodation, for example. But my theory hasn’t held up very well.. […]

  5. […] felt very lonely.Fast-forward six years and my style of traveling is completely different.First, I stay with local people on my trip. They invite me to share a part of their lives for the time I am there and it can […]

  6. […] can be a real problem. Given my blog and the fact that I’ve “outsourced” a lot of my work (housing, finding volunteering opportunities, etc.) I need to be connected. My "Office" In The […]

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