How Can I Live Abroad for Free Working in Hospitality? 

Working abroad gives you the chance to immerse yourself in new cultures and lifestyles from your own while also trying on new places to determine if they’re a good fit. You’re eager for a new experience and want to live and work abroad, but you’re looking for free living arrangements. What are your options?

Here’s how to live abroad for free while working in hospitality:

  • Volunteer
  • Room with friends
  • Use hotel points
  • Join an au pair
  • Housesit
  • Work for a place to stay
  • Couch surf

If you’re saving up your hospitality job funds for a down payment on a car or a house, the above living arrangements will certainly help you do so. Keep reading for more information on each one so you can fulfill your dreams of living abroad!

1. Volunteer

Okay, so this first method isn’t exactly about working for pay, but we wanted to include it anyway because volunteering abroad is a great way to nab yourself a place to stay without paying a cent.

You could always work part-time in hospitality and then spend the rest of your time volunteering. If you’re really eager to save up cash fast, you can work full-time and spend your spare time giving back.

One of the most popular arrangements for those who want to live abroad without paying is known as wwoofing. 

That refers to WWOOF or the World Wide Opportunities for Organic Farming. 

If you’re into wwoofing, you’ll spend your time on an organic farm. You’ll do more than work on the farm but live there too.

Wwoofing is available all over the world, from the Americas to Europe, Africa, and Asia. You can use the WWOOF website to search for opportunities in the part of the world you’d like to reside.

Helping farmers is good, honest work that will allow you to get plenty of exercise day in and day out. You’ll get to work outdoors, breathing in the fresh air and feeling the sunlight on your skin. 

You’ll also rest easy knowing that you’re spreading organic food and crops to the world, including those who really need it.

You won’t go wwoofing alone but will work with other travelers like you who are looking for free lodging opportunities.  

2. Room with Friends

If you simply don’t have the time to volunteer or want to continue exploring your options, you can always look into rooming with friends next. 

A generous-hearted friend can offer a spare bedroom, a couch, cot, or futon to you for an extended period while you live out your dream of working a hospitality job in another country. 

Where do you find friends in a new country? Well, that’s the great thing about wwoofing; you can meet other like-minded people looking to expand their worldviews. 

As you live and work on the farm, you’ll surely create tight bonds with some people, making them ideal candidates for a co-rooming situation. 

You can also make friends on social media or through a pen pal situation and then finally meet once you arrive in another country. 

If you prefer to meet people in person rather than online, go to bars, cafés, parks, and other popular places that people frequent. Be willing to strike up a conversation. You never know who you’ll meet that way. It could just be your next best friend!

Of course, if someone does let you stay with them out of the goodness of their heart without asking for rent money, you can give back. Maybe you pay the utility bills or another bill to ease your roommate’s financial burden. 

If you really need every last dollar and cent from your hospitality job, you can give your time. Keep the place clean for your roomie; do dishes, wash the laundry, dust and vacuum, and mop. 

3. Use Hotel Points

Are you a frequent traveler who’s accumulated tons of airline miles and hotel points? If so, then you’ll love this next option.

If you’ve held onto all those hotel points, it’s now time to put them to good use. Your loyalty program points are often exchangeable for free stays at a hotel. You can use days if not weeks’ worth of hotel points while working in hospitality.

Your stay at a hotel chain can even help you accumulate new points that you could put toward extending your stay or lodging at another hotel. 

What if you’re not already part of a hotel program that offers free points? It’s never too late to join! 

If you choose this option to make your goals of working abroad in hospitality a reality, there are a few things to know.

First, hotel points have a finite endpoint, so you must have a backup plan for where you’ll room when you run out of points, especially if you’re not actively racking up points for your current stay.

Second, only your hotel stay is free. If you enjoy room service or bottled water in the hotel room or order a fancy movie or PPV event, you will have to pay for those services.  

4. Join an Au Pair

Yet another viable option to consider if you want to live for free abroad while working in hospitality is to become a part of an au pair. 

If you’re not familiar with this arrangement, allow us to explain. An au pair is when one person joins an existing family in exchange for helping out. 

In other words, you’d find a family to host you, move into their home, and you’d help out in whatever ways you can. You might clean the house and even take care of the children if there are any. 

Some au pair situations provide a stipend, so you could earn some extra money with this living arrangement!

AuPairWorld is an excellent place to start if you’re looking for an au pair arrangement. The site has 14,000 families and 30,000 au pairs available. 

Rather than you choosing them at random, AuPairWorld allows you to search for specific parameters and then suggests au pairs and families to you. You can pick which family or au pair you live with so you’re completely comfortable with the arrangement. 

5. Housesit 

If you begin making acquaintances and friends during your time in a new country, the next option at your disposal is to offer to housesit for them.

Housesitting is like babysitting or dogsitting, except you’re not watching another human being or animal. You’re watching over someone’s house.

People like housesitting services because it gives them peace of mind. An empty house is vulnerable to burglars, and when you’re hundreds or thousands of miles away, there’s nothing you can do to stop nefarious characters.

You’ll have the benefit of an empty house when housesitting that you can generally use as you wish. Of course, the homeowner is expecting to come back to the house in the same shape as which they left it, so that means you can’t have wild parties or trash the place.

Instead, you can use housesitting opportunities as a chance to live in a home environment, sleep in a plush bed, and make homecooked meals while you continue to work in hospitality. 

Housesitting arrangements are short-term at best, as people only travel for business or pleasure for a few weeks, maybe a month at most. 

Thus, you’ll have to keep finding housesitting opportunities if you want to keep this free living arrangement going. 

6. Work for a Place to Stay

Kind of like wwoofing, only without the farm work, you can always seek another work-for-stay arrangement. 

Rather than receive a stipend or payment, you’d be granted a roof over your head and a bed to rest your body on at the end of the day. Some work-for-stay arrangements could offer both.

What kind of work could you do? All kinds, which is why you’ll want to review your work-for-stay opportunities carefully, keeping it within the hospitality sector.

A work-for-stay arrangement is not very long-term either. Most of these setups only last for a month or several. As we’ve recommended throughout this article, make sure you have a Plan B for where you’ll live afterward! 

7. Couch Surf

Your last option for living abroad for free while working in hospitality is to couch surf. 

This may sound like some of the other free living arrangements we’ve already discussed, but it isn’t quite. When you couch surf, you don’t necessarily need to be pals with the person you’re living with like you would when rooming with a friend.

Well, not if you use a site like, you don’t. You’ll instead room with travelers and locals so you can connect over your traveling experience. 

For the sake of your safety, we always recommend using a site like instead of Craigslist or Facebook. The site has built-in safety features, so you feel confident with your rooming experience. 

The thing about couch surfing no matter how you do it is that it’s a very short-term arrangement, so be ready to meet lots of potential buddies! 


Yes, you can live for free abroad and work in hospitality, and you have plenty of ways to go about it. Whether you choose to volunteer, couch surf, room with friend, or get into wwoofing, you can experience the world without breaking the bank! 

You Want To Open A Restaurant But Have No Idea Where To Start From?

Discover In This Free Report What You Should Know Before Spending A Penny!

You Want To Open A Restaurant, But Have No Idea Where To Start From?

Get my book ” The Ultimate Guide To Opening A Restaurant Business” and discover all you should know about this industry before spending a penny.