15 Fantastic Free Places to Stay Around the World

Image courtesy of Uxua Casa Hotel and Spa

Do you enjoy international travel? Would you travel more if you had more money or could find some way to cut costs? Are you creative or industrious? If so, read on, as we present 15 fantastic free places to stay around the world!

1. Shakespeare and Company, France

Shakespeare and Company is located in Paris. It’s a well known historic bookshop that has offered writers free residence since the day it first opened in 1951. The store’s Tumbleweeds program allows writers to sleep in beds in a book-lined upstairs apartment or in between the shop’s bookshelves. The writer is expected only to write a single page biography and work in the shop for a few hours each day. Write on!

2. Ace Hotel, US

While there are multiple Ace Hotels in the US, this one is in New York City, New York. If you are a creative type then they offer two ways you can stay there free of charge. The hotel has an artist in residence program.

Create a work of art for the hotel and you will be permitted to stay there on a Sunday night for free. The Ace Hotel is partnered with Flux Factory, Printed Matter, Tomorrow Lab, and the popular Museum of Art and Design to form an individualistic environment to which artistic types can contribute. The Ace Hotel also offers a program called Dear Reader. It’s a residency for writers. You can enjoy a free overnight stay if you write an open letter to future guests that can be set by the beds of every room.

3. Les Refuges Periurbains, France

There are eight shelters along the outskirts of Bordeaux. If you’re into camping or can rough it, these shelters can be reserved online. You can stay there for free but need to be prepared since they don’t have heat, electricity or running water.

They’re part of the popular Les Refuges Périurbains project. The shelters are also quite close to several attractions including ancient castles, mighty rivers, and great places for stargazing. They’re available in different designs such as a snail sitting on the water and even an owl. The best time to visit if when they’re open: March 1 through November 30.

4. Swatch Art Peace Hotel, China

The well-known Swatch Art Peace Hotel in Shanghai is dedicated to creative types. The hotel invites known and unknown artists alike from across the globe to submit an application to its popular artist in residency program. Stays here can run anywhere from three months to half a year. They live in apartments on the second and third floor for free and also get free continental breakfast daily. All they need to do is add some artistic evidence of their stay that can be displayed in the hotel’s virtual museum.

5. Klondike Gold Rush National Historical Park, US

As far back as the late 1800s, the National Park Service has been inviting assorted artists to create artwork as part of their 50+ residency programs. Artists, cinematographers, composers, photographers, writers, etc. can stay at such places as Alaska’s Denali National Park and Preserve and the renowned Klondike Gold Rush National Historical Park. For example, at the above-mentioned Klondike Gold Rush National Historical Park, chosen creative minds hike the Chilkoot Trail as part of a backpacking trip where they spend up to three days at each of the campsites there.

6. Bed and Breakfasts for Barter Week, Italy

For more than 10 years now, Italy has allowed international travelers to stay in thousands of their bed and breakfasts in exchange for various goods or services. It’s called Barter Week. To participate you need to visit during the latter part of November.

You simply research which place is looking for your products or services. Some B&Bs have detailed lists of what they want and others don’t. In the past, people have “paid for” their accommodations with comic book illustrations, food blogging, knitting, and (surprisingly) even olive oil. Apply at B&Bs, in places such as Sardinia, Sicily, Tuscany, and Umbria.

7. The Vagabond Club, Singapore

Image courtesy of The Vagabond Club

The attractive Vagabond Club is the first hotel in the country to offer an official artist-in-residence program. The residency programs vary in length from a single weekend to two weeks. They invite poets, musicians, and writers to apply.
Interaction between the artsy types is encouraged. Additionally, some even perform at The hotel’s popular restaurant The Salon. Finally, the visiting artists are asked to leave an example of their creative talents in the hotel after their residency comes to an end.

8. Carlton Arms Hotel, US

Located in New York City, The Carlton Arms Hotel has had an art-in-residence program since the 1980s. An artist may stay there for free for whatever length of time required to complete whatever project they are making for the hotel. The hotel also purchases all required materials. Your finished work of art could end up on display next to the works of Banksy who has already contributed art to the place.

9. The Appalachian Trail, U.S.

Hiked by your wandering writer, the Appalachian Trail is the world’s longest “hiking-only footpath.” The trail covers 2,190 miles and runs from the state of Georgia through Maine. It features over 250 shelters you can stay in for free.

Some look like cabins, others like tents and some have more than one floor. On the border of North Carolina and Tennessee, you’ll discover the Overmountain Shelter which is a converted barn, holds over 20 people and comes complete with mountain views. Some shelters along the trail do charge a fee.

10. Sleeping Bear Dunes National Lakeshore, US

The Sleeping Bear Dunes National Lakeshore in Michigan offers an artist in residence program to American composers, photographers, writers, and visual artists who find inspiration in the lakeshore. Each residency lasts for three weeks. As a creator, you can stay free of charge at one of the developed mainland campgrounds or a nearby park house. Artists need only donate one work of art and conduct a demonstration, a public reading or hold a workshop during their last week there.

11. Marriott Marquis Doha, Qatar

Image courtesy of Marriott

The Marriott Marquis Doha in Doha is one of the businesses partnered with Qatar Airways that allows travelers to spend one night free in the country’s capital. Fliers are permitted to convert any layover into an actual stop. Thus, they get to experience two places for the price of just one. Up to two adult travelers and one child 10 or under qualify for this free stay. A number of other airlines have similar programs that provide for a one-night stay at what experts call “a highly discounted rate.”

12. Glacier National Park, US

Montana’s Glacier National Park has an artist in residence program that allows creatives to stay in a genuine, historic cabin ensconced on the shores of Lake McDonald. Ah, but there will be no roughing it here. This cabin comes complete with a bathroom, bedroom, full kitchen and even a studio that overlooks the lovely lake. The program offered here includes four weeks in which you can enjoy the local landscape. You only need to take part in three popular public programs that could include demonstrations, film screenings, guided walks, and lectures.

13. Sunrock Backpackers Hostel, Greece


This noteworthy backpackers hostel is found on Pelekas Beach in Corfu. Its volunteer program permits travelers to stay there for a month working at the hostel in exchange for accommodations and meals. Typically speaking, volunteers clean rooms, greet guests, help in the kitchen, or work behind the bar. You’ll have plenty of time to enjoy everything Greece has to offer too.

14. Mountaineering Club of Alaska, US

In the mountain ranges of Alaska, you will find seven huts. This is where members of the popular Mountaineering Club of Alaska are permitted to stay free of charge. More specifically, these huts are located throughout the Talkeetna and the Chugach Mountains.

They can be found at different altitudes in order to better accommodate hikers at various points in their hikes and climbs. The popular Mint Hut offers great scenic views of the Little Susitna River and can accommodate eight hikers. A single membership to the club is $20.00 per year or $25.00 per year for a family membership.

15. UXUA Casa Hotel and Spa, Brazil

Image courtesy of Uxua Casa Hotel & Spa

You will find the UXUA Casa Hotel and Spa in Brazil’s district of Trancoso. This resort is truly rooted in Brazil’s history. Half of the comfy casas date back more than 500 years.

Hotel representatives report that sometime in the 1970s, this particular place became a well-known haven for artistic people who were looking to escape the big cities of Brazil. This same spirit of artistic freedom and escapism is carried on to this day. They offer an “artist in casa program, which runs anywhere from a period of two weeks to an entire month. During this time creative individuals can stay there free of charge in exchange for creating a work of art using only local materials.

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