Credit card rewards can be your ticket—literally your plane ticket—to a dream destination. But even if you've earned what you need to get to where you're going, the accommodations could be a different story. What do you do if you don't have enough points or miles left for lodging? You can slash those costs, too, if you're willing to get out of your comfort zone, the AP reports. That might mean couch surfing with locals, agreeing to a home exchange or signing up for housesitting. Websites and apps can help you connect with frugal options domestically and abroad. You may be able to stay for free, or nearly free, if you're flexible with dates and can abide by house rules. Read on for four ideas:
- COUCH SURFING: This option works for solo travelers or couples looking to make new friends over a few nights. Since you're staying in someone's home, you'll likely need to "check in and out" at reasonable hours and clean up after yourself. Check out Couchsurfing.com.
- HOME EXCHANGES: This option offers more privacy since you'll swap your home temporarily with someone else. Check out the GuestToGuest website, which charges about $11 a night or around $147 annually (and you'll have to pay a damage deposit). The host may also include additional charges or requests, but you can offset the costs of such services by cooking in the kitchen to save money on meals. Some homeowners even let you borrow their car.
- HOUSESITTING: If you don't mind pets or a few chores while you travel, you can see the world for less. Check out Trustedhousesitters.com, which also has an app and charges $119 for an annual membership.
- OTHER IDEAS: Join a hotel loyalty program, or consider applying for a hotel credit card. The right one can earn you rewards toward future stays, and many cards even offer a free anniversary night, usually in exchange for an annual fee.
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