How to get free accommodation in the USA?

In a previous article of our blog, we gave you several tips on how to stay in the United States on a budget. In this new article, we wanted to go further by giving you 3 ways to spend your nights in the United States totally free!

As a reminder, before considering an adventure in Uncle Sam’s country, you must absolutely apply for an ESTA, which will allow you to stay in the United States legally, without any problem, for a period of 90 days.


To illustrate how Couchsurfing in the U.S. can be a great and 100% free option, we thought it would be appropriate to give the example of one of our leaders.

In 2013, one of us will have indeed spent a total of 40 days on American soil. During these 40 days, more than 80% of the nights were spent for free via Couchsurfing, in local homes! Chicago, Boston, New York, Nashville, New Orleans, Las Vegas,… all cities where our partner was welcomed with open arms by a local, for periods ranging from one night to almost a week!

So naturally, Couchsurfing can’t be one way. Several tips are essential:

  • If you have some space in your apartment/house in France, it would be nice if you also offered to host one or the other traveler, especially if you live in a tourist area. The give and take is what makes the Couchsurfing concept possible. It also allows you to start getting references, which are very important to be accepted by other members.
  • Fill out your Couchsurfing profile as completely as possible. Most empty profiles never get a positive response… except in cases where your only photo is of a pretty lady but… would you want to be accommodated for sexist reasons?
  • When you make your requests, personalize them a little! Show that you have at least read the profiles of the people you are applying to. This will greatly improve your chances!
  • Take with you small gifts ‘Made in France’ to offer to the people who will host you for free… It is always a pleasure!

The night buses

Another great way to save a lot of money and get free sleep is to take night buses for your travels whenever possible! Of course, you have to pay for your transportation tickets, but it’s a win-win situation! You don’t waste time traveling and you can sleep on your bus rides.

For your information, the buses of a company like Greyhound are very comfortable and have many services included in the price of your ticket: food provided during the trip, plug for your phone (etc.), wifi connection, luxury seats, etc.

The only drawback is that people over 6 feet tall will quickly feel cramped. If you’re unlucky, a baby in the next row will have a hard time sleeping. Not to mention the possible snoring. A positive attitude and earplugs should help.

Sleeping at the airport

In the case of travel not possible by bus due to long distances, the most adventurous among you will not hesitate to order flights as early as possible in the morning!

Let’s say your flight leaves at 6am… don’t hesitate to spend the night at the airport. Many travelers choose this option without causing any problems for the U.S. authorities. With a little organization (a pillow and something to protect your eyes from the light), you could even have a great night, albeit a short one.