Use Facebook To Find Free Lodging in 3 Simple Steps

A little creative thinking goes a long way to keeping money in the bank.

So when I heard about Facebook’s graph search, I was excited to use it as a travel tool to connect people around the world.  People are realizing the importance of choosing a lodging option that provides an authentic travel experience.  Immersion, especially in the form of shared residential spaces, offers a unique way to learn about a country.

Living with a local provides the opportunity to take part in a different culture, enjoy authentic meals, and gain intimate knowledge of a city.

With Facebook’s graph search, it’s super easy to find friends living near your travel destinations and figure out if they would be willing to hook you up with free lodging.

1st STEP

In the Facebook search box, enter a search for friends who live in or near your city of choice.

Search Example: Friends Who Live In San Francisco, California.

Large View of Facebook Graph Search For Free Lodging

If you have no friends in San Francisco, California the search will reveal no results.  That’s OK.  Have you heard of the six degrees of separation?  It states that everyone in the world is only separated by no more than six friends of a friend.

I would guess that Facebook makes that number even smaller!

When I search for Friends Who Live in San Francisco, I get no results.  If I adjust my search to: Friends of Friends Who Live In San Francisco, California, I get search results.

I bet your results improve if you search for “friends of friends” or by substituting the words “live in” for “live near”.

Do you now have a list of potential lodgers?  Great!  It’s time for the next step.


2nd STEP

Contact those friends in your search results and tell them you’re looking for a place to crash during a vacation.  If you’re anything like me, this request might make you really nervous!  Here’s a hack to get over that fear and get what you want.

We Bought A Zoo is a great movie and if you have a few spare hours, I suggest you watch it.  In the movie, staring Matt Damon, the main character discusses courage with his son.  In an unforgettable exchange, he tells him, “You know, sometimes all you need is twenty seconds of insane courage. Just literally twenty seconds of just embarrassing bravery. And I promise you, something great will come of it.”

I’ve repeated a summary of that phrase to myself to get through several heart pounding moments.  Eventually, it gets easier to push yourself.

Muster up all the courage you can to send those messages; getting a “yes” will be totally worth it.

I don’t recommend contacting friends of friends unless you’ve had some previous interaction.  Instead, ask a friend for an introduction and recommendation.  Facebook makes it easy by allowing multiple people to join in private messages.

Always give people a way out.  Say something like, “I get it if you don’t feel comfortable” or  “I understand if you already had plans”.  Make it as easy as possible for people to say no or yes.


3rd STEP

Once you’ve gained a few yeses, scan Facebook pages to get a feel for the lifestyle of your potential host.  If you don’t have access to their page, send a friend request or ask your mutual friend about them.

Do they have kids, pets?  Do they party every night?  Did they just go through a bad breakup?

I would find the person who’s life most resembles mine to ensure that I disrupt their routine as little as possible.  You also want to consider your likes and dislikes too.  Free won’t be a bonus if you dislike the lodging situation.

Send a thank you reply to everyone you contacted, no matter the response.  Also, offer your home or tour-guide services in the event that they are in your hometown.  A little goodwill goes a long way.

Do More With Graph Search:

Graph search is an amazing tool that will come in handy even more when you’re in a new place.

Use graph search to find “restaurants in Virginia Beach, Virginia that my friends like” or “clubs in Miami, Florida that my friends worked at“.  It’s a marvelous tool for information sharing an figuring out who in your network has information or a connection you might need.