WWOOF is one of the "10 Most Valuable Alternative Booking Sites"

10 Most Valuable Alternative Booking Sites

In Three Rental Sites to Help You Kick Your Hotel Habit, we introduced major vacation-rental booking sites that offer an interesting alternative to the run-of-the-mill hotel stay. But there's more than one way to ditch the hotel and unearth a unique—and more affordable—place to lay your suitcase. Try swapping your home for an oceanfront condo on St. Thomas, sleeping in a fellow traveler's spare room for free, or working on an organic farm in exchange for fresh meals and a room with a gorgeous country view.

Here is your one-stop resource to alternative accommodations sites. We've divided the following into three categories: booking sites, hospitality networks (sites that connect travelers with free hosts), and home-exchange sites.

World Wide Opportunities on Organic Farms (WWOOF)

While the abovementioned sites generally feature free stays in exchange for, well, nothing but good company and the chance to foster cross-cultural understanding, this one's different.WWOOF is a network that allows travelers to arrange free farm stays—but there's a catch. You have to be willing to roll up the sleeves of your packable travel shirt and help out around the farm: Trade volunteer work (you can arrange specific duties with your hosts before you arrive) for bucolic country accommodations and complimentary farm-fresh meals.

To become a WWOOFer, it costs $30 to register in the U.S. You can also register in other countries, each of which has its own registration fee and database of farms that accept WWOOF volunteers.

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