Traveling abroad is a little different from traveling at home. I didn’t go anywhere in Europe where I didn’t have a hotel, hostel, or AirBnB waiting for me. When I was in Prague, I had my own apartment. But now I’m temporarily back in Miami. And even though it’s my hometown, I’m very much homeless.
I’m definitely not going to pay $150 a night to stay in some dump by the airport. And I’m definitely not sleeping on my parents’ couch; I’d rather pay $150 a night to stay in a dump by the airport. And as generous as my friends are, I also hate being a burden or inconveniencing people. But with a little ingenuity and good will, there are a few ways a digital nomad can rest her weary bones.
Pet sit for other travelers
I’ll be spending nearly half of my stay in Miami with my friends’ kitties and puppies. I can feed and walk their pets while they’re out of town in exchange for a place to sleep. This method ensures you a comfy bed instead of a couch. And you don’t have to feel guilty about freeloading or taking advantage, since you’re doing something to help them out in return. Plus, you get to wake up with a cute kitty sleeping on your chest. The downside is that sometimes you wake up with a cute kitty clawing at your face.
Be a gracious guest
When someone is amazing enough to give you a key to their place, clean up the guest room and offer you a fresh towel, you have to return the favor. Buy them groceries. Bring home beer. Clean the kitchen while they’re at work. Don’t wake them up at odd hours. Don’t hog the bathroom if they’re trying to get ready for work. Be pleasant company.
Sleep only during the day
The best way to avoid being a pest in someone’s home is to stay there when they’re not in it. If you can’t pet sit while they’re out of town, the next best thing is to come home at 7 am and sleep peacefully while they’re at work. You can fill up the late nights by driving for Uber, going clubbing, or sitting at a 24 hour café with a lot of coffee and free WiFi.
Get a girlfriend
Lesbians go from zero to engaged in like 4 days. So go wading in the Tinder sludge pit for a suitable mate. You’ll have to get past the “Not-like-other-Miami-girls” girls whose only interest is Crossfit and Chili’s 2-for-1s, and women who are looking for someone to join her and her boyfriend. But if you’re lucky, you’ll find a nice down-to-earth girl who is only moderately insane and who will have a drawer for you at her place in 24 hours. By the time you’re ready to leave town, she will already have kicked you out.
Sleep in your car
I pay the same amount per month for my car in Miami as I do for a furnished studio in Prague. So I think it’s fair to suggest that for that kind of money, I should be able to live in my car. Aside from a place to sleep, you’ll need stable WiFi to work. So drive around downtown aimlessly until something connects. And after you’re done with work for the night, find a quiet park, drop your seats, and lower the windows to enjoy the breeze while you sleep. Also, enjoy the Zika you’ll have by morning.
Try couch surfing with a stranger
The great thing about being homeless at home is that you know everyone. That creepy guy who is offering a bed to brunettes between the ages of 18-32? You went to high school with his sister, and you have like 20 mutual friends on Facebook. So if he tries to murder you in your sleep or has a hidden camera in his bathroom, Vanessa from middle school will come to your rescue.
Become someone’s muse
If you’re looking to shack up with someone a little less threatening than a loner on couchsurfing.com, try an artist. Artists don’t hurt people – except emotionally, for the sake of their art. I would love to spend a weekend posing for a painter in exchange for a place to sleep. Or being photographed while I read verses from the Bible in the bathtub – whatever, I’m down to get pretty weird. And I’m a great muse; people have written entire albums about me. And in all likelihood, I’ll end up writing a book about you.
Suggest a sleepover
Everyone loves reliving their youth – that glorious time before life became bitter and hard. So round up your best friends for a good old-fashioned sleepover. Bring your most ridiculous PJs and put mud face masks on each other while you each finish a bottle of wine and talk about the stupid shit you did in college. You’ll probably end up accidentally sleeping on the floor of the bathroom, which defeats the purpose of this as a way to find comfortable accommodations. But goddamn, you haven’t had this much fun since homecoming of junior year when you also, ironically, ended up sleeping on the floor of the bathroom.
Just ask nicely
After you’ve exhausted a host of ridiculous and potentially dangerous options, you can fall back on the easiest thing. “Hey, is it alright if I stay with you for a couple of days?”