Stay Free in San Francisco

It may sound crazy
but it's really not always about the money

"It's not about the money money money
We don't need your money money money
We just wanna make the world dance
Forget about the price tag"  - Jesse J.




As stated in our hostel mission statement our goal is to help travelers with limited means experience San Francisco and the world in order to create international friendship across borders.  

We routinely gift free stays to our guests, especially when we think they are doing good things for the planet or when they have provided a positive influence in our hostel community. Sometimes guests entertain us with music or cook a great community meal to share. They inspire us with their awesome good work for the planet or simply just can't help but make us smile. Sometimes we have guests that are just super helpful and love washing dishes and other times we are awe-inspired by the effort a guest has made to come to visit us from an obscure far off corner of the developing world. These are some of the reasons we choose to gift stays to our guests either in advance or by retroactively giving a refund.  It's important to understand gifting is never a guarantee and it's rarely formalized (Hint: so it's not always the best strategy to ask us about free stays in advance).

If we gift you a free stay, there is no obligation of reciprocity or work. This is not work-exchange or barter as some hostels call it and it's definitely not a job. It's simply an expression of love and appreciation from one human to another. We encourage you to travel the world with this spirit of gifting and you will be amazed at where it literally takes you.  Hostels everywhere are looking for travelers with this positive outlook on life. If you want to understand more about how we see gifting, check out this video about the Burning Man "economy". 


Notwithstanding the informal ways to stay for free listed above, we also sometimes make formal arrangements with "influencers".  When we say "influence" we are not looking for tacky and awkward endorsements for our hostel.  However, if you have a story to tell that we think is worth people hearing, we want to help you.  If you are working to help budget travelers see the world on a budget, we want to help you.  Sure we'll be happy if you promote the mission statement of our hostel, but we encourage to think about this more broadly than just making an advertisement for our hostel.  We'd really prefer to collab with you and make the world a better place for international exploration and peace.  You may say we are dreamers, but we know we're not the only ones.  


Do you share the magic of budget travel through photography?  Do you always seem to have your camera (or smartphone) at the ready and have a knack of capturing the essence of what true hostel-style travel is all about? Have an amazing travel photo portfolio you are proud of?  We are always looking for photographers to document the real San Francisco from the perspective of the broke backpacker. If you are here to provide valuable content, tips and tricks to SF future travelers we'd like to help you.  Our help could include transportation, equipment, accommodation, and travel models (i.e. hostel guests we give free nights to).  

Vloggers & YouTubers

Whether you are an established YouTuber with many subscribers or you are just starting your vlogging stardom, we’d love to see what you’re doing! While we’re always happy to promote your own videos on our website blog, we especially would love it (and sometimes pay) if you would let us feature your San Francisco video exclusively on our own YouTube channel.  We'll always give you all the credit and we would be especially happy to help you with logistical support, equipment, accommodation, transportation or just being the holder of your equipment during a video shoot.  If you are an established YouTuber, it would be an honor to work with you.    


Let us not forget the lost art of the written word. If you have a well-written trip report about something you did or experienced in San Francisco, we’d love to read it and maybe promote it.  We also pay if we can host it on our website exclusively.  To get paid for your writing, you will either need to have U.S. work permission or certify the work product is done outside the U.S. 

Hint: If you are a good (funny) writer, you might even be able to reuse writing from an email to your friends and family.

Actors and Models

You don't need to be a professional but if you are super comfortable (and maybe even a little silly) in front of a camera, we’d love to feature you in one of our YouTube videos.  These videos show budget travelers the best of San Francisco! If selected for a video shoot, we will make you (and up to one friend) the star of your own San Francisco video. You must be very outgoing and able to informally but naturally recite lines on camera. All of your expenses (tickets, food, and local transportation) will be paid for the duration of the video shoot. In addition, you’ll get a free night for every day you are willing to be filmed while having fun in and around San Francisco. Send a YouTube link of your previous “work” or a short “audition” video to us.

Travel Bloggers

If you already have a travel blog with an established following, read our special page just for you that will show you how to stay for free and earn cash for every new guest you refer to us.  We don't work with HostelWorld because we think it's more fun to work directly with content creators who are providing real value to the world of budget travel.  

Have Another Idea?

Send us your pitch! We are always looking for ways to surprise and delight our guests, inform travelers about San Francisco and our unique hostel mission.  We want to show travelers how to make San Francisco inexpensive and fun.

Please email us at info  ☮


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