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Accommodation on a budget (short-/medium-/long-term)

I’ve compiled a list to help you save money on accommodation options in Germany.

I will also disclose what local Germans use to hunt for available rooms and empty apartments.

The following options are not only for desperate students or foreign interns but also for everybody else who needs to temporarily stay in Germany.

Find cheap and affordable accommodation in Berlin and other German cities with the help of a local dude

What are the best ways to find an accommodation in Germany?


University boards

If for some reason you are not eligible to apply for a student dormitory, you can still rent rooms that are directly offered by students.

When students return from their Erasmus, internships or semesters spend abroad, they naturally want to keep living at the same place to finish their studies. Hence, they need to temporarily rent out their room in the dorm, apartment or flat while they are absent.

Ads on bulletin boards can be found in every International Office, student accommodation center, etc. of any university.

In addition, some student unions (Asta, Studierendenwerk) have their own room-housing-exchange websites where every arrangement is privately settled.

However, most descriptions are in German. -> Google translate is your friend, but here some nuggets:

W-Lan Wi-fi| möbliert furnished | Kaution deposit | Nebenkosten service charges | inkl. incl. | Geschlecht sex | sofort immediately available |Zweck-WG is a shared apartment for a practical or an economic purpose. Hence, the focus is not on social community building with other flatmates.

CityRoom Exchanges &Groups
Aachen Extraraum & Campuslife
BerlinStudentenwerk & Facebook
BochumAsta Bochum
BonnZimmerfrei Bonn
DortmundAsta TU Dortmund
KölnFacebook Flatshare Cologne
MünchenTUM: Wohnraumallianz
MünsterAsta Uni Münster
Suggestions?If you know of more, drop us a comment.
To be continued …


Popular German search engines


… is probably the biggest and most used website by German locals who hunt for affordable rooms in shared apartments. It can be navigated in English and even comes along with a translate function in the corner of each room or apartment description.

» Membership Fee: None (FREE to use)




…are also favourites among locals. Choose your city in Anzeigen in to generate compact results. From there, you can apply the extra filters (Mietart: unbefristet unlimited, befristet limited time, Tagesmiete rent for single days and Wohnungstausch room/apartment swapping).

Room availability is indicated under ab (from) and bis (until). Some provide their contact details. Otherwise, you need to hit E-mail senden to craft a message and tick the general business terms AGB before sending it via Nachricht senden.

» Membership Fee: None (FREE to use)



Listings on this website are exclusively for rooms in shared apartments. Although it cannot be used in English, I’ve found affordable and furnished rooms for 250-400€/month in cities like Frankfurt, Berlin and Düsseldorf. A downside is that most prices are only shown for the base rent (Kaltmiete).

Therefore, you need to contact the tenants for additional infos on the service fees (zzgl. NK= Nebenkosten). In contrast, Warmmiete means that the service charges are included in the price.

» Membership Fee: None (FREE to use)



…is a great site if you look for a room to stay for 1-8 months in Germany. My test-search for Berlin and Frankfurt has shown results starting from 250-400€+ /month. It’s available in English (click on the letter on the right corner) and even has a “translate to English” function for all room/apartment descriptions. The downside is the service fee.

Of course, you can dodge these fees by privately arranging payments- but at your own risk !

» Membership Fee: None (FREE to use)
» Service Fee: Up to 25€


Less popular but still good. If all fails, try this search engine for more affordable rooms!

» Membership Fee: None (FREE to use)



How about single furnished bedrooms with a shared kitchen and communal space?

This dormitory-style concept is relatively new to Germany, but a growing trend and an answer for people who are consistently on the move. If you deal with uncertainties (university enrollment, fixed-term employment contracts, project management, etc.), you don’t want to be tied to any city.

Co-Living places provide temporary accommodation with a short cancellation period. Currently, I only know of two cities in Germany with Co-Living spaces and they are nothing like their Chinese counterparts.


in Hamburg

Don’t let the name fool you. What makes this Co-Living space so likable is the diverse and down-to earth crowd that it attracts (elderly caretaker, students, social workers etc. ).

Rooms are priced between 400 and 600€/month incl. Wi-fi and cleaning services. The kitchen is shared as well as the walk-in fridge. Students-Lodge used to be a clinic and has a cancellation period of one month.



in Düsseldorf

These two Co-Living spaces are catering towards 20-to-40-something professionals with high income. Single furnished rooms are priced at 600-1000€ /month with everything included from Wi-fi, washing machines, detergent to aluminum foil (lol).

This place is ideal for people who want to network with other career-obsessed nomads.


Digital real-estate agents/platforms

Over the last few years, German Startups have come up with dating like platforms for room, apartment and house searches to match landlords with potentials tenants.

The most prominent can only be navigated in German and are geared towards long-term rental arrangements.


This webpage allows you to completely automate your apartment hunt for FREE.

An algorithm will suggest offers that best matches your profile. Both, the landlord and potential tenant, will receive a notification for every match.-Just like Tinder.

Next the landlord can request your personal details to qualify you for a housing visit which you can either decline or grant. Either way, you decide who can peek into your profile details (age, profession, income, smoking habits, number of children/pets, etc.).

» Membership Fee: FREE for tenants. Landlords pay a monthly fee (25-75€)


#10 – HOMEY (GER)

Similar to Mietercasting, landlords and potential tenants create an online profile where they disclose their ideal type of tenant/ accommodation. However, tenants need to actively search and apply for the listed rooms/properties/apartments/houses.

Once an application is sent out, an algorithm will calculate a profile ranking of all applicants who best match with the landlord’s profile.

Both sides can see the ranking. At the end, the landlord will invite his chosen ones to a housing visit.

» Membership Fee: None (FREE to use)



This one has many long-term accommodation listings for Berlin.

However, the apartment descriptions are in German and the lack of a filter function makes it harder to navigate.

Nevertheless, it is free to browse through the latest listings without any registration.

If you want to submit an application, you need to sign up and complete your profile by providing your ID-, payslip- and credit verifications.

» Membership Fee: None (FREE to use)



Some pensioners, or handicapped people in need provide free or rent reduced accommodation in exchange for your helping hand. You are often asked to devote predetermined hours each week to do menial work such as grocery shopping, gardening or accompanying visits to the doctor, etc. However, nursing services are not expected from you.
The rule of thumb is one hour of work per month for each room square, but everything can be negotiated. Please be careful when you are offered money for your help. It is considered “Schwarzarbeit” (moonlighting), if you accept money but don’t have a legal working permit.


…is a government supported initiative that has connected hundreds of students with people in need. It was first piloted in 1992 in Darmstadt and now has extended its projects in Münster, Hamburg, Hannover and other cities that are well-known for scarce student accommodation. Most room providers are pensioners. Many foreign students apply for these places to quickly improve their German.

» Membership Fee: None (FREE to use)
» Application:  Local city office or student unions (some restrict their offers to students )



If for any reason you are not eligible for wohnenfuerhilfe, I recommend using this site where offers are not regulated by any public entity.

» Membership Fee: None (FREE to use)



This platform is more suitable if you need to bridge the time between assessments and admissions or just wanna travel within Germany.

In exchange for free accommodation, verified members seek help with projects ranging from permaculture gardening, horse training assistance or artistic housing projects to simple youth hostel jobs, house renovation or baby-sitting. I came across offers from Stuttgart, Leipzig, Berlin and smaller cities.

» Membership Fee: None (FREE to use)


#15 – STAYDU (ENG)

This site has great potential for people with mediocre or poor German skills. Room providers here set their own terms (stay for …free/help/rent). At present, the search function doesn’t work properly but if you use the build-in google map you can see offers listed for Mannheim and Berlin. Hopefully, the number of members will increase in the future.

» Membership Fee: None


Short-Midterm Rentals

If you see yourself staying longer in Germany and haven’t been successful with the options presented in 1-4, you can always rely on the generalists. The websites are:


#16 – AIRBNB

Since this is already well-known, I will just provide some tips on how to negotiate the best deals for you.

You can refer to this post with my personal examples.

Sign up here to get a bonus


#17 – WIMDU (ENG)

…is the European counterpart of Airbnb. There is quite a number of rooms available in Berlin for 15-20€/night.

If you seek accommodation to stay in Germany for several months, you need to negotiate with the hosts just like you would through Airbnb.

Don’t take the prices that are displayed as fixed.


Home Swapping

Home swapping refers to the practice of a mutual or non-mutual home exchange for a certain period of time.

  • Mutual: When you and another party make an agreement to stay at each other’s house for a specific period of time.
  • Non-Mutual: Earn points for each individual you share your home with and use these points to pay a host of your choice to stay at his place. Theses points serve as a virtual currency.

 Some hosts on these platforms also offer a classic rental option


Trampolinn is a non-mutual home swapping platform, allowing you to stay at places of your choice without spending any money, provided you´re willing to host other members at your place as well. You can also earn points by inviting friends or buying them for a low price.

It has a very big community and if calculated correctly, you will find listings cheaper than on Airbnb.

I found plenty of rooms for about 100 points/night in cities like Berlin. This can help you save a ton of money.

» Membership Fee: None
» Upgrades: ~35€ annual fee for a PRO account with added benefits



Similar to Trampolinn, this website allows you to swap freely. However, “buying” points doesn’t seem to be an attractive option. Hence, this platform works best for you if you can host other members to earn points.

Later on, you simply redeem these travel credits to book your own accommodation in Germany (or anywhere else within the network).Love Home Swap is supposedly the biggest player in the homes-swapping community with a wide selection of accommodation options.

» Membership Fee: $168/year or $14/month



This one facilitates mutual home exchanges which is more suited for tourists and travelers.
There is no point system. This requires you to swap with other guests. In my trial search I came across 1400 listing in Germany with most members asking for simultaneous swaps, meaning you and your swap partner will stay at each other’s places for free on an agreed date.

There are also plenty of offers for non-simultaneous swaps, allowing you to set up your dates with more flexibility.

» Membership Fee: $150/year


The oldest platforms for mutual home exchanges offers around 800 accommodations in Germany. The search function might not be very refined but you can use it to browse through all the rooms, apartments and houses that are openly listed without a registration.

» Membership Fee: $95/year




Another mutual home exchange website that works best for tourists and travelers. There is only a limited selection of swap offers with the most located in Berlin and Bavaria.


» Membership Fee: $59/year or $35/6 months


House Sitting

In short, House-Sitting provides you rent free accommodation options for keeping homes/apartments safe from potential burglars while their owners/tenants are away (vacation, business trips, etc.).

This temporary arrangement can last for days, weeks or even months.

Other tasks include watering plants, taking care of pets and accepting parcel deliveries.

House Sitting networks often require annual but low membership fees, if you want to submit your application to hosts with listed homes/apartments. However, browsing through offers is usually for free.

This kind of arrangement is widely popular in Australia but is largely unknown in Germany. Therefore, I recommend the following links to find open-minded Germans who are directly advertising to foreign nationals:


… is the biggest platform for house-sitting arrangements. If you are an animal lover, you will love it, since most listings require pet care. Use the free search function to check out the latest listings in Germany first before purchasing a membertship.

» Membership Fee: $95.88/year


#24 – NOMADOR :

This is a relatively fresh site. Hence, listings for Germany are limited but quite interesting.
The free membership option is definitely a plus, allowing you to test it out at no cost.

» Membership Fee: Free for the first three applications
Similiar sites but with a more limited selection are and


Budget friendly Poshtels/Hostels

If you haven’t been successful yet, you can ALWAYS find rooms in centrally located hostels to bridge any time gap in your room hunting process. Consider hostels as a backup plan. The cheapest options are rooms with bunk beds shared among 6, 8 or more people. Keep in mind that most hostels don’t allow you to stay more than 30 days. The best platforms to search for are:
This is my personal favorite. I rely on this whenever I can’t find available rooms on Trampolinn or Airbnb.



…is the world´s biggest platform for hostels.

You will find shared rooms in major cities like Munich, Frankfurt, Berlin or Hamburg for 11€/night.


I mainly use this site to compare prices with the two above and sometimes come across special deals and little nuggets. It’s worth a shot

A poshtel (posh hostel ) is an upscale version of a hostel which enriches the hostel experience with fancy interior design elements and other bonuses (a rooftop terrace, pool , bar, restaurant, free break-fast, etc….)

Prominent examples can be found in Berlin:
«Wallyard Concept Hostel»
«The Cat’s Pajamas»

This is a growing trend, and more and more hotel chains are considering setting up their own poshtels to appeal to millennials and compete with Airbnb.


Couch Surfing

Couch-surfing (short-term) refers to the practice of letting other individuals temporarily occupy a couch, bed or anything else you offer to them for FREE. This allows volunteering hosts to meet new/international friends. “Couch Surfers” enjoy free accommodation and have a chance to experience a new city with a local (the host).

The core agenda of these worldwide networks is to facilitate the cultural exchange by connecting like-minded people. -It is not about ruthlessly freeloading.

Take advantage of the testimonials, reviews and references that are left on each member’s profile page. Some platforms offer a verification process for an extra fee which can help you to build up trust within this community.



I don’t think I have to go into details with this.

However, keep in mind that some hosts use this platform to strategically arrange hookups.

Always prepare a backup hotel or hostel before meeting a host.

Make sure to check the saftey basics

» Membership Fee: None (FREE!)



…is not to be outdone either.

Aside from the vast network, the reliable filter function allows you to identify different hosts.

In my research phase, I came across 3300 hosts in Germany.

» Membership Fee: None (FREE!)



In Berlin there are around 700 members alone who offer free accommodation. Second is Munich with around 300, then Hamburg (240), Cologne and Leipzig (~200). This network has a relatively small community, but it’s still worth checking it out. In total you will find around 4500 members from Germany.

» Membership Fee: None (FREE!)