Money (or lack of money) should not be a barrier that stops you from traveling the world. There are a lot of great options to make your dream trip come true, from finding free accommodation to driving cars across a country to working as a digital nomad. So the world really is your oyster! Here’s our list of ways to travel the globe without spending a penny.
1. Get paid to travel the world
If you have a digital skill, you are in luck! Being a digital nomad is a great way to get paid to travel the world. Many jobs are location independent, from web design to online accounting to content writing. All you need is your laptop and a good WiFi connection.
If you want to ditch your desk job it might be worth trying to convince your boss to let you work remotely. Alternatively, you can make the decision to go freelance and build a client-base ahead of your trip.
Have you ever wanted to stay in a villa with a pool for free? If so, the option of house-sitting could be your perfect way to travel abroad for free. Companies such as Trusted House Sitters, Mind My House and House Carers offer an amazing selection of properties, from cute farmhouses in the Spanish mountains, through to jungle villas in Costa Rica.
Trusted House Sitters works by connecting pet lovers with pet owners who are looking for someone to stay in their property and care for their pet while they are away. Meanwhile, Mind My House is a global house sitting tool that matches house sitters with homeowners.
3. Work in exchange for free accommodation
A work-away can be a great idea if you are looking to travel the world for free. Many places, from hostels to farms to schools, offer free accommodation and meals in return for an agreed amount work. There are many businesses and families that are willing to host travelers on a short or long-term basis. Some of the best online resources for finding a work-away are organizations such as WWOOF and Workaway. Workaway is an organization that displays opportunities in hundreds of countries around the world. A volunteer is usually expected to work a twenty-five-hour week in exchange for free accommodation and meals. It costs $29 for one year’s access to the site.
WWOOF’ing may sound like a funny name, but it is a really popular scheme that provides free accommodation in exchange for agricultural labor. WWOOF stands for World Wide Opportunities on Organic Farms. Through this organization, you can arrange a local home-stay on a farm in over 120 countries. It is a unique way to see the world, stay somewhere for free and gain an insight into agricultural work in a different country. It costs between $0-$72 a year to sign-up to the site and browse opportunities.
Embrace the couchsurfing community and stay somewhere for free by crashing on a local’s couch.
Many people are willing to let you stay in their home for free and they often love to take the opportunity to show their city to an enthusiastic traveler. Show your host a little gratitude by cooking for them, or taking the time to teach them about your own culture. Before setting off, make sure you’re up to date on How to Find a Place to Stay on Couchsurfing.
5. Crowdfund your travels
Got a great story to tell? Or a cool idea for a different way to travel the world? Then it could be worth considering setting up a crowd-funding page to get paid to travel the world. Some of the top crowd-funding pages include Kickstarter, Indiegogo, and GoFundMe.
6. Teach English
Another great way to travel the world for free is to teach English abroad. English is one of the most popular languages to learn in the world and there are plenty of opportunities to teach in schools. There are various government-run programmes that can place you in a school abroad, such as SENA in Colombia or The English Opens Doors Program in Chile. Both programmes were created by the government in order to increase the English skills of the Colombian and Chilean population.
House-swapping is another great way to travel the world for free. If you have an apartment or house that you are willing to swap, you can exchange houses with someone else for an arranged period of time. This is also a great way to save money as you have access to a kitchen and can cook for yourself. Sites such as HomeExchange and HomeExchangeVacation are a good place to start browsing what type of houses are available.
8. Travel for free with Air Miles
For hardcore travelers, acquiring Air Miles is a great way to travel abroad for free. It is possible to get free flights by using your credit card to get Air Mile points and also being a regular flyer. This method takes time, and of course, money, as you have to be spending on your card to get points in the first place.
Volunteering is a great way to travel abroad for free, alongside being a rewarding way of experiencing a new culture.
Today, many volunteer opportunities require payment from the volunteers and often this can be a fee of a few hundred dollars. However, don’t be discouraged – there are still plenty of free opportunities out there! Good resources include FreeVolunteering and HelpStay, which both provide a list of available opportunities, from working with children to helping out on a coffee farm. You can also look for organizations that offer scholarships and grants to people looking to volunteer abroad, such as Travelocity’s Travel for Good Program. To get started, check out these 7 Best Websites for Volunteering Abroad.
10. Use Free Transportation
You can travel the world for free by ride sharing and hitchhiking – although you must always take care when doing this. Facebook groups and other social media sites are great for finding other people that are traveling in a similar direction to you.
Meanwhile, some companies offer the chance to drive other people’s vehicles across the country. If you like the idea of traveling in Australia, sometimes rental companies such as Britz and Maui are looking for people to drive cars across the country.
11. Become a Travel Blogger
The life of a travel blogger looks like the life that dreams are made of. To become a successful travel blogger, first, you’ll have to find your niche. Once you’ve got a substantial following on your blog, you can then approach hotels, resorts, restaurants and other places to see whether you can have free accommodation or a free meal in exchange for a promotional piece on your blog. Travel bloggers who have hit the big time will also get paid to write reviews or blog posts, and sometimes have their transport covered too. The same goes for Instagram influencers. The more people you have following your page, the more likely you are to get freebies.
12. Work For a Travel Publication
If you love writing and travel, why not pair the two and become a researcher for a guidebook. For the best shot at getting hired, you’ll have to speak the local language and be keen to get off the beaten track and discover hidden places and amazing, unique experiences.
13. Become a Flight Attendant
One of the best ways to travel the world for free is to become a flight attendant. Flight attendants get sent all over the world on a daily basis. Due to rules and regulations, especially surrounding long-haul flights, attendants are usually given some time at their point of arrival to relax after a long flight (meaning time for you to explore!). Often after a long haul flight, attendants stay in a hotel for the night, before getting ready for their flight the next day.