When I talk to friends or acquaintances about travel, most of the time I hear something along the lines of:
“I wish I could travel more, but I can’t afford to right now”
The truth is it is possible to travel for nearly free if you are willing to look beyond the bounds of traditional travel, but most folks do not know how. This page provides an outline of ways to travel for free so that you can do it yourself. Exploring some of the methods listed here could completely change your way of thinking about travel.
The two biggest expenses while traveling are transportation and lodging, so we will focus on cutting out those expenses.
Transportation usually consists of flying and ground transportation. Fortunately, most airlines have frequent flyer programs where you can accumulate miles and fly for free. What most people don’t know is that it is possible to accumulate large amounts of airline miles through credit card sign up offers, and use them to take trips just about anywhere for free. More information about this can be found on my credit cards page.
So now that we have addressed flying for free, how about getting around on the ground? Well, if you don’t want to spend any money at all, you could walk or hitchhike, but usually I end up using mass transit, because it is reliable and inexpensive, especially when used for getting around a city or metro area.
Moving on to lodging, there are a few ways to do it for free. One is to use Couchsurfing, a social network of like-minded people who are interested in cultural exchange. Many of the individuals on the Couchsurfing website are also willing to host travelers for free. My favorite thing about Couchsurfing is that you can get the local feel of a place through the eyes of someone who lives there. IMPORTANT: Couchsurfing can be a fun and safe way to travel if do it properly. Please visit my page on Couchsurfing etiquette before signing up!!!
A second way to spend the night for free is camping. Camping and Couchsurfing work well hand-in-hand because Couchsurfing works better in cities while camping is a great way to explore nature.
If you would prefer to stay in a hotel, you can also use the credit card approach outlined earlier to accumulate hotel points, and reserve rooms for free around the world.
In addition to the techniques described above, there are several other ways to travel for free. I have listed some of them below.
- Wwoofing (World Wide Opportunities on Organic Farms): Work on an organic farm while receiving free room and board! Minimum stay is a week or more.
- Maybe working on a farm isn’t for you? Workaway is a website where you can get free meals and lodging in exchange for working a set amount of time each week. Through this website, you can find gigs that range from working on a boat to taking care of huskies on a mushing team. Minimum stay varies by location, but is usually two weeks or more.
- Au Pair: Work as a live-in nanny while studying in a different country. Usually au pairs are age restricted to people under 30. Au pairs receive free room and board, as well as a small monetary allowance.
- Teaching English in a foreign country: A lot of the time just being a native English speaker is enough to get you hired, other times you may need a TEFL (Teaching English as a Foreign Language) certificate.
- Working in a hostel: Just like it sounds. Free room, usually comes with free food, and possibly a stipend. If you like the party atmosphere, find a “party hostel” to work at.
- Pick up seasonal jobs along the way to fund your travels. For example, olive pickers in southern Europe can be paid a lot. And ski resorts need seasonal workers.
Anyways, I hope that this glimpse into the world of free travel has piqued your interest. Thanks for reading, and to find more information you can browse the menus above!