Do you dream of jetting off on an endless vacation but can't afford it? With some creative thinking and planning, you can find ways to travel for free.
Imagine discovering ancient ruins in Rome or sipping coconuts under palm trees in the Maldives with zero travel costs. Even if this seems too good to be true, there are multiple strategies that you can use so your next getaway doesn't break the bank.
Here are 20 tips to help you travel for free worldwide, or at the very least, for much less than you thought possible.
How To Travel for Free: 20 Tips To Make It a Reality
Seeing the world and experiencing other cultures is an excellent use of your time and money. But this doesn't mean you should put the price tag aside and travel regardless of cost. Nor does it mean you give up on your dream and accept a life of entertaining the kiddos.
Through travel hacking and other tricks, you can bring the cost of travel down by getting free rooms and doing things with no money. As an additional bonus, in many cases, you can earn money while traveling.
1. Start a Travel Blog
Making money online is the perfect solution when traveling the world and living the nomad lifestyle. When you become a travel blogger, you can grow your platform and make money online.
Plenty of travel bloggers get to go on a paid trip. If you love to travel and don't mind writing about it, this may be your option.
As you build your brand and gain exposure, you may have local tourism offices contact you for a visit in exchange for writing about your experience.
However, blogging is hard work and takes time to grow and see results. It's a dream job when you are passionate about traveling and want to travel. Just know that it won't be making you money on day one.
If starting a site interests you, check out our step-by-step guide on how to create a profitable blog here.
If running your own website isn't of interest to you, consider becoming a freelancer instead. You get hired to write for travel magazines and websites as a freelancer. Then you travel to where the story takes you.
In most cases, your employer will reimburse you for the out-of-pocket expenses you incur during your trip. As with having your own site, as you make a name for yourself, tourism offices will also begin to reach out to you.
3. Work Abroad
One way to travel for free is to work abroad. There are many opportunities to find work abroad, many of which do not require any prior experience.
Working abroad can be a great way to gain new skills and experience and get paid. It can also help you save money to travel for more extended periods. There are many different types of jobs available abroad, so there will be something that suits your skills and interests.
Some popular jobs include doctors, nurses, web development, chefs, an au pair, and more. You can often find work through websites or ask around when you arrive in a new country.
4. Teach English
Teaching English is another excellent way to see the world for free. Many countries will pay for you to move and teach their children the English language. While a bachelor's degree is nice, it is not a requirement.
The only requirement is usually TEFL certification and a valid passport.
Where is the most in-demand place to teach? Japan, China, Taiwan, and South Korea top the list. But this doesn't mean they are your only options.
Alternatively, you can also teach online using a platform like QKids. It is easy to start, and you can earn up to $200 a day.
5. Look For Work Exchanges
Another option for traveling the world is to look for work exchanges. Several websites offer this service, like Worldpackers. It can be a great way to see the world while getting work experience.
You must provide basic information about yourself and what type of work you would like. You may also need to provide a resume and cover letter.
Once in a work exchange program, you can search for opportunities matching your skills and interests. You can then apply for the ones that interest you the most.
6. Volunteer Long-Term With Peace Corps
The Peace Corps is a great way to see the world while doing good work. Volunteering allows you to travel globally to some fantastic places at no cost. You will also be able to learn new skills and meet amazing people.
If you are interested in volunteering with the Peace Corps, visit their website to learn more about the program and how to apply.
Additionally, if you are interested in volunteering for a more extended time, the Peace Corps also offers long-term volunteer opportunities. These opportunities typically last two years, allowing volunteers to immerse themselves in the local community and make a difference.
Couchsurfing is when you stay with a local and travel to a new place instead of staying in a hotel. It's a great way to meet locals and learn about the culture and customs of a new location.
You can stay with locals happy to have you in their homes and get to know the area better by talking to them.
Plus, it's a smart way to save money on accommodation. Just make sure you are respectful of your host's home and belongings and that you clean up after yourself.
8. Organize a Volunteer Trip
Volunteering with the Peace Corps is a great option, but you have little say in where you go or what you do. If you know what you want to do and where to go, consider setting up your own volunteer trip.
Use a crowdfunding site to collect donations and use the money to pay for your trip and help those in need. You might even find that some of your friends or family members would like to go and help too.
Depending on what you want to help with, ensure it is OK for you to come. For example, if there is a recent natural disaster and you want to assist, it might be too dangerous. You may have to wait a few weeks until they restore basic services.
Finally, ensure that most of the money you raise goes towards the cause. While you can use some cash for your flight and hotel, you should not be flying first class and staying at a five-star resort.
9. House Sit
One trendy way to travel the globe for little cost is by housesitting. Housesitting allows you to stay somewhere new while caring for someone else's home and making money. However, there are a few things you need to do to get started with housesitting.
First, you need to find a house to look after. You can do this by searching online or asking friends and family if they know anyone who needs a house sitter. Once you find a house, ask the owner if they want you to stay.
Next, you need to know what they expect from you. Have a list of references and be comfortable caring for pets and plants. Once everything is in order, enjoy your free stay!
10. Swap Houses
If you are open to it, another option is house swapping. This is very much like housesitting, except that instead of getting paid, the person whose house you are staying in stays in your house. One way is to find a house swaps website like HomeExchange.com or HomeLink International.
These websites allow you to search for homes available for swapping worldwide. Another way to find a house swap is through social media websites like Facebook or Twitter.
There are often groups dedicated to housing swaps that you can join. Finally, you can contact friends or family who live in other areas and see if they are interested in exchanging houses for a vacation.
11. Drive Someone's Car
Driving someone's car is arguably the unique option on this list. Some people cannot go and need someone to drive them to another part of their country. There are a few ways to make this happen.
Or, they might need to ship their car overseas and need someone to drive to the port.
Finding people who have this need is easier than you might think. Searching online or through shipping companies is one way to go about it. Another is posting on social media sites.
While it sounds odd, driving someone's car can be a great way to try a new odd job, visit a new area, and have a unique experience.
12. Crew a Cruise Ship
If you're looking for a unique and exciting way to travel, consider becoming a crew member on a cruise ship. The staff usually are dedicated professionals who ensure the passengers have a great time on cruise ships.
You'll enjoy free travel and accommodation as a crew member while experiencing new ports and diverse cultures.
To become a cruise ship crew member, you'll need relevant qualifications and experience. Most cruise lines require their crew members to have a high school diploma. It is also a huge plus if you have completed hospitality or tourism-related training programs.
Once you've met the basic requirements, you can apply for positions with different cruise lines. The application process typically involves an online application followed by an interview.
13. Timeshare Presentation
While this option won't allow you to travel without spending money, you can save significantly by attending a timeshare presentation.
Timeshare presentations present a unique opportunity to travel for free. You can receive vouchers or other benefits by attending a timeshare presentation to offset travel costs.
Most offers are for a shorter trip, like five days or four nights, and include a hotel stay. The cost is typically $200-$400; the only requirement is to sit in on a 90-minute meeting about buying a timeshare.
You are not required to buy into the timeshare, only to attend the meeting.
Additionally, some timeshare companies offer incentives for attending their presentations, such as discounts on future purchases or upgrades, including coupons to local restaurants.
14. Take Advantage of Overbooked Flights
If you're flexible with your travel plans, getting bumped from an overbooked flight can work in your favor. Here's how to get free travel because of overbooked flights:
- Check-in online as early as possible. It will increase your chances of being bumped because the airline already has a list of who is on the flight.
- Be one of the last to board the plane. This way, you'll be more likely to be bumped because the airline will want to fill up the plane as much as possible.
- Volunteer to give up your seat. If you're not hurrying to reach your destination, you can voluntarily give up your seat in exchange for free travel. Just ask for a voucher or credit to use for future travel.
- Be polite and cooperative. If the airline accepts your request for bumping, remain calm and collaborative. Getting bumped will increase your chances of being compensated with free travel.
15. Loyalty Programs
Airline loyalty programs, for example, allow you to earn travel points every time you fly. You can exchange your frequent flier miles for free flights or other travel-related rewards.
Hotel loyalty programs also offer benefits, the best being free hotel stays.
Stick with one airline or hotel chain to earn the most miles or points. It will help you earn points the fastest, and it will be much easier to manage two programs instead of five.
16. Credit Card Rewards
Another great option is to take advantage of credit card reward programs. Many credit cards offer points that you can redeem for free travel. Find cards that offer generous welcome bonuses to earn the most points fast. Sometimes, you can earn enough points with a sign-up bonus for a free flight.
There are many cards offers out there, so you need to put in the effort to find the right travel credit card. Also, consider hotel or airline-branded cards if you primarily use one hotel chain or airline. Having their credit card will be much more rewarding than opting for a non-branded card.
17. Use Your Skills
Taking advantage of your skills is an often overlooked way to travel the globe and save money. List your skills on Craiglist alternatives like Gumtree and TaskRabbit to get paid to help others, such as helping out around the house.
This will allow you to stay at the house for free, reducing costs.
Hitchhiking is another way to travel for free because all you need is a thumb and a smile! You can usually find a ride within minutes by standing on the side of the road and waiting for a ride. Be sure to carry a sign with your destination so drivers know where you're going.
You never know who you'll meet or where you'll end up when hitchhiking. One thing that's for sure is that it's always an adventure!
Of course, hitchhiking isn't without its risks. Always use your best judgment when deciding whether or not to hitchhike. If you choose this option, let someone know your plans and check in with them regularly.
19. Take Advantage of Study Abroad
If you are in college, one fantastic opportunity you have available to you is studying abroad. You can take classes in a foreign country for a semester and explore the area in your free time. You can apply for a second semester there if you love the area.
The most important thing to consider with this option is whether or not your college includes housing in your cost or if it is an additional fee. Some programs include this, while others don't.
20. Use Your Social Network
Finally, make use of your social network. Write a post about where you would love to travel to and see if any of your friends or extended family knows of someone who lives there.
Either they can help you find the best accommodations worth the money, or they might be willing to let you stay a few nights for free. While the odds are slim, you never know. Your aunt's best friend's daughter might live in Paris and needs someone to stay at her apartment while she travels home for a week.
It is possible to travel for free if you are willing to get creative and utilize the resources available. If you take advantage of the tips above and think outside the box to reach your goals, nothing should stand in your way, not even cost!
So have an open mind and explore how you can visit the places you want to see without wasting your money. It's possible if you want it badly enough.
This article was produced and syndicated by Wealth of Geeks.