The best things in life are free and so can travelling the globe.
Travelling the world is a great adventure that will stay with you your whole life. Sounds like an expensive adventure you might be thinking. Not necessarily. There are many ways to travel the world very cheaply, and some are even free. Look at the network of friends you have around the world, relatives in other countries, try couch surfing and grabbing every opportunity that comes your way. You can have an international adventure without needing thousands of dollars to spend. All you need is some original thinking, lots of enthusiasm, the guts to carry on and some ideas to get you started.
Travel size items
You don’t want to be lugging a huge suitcase around the world with you and risk paying for excess baggage. Use travel size hair dryers and other toiletries that take up less room and weigh a lot less.
Free toiletries from accommodation
Take advantage of the toiletries offered by hotels, they are small and will last you the few days you are there.
Make sure you organise a phone plan that won’t cost you money you don’t have while you are travelling. You want to able to contact family or make further travel arrangements at a reasonable call rate.
Credit card with no foreign exchange fees
If you plan on using a credit card, make sure you won’t be charged for currency transfers. This can soon add up when travelling in places like Europe where countries have different currencies.
Credit card with free travel insurance
Some credit cards offer you free travel insurance while overseas. The yearly fee may be higher than your current card, but it may not be as high as insurance costs.
Grab yourself a travel guide that fits the style of travelling you want to do. You can get those that list youth hostels and other cheap accommodation and free attractions.
House swapping is a great way to have free accommodation and the use of a car while you travel around another country. There are websites for house swaps, and this can be a very cheap way to travel in another country or city. The advantage in staying in a house is that it is like being at home. It is fully equipped with kitchen and laundry, and you can come and go as you please.
A lot of people don’t want to leave their house empty when they are away on holiday. Check out the websites and apply for a house sitting job. Many people need someone to walk their dog or look after pets and to water the garden. Free accommodation for a few hours work and some people will even pay you as well.
Rent your home
If you plan on travelling for a few months or years and you own your home, consider a short term rental. The rental money will pay for your travel expenses.
A lot of people around the world are quite happy to have a person stay on their couch for a few days as they travel around.
Take advantage of very cheap accommodation that is provided in youth hostels and backpackers accommodation around the world.
Sleep on trains and planes
If you are travelling a long distance and there is a plane to train trip overnight, use this as your night’s accommodation.
Join the Peace Corp
This can be a great way to see parts of the globe that no one else does as you travel to countries to help revitalise communities, villages and towns. The 27-month commitment may seem like a long time, but you are young and want to travel so why not explore the advantages. Transport is free to and from countries; you are covered with medical and dental services, food and lodging are provided, you will have an intensive language course and any student loans may be deferred or even cancelled. You also have 48 days of free time to explore the country or area on your own.
Teach English overseas
When you apply and are accepted to teach English in a foreign country your travel and accommodation are provided for you. You can earn between $20,000 and $45000 US a year. You will need to stay for a set period, and by earning money, you can travel at the end of your tenure.
Apply for a fellowship
Students can travel to overseas places by applying for a scholarship to travel and study overseas. College graduates can apply in the US and other countries for a Rhodes scholarship or a Marshall Scholarship. Other skilled people such as artists, journalists, students and scholars can apply for a Fulbright Scholarship. These cover accommodation, food and travel and some other services along the way.
Organise a tour group
Form a tour group and organise a holiday for 20 of your friends. All you do is organise the holiday through a travel agency. Arrange the flights, transfers and accommodation and your trip is paid for. You don’t act as a tour guide you are just the tour group organiser.
Cruise ship crew
Apply to work on a cruise ship that is travelling the Pacific, the Caribbean or Mediterranean Seas. You will need to have some educational or entertainment skills to offer. Check with the cruise lines as some don’t give you much free time in ports to see the sights. This can be a good idea for short-term travelling. You will usually sign on for the cruising season.
Many large yachts that are cruising the world are looking for crew members with skills other than sailing. If you can offer culinary, mechanical, engineering or navigational skills apply to be a crew member. Owners often move yachts around the world to rake advantage of weather or fishing conditions and the boat needs to be relocated. An extra pair of hands never goes astray.
The budget airlines in Europe and North America offer cheap flights, so if you need to pay for travel take advantage of them.
Student travel scholarship
Apply to study for a year overseas to complete your degree. Travel and accommodation are provided and sometimes a daily allowance.
Transport vehicles for others
When people move to another country, they don’t want to transport the car on a train or truck. They will pay you to drive the car to their new destination. Some car rental companies need someone to drive the cars back from one-way rentals.
If you plan on hiring a car for your travel look into others who can join you and share the travel costs. Alternatively, you can join a car going in the same direction you are and pay towards the travel costs. Often this needs to be arranged before you go. Check out websites, bulletin boards and hotels while you are away.
This mode of transport is still quite safe in some countries so don’t discount it.
Take advantage of off season rates
Try to use off-season times to travel. Rates are cheaper, and even though it may not be the time of year you want by travelling a few weeks earlier or later, the fares are always cheaper.
Weekdays often cheaper
Travelling in a country is often cheaper by train, bus or plane on weekdays as they try to fill all of the seats. Even overseas travel can be cheaper as most people organise travel around a Monday to Friday working week.
Trade labour for accommodation
Some hostels will let you trade work for accommodation. You need to make sure that the swap is at the correct rate as you don’t want to be working 12 hours a day for a night’s accommodation.
Bar and hotel work
Many young people travel the world by working as a casual in a bar or hotel. If you have some hospitality skills and like talking to people, this could be for you.
If you have experience as a babysitter uses it to travel the world. A lot of couples with young children look for a nanny while they are travelling. They could be going for business or pleasure, and you will have days off when you can explore the city or country you are in. If you have a second language, this can be an advantage to getting a position.
A lot of families would rather host an overseas student or traveller to work as their nanny for a set period. This way you can earn money and travel at the same time.
Fruit and vegetable picking
Orchards and market gardens are great places to seasonal work, and some provide accommodation. You can follow the seasons around the world, get paid and travel in the off seasons.
Charity work overseas
Volunteer to work on a development project in a third world country. Some organisations give you flights and accommodation in return for your time for 1 to 2 years. Some organisations look for people with specialist skills such as building, horticulture.
Global treks for charity
This organisation runs treks in various parts of the world to raise money for developing areas. You raise sponsorship for the trek that pays for travel etc. There are various treks to choose from such as cycling, sledging, rafting and team challenges. Recent treks have been up Mt Kilimanjaro in Africa and to Everest Base Camp.
This organisation is worldwide opportunities on organic farms. You are provided with room and board in replace fro working on these farms; there are farms all around the world.
This is a volunteer group that lists work overseas. Accommodation and meals are provided as you teach English or help rebuild a chateau, work on a building or framing project and much more.
Other volunteer organisations
- Bob Marshall Wilderness Foundation-Montana USA, meals and accommodation provided
- Pacific Crest Trail Association trail runs from Mexico to Canada through California, Washington and Oregon, meals and accommodation provided
- Se7en-social and environmental projects around the world. Not all of these projects are free
Free breakfast offers
If you are paying for hotel accommodation look for places that offer free breakfast. This will save you around $10 each day.
This style of accommodation comes with a fully equipped kitchen, and this enables you to buy food cheaply from local fresh produce markets and cook your food. This is a lot cheaper than buying meals in many countries.
Use free coffee, tea and sugar supplied
Always carry a small thermos with you and you make up a warm drink to carry throughout the day from the complimentary supplies in your room.
Free food in Italy
Italy is a country where you can go to a cafe or restaurant and have food for no charge. You won’t get drinks, but the food is given to travellers under a law that says all cafes and restaurants when asked to give a meal free of charge. You may be asked not to visit there again, but there are many places to choose from.
Don’t be afraid to ask for help
If you find yourself stranded somewhere with no money never be afraid to ask for help or a job to pay for accommodation or food. Offer to work in a cafe a couple of hours for a meal or to make beds in a hostel for a night’s accommodation. Most places will try to help you out if they can or point you in the right direction to get some help.
This may seem like a crazy idea as you may never win but someone has to win these contests. All it takes is a little of your time, the price of a text message and some imagination and you could be off on your worldwide adventure. There are hundreds of contests offering travel and accommodation in all sorts of places around the world. This may be the beginning of your round the world adventure.
No matter where you start your world adventure from there are ways to travel and stay overseas free or at a very small cost. Don’t forget about your adventure just because you haven’t enough money to go. Look at all of the ways to get free travel by doing some charity or volunteer work. Save as much money as you can while you are travelling by being sensible and taking advantage of complimentary offers and included meals. And remember this is a great opportunity that will stay with you forever and you might love volunteering so much you continue it for years to come.