How To Travel World For Free
Traveling, like most things, sounds fun in theory, but gets much more complicated when we delve into the semantics. Pulling apart our schedules and picking the perfect time, finding pet and plant-sitters, making an actual itinerary—you name it. And while all of these are daunting, the regrettably elusive elephant in the room is, of course, money.
Unfortunately, a large number of people are unable to travel because of financial problems, and for good reason. No matter how hard you try to save, having enough money to travel is a privilege many of us don’t have. This is why, today, we come to you with our top ten favorite tips to travel the world for free:
- Plan, plan, plan. Being a nerd about planning your way through your trip will end up saving you a lot of money. And we aren’t just talking about making yourself an itinerary. Traveling for free means figuring out where you end up spending the most amount of money and work at minimizing your expenditure with those dimensions in mind. Sounds overwhelming? Don’t worry, we are here for you. While it can vary from person to person, the five most basic areas where people end up spending are transportation to and from your travel destination, food, accommodation, domestic transportation and tourist attractions. Remember to identify what other spaces you end up spending a lot of money on, but for now, let’s go over them one by one and figure out what alternatives we can find for them. But before we get to them, let’s talk about another important step to the planning.
- Your travel destination and the time you choose. If you’re not aware of how big a difference the place you travel to and your plan make, this is going to be a game changer when it comes to travel the world for free. So first and foremost, and we cannot stress this enough, research your travel destination. Going in blind to someplace that caught your fancy can be fun, but it is also expensive. And trust us when we say that if you dip just a bit below surface in your research, you will find many less advertised, much cheaper alternative destinations that are no less appealing. Something else that makes a world of difference is the time you choose to travel. When a place gets an influx of tourists, it tends to become more expensive. If you can be flexible about your time, look into off-season travel. Another thing to keep in mind when deciding upon a time to travel is to start planning early. As a rule of thumb, the less time you have, the less opportunities you get to save money, so start planning as early as possible. And with that out of the way, let’s get to the next item on our list.
- Flights aren’t your only option. They’re the most efficient, yes, but if you have the time and don’t have the money, there are so many other ways you can get to your travel destination, depending upon where it’s located. Trains and road trips, both tend to be much cheaper than flights, but our personal favourite is cruise ships. The misconception persists that cruises tend to be expensive, while they’re actually really affordable. And since we’re talking about traveling for free, you can actually travel without spending any money by signing up as a cruise line employee. However, if you’re stuck on flights, there are ways to minimize the cost of flying. Something you can look into are budget airlines, which offer tickets at a much cheaper cost than normal airlines. Additionally, look into credit card rewards, just so you can maximize on any rewards you might end up getting. Another way to cut down travel costs is volunteering, but we’ll get to that in a moment. For now, let’s talk about accommodation during your mission of traveling the world for free.
- Don’t lobby around hotels. Hotel puns aside, accomodation does seem to be the next big expense. Hotels, oftentimes, end up being the most expensive part or the entire trip. We can definitely do better when it comes to traveling the world for free. Now, a couple of the more affordable options are temporarily renting a place or hostels. However, there are ways to secure accommodation completely free of cost. Homestays and house swapping are both viable methods to get a place to stay and fit a little more into the local lifestyle, and a lot of times, you don’t need to pay anything extra. In addition to that, volunteering for house sitting or pet sitting might even end up fetching some extra money. They also have the advantage of getting you access to a kitchen and a way of making food for yourself. But if all of this does not appeal, you do have another option: camping. Free camping grounds are available almost everywhere, and they can give your trip a rustic vibe if the outdoors are your thing. And if you want something in the middle, well, you can always look for farm stays in the area you’re staying.
- Figuring out food. Food can be tricky, mostly because it’s not an expense that can be skimped on. There are, however, ways to procure food for free or a negligible amount of money. If you have access to a kitchen, cooking for yourself can cost a lot less than buying meals. However, be careful to buy only enough groceries to last your stay. You can also work for your food at homestays or farmstays. Additionally, street food and local restaurants often end up costing a lot less than high-end cafes and restaurants. Honestly, the most important advice we can give here is to keep track of how much you spend on food. One of the biggest problems when budgeting for a trip is that people don’t take food into account. However, it’s one of the expenses that slowly add up to much more than you had imagined it would. We reiterate, be a nerd. Keep track of your expenses if you are on a mission to travel the world for free.
- Walk to places. While walking isn’t for everyone, this still remains one of the most underrated pieces of advice given to save money. To that we add: if you’re not a fan of walking, rent a bicycle. Bicycles don’t require fuel, renting them costs pretty low and they do a great job at taking you to places that are just a little too far to walk. Walking and cycling through the city doesn’t just save a lot of money, it usually enhances your travel experience by letting you look at the city more closely than simply taking a cab would. However, if neither are to your taste, look for local transportation, especially for places that are too far to cycle or walk to. Local transportation usually requires some amount of walking, but it usually costs a very small amount of money, and ends up saving you a lot more than a cab or taxi would. And finally, another method of traveling around the city completely free is, well, hitchhiking. We are, however, a bit dubious about this one. While hitchhiking can save you a lot of money and can help you get to know new, interesting people, it can also be quite dangerous if one is not careful. Plenty of people have had good experiences with hitchhiking, though, and It certainly adds a measure of adventure to your travel.
- Look for free attractions. If you go to a place in the off season, you have already cut the chances of tourist traps by a huge margin. However, tourist attractions in general can still be quite expensive. Here’s our suggestion: look for free tourist places to travel the world for free. You would be surprised how many things you can do for free or a negligible amount of money if you look for them. Go to parks, visit museums, look for free region specific sports to take part in—you name it. Here is where the aforementioned itinerary comes into play. If you plan it out carefully, you might end up spending a lot less than people usually do when they travel. And always stay on the lookout for tourist traps. Another thing we would suggest here is keeping a budget, which is also a game changer while traveling.
- Get a job while you travel. We have talked about budget travel and curtailing expenses, but how about getting a job while you travel? This doesn’t just help you save, you might actually end up making some money. But what jobs can you even do while traveling? As it turns out, you do have some options. We already touched up upon this when we talked about jobs on cruise ships, but there are a lot of other jobs you can choose from. You can take up jobs like teaching a language where you are staying. There is a huge market for English tutors in most places, and if you know another language, all the better! We do suggest you get basic qualifications like a TEFL or TESOL certificate if you plan on teaching English, but those are pretty easy to acquire. However, if teaching isn’t your forte, there are so many other things there is a market for. You can get temporary jobs at bars or restaurants, offer yourself up as a pet sitter or house sitter, or even get a job at farm stays or hostels, and those are only the jobs that require your physical presence. You can get jobs that don’t require you to show up and take them with you on the road. And that brings us to our next point.
- Record your travel. Something that can work out is keeping a record of where you go. If you plan on traveling a lot and don’t mind putting your experiences to the metaphorical ink or getting in front of a camera, this might end up working out really well. Travel blogs and vlogs are sought pretty widely right now, and though it requires a decent amount of dedication and effort, if writing or recording your experiences is your thing, go for it. If things work out and you earn money out of this, this might end up supplementing your travel expenses pretty well. And while we are at it, your content doesn’t even have to be centered around traveling. While traveling will give you a great dimension to create one kind of content, you can work with other dimensions and create different kinds of content if you think you’d be more up to that. Content creation isn’t for everyone and this might not work for you, but if you think it is your thing, give it a go and it might end up working out really well and result in a fun job that you can work with on the go!
- Volunteer. And for our final tip, volunteer! For the past few years, there has been a notable rise in organisations that offer travel opportunities to volunteers by sponsoring their trips. Steadily, volunteering has become a popular medium for affordable travel. The unique experience that sponsored trips provide certainly helps! It’s a win-win situation, really, with organisations getting volunteers, and you receiving a lot of amenities all paid for! However, do remember that like almost everything else on the list, volunteering is not for everyone. It does require work and dedication, and if you think that you might prefer a more laid-back trip where you have the control over your itinerary and destination, this might not be for you. Remember to do your research before getting into something.
So here are our ten favourite tips to travel the world for free. We do implore you to remember that all of these might not work for everyone, and to keep your safety in mind. If you feel that a situation is dangerous, get out of there immediately and remember to trust your gut. The first rule to cheap travel is safe travel, even if it ends up costing you a bit more than you intend at the moment. We do hope that you keep an open mind about trying these out though. After all, you never know what might end up working for you!