How To Travel For Free
So, you want to see the world, experience different cultures and meet new people, but that costs big bucks, right? Well, not necessarily.
So how do you travel for free?
This depends on what your goals are. Do you just want to get from A to B, take a vacation on the cheap or do you want to work to gain experience which you can add to your resume?
This can be the most rewarding way of traveling while also giving something back to the communities you travel to. There are many volunteer organizations offering opportunities all over the world and through which you can improve on skills you might already have or learn new ones.
Programs include local construction methods, education, animal care and many others. You can spend two or three months or just a couple of weeks and you can really immerse yourself in the culture of the location. However, do your research and make sure you use a reputable organization.
If English is your first language, or you are fluent, there are volunteer programs in which you converse in English with foreign students who may have been sent by their employers to improve their client communication skills or might be independent and just wanting to work on conversational English. One such scheme is Diverbo which operates in Spain and Germany and offers accommodation and meals in exchange for your time with the students.
Taking this to another level, if you gain a TEFL certification (Teaching English as a Foreign Language) there are opportunities all over the world, particularly in Asia and the Middle East. Many of these teaching posts pay a salary, varying according to the location, and provide accommodation.
#3. Sports Instruction
Are you skilled in windsurfing, kayaking, mountain biking, skiing or any other sports activities? Depending on your skill level there are world-wide openings for instructors, activity leaders and guides. You can get room and board for doing the things you love! Sometimes you’ll even get paid. Being able to speak other languages would be a major advantage for this type of work. Check out Adventure Work to see what’s out there.
#4. Organic Farming
How would you like to learn about organic farming while working and living on a farm? WWOOF is a network of organizations which connect organic farmers with volunteers who work in return for food and accommodation. These organizations operate in many countries throughout the Americas, Europe, Asia and the Middle East.
#5. Find Like-Minded People
Through websites such as CouchSurfing you can find a worldwide network of people who offer a free place in their home to independent travelers. You can check out their profile and reviews before getting in touch. It’s great if you can return the favour and offer a bed or couch to a fellow traveller once you’re back home.
The Digital Nomad Community is another source of finding like-minded travelers and where you’ll get loads of advice and information on cheap or free travel.
#6. Global Hitchhiking
Whether or not you choose to work while you’re traveling, the age-old way of getting a free ride is to stand by the highway and put out your thumb. In some countries, especially in Europe, this is a common way to travel but you have to be careful. If don’t get a good vibe from the driver or passengers don’t get in and wait for the next ride.
To find some great advice about safety while hitchhiking and where it’s acceptable practice take a look at Hitchwiki.
#7. Get on your Bike
To travel at your own pace and cover whatever distance you choose while seeing more of the country, bicycling is the perfect mode of transport. With saddle bags and panniers you can carry all of the things you’ll need on your journey. You can take your camping gear with you and sleep under the stars, where it’s safe to do so.
When traveling abroad it is possible to hire a bike, but it can be more cost effective to buy a second-hand bike and then sell it at the end of your travels for as much as you paid for it.
By far the oldest method of traveling is on foot. Backpacking is incredibly popular in many countries with hiking trails of varying lengths through open country, mountains and forests. With overnight camping you can be at one with nature. Safety should always come first so, when hiking in the wilderness, let someone know where you expect to be at the end of each day.