So, you want to travel, but you don’t know how to travel for free. Is there really such a thing? Often, what keeps most of us from seeing the world is not having enough money. Our full-time jobs or bank accounts just won’t let us hop on a private plane to Paris. Yet, there are people who claim that we don’t have to be rich to travel. If you come to think of it and maybe do a bit of online reading, it can be true for you. There are a few people who can attest to that.


What do they do? They make saving up for traveling a priority and then, a little bit more planning that is out of the templated ordinary. They make plans while embracing serendipity. Sounds tempting, right? Read on as you prepare yourself to just go with the flow. You will be traveling with minimal expenses to free in no time.

  1. Volunteer for overseas work (or, you can actually get paid work)

Just be open. There are plenty of skill jobs that you can volunteer for. Personally, I have always been fascinated by the idea of working at a vineyard. Maybe, volunteer at one huge land in Tuscany? It’s classically romantic. If you fantasize about living on the countryside, you can volunteer to work at farms in Australia or New Zealand. If you adore beach life, you can volunteer to be a dive or surf instructor, or yacht worker. If it’s the city life you crave for, you can choose to be a bartender, casino worker, or waiter for a few months. Once you get off your shift, you can explore. And that’s how you travel for free.

honey bee farm
Image Credit: Pexels | pixabay.com

There is also what they call au pair which translates to “extra pair of hands”. People between the ages of 18 and 30 years old can travel, learn new languages, immerse in different cultures, and experience adventures in exchange for a maximum of 30 hours of help to a local family. In return, the local family will provide food and accommodation.

teacher and students
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And then, there’s always that profitable opportunity to teach English. There are programs that welcome volunteers to teach students or employees. There are also those who hire certified professionals, and you can complete a short online course to get it.

  1. Use your credit card or membership points

For avid credit card users, especially those with travel credit cards, traveling is only a few points away. You can collect miles and use those to book flights for free and hotel points for free accommodation. Some even become “travel hackers” also known as people who take online surveys, category bonuses, special offers, rewards points, and membership deals seriously they can make a career out of it to earn free flights or hotel bookings.

credit card
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  1. Be willing to share rooms/houses (aka couch surfing)

If you’re not too elaborate, couch surfing will work for you. You stay in homes of the locals and make friends without spending a cent. The good thing about couch surfing is that you get to meet tons of new people every time. Otherwise, you can opt to stay in large hostels.

community
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Another option is the sharing economy. It is a travel service offered by select websites that bring you access to the locals who are willing to provide cheaper accommodation, tours, rides, home-cooked meals, and other inside information to the local community (e.g. cheap restaurants and bars, night markets, etc.). Among the few websites offering sharing economy services are Airbnb, Vayable, BlaBlaCar, and EatWith. With all these websites making the world smaller (and cheaper), you might not travel for free but you could travel for cheap.

  1. Hitchhike or use rail and tourist passes

In some parts of the world, hitchhiking is common, accepted, and generally safe. All you need to do is flag down the universal sign of hitchhiking which is sticking out your thumb towards the direction of where you are going as you stand on the side of the road. My advice though is to always use good judgement and intuition and make sure you’re safe first. You can also look up user-generated lists of tips on hitchhiking by country.

hitchhike
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Or, you can save money on the use of rail passes or tourist cards. You can save up to half the price of your commute on these things especially when you’re going around Europe or Australia. (Book early, of course!)

  1. Cook your meals (but you can find free food, too!)

If you chose not to be served food by your local couch surfing or sharing economy family, you can still save money by doing your own grocery at the local supermarket and cooking your meal.

An observation that I have witnessed during my 2 years of living abroad that might come luckily handy are watching for the closing times of small food businesses. Every end of day, all fresh foods that are not sold are given away for free. This is so as it is mandated by their law that all food are served fresh and prepared within the same day. You can try asking vendors in bakeries, pizzerias, fruit and vegetable shops, and other local take-out food stalls, but most of the time they will just call on you to take food without payment.

bakery
Image Credit: Expect Best | pexels.com

travel camera
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I can tell there is a part of you that’s holding back and a part that’s yearning to explore the world. But believe me when I say, it will be the best investment you give yourself — to allow your wings to spread in different horizons. See you everywhere!

Want to earn some money while you make the world your home? Here’s how you can do it:

*Featured Image Credit: Porapak Apichodilok | pexels.com