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how to travel around world for free

Do you dream of seeing the world but don’t have a fat travel fund to do it? Today, there are more opportunities than ever to travel the world on the cheap — or even for free.

My wife and I visit an average of 10 countries every year, all on her salary alone. No, she’s not an investment banker or neurosurgeon. She’s a school counselor with a salary comparable to a teacher.

Part of our travel strategy involves visiting inexpensive countries and looking for low-cost accommodations through Airbnb and local guesthouses. But the primary reasons we can afford to see the world are all the ways we’ve found to travel for free.

Travel Tips to See the World for Free

Some of these options offer free accommodations, others offer free transportation, and a few offer both. They all come with limitations and trade-offs, but for anyone looking to travel on a tiny budget, these travel tips are hard to beat.

One quick note: We’ll talk about maximizing credit card rewards in more detail below, but we do want to mention upfront that you should always use a rewards credit card to book travel and make purchases abroad. (Those you can’t avoid using these free travel strategies, that is.)

Our top travel rewards credit card pick is the Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card . Its selling points include:

  • An excellent sign-up bonus
  • An annual $50 hotel credit against eligible hotel bookings through Chase Travel, making it one of the best hotel credit cards on the market
  • 5x points on eligible Chase Travel purchases after the $50 hotel credit is exhausted
  • 3x points on eligible purchases, including restaurant dining, select streaming service purchases, and online grocery purchases
  • 2x points on all other eligible travel purchases

And now for the most reliable strategies to save money while traveling the world.

1. Work Abroad in Expat-Friendly Industries

There are plenty of expat-friendly job options overseas, from international nurses and doctors to au pairs to educators to engineers.

Teaching abroad is how my wife and I can afford to do so much traveling. She works at an American school in Abu Dhabi. It provides us both with round-trip flights home every summer, free upscale housing that includes a gym, pool, and jacuzzi, and comprehensive health insurance. Oh, and there’s no income tax in the United Arab Emirates.

Living in Abu Dhabi has allowed us to travel all over the world. We flew nonstop to Bulgaria for $185 round-trip. We spent even less on nonstop round-trip flights to Cyprus. Every time we fly back to the United States, we make a stopover in Europe for a few days to enjoy gastronomy in Lyon, the Christmas markets in Munich, or the nightlife in Amsterdam.

There are thousands of international schools worldwide looking for qualified English-speaking employees, from IT specialists to administrators to teachers of all specialties. If you’re interested, check out international recruiting agency Search Associates .

Don’t have a teaching degree? You can still potentially teach English as a foreign language with a TEFL (teaching English as a foreign language) certificate. But don’t expect the same benefits as credentialed teachers working at international schools.

Or keep it even simpler and research international positions for your existing skill set. You’d be surprised at the number of opportunities for Americans overseas.

2. Look for Work Exchanges

There are plenty of employers who provide free housing for short-term or even long-term stays in exchange for work. This arrangement is called a work exchange.

For example, if you’ve ever been intrigued by the idea of living and working on a farm, WWOOF is your chance to see the world while you do so. WWOOF stands for World Wide Opportunities on Organic Farms.

Farming is primarily seasonal work, and farmers need seasonal help. While they often have an abundance of space, housing, and food, many organic farmers don’t have an abundance of money. So in exchange for four to six hours’ help each day, they provide room and board. You’re on your own for the cost of transportation to get there, though.

You can go “WWOOF’ing” by yourself, as a couple, with friends, or even as a family with children. Select which country you’re interested in, and WWOOF will show you a list of host farms and connect you with the farmers.

And many hostels find themselves in a similar situation as organic farmers — with plenty of beds and rooms but short on labor. So they offer a free room (and sometimes free meals) in exchange for work. A few even pay a small stipend of spending money.

Check out HelpX , helpStay , and Workaway for thousands of opportunities worldwide to stay for free in exchange for your services.

3. House-Sit or Pet-Sit

Did you know there are entire websites dedicated to connecting house sitters with pet owners? Pet owners don’t want to leave their pets in kennels surrounded by unknown dogs and cats when they travel. They’d rather let them stay at home — a home which is just sitting vacant and unused.

House sitters can stay for free at these homes for the price of caring for the owners’ pets. While it’s a relatively easy job, it does mean you have to schedule your day around the pets’ needs. You can’t leave for a weekend excursion or go on 14-hour day trips. But for animal lovers, it can be an easy way to save money with free accommodations anywhere in the world, often in high-end homes.

And house-sitting isn’t limited to pet owners. Some homeowners sleep easier knowing someone is minding their home while they’re away, whether that means you care for their plants or are simply there to deter break-ins.

But these opportunities are the exception, not the rule, and most house-sitting gigs do involve caring for pets.

Try TrustedHousesitters as a starting point for free house-sitting gigs in many different countries.

4. Volunteer Long-Term With the Peace Corps

The Peace Corps offers incredibly rewarding opportunities to live for several years in a community that needs committed volunteers. While the Peace Corps is a large international organization, they do an excellent job of keeping their focus on the grassroots level. Volunteers go to the ends of the earth, living and working in the poorest communities on the planet.

The Peace Corps isn’t for everyone, though. It requires a 27-month commitment: three months of training, then two years in the field. You’ll also be leaving the comforts of Western democracy behind. You may or may not have mobile phone service, and you may not have air conditioning in hot climates.

You receive a living stipend, which is enough to cover housing (if they don’t provide you with a free place to stay), food, and basic spending in the community where you’re stationed. But when you come home to visit, don’t plan on fancy dinners out or hotels. Expect to crash with friends and family.

That said, you’ll have the opportunity to personally transform poor communities into livable, sustainable towns and villages. In many cases, you will literally save lives. If you’re truly driven to change the world and see some of it in the process, the Peace Corps may be a good fit for you.

5. Volunteer With Short-Term Volunteer Organizations

If your volunteer travel timeline is measured in weeks or months rather than years, try short-term volunteer placement services like Go Overseas or Idealist . They offer global opportunities for work ranging from teaching English to building infrastructure.

For a comfortable way to ease into international volunteering, try Diverbo . It hosts one-week English retreats in Spain and Germany to immerse non-Native English speakers in English-based activities. As a native speaker, you’re there to give them someone to practice with. It pays for hotel stays and meals. All you have to do is get there.

There are endless ways to volunteer abroad for free travel and rewarding experiences in a new culture. Spend an hour researching options online, and you can’t help but be inspired by the possibilities to give back while seeing the world.

6. Organize Your Own Volunteer Trip

You can also organize your own volunteer trip. With crowdfunding websites like GoFundMe , you can raise money from your friends, family members, and colleagues (and sometimes even strangers) to cover the costs of your volunteer trip. Perhaps they’ll even join you on your expedition.

But ensure your trip will genuinely change lives for needy people rather than serve as a cover story for you to persuade your friends to pay for your vacation.

I saw this happen just recently with a newly arrived couple at my wife’s school. They raised money from their friends back in the United States, inventing the name of an education-based “ministry” they claimed to be leading here in Abu Dhabi. It was an utter scam, as they have the same generous teaching package my wife does.

Whether they got away with it among their friends back home or not, they didn’t get away with it here. The link to their GoFundMe page made the rounds among the school faculty, and they’ve found few friends as a result.

So approach any crowdfunding attempts with complete sincerity and transparency.

7. Maximize Credit Card Rewards

If you have the right card, you can earn free plane tickets by putting purchases on your credit card. And many of the best travel rewards credit cards offer some enticing benefits. But that’s far from the only option for maximizing your rewards.

Many travel rewards cards, such as the Delta SkyMiles Platinum card from American Express , offer free or discounted companion vouchers every year. You can score a free flight from your rewards points plus a cheap or free flight for your travel partner from the companion voucher.

Then there are sign-up bonuses . Some are positively generous, like the Chase Sapphire Preferred Card ‘s.

You can also maximize rewards by using your credit card every time you pay for flights. Some credit cards and partner airlines offer double or triple rewards — or higher — for booking flights.

There are loads of ways you can score free flights with rewards. Just don’t overspend in the name of saving money.

8. Capitalize on Loyalty Programs

Rewards don’t just come from credit cards. Airlines, hotel chains, and other travel businesses often offer loyalty points for frequent travelers.

If you always fly with the same airline, you can rack up frequent flyer miles. The same goes for hotels. These businesses sometimes offer brief promotions with killer deals to score points quickly and cheaply or accept fewer points than usual for flights or stays.

Travel forums and frugal travel blogs let you stay on top of current promotions. Some travel credit cards confer automatic loyalty status as well, which can be a major perk of membership and easily offset any annual fee if you travel often enough.

9. Swap Houses

You live in Seattle and want to visit Berlin. Someone in Berlin wants to visit Seattle. Why not swap houses with them for your trip? It’s a win-win. You get to stay for free in an authentic local home rather than a hotel, and your home doesn’t have to sit vacant and vulnerable to catastrophes like break-ins or flooding.

Granted, it’s not always that simple. Perhaps you want to visit Berlin in July, and the Berliner wants to visit Seattle in October. Perhaps you’re worried about the risk of having a stranger stay in your home.

The good news is reputable home-swapping websites provide a level of transparency, with peer reviews and identity verification to give members greater peace of mind. Some home-swapping websites also offer credit systems for indirect house-swapping. By offering your house to others, you accumulate points or credits, which you can redeem at your leisure at houses all over the world. Think of it like couch surfing for grown-ups.

A few reputable house-swapping websites to try are HomeExchange , Love Home Swap , and HomeLink . But even if you’re using one of these services, always do your homework before agreeing to your first swap.

10. Travel to ‘The Old Country’ for Free

Some countries offer discover-your-roots programs for descendants to come back and visit the home of their ancestors. In most cases, these programs are designed for young adults to come and stay with local host families.

Programs include:

  • Birthright Israel
  • Heritage Greece
  • ReConnect Hungary
  • Birthright Macedonia
  • Birthright Armenia

Whatever your heritage, do some research on private or government-funded programs to streamline your visit back to “the old country,” stay for free while there, and potentially even cover your airfare.

While you’re at it, you can also look into citizenship programs for descendants. For example, Italy has a generous citizenship program through which descendants who can prove an Italian ancestor are generally eligible for dual U.S.-Italian citizenship.

A close friend of mine who was born in Boston was able to dig up proof that his great-great-grandfather was Italian, and he now has an Italian passport and the option of living in the European Union if he so wishes.

11. Drive Someone’s Car Cross-Country

During cross-country moves, people sometimes need help moving their cars. That’s where you come in. Some car owners will pay you to move their vehicles from Point A to Point B within a specified time frame. In some cases, they also cover your flight home. There’s no better way to get to know a country, especially your own country, than driving it.

In my 20s, I spent two years moving across the country every few months with my then-girlfriend, a travel nurse. I drove across the country a half-dozen times and developed a fondness for and truer sense of the U.S. than I ever felt from flying and visiting cities for a weekend.

After sitting alone in a car for six hours, when you stop at a roadside diner for lunch, you’re more likely to strike up a conversation with the locals. You can end up meeting fascinating people while eating local favorites.

And these road trip experiences don’t necessarily have to happen within the U.S. People on every continent need their cars moved. Start with Auto Driveaway for U.S. and Canada car transports — and a free road trip.

12. Crew a Yacht or Cruise Ship

Just because you don’t know a slipknot from a half-Windsor doesn’t mean you can’t crew a boat. Yachts and cruise ships need crew members of all skill sets, from cooking to security to communications. The ship provides room and board plus a chance to see the world while sailing the Seven Seas and beyond.

But expect the hours to be long and the wages to be low. One of my friends spent a year working on a cruise ship. She reports she averaged five hours’ sleep every night they were at sea. And even when you’re not technically on the clock, you can never truly relax. The possibility of an all-hands-on-deck emergency is always present, however remote.

If you long for the sea life but are wary of cruise ships, look into yacht jobs instead. Several websites help connect yacht employers with crew members, including CrewSeekers , Yacrew , and Find a Crew .

13. Sit Through a Timeshare Presentation

I’ve taken plenty of free vacations through timeshare presentations. But it’s playing with fire, and it can cost you far more in the long term if you end up buying.

Timeshare sellers have their pitch down to a precise science. They’re the best salespeople you’ll ever meet. Take my father’s advice and commit before going that you won’t buy, write it down on a piece of paper, and pull that paper out of your pocket to read it when you feel an overwhelming desire to buy.

Think about it. If it weren’t so profitable, how could they possibly give away a free vacation to everyone who attends?

At the event, the salespeople make the initial presentation and offer. A few people buy at the opening price. Then, you sit down one-on-one with an expert salesperson, who pitches you personally, probing for weaknesses and customizing their pitch directly to you. Then they drop the price — a lot.

After they probe and coax and tempt you some more, they drop the price again — and then again and again. By their final offer, the price is a tiny fraction of the opening price from the original presentation, which is hard to pass up.

If you understand and accept the risk, you can scope out some of these deals at TimesharePresentationDeals.com .

14. Take Advantage of Overbooked Flights

You’ve probably experienced this one. The airline employee opens the intercom and announces, “We’re slightly overbooked for today’s flight and are offering a free flight voucher up to $500 for any passengers willing to take our next flight at 7pm.”

It’s not always practical to take them up on it. Sometimes, you need to get home for a pressing reason, such as a big meeting the next morning. But sometimes, it only costs you a few hours at the airport, and you stand to save a lot.

Typically, if no one takes the airline up on these offers, they escalate. They may start at a $300 voucher, then $500, then $700, and keep going until the offer is so astounding people race to the counter to take it. If the first offer isn’t worth the inconvenience to you, but you do have some flexibility, move closer to the counter and keep your ears open. Be ready to jump on the deal if it escalates enough to be worth your trouble.

A little flexibility can go a long way.

15. Open a Bask Bank Account

Most rewards programs require you to spend money — counterproductive to saving.

But Bask Bank rewards you with American Airlines miles for saving money, rather than spending it. Every dollar you save earns you 1 mile with American Airlines, every single year. 

Best of all, Bank Bank doesn’t charge fees, so you get the rewards at no cost. Unlike credit cards, who fund their rewards programs with the interest paid by less savvy-cardholders who don’t pay their balances in full each month.

The less glossy the travel experience, the more memorable, rewarding, and authentic it feels. I can’t tell you anything about the Bahamas Wyndham I stayed in when I was 23 and trying to impress a girlfriend. But I can give you every detail of the $19-per-night guesthouse in Telavi, Georgia (the country, not the state), where the owner poured us homemade wine from her own vines.

Stay flexible and open-minded, and you can find ways to travel the world for free. Just remember there’s usually some trade-off to free travel, and you need to understand it completely before committing.

G. Brian Davis

7 things to consider when using credit cards overseas, 25 ways to save money when traveling in airports, 10 ways to enjoy a romantic weekend getaway for less, 17 best aaa membership discounts you should be using.

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How to travel for free: the secret that no one tells you

Want to travel the world for free? I've been doing that for a long time. In this article, you'll get an in-depth view of what I do, how I do it, and how you can do it too!

how to travel around world for free

Ayla Life in Lala's Land

Dec 19, 2023

how travel for free

Of course I have seen people all over Instagram and Facebook living these incredible lives, getting to see amazing places all over the world. I must confess I always thought this was fake or that they were all rich people. But since I came across the answers of how to travel for free (that no one told me) it completely transformed my life.

The purpose of this article is not to simply give you a list of the options you have to travel for free. You can find that on the internet anywhere.

I’m here to give you real life proof of how I already travel the world for free , since I’ve been travelling and living the nomadic life since July 2019. I'm crazily excited to share this, knowing just how much of an impact it can make to a person's life.

how travel for free

Some people get a little sceptical before they really get what I do , which I completely understand. If someone I didn’t know told me I could travel the world for free, I would probably think they were trying to scam me or something. But I didn’t have anyone tell me about it. I found it myself , and now I want to help others do the same.

I knew I wanted to travel and quit my job to do it . That would mean no money coming in - an exceptionally tight budget. So, I found a solution to the problem:  free food and accommodation !

In this article I’m going to walk you through how to do that. You can travel the world doing activities you love and get free accommodation - and even get paid to do it!

You might also like :  14 TOP cheapest countries to visit as a Worldpackers volunteer

Travelling for free: how it all started

One day I woke up and realised just how much I hated my daily life . I was working a ludicrous number of hours to get a great paycheck each week, but I was miserable. I decided that I had to take it into my own hands and create a life that I enjoyed living. And for me, that means new discoveries and environments.

In February of 2019 I handed in my resignation with 4 months’ notice. This was mainly for me to know I finally had a date I would be escaping the rat race. By July of that year, I was on a one-way flight to volunteer in India with a backpack and a suitcase with everything I owned in them.

how to travel for free

When I said goodbye to all my friends and family, they knew that I had no intentions of ever returning to Australia or the life I was so eager to leave behind. 

I had no idea of what I was going to do, how I would be making money travelling or being able to survive, but it didn’t matter. All that mattered was that I had left behind a life that I didn’t want, in search of one that I loved.

It was then that I happened to stumble across the greatest life hack known to mankind – how to travel the world for free ! I have now been doing this and enjoying every moment of it.

I have the freedom to go anywhere I want in this world, and know that I am able to support myself. With a combination of these two life hacks that I will be speaking about here, I get almost all my food and accommodation paid for. 

I write for about two hours a day and I'm able to actually save a significant amount of money whilst I am travelling and experiencing the world.

how to travel the world

How to travel for free: here's the secret

The number one best life hack that I have ever known is Worldpackers , hands down. 

Worldpackers is a platform that connects volunteers with certain skills or abilities to hosts who are looking for help in these areas. The method behind it is work exchange , where volunteers give their time helping out around the place in exchange for accommodation  and other benefits like meals, classes and tours.

It has provided me with numerous opportunities to travel through different countries on a tight budget, by not having to worry about accommodation and food. Not only that, but it has also given me an opportunity to build my name as an artist through both India and Sri Lanka .

As a girl who had a dream of travelling the world for free - with no idea of how to actually do it when I started - I am so lucky and grateful to have stumbled across Worldpackers!

Basically, you pay one fee of $49 USD which gives you access to all the hosts for a full year. To put that into perspective, $50 USD is likely A LOT less than you pay for one night of food and accommodation in most countries . And then you can spend 12 months with free accomodation and food wherever you want!

Seem’s crazy not to do it right? And what you give in exchange for the ability to travel for free, is often an experience you would be paying a hefty price for.  So really, it’s wins all around! You’re saving sooooo much money when you travel the world with Worldpackers.

how travel for free

Volunteer and travel for free

There are heaps of different options available when it comes to volunteer programs. So you’re sure to find something that calls to your heart. Some of them that I have chosen to work with are:

  • Work in Schools
  • Work on Eco projects
  • Work with Hostel Administration 
  • And primarily Art Projects

There are so many more options available , but these are the ones I have volunteered with so far. I typically look for art projects as I love painting. But other times I will apply for positions that pique my interest such as eco projects, because I am very much a save the world type of gal.

I have been very lucky to have had a range of volunteering experiences , mostly with painting. Mural painting is not something that I had ever even considered doing before.

I was so excited to do my first one and put my heart and soul into it, and surprisingly it was actually  not that bad. From there I was able to apply for more Worldpackers positions as an artist where I received free accommodation and all my meals for free.

This is a dream come true for someone who had been travelling for two months. I had no idea how to make any money and was just trying to spend as little as possible to stretch the money I did have as far as it could go. 

I’ve built great connections throughout communities doing this, and I’ve been asked to come back to a number of places, which is so heartwarming.

If you’re wondering how to travel for free, making an impact and giving more value to your contribution in this world , this is the secret. There are volunteer options that suit a range of different personality types and interests.

volunteer and get free accommodation

How to travel for free and also get paid

Although using Worldpackers covers almost all my expenses that I need to survive , there are still other things I need to pay for as I travel. Any flights, visas, sightseeing and going out with friends are costs that come out of my own pocket.

But someone I met at my first volunteer position provided me with a solution. I was only about two months into my travels at this point, when I explained to her my situation. She was blown away that I had no plan to balance working and travelling . In hindsight, it's a pretty crazy thing to do. Quit your job, pack your stuff and leave your own country without any means of income.

So, she introduced me to the world of  freelancing . This is something I had never heard about before then. She explained to me that there are many people that work remotely and get paid for it, which is what she does for a company she worked for back in Germany.

I told her that I wouldn’t be able to do it as I was absolutely terrible with technology and had no skills that would be of any value . She convinced me that I had everything I already needed: fluent English and a tablet I could write on.

She told me about some freelancing websites and I signed up to both Freelancer and Upwork . I then started applying for different positions but was not getting any luck. I had been trying for basic administration positions, which of course every other unskilled person was also applying for, so I was just getting lost in the masses.

Earlier in 2019 I had decided that I wanted to write a novel , which I am currently still working on, and this is something that I had shared with the girl who told me about freelancing. She saw me working on my novel all the time and motivated me to apply for some content writing positions . 

"The worst they could do is say no, and the best that can happen is you start getting paid to travel."

Eventually one company gave me a trial. Turns out they loved my writing style and offered me an ongoing position.

how travel for free

Becoming a digital nomad

The work I do could not be more perfect. It is incredibly flexible, I can ask for as much or as little work as I want, and it is something that I enjoy doing. 

I write content for businesses all over the world . Each piece might take me around 3 hours and will make me $50 USD. It’s not a lot, in fact, this job pays pretty terribly compared to the others I have now.

But depending on which part of the world I am, it pays for a LOT more than it would be back home. 

And I have such a different relationship with money than I did when working a ‘normal’ job. I am only interested in making enough money to cover my expenses from the previous month or to splurge on a vacation, such as a fancy resort somewhere.

Not only has securing a freelancing job been able to free me financially, it is such a different experience to be working on your own clock . Sometimes I might go a few days or a week without writing at all. Because I don’t have the need for money. But other times I might write for a full week and do nothing else. That is the beauty of freelancing.

Each week I decide how many projects I want, which generally is anywhere between two and 10. So that is a maximum of 30 hours a week if I really want to make some serious money, but I rarely have the need for that. So most times, I only work about 6 a week.

Combining this small amount of income with travelling the world for free with Worldpackers, I am able to save money while I’m travelling ! How crazy is that? I never would have thought that was possible.

An added benefit to freelancing is how much y ou learn about the potential of online work. I went from a non-tech savvy girl 15 months ago, to now having my own digital marketing agency . 

I do this by outsourcing all the work to the talented freelancers I’ve met along my journey . So whether you’ve got that business mind, or just want to work 5 hours a week to live as a digital nomad, it works for everyone.

worldpackers helps you travel for free

Balancing freedom and motivation

When I was in Australia, I was a businesswoman. Always in a suit rushing around from meeting to meeting and under immense stress. Now I wouldn’t be recognisable to any of the people from my old position, or the clients that I worked with so closely. I am able to completely and freely express myself.

I now have blue hair and am starting to gather a collection of tattoos , and do you know what? It makes me so happy that I am able to live a life that is true to my own personality . Not to be living life restricted by the confines of society. But that doesn’t mean that I don’t have responsibilities.

I have the freedom to now travel where I want, dress (country-specific of course) and later my appearance as I please. And all I need to do is work about 5 hours a day to make that happen. So on average, I would spend 1 hour a day working and another 4 volunteering.

Although it can be tempting to run out with my friends as soon as the volunteering is done, I just give myself a reality check. It’s one hour. And if I schedule my time well, it makes little difference to my day, but a big difference to my life.

For me, I found setting out schedules works best for me. Mine looks something like this: yoga, breakfast, work, volunteer, lunch, write my novel, then free time. Sometimes I find myself creating stress out of nothing , but finding my balance with a schedule and yoga always helps me to keep motivated.

volunteering with mural painting during my travels

What in the world are you waiting for?

Yes, there is a legitimate way to travel the world for free and get paid, if that is the kind of life you want to live. I do it myself, and I’m just your average everyday person. Sometimes I realize how lucky I am to live this life, and then remember that luck had nothing to do with it . I found this out through research and took a leap of faith.

Seeing new countries and experiencing new cultures has been eye opening for me. And this is not something I would have been able to do for so long if I hadn’t stumbled across this life hack so early into my trip.

But luckily for everyone reading this, I have found them so that you don’t have to go searching . So now that you know how to travel for free, what are you waiting for? Go see the world! 

Join the community!

Create a free Worldpackers account to discover volunteer experiences perfect for you and get access to exclusive travel discounts!

Ayla Carlin

Life in Lala's Land

An Australian solo traveller who set out to find herself while discovering the world. My aim is to discover the untouched, make long lasting connections, and expand my mind through the new people I meet and places I discover. I want to inspire others through my experiences, showing just how important travel is for the soul, and how it can transform your life in the most positive ways.

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Write here your questions and greetings to the author

how to travel around world for free

Oct 15, 2020

You're living the life, girl! As an author myself, that's pretty much a dream come true. Traveling and writing. Thank you for your words. I wish you all the success!

how to travel around world for free

Oct 22, 2020

I wanna thanks you for your loyalty, and probably encourage you gave too all committee, thanks for who you are

how to travel around world for free

Ayla (Author)

Nov 02, 2020

Thank you beautiful girl!! You also do the same??

Unfortunately, I don't. Right now, I just write in my home country. But I was published by a small publisher this year and I'm working on getting better to write on the road one day

how to travel around world for free

Oct 19, 2020

Wow you're ao cool

how to travel around world for free

Oct 20, 2020

Thank you beautiful people! Let's keep sharing our stories and welcoming more people to the traveling the world for free community!

how to travel around world for free

Amazing text 🤍🤍 thanks for that

how to travel around world for free

Oct 24, 2020

Good job👍👍💐💐

Feb 26, 2023

Amazing. Great job. Good Luck

how to travel around world for free

Thank you ☺️

how to travel around world for free

Oct 31, 2020

Thank you so much❤️

You are so welcome girl! ❤️❤️

how to travel around world for free

Wooaaaaahhh 🤩🤩🤩🤩

how to travel around world for free

Nov 06, 2020

how to travel around world for free

Nov 08, 2020

It's great, I am cherishing the trip like you, currently I am looking for an online job to have money for the trip but I still haven't found it. Please guide and share your online work experience and your itinerary. Look forward to your guidance. My email: [email protected]

how to travel around world for free

Nov 10, 2020

Thanks for sharing your experience.

how to travel around world for free

Nov 11, 2020

how to travel around world for free

Welcome Morocco

how to travel around world for free

Nov 12, 2020

Super inspiring! :)

how to travel around world for free

Nov 25, 2020

Hi Ayla, your story is very encouraging and motivational. I’m a newly certified Health and Life Coach, my dream is to work from anywhere, I got lost and confused, meanwhile I’m working part time as a professional organizer and decluttering, my dream is to travel so I decided enough of waiting to do it so I signed up here. But I’m interested in knowing more about your Marketing Biz, would like to talk to you about my business. Please could you reach out to me, [email protected] Thank You!!!

how to travel around world for free

Nov 27, 2020

Well articulated

how to travel around world for free

Dec 01, 2020

wow i like it thank you so much for sharing this

how to travel around world for free

Dec 03, 2020

Thanks for your inspiring words, keep it up! :)

how to travel around world for free

Cool with patient and courage

how to travel around world for free

Wow, I really needed to hear this. I'd love to chat with you deeper since I have so many questions! How can I contact you? Do you have Instagram?

Dec 04, 2020

Hey Linda, I'd be happy to help 😊 My insta is lifein_lalasland

Sent you a message there!

how to travel around world for free

Dec 08, 2020

Hi there, I admire your courage, wish i can do the same, but i'm in a different situation. I loved your article, it's inspiring. Thanks for sharing.

how to travel around world for free

Dec 09, 2020

Wow! This was such a good read.

how to travel around world for free

Dec 13, 2020

World are amazing & I love Nature 🙏🏞️🌄🌎🌏🗺️🥰

how to travel around world for free

Dec 17, 2020

Hi there we had a small conversation in Bangkok while Brushing the truth i am so glad to meet you cheers Appreciate it

how to travel around world for free

Dec 22, 2020

And you have written a beautiful blog here 😊

how to travel around world for free

Very inspiring after reading what you have wrote. Yes, the money for buying a ticket is really concerning for me to step out from my comfort zone, and was thiking a lot should I make this work with travel the world with FREE. ❤

how to travel around world for free

Dec 29, 2020

Wer are you from

how to travel around world for free

Jan 04, 2021

Thank you dearly, you have helped me and beyond, I have connections and so do they. Keep sprinkling more kindness, also free lol.

how to travel around world for free

Jan 13, 2021

Thank you so much for all what you've shared am impressed good luck to you bye

how to travel around world for free

Jan 17, 2021

I am very much inspired by your story, I have a account in freelance and upwork. But in freelance they ask me to pay security deposit first is it safe to do so .

how to travel around world for free

Jan 18, 2021

Hi I want to travel world for free

how to travel around world for free

Jan 19, 2021

click bait title and too long text which is a lot of filler text. could be shorter and to the point.

how to travel around world for free

Feb 02, 2021

l am active now in France heading to Spain

Mar 26, 2021

Is this possible with two children?

how to travel around world for free

May 16, 2021

مرحبا انا عندى سؤال هل انا بدفع مصاريف السفر صح ام لا وهل ينفع ان اعمل واخد مال ام لا

May 31, 2021

Such a priceless story that you can even describe with words🙏 I absolutely believe that hapiness can change this World. And when everyone starts to SHARE yourself for others - we will make a planet smile and blossom❤👋

P.s. Thank you for that motivation. I will try to spread around the love which I found here

Jul 23, 2021

how to travel around world for free

Oct 09, 2021

great writing. I hope i can join this life soon enough

how to travel around world for free

Hi Pretty I hope you are doing in good health, I am Asif fresh graduate from United Arab Emirates Dubai. i am interests travel to European countries. i am applying many volunteers position. If you are free then guide me which European countries best cheap for foreigner students. Respectfully thanks for your precious time.

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As a member, you can contact as many hosts and travel safely as many times as you want.

Choose your plan to travel with Worldpackers as many times as you like.

Complete your profile, watch the video lessons in the Academy, and earn certificates to stand out to hosts.

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Confirm your trip to enjoy all of the safety of Worldpackers.

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If anything doesn’t go as planned with a host, count on the WP Safeguard and our highly responsive support team!

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With positive reviews, you’ll stand out to hosts and get even more benefits.

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10 Ways to Travel the World For Free in 2023

Sustainable travel expert, adventure seeker

Chicago, IL, USA

5-star resorts, private shuttles, and business class have conditioned us to think that travel is always going to break the bank. Of course there’s space for budget-minded travelers, but have you ever pondered how to kick it up a notch and really save money — perhaps by spending hardly any? With some creative spirit, there are plenty of ways to travel the world for (nearly) free.

Most of these are for the adventurous soul, so prepare to exit your comfort zone and enter that money-saving mode. From sleeping in airports to crashing on random couches, there’s no shortage of ways to cut costs. Try one of these 10 ways to make it work:

See the world for free by joining a work exchange platform

how to travel around world for free

Can you pick fruit all day? Clean a questionably nasty bathroom? Wash piles of dishes? If the answer is yes and you’re willing to do it, you can find an opportunity for these types of jobs (and a handful more) by joining a work exchange platform. Participating travelers provide their labor in exchange for a free place to stay, with occasional bonuses like food or drinks, depending on your setup. With opportunities all over the world, this is one of the most common methods to get a free place to stay on the road.

How: Some of the more popular platforms include Workaway and Worldpackers .

Work in a hostel, earn free accommodation

how to travel around world for free

For those who gravitate towards the backpacker lifestyle, working in a hostel gives you a cost-free place to hang your hat, cultivate a community, and have fun while doing it. Many hostel jobs are posted on the aforementioned work exchange platforms, but cold emailing is another useful tactic. Most hostels will ask for several days per week of work in exchange for a free dorm bed — and don’t be surprised when you receive free drinks, either. It almost makes up for the moldy shower that you now call yours.

How: Check out Hostel Jobs to find your new home.

Hack your hotel budget by becoming a house sitter

how to travel around world for free

Enter house sitting: a far more comfortable way to be a total cheapskate. Studies have shown significantly lower volumes of snoring bunkmates and moldy showers by taking this avenue. It’s a bit more competitive — but not impossible. General duties include making sure that no one breaks in, occasional care for pets, garden tending, and any other upkeep that requires a traveler’s touch.

How: Aspiring house sitters can check out House Carers and Mind My House . Word of mouth is fairly popular with this option, but the magic of the Internet can pull through too. Either way, references are a big help. And, if you have a home of your own, check out HomeExchange : a unique, mutually beneficial way to share your home in exchange for a stay in someone else’s.

Save cash for future travel by Couchsurfing

how to travel around world for free

Couchsurfing is a global network of travelers and gracious hosts opening their homes (and often hearts) at zero cost. That’s right—it’s 100% free, and often an awesome social experience.

How: For social butterflies who embrace unpredictability, Couchsurfing is a one-of-a-kind way to make connections across cultures and stay for free all over the world.

Score a free stay while WWOOFing

how to travel around world for free

No, it doesn’t have to do with dogs (sorry). World-Wide Opportunities on Organic Farms is a database filled with international organic farms that offer once-in-a-lifetime volunteer opportunities for those who wish to explore their green thumb. You can earn a free stay and learn about local life, all while contributing to sustainable practices.

How: Visit wwoof.net to register and find farms in your destination of choice. Membership costs a small fee, but it pays for itself, especially if you plan to travel long term.

Make bank by teaching english abroad

How to Travel for Free

Teaching English abroad can take many forms: TEFL certified teaching positions, online teaching, or a less formal arrangement. The good news is: this option can actually be quite profitable, especially if you’re living somewhere in Southeast Asia where the cost of living is dramatically low.

How: Paid jobs usually require TEFL certification , which can be achieved through a variety of in-person or online classes. The uncertified can still volunteer their knowledge of the English language by participating in a volunteer program in exchange for room and board. Diverbo and Culture Go Go are online resources to jumpstart your experience.

Earn free travel opportunities by living on a boat

how to travel around world for free

Have you ever said screw land and lived on a boat? If you haven’t, it’s time to consider it. Cruise lines and yacht companies are always looking for crewmembers, especially during the high seasons for tourism. Whether you have experience in hospitality, cleaning, kitchens, or entertainment, the available positions vary greatly.

How: Carnival and Royal Caribbean are the biggest companies, offering seasonal positions and year round options. For yacht opportunities, try out Crew Seekers .

Cut transport costs with ride shares

how to travel around world for free

While there’s no guarantee of safety for this one, there are several countries in the world where hitchhiking is both acceptable and common. HitchWiki breaks it down by country, so you can be the judge of your own chances. Proven fact: hitchhiking builds character, so stick out your thumb and hope for the best.

How: If you prefer a tad bit more of an organized process, try out an arranged rideshare. These long-distance carpool services can be incredibly cheap, despite the lengths traveled. Blablacar is worldwide, and Ridesharing.com is popular in the U.S. and Canada. And hey, it’s good for the environment too!

Travel the world for free by becoming an au pair

how to travel around world for free

Think babysitting, but instead of your childhood suburb, it’s a beautiful coastal town in the south of France. Au pairs are in high demand in several countries, and it’s a formidable way to learn about a different culture, and also live for free. There are both English and non-English speaking opportunities, but knowing a foreign language opens up more doors. France, England, and Australia are three of the more popular destinations for au pairs, but the opportunities are worldwide.

How: Visit AuPairWorld or AuPair.com to connect with families around the globe.

Save money on travel by signing up for airfare alerts

how to travel around world for free

Okay, okay, it’s not completely free, but it can still save tons of money when you play the cards right. There are a few budget airlines worth keeping an eye on. Sales and promotions are common, and if you can hop online when they go live, there’s a great chance at scoring a major deal.

How: A few to keep in mind are Ryan Air , Air Asia , Jetstar , and Virgin Australia . In addition to the airlines themselves, fare finders like Scott’s Cheap Flights can send you alerts based on the latest and greatest deals. There’s no guarantee for legroom, but who needs it anyway? You’ll be on the beach in a few hours.

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Nomadic Matt's Travel Site

Travel Better, Cheaper, Longer

How to Travel Cheap: 16 Ways to Travel for Cheap or Free

How to Travel When You Have no Money

Whenever I ask readers what the number one thing holding them back from traveling is, I almost always get the same answer: Money.

This is something I hear from everyone I talk to: “Matt, I simply don’t have enough money to travel.”

This problem — and how to overcome it — is my most asked question. Over the past 14 years , I have answered this question in a plethora of posts, emails, tweets, and Facebook posts. Long-term readers might even be getting sick of me discussing this subject because it is one I talk about so much. 

But I know no matter how often I address this question, it will come up again.

Since this question comes up so often, I like to constantly remind people of this fact: You do not need to be rich to travel.

Let’s repeat that: You do not need to be rich to travel.

There are plenty of ways to travel on a budget (and for free) — you just need to be willing to get creative.

Traveling the world with no little or no money sounds like an impossible dream. But it is possible. It’s not glamorous, but it’s possible.

It should be said that there are some expenses you shouldn’t compromise on (like travel insurance ) but there are tons of ways you can travel the world on a budget — including plenty of ways you can actually travel for free.

In this post, I’m going to show you two things:

  • How to travel cheap
  • How to travel for free

Learning how to travel cheap is all about taking advantage of helpful apps and websites that save you money, finding ways to lower your expenses, and even making money as you travel. It’s about finding value and lowering your expenses while still being able to afford to do what you want.

Learning how to travel for free entails taking advantage of free accommodation, transportation, and activities that are already out there, thereby reducing your cost to zero. You can also use points and miles to earn free flights and accommodation . Here, you sacrifice comfort and convenience to extend your travels as long as possible.

With the right budget and the right mindset, you can make your travel dreams a reality. Even if you don’t earn a lot or you have debt, there are still plenty of ways to go overseas (I still had debt when I went on my first trip around the world). They may not be fancy or luxurious, but if travel is your priority then you can definitely make it happen!

Ready to kick-start your budget travels and save money? Just click on either of the links below to jump directly to that section!

Table of Contents

1. Get a Job Overseas

2. teach english overseas, 3. do wwoofing and work on a farm, 4. use the sharing economy, 5. cook your own meals, 6. get rail passes, 7. sleep in large dorms, 8. use student and other discount cards, 9. get city tourist cards, 10. capitalize on your skills, 11. travel hack and get free flights, 12. stay for free, 13. hitchhike, 14. take free walking tours, 15. house sitting & pet sitting, 16. use your social network.

Not making enough money at your job? Or, even worse, are you working a job you hate? Why not get a job overseas? There are plenty of opportunities in the world as long as you aren’t picky. After all, this isn’t a career you are starting — it’s just a way to earn money for travel.

Here are some popular (and easy to find) jobs you can get when you travel:

  • Au pair – An au pair is a live-in caregiver who helps a host family by looking after their children and doing some basic housekeeping. In exchange, you get free room and board and a small salary. This is a great route if you’re looking to learn a new language or immerse yourself in a new culture. You can read this post for more info on being an au pair .
  • Bartender – It’s always 5 o’clock somewhere, so if you have the skills then this is an easy job to move overseas. It’s also an easy job to get under the table if you decide to go that route. If you don’t have the skills to tend bar, consider being a dishwasher or busser.
  • Hostel worker – Hostel workers rarely stick around for long, which means there is always a demand for new help. It’s a great way to meet other travelers while adjusting to a new location. You can usually also start off as a volunteer (in exchange for a free room) to avoid visa complications. Three websites that can help you find hostels to volunteer at are Worldpackers , Workaway , and HelpX .
  • Waitress/waiter – There are tons of seasonal restaurants around the world (and around the US) that need extra help during the busy tourist months. If you have experience, this is an easy job to find abroad.
  • Dive instructor – If you have your certification , this is an easy job to travel with as dive instructors are needed everywhere. Best of all, these jobs are usually in picturesque tropical locations !
  • Tour guide – If you’ve got a knack for history and don’t mind speaking in front of groups, this is the perfect job for you. It’s also usually a cash job, which means you get your tips directly.
  • Cruise ship worker – This is a much more formal position than the ones above, but it’s a great way to travel. The hours are long, but there’s something to be said about living at sea!
  • Casino worker – While this might require some training, if you’re a night owl and don’t mind the casino scene this is a fun job to work abroad.
  • Seasonal worker at ski resorts – Instructors, restaurant staff, hotel staff, lifeguards — ski resorts need all sorts of staff to keep things moving, making this a goldmine for the overseas traveler (as long as you don’t mind the snow!).
  • Yacht worker – While the hours can be long, you can make great money working for the rich and famous on their yachts. Best of all, you’re usually in some pretty amazing destinations!
  • Yoga instructor – If you have the skills (and certification), teaching yoga abroad is an easy way to make some spending money. While you might need to know the language, there are yoga studios in pretty much every city in the world.

Working overseas often gets discounted as an option because it seems hard to do. It’s not. Just be open. These jobs don’t require advanced degrees or a lot of work experience either.

Are you going to get a high-paying office job? No.

Will you get a shitty, low-wage job that will pay all your travel bills? Yep!

I’ve met people from all walks of life, both from Western and non-Western countries, funding their travels this way. It’s an easy, fun way to lengthen your travels, deepen your experience, and make a little money so you can keep on traveling.

READ MORE ABOUT WORKING OVERSEAS: 15 Ways to Find a Job and Work Overseas  

Teaching English Overseas in Asia

All you need is the ability to speak English fluently and a TEFL degree , depending on the country you work in. The world is yearning for teachers, and this is a job in high demand; many companies in Asia will even pay for your flight over as well as cover your rent while you’re there.

If you have a college or university degree you’ll be able to make more money and apply for better positions though it’s not necessary for many countries.

Additionally, there are many websites and services out there that allow you to teach virtually. As long as you have a great Wi-Fi connection, you can help people learn English from anywhere in the world!

Some places you can teach online are:


  • The Best TEFL Courses for Teaching English Abroad
  • The 9 Best Places to Teach English Overseas
  • How Oneika Gets Teaching Jobs Around the World
  • Can You Teach English Abroad Without a TEFL?

WWOOF stands for World Wide Opportunities on Organic Farms . It’s a platform that allows you to work on a farm in exchange for free room and board. It’s a great way to see a destination in-depth while allowing you to commune with the great outdoors. You have to pay to get to the farm, but once you are there, everything else is covered! It definitely will help you travel cheap as well as have a unique experience and meet lots of cool people.

WWOOF has opportunities available in 130 countries around the world, with over 12,000 hosts and 100,000 WWOOFers. Some of the most popular destinations for WWOOFers are Portugal, France, Italy, Costa Rica, Australia, New Zealand, and Hawaii.


  • How to Travel and Work Around the World with WWOOF
  • How to Ethically Volunteer Anywhere in the World

Nomadic Matt posing for a photo with his Couchsurfing host in France

These websites have changed the travel game and made travel more accessible for everyone.

Here are some of my favorite websites:

  • BlaBlaCar – A ride-sharing app that connects you with drivers who have extra seats in their car (primarily for medium and long distances, and mainly in Europe).
  • EatWith – Platform that connects you with local cooks serving private meals.
  • RVShare – Lets you rent RVs and camper vans directly from locals.
  • Turo – A car sharing marketplace that lets you rent vehicles from locals.
  • Campspace – This platform lets you camp on private property. Properties range from basic tent plots to luxurious glamping and RV stays.
  • Trusted Housesitters – Connects you with locals with whom you exchange pet and house sitting services for free accommodation.


  • How to Use the Sharing Economy to Travel on a Budget
  • How to Find the perfect Apartment on Sites Like Airbnb

The best way to save money on the road is to cook all your own meals. While in Stockholm , I spent $60 USD for a week’s worth of groceries instead of an average of $15 USD per meal eating out! That’s a savings of $150 USD!

I’ve done the same thing in dozens of countries all around the world — especially in expensive destinations like Iceland where eating out can really destroy your budget.

If you are staying in hostels , book accommodation that has a kitchen so you have space to cook. If you’re Couchsurfing or using Airbnb,your host will probably have a kitchen.

No kitchen? Pack your own container and cutlery and make some sandwiches and salads on the go. Not every meal requires a stove, right?

Just because you are traveling doesn’t mean you need to eat out every meal. You won’t ruin your trip to Paris if you decide not to eat out one day! There’s simply no reason to be spending lots of money on food on your trip!


  • How to Eat Cheap Around the World
  • How to Eat Around the World on a Vegan Diet

Traveling on trains in Europe with a Eurail pass

If you are booking individual trips, booking ahead of time can usually save you about 50% of the cost of a train ticket. However, that fixes you to a set timeline. If you don’t want to be tied into a fixed schedule, rail passes can save you a lot of money while giving you the flexibility you need. I’ve saved hundreds of dollars in Europe doing this!


  • Is The Eurail Pass Right For You?
  • A Complete Guide To The Eurail Global Pass
  • The Ultimate Guide To Saving Money With Eurail Passes
  • A Complete Guide to the Japan Rail Pass

Large hostel dorm rooms are the cheapest paid accommodation out there. If Couchsurfing isn’t your thing, this is your next best way to save money on a place to sleep. The bigger the dorm, the cheaper it will be. While a 4-6 bed dorm might give you more privacy, a 12-18 bed dorm is going to be a bit cheaper. In the long run, this will add up. As long as you’ve got earplugs and a sleeping mask, opt for the bigger dorm to keep your budget intact!

If you’re a light sleeper, make sure you read the reviews before you book to ensure you don’t choose a party hostel. In larger cities, you can usually find a hostel that is quieter than the others. It might not be as social or as centrally located, but you’ll at least be able to get a good sleep.

In a large dorm, you’re almost guaranteed to have some snorers. If earplugs don’t quite do the trick, download an app like Rain Rain , which plays rain sounds on a loop. You can set a timer so they stop playing after an hour or two, helping you ignore the noises of the dorm while you try to fall asleep. Spotify also has all kinds of rain and whitenoise playlists too.

For discounts on hostels in Europe, check out HostelPass . This card gives you up to 20% off hostels throughout Europe. They’re constantly adding new hostels too. I’ve always wanted something like this and am glad it finally exists! (Use code NOMADICMATT for 25% off your membership.)


  • Why I Still Stay in Hostels When I Travel
  • 11 Expert Tips on Picking a Good Hostel
  • 6 Ways to Avoid a Bad Hostel
  • My Favorite Hostels Around the World

Are you a student, teacher, or under 26? Welcome to the world of 50%-off attractions and a plethora of discounts! Get a student/teacher/youth card and save big while you’re abroad. Even if you’ve recently graduated, chances are you can still get by with your expired ID card (as long as it doesn’t have an expiry date). Always ask if there are discounts available for students or youth as this is an easy way to save tons of cash as you travel around!

Museums, galleries, and other major tourist attractions usually have discounts (especially in Europe ). It never hurts to ask! (There are also often discounts for senior travelers and veterans as well, so always ask!)  

If you plan on seeing a lot of sights in a city, you should get a city tourism card. These will offer you discounted and/or free access to the major attractions and museums, as well as free public transportation. I saved over $100 USD with the London pass, $80 USD with the Paris Museum card, $50 USD with a Helsinki card, and tons more with other city tourism cards.

They are an amazing way to save money on attractions that not enough people use. Just head to the local tourism office to find out what cards are available. They can help answer all your questions and make sure you save as much money as possible. Not every city has them, but most major destinations do and you’ll save a lot of money if you plan on seeing the major sights.  

Need some cash? Use Craigslist (operates in 70 countries), TaskRabbit (mainly in the US and Canada, though also in Italy and Spain), or Gumtree (UK-based) to find paid odd jobs, like assisting people who need a few things done around the house. It’s a way to make money when you travel without committing to a long-term job.

Additionally, if you have a skill, sell it. Offer haircuts to other travelers, busk for money, provide online services like editing, graphic design, or consulting. It’s never been easier to work online. As long as you have Wi-Fi you can make money. The sky is the limit here — get creative!  

the best travel credit cards held by Nomadic Matt

These days, there are tons of ways to earn free flights. Simply sign up for a few travel credit cards , collect miles, and then fly for free.

Most cards offer sign-up bonuses of 50,000 points (or more) — which is often enough for a free round-trip flight right there. And if you sign up for both an airline card (e.g., a United credit card) and a general rewards card like the Chase Sapphire, you can combine the two point balances and get a cheap flight faster.

You can go a lot further in the world when you take away the cost of flights and some accommodation. By collecting points and miles through credit card bonuses, smart everyday spending, online surveys, bonuses, and other methods, you’ll accrue a ton of miles even before you’ve left for your trip. There’s even a card now — the Bilt rewards card – that lets you earn points on your rent!

Travel hacking isn’t only for Americans either (though US residents have the best options). Canadians can travel hack too, as can folks from Australia and New Zealand and the UK .

Europeans also have several options as well, including all kinds of airline cards such as Norwegian Air, SAS, Aer Lingus, Lufthansa, and more.


  • Travel Hacking 101: A Beginner’s Guide
  • The Ultimate Guide to Travel Hacking
  • How I Earn 1 Million Frequent Flier Miles Each Year
  • The Best Travel Credit Cards

There are many services that connect travelers with locals who are willing to let them stay with them for free. Using these sites, you will never have to pay for accommodation. Years ago I read about a guy who traveled for years while only Couchsurfing.

I’ve used this service dozens of times over the years and always meet amazing people. Sometimes you get a room, sometimes a couch, sometimes an air mattress, but it’s always free.

Ideally, you’ll want to repay your host’s kindness by cooking them a meal, bringing them a souvenir from home, or taking them out for a drink. But that will still be much cheaper than paying for accommodation!

There are also local Couchsurfing group meet-ups that can help you make friends in your new city. You can even use the app just to meet people without having to stay with them. It’s a great way to connect with local insiders — whether you want a free place to stay or not.

Moreover, because of the rise of the sharing economy in the last few years, there are now websites that let you not only stay with locals but share rides, meals, train tickets, gear, and much more! These websites not only save you a TON of money but also get you off the tourist track and into the local life. Win-win! Here is a list of websites to use for free accommodation:

  • Couchsurfing
  • Warmshowers


  • How to Find Cheap Accommodation
  • How to Start House Sitting and Never Pay for Accommodation
  • How to Crush it on Couchsurfing

Matthew Karsten hitchhiking in the USA holding a sign offering free cookies

I’ve hitchhiked in more than a handful of countries (and I know solo female travelers who have done the same!). Sure, it has a bad reputation in North America, but with some common sense and a bit of patience, you can hitchhike almost anywhere — saving you tons of money in the process!

Here are a few basic tips to help you get started:

  • Use a sign – Make a clear sign that lets people know where you’re heading. That will help drivers decide if they can help.
  • Look presentable – Wear clean clothing, smile, and don’t obscure your face with something like sunglasses. People want to see who they are picking up.
  • Check the laws – Hitchhiking is illegal in some places. Always check the laws to make sure it’s ok to do where you are.
  • Take precautions – Note the license plate of anyone who picks you up and text it to a friend. Chances are you won’t need it but it’s better to be safe than sorry!
  • Keep your valuables on you – Don’t leave any valuables in your bag if it goes in the trunk in case it gets left in the car (or stolen).
  • Consult Hitchwiki – Hitchwiki is the #1 hitchhiking resource there is. Always consult it before you hitchhike to pick up tips and ensure you’re hitchhiking in a safe place.


  • 14 Ways to Safely Hitchhike Across the United States
  • What I Learned Hitchhiking Around China
  • A Lesson in Kindness While Hitchhiking through Iceland

Want to learn about the city, get your bearings, and see the major sights? Take a free walking tour. You can find them in most major cities — just ask the local tourist office, your hostel staff, or Google “free walking tour (city name).”

You’ll get a solid introduction to the city while also getting access to a local guide you can ask questions to. I always start my visits to a new city with one. Just be sure to tip your guide at the end (that’s how they get paid).


  • The Best Walking Tours of NYC
  • The Best Walking Tour Companies in London
  • 8 Ways to Choose the Perfect Tour Company
  • The Best Walking Tours in Paris
  • The Best Walking Tours in Amsterdam
  • A Self-Guided Tour of Colonial New York

Sam, the lead researcher for Nomadic Matt, posing with a dog while house-sitting

You can sign up for one of the sites below to start house sitting, allowing you to stay in one destination for a while without having to pay for accommodation. Everyone’s account is verified and has reviews so you know you won’t get cheated.

This is a great way to travel long-term, with an important added bonus: you get a kitchen to cook your food (which saves you even more money!).

You will also often get access to a vehicle and sometimes will be left a tip or free groceries. It’s generally people who are well enough off that they can afford multi-month vacations, so you’re usually in pretty nice homes and apartments too!

Here are the best house-sitting websites to check out:

  • Trusted Housesitters


  • How to Become a House Sitter and Never Pay for Accommodation
  • How to Start House Sitting

Does your colleague have a relative in Spain? Or maybe you have a distant cousin who lives in New Zealand. Or maybe a childhood friend of yours is working down in Brazil.

These days, we have a vast social network of friends and family that stretches across the globe. Don’t hesitate to use that! Ask your co-workers and friends if they know anyone where you’re going. Get your mom to ask her co-workers and friends, too.

Using your social network can be hugely helpful in traveling the world . You never know who knows who!

By implementing a variety of these tips, you’ll be able to travel for relatively little money. With a little planning and some creativity, you can travel the world for cheap.

Because if I can do it, you can do it too!

Whether it’s two months, two years, or just a two-week vacation, travel doesn’t need to cost a ton. The key is to get out of the mindset that you must travel in the typical manner of simply booking a flight and a hotel. Using out-of-the-box, nontraditional ways to travel can lead to big savings.

But it all starts with a change in mindset. From there, with some patience and practice, you’ll be able to make your travel dreams a reality — without breaking the bank!

Book Your Trip: Logistical Tips and Tricks

Book Your Flight Find a cheap flight by using Skyscanner . It’s my favorite search engine because it searches websites and airlines around the globe so you always know no stone is being left unturned.

Book Your Accommodation You can book your hostel with Hostelworld . If you want to stay somewhere other than a hostel, use Booking.com as it consistently returns the cheapest rates for guesthouses and hotels.

Don’t Forget Travel Insurance Travel insurance will protect you against illness, injury, theft, and cancellations. It’s comprehensive protection in case anything goes wrong. I never go on a trip without it as I’ve had to use it many times in the past. My favorite companies that offer the best service and value are:

  • SafetyWing (best for everyone)
  • Insure My Trip (for those 70 and over)
  • Medjet (for additional evacuation coverage)

Want to Travel for Free? Travel credit cards allow you to earn points that can be redeemed for free flights and accommodation — all without any extra spending. Check out my guide to picking the right card and my current favorites to get started and see the latest best deals.

Need Help Finding Activities for Your Trip? Get Your Guide is a huge online marketplace where you can find cool walking tours, fun excursions, skip-the-line tickets, private guides, and more.

Ready to Book Your Trip? Check out my resource page for the best companies to use when you travel. I list all the ones I use when I travel. They are the best in class and you can’t go wrong using them on your trip.

Got a comment on this article? Join the conversation on Facebook , Instagram , or Twitter and share your thoughts!

Disclosure: Please note that some of the links above may be affiliate links, and at no additional cost to you, I earn a commission if you make a purchase. I recommend only products and companies I use and the income goes to keeping the site community supported and ad free.

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Home » Budget Travel » How to Travel FOR FREE: No Money, No Problems!

How to Travel FOR FREE: No Money, No Problems!

It’s something I’ve never been able to fully instil in my non-travelling friends back home:  just how cheap travel can be.  The myth is that travelling the world is expensive; the reality is that it’s often cheaper than being at home. Travellers don’t pay taxes, or electricity bills, or student loans. Travellers live cheap.

So what if we took it one step further? Today, we’re talking about how to travel the world for free!

The best things in life are free, or so it’s been told. Everything we need is right here. Maybe these things are true, I’m not sure. What I do know is…

Life is as simple as we choose to make it.

Nothing in this list of tips for travelling without money is complicated (except maybe frequent flyer miles – goddamn credit cards). Everything in this guide is easy and actionable – the more you apply, the more inexpensive your travelling will be. With enough practice and ingenuity, you may even find yourself spending  $0 !

Did anyone say  “Take a vacation for free” ? Yes, me, right now! Weren’t you listening? Well, you better start because I’m about to teach you…

How to travel for free!

Dis shit is gonna get cheap, yo!

A backpacker in India who knows how to travel for free

A Big, Sexy Disclaimer

A stop sign for the disclaimer on free travel

Folks, this article is not about how to travel the world like a dickweed. Anyone can travel for free if they take advantage of people along the way, lying, cheating, stealing, and being an all-round douchenozzle.

Similarly, though we’ll cover some of the more crusty methods of travel, as well as tackle that sticky topic of ‘begpacking’ , THAT’S not what this article is about either.

This article is about  learning how to live a low-cost lifestyle of travel. One that’s sustainable in the long-term as well as financially independent.  Travelling until you run out of cash and move back in with your Mum or Dad is cute in your early 20s, but that’s not what we’re about at The Broke Backpacker. That’s not what a broke backpacker is .

At The Broke Backpacker, we’re about teaching you how to live a lifestyle of indefinite travel in a responsible way – responsible to the world, yourself, and those who love you. Go out, travel, see the world, and do it for as long as you like, but do it right.

Don’t begpack, don’t abuse your privilege, and don’t ever expect a handout. Free travel is NOT about exploitation; it’s about travelling without burning through your savings in a way that’s more authentic and less insipid than simply blowing your funds on all the cheap booze and drugs .

Oh, and it shouldn’t have to be said, but, please,  don’t ever go travelling with literally $0 in your bank account. That’s just bloody stupid.

The Best Ways to Travel for Free

How to get a free vacation, how to travel when you’re broke, travel the world for free: is it possible, remaining tips for how to travel free, closing thoughts on free travel.

Let’s start by talking about how to travel for a living. These options for free travel mean exchanging your time and energy (i.e. working) for the freedom of being on the road. (And probably somewhere super-duper pretty too!)

Yes, ok, they aren’t all strictly ‘free trips’ but you’re away from home, not burning through your savings, and, potentially, maybe even saving some money too! If you disagree with my criteria, well, shush your face! Go travel the world for more than three years with your savings still intact like I have and then come back and we’ll argue semantics.

Still with me? Good because I want to travel the world for free and you should too!

Travel the World for Free Volunteering

Volunteering abroad for free – ahhh . This is where it all began for me and, sometimes, when it all becomes too much, it’s back with the hippies in the fields, shoes off and muddy, that I return to. For me, this will always be one of the most authentic and best ways to travel for free or otherwise.

The name of the game is simple: you work some agreed subset of hours, you get a place to sleep and food in return. Hopefully, a washing machine too!

Two travellers volunteering abroad for free

Travelling free by way of volunteering could mean a lot of things: hostel work, farms, working with kids, charities, construction, kitten sanctuaries (god yes). The only way to find out what’s out there is to get out there! (You could also start by reading this review/guide/informational post on Workaway .)

Interested in travelling the world for free volunteering? Here are some excellent platforms:

  • Workaway – The biggest in the game. Follow the link and sign up to receive an extra 3 months on your subscription!
  • HelpX – The oft-forgotten cousin of Workaway.
  • WWOOF – Exclusively for organic farm work.
  • Talking to people – In the 21st-century? Get outta my house!
  • Facebook and other platforms – Plenty of groups for this stuff but it’s best to search by the country or local area.
  • Worldpackers – Follow the link or enter the code BROKEBACKPACKER to get $10 off your subscription. We’ve also reviewed Worldpackers !

Note:  Most of the platforms have an initial subscription fee (nothing in life is  truly  free). It’s a small price to pay in exchange for a year of travelling and volunteering around the world for free.

Work and Travel for Free Teaching English

If you’re reading this sentence, then you probably speak English. Awesome! Step one complete! What’s step two?

Get your TEFL certificate. With that in hand, it’s time to discover another one of the best ways to travel the world. Didja guess yet?

Yup, teaching English!

Teaching English in China

There’s a whole host of ways to get involved teaching English overseas and what an experience it is! Impart wisdom, see cute Asian kids smile (yay), and learn how to travel abroad for free. Well, not free… you’re actually earning money – oh snap!

If you want to take it a step further, you can teach English online . You’re entering the realm of the digital nomad which is certainly a different way to travel but that’s ok because – BOOM, SEGUE!

Ditch Your Desk for a Different Way to Travel

Now entering the realm of the digital nomad . If you really want to learn how to travel more, nothing will give you quite so much geographical freedom.

Anywhere your laptop (and stable internet connection goes), your source of revenue goes. Living the vanlife? Easy.

Renting a nudists-only Airbnb by a beach somewhere? Making money online is best done while tanning your best bits.

Volunteering at a kibbutz in Israel? Now you’re actually travelling for free, costs covered, WHILE earning money. Level-up!

Learning how to travel the world for a living is a whole new ball game. It’s the holy grail for many travellers but beware of the ‘grass is greener’ syndrome: it’s a lotta work and a lot to take on and, at times, your brain will hate you. Is it awesome though?

Fuck yes it is.

Nic working on a laptop in Bohinj, near Bled in Slovenia.

So, yeah, this may be stretching the how to travel for free concept but it’s an important mention for anyone looking at opportunities to travel free and extend their already indefinite adventures. Theoretically, we all gotta grow up eventually and make some cash, right?

I dunno, don’t ask me. I’m still Peter Pan-ning it up over here.

Or Just Work for Inexpensive Travelling

If a job that glues you to your laptop isn’t appealing but adopting the low-cost travel lifestyle of a working traveller is, then maybe just get a job-job. You know, one that sounds better on your Tinder profile than “influencer” .

Backpacking around the world without money busking

What kind of job? Well, potential travel jobs is a long-ass list (which we conveniently have right here) , but if you’re starting from scratch and need to know how to travel the world with no money, here are a few ideas to get you started:

  • Busker – Traveller-life and street performance go together like drugs and sex.
  • Bartender – A extremely internationally-transferable trade and lucrative too… if you know how to bat those eyelids just right.
  • Scaffolding and stage construction – Construction/labouring is good in general, but the stage construction and scaffolding industries are very international.
  • Picking/Trimming – Also a lucrative industry IF you’re fast.
  • Flight attendant – How to travel around the world for free 101.
  • Cruise ship work – The money can be good contingent on the company and you’ll always have the added bonus of copious amounts of drugs and sex!
  • Tuk-tuk races in Sri Lanka – I dunno; my cousin does them and he seems to be doin’ alright!

how to travel around world for free

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Free international travel is about to get hacked! Ready to hack? It’s time to hack with these hacks!

Did I say ‘hack’ too much? Righto, moving along.

These following ways to travel the world for free are more courtesy of the convenience of the 21st-century. And, that’s exactly where we like to be.

Being a “nomad” these days is very different from what it used to be. No longer do we have to hunt elk and forage for berries in the woods – now we can just order a pizza with UberEats!

Now, we have a whole host of tools and platforms to uncover and exchange free travel opportunities!

Catch Flights Right: How to Travel Overseas for Free

It doesn’t matter how cheap you live when you arrive, you’ll still have to pay for an expensive-ass flight to get there… right? Wrong!

Learning how to catch cheap flights is going to be integral to learning how to travel without money. Error fares, mega-discounts, turning on incognito mode… booking flights does my head in – truly. I just want to travel the world; I don’t have time for this humdrum!

I’d suggest reading the above-linked post because it’s really a whole other Pandora’s Box.

To take it one step further, you can sign up with airlines to earn frequent flyer miles. Accrue enough of these and you’re looking at a cheap or even free trip overseas. A travel rewards credit card is going to stack up points in much the same way until, eventually, you get a free trip.

Cebu Pacific Flight, Aeorplane, Airplane in Philippines

All of this credit stuff does my head in but the point is obvious. Do your research and find the best program to sign up in. Don’t you be wasting them points!

Or, if you’re like me and credit cards and booking flights gives you anxiety, just do what I do – overland it ! Planes are for fools; border crossings are where it’s at. And cheaper!

Apps and Platforms with Opportunities for Free Travel

Ok, now it’s really time to hack this open, right to the gooey, delicious centre. Oh, sorry, I made it weird, didn’t I?

No matter. It’s the 21st-century and now the smartphone has paved the way in much the same way that the wheel once did. These days, a lot of good platforms exist online that offer their own free ways to travel the world:

  • Couchsurfing – Where to go when you have no money… to a mate’s couch! Except now all your mates are strangers and internationally based. Check out our Beginner’s Couchsurfing Guide for more info but it’s basically a platform where travellers asked to be hosted by people with a sleeping space to spare.
  • Housesitting – You’ll need to build up a few references and pay a membership fee but then you can get all kinds of free accommodation… and in a private home too! Travelling by housesitting is a fantastic way to travel for free with the bonus of never having to share a hostel dorm with fatty, unshowered humans.
  • Fly and swap vacations – It’s kind of like housesitting except your swapping homes with someone. That means it’s a bit more nuanced – you need to actually have a home to swap away. HomeExchange and HomeLink are two platforms that cover this.
  • Au Pair – If you enjoy the company of miniature-monster-gremlins hiding in the bodies of children, then consider working as an Au Pair . Travel around the world for free, connect with a family and their spawn, and make some money too!

Yay, ok, my speciality! I may get anxiety from credit cards and fancy hotels but the broke-ass swashbuckling backpacker lifestyle is my answer to the emptiness of existence. Life gets simpler.

Real quick, these tips can be also found in our Budget Backpacking 101 article – some crossover is inevitable in the world of low-cost travel!

There’s a whole host of good advice in there if you’re not just specifically looking at how to travel for free but also at the cheapest way to travel the world. Yeah, these two posts may crossover a bit but hand-in-hand they make for some excellent reading (self-plug) if you’re dedicated to learning about how to backpack around the world with no money.

Consider this your Budget Backpacking Light.

Believe it or not, there is a lot of free food out there! The first and most common way (arguably) to eat for free is dumpster diving . People throw away a lot of perfectly edible food and useful stuff (half my wardrobe comes from late-night scores) and getting good at harnessing this awesome power of wastage is going to go a long way if you want to travel for free.

From the humble park trashcan up to the almighty power of the supermarket skip, free food is everywhere. Alternatively, you can acquire food before it hits the bin by asking for food wastage: bakeries, fruit and veg shops, food markets especially. Then there’s tablesurfing too – eating someone’s leftovers at a restaurant.

It’s an excellently fun game!

Dumpster bear

You’ve also always got food giveaways (we’ll touch on that tentative topic of begpacking in a moment) and religious shindigs too. The Hare Krishnas love, love, love feeding travellers for nothing or next to it.

I’ve eaten free Prasad in the streets of Varanasi and in Gurdwaras in Agra. There’s free food near the Ibrahimi Mosque in Hebron and free bread at every turn in Jerusalem (it might be for the cats…). Hell, there’s even an online platform dedicated to helping us intrepid raccoons find excellent freegan sources (urban fruit trees are shockingly common).

The point is if you’re travelling without money, there are still heaps of ways to fill your belly. You just gotta get creative!

This one is a pretty basic tip for free travel. I’ve already mentioned Couchsurfing but option two is to just sleep where you land . It’s a big, wide world out there with ample floor space!

For this, except for truly warm and rain-free climates, you’re gonna need a few things. In my personal order of importance:

  • A sexy-warm sleeping bag
  • Backpacking sleeping pad (the floor is cold)
  • A budget backpacking tent (you could get really nice tent but I’ve always found it to be overkill)
  • A sleeping bag liner
  • Or, alternatively to the tent and pad, a backpacking hammock

With a combination of these things, you can sleep free while travelling pretty much anywhere. Camp out in the woods, in urban environments, or if you think the cops will get funny about you pitching a tent, sleep under a bridge or in a bus station or abandoned building. As my dirtbag travel companion in New Zealand always said: we can sleep anywhere!

Low cost travelling abroad sleeping outside

This, however, is not a commentary on safety. I’ve never had an issue but also I’m a white man covered in tattoos that looks like he sleeps with a knife in his pocket. Be smart, be safe , don’t go past your limits, and learn what a good pitch looks like.

Pro-tip: No one goes into graveyards at night. Oh, and on that note, leave no fucking trace.

Travel Free

If we’re talking the most literal definition of the term, there’s only one way to travel for free that I can think of: hitchhiking. I love hitchhiking! It’s free travel to places, you meet local people – people you never would have met otherwise – and see many worlds from the inside (or outside) of many vehicles.

Best way to travel the world: hitchhiking

Hell, sometimes people invite you over, offer to let you stay the night, or to go on an adventure. I don’t do it as much as I used to but sometimes, when I’m just needing a holiday from the work and travel life, I take a break from the tech and hit the road.

I see who picks me up and sleep where I land – no schedule, no itinerary. Simplicity at its finest. Hitchhiking is grand! And to those who question if it’s ethical – I can assure you some of my best travel memories involve those that gave me a ride.

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We’ve tested the Geopress  rigorously  from the icy heights of Pakistan to the tropical jungles of Bali, and can confirm: it’s the best water bottle you’ll ever buy!

I guess that’s the last big question:

How can I travel for free? Is it really possible? Teach me sensei that hasn’t bought a new piece of clothing in almost-three-and-a-half years!

Yes! It is. Buy a plane ticket on miles, choose a visa-waiver country, hitchhike from the airport to your volunteering gig, eat only the finest cuisine from the dumpster! It’s a free year long trip !

Ok, look, that may not be your ideal vacation (free or not), but it’s a portrayal of an extreme circumstance. This isn’t a strict guide to travelling the world for free; it’s a handbook. Take what works, when it works, and apply it at will.

Travelling the world without money overland border crossing

Practice makes perfect and pretty soon you’ll be finding that you’re having some pretty dope-ass adventures on some pretty low spendings. Hell, why not set up some passive income at home and then earn a bit while you’re volunteering abroad cheaply. (Or just Couchsurfing.)

I met a dude in New Zealand way back near the beginning and he said something very insightful.

“You don’t need a lot to travel. A plane ticket, $500, and you can be gone for a while.”

He was so right.

Why travel without money?

Because it’s fucking awesome!

Seriously, the stunning sunrises and sunsets I’ve seen only because my days hitching ended where they did. The adventures I’ve ended up on just because I was asking around for a spot of work. The things I’ve done because I was working for a bed and feed… I milked a goat once!

Sunrise at a farm while volunteering abroad

Learning how to start travelling abroad for free opens up a lot of doors, both in the world and in yourself. Pretty soon you start to realise that you’re pretty damn capable! That in all likelihood, you got dis.

And, on the off-chance you don’t, chances are there’ll be someone around to lend a hand.

Give it some time and you’ll start to find that there’s always somewhere to sleep and something to eat. There’s always a spot of work that needs to be done by a willing hand.

After a bit more time travelling the world without money, you may start finding you already have everything you need. If not the best, then at least some pretty insanely spectacular things are free, and, best of all…

Simplicity is so damn blissful!

“I want to travel but have no money.” – Voluntourism, begpacking, and tact.

I said we were gonna touch on this, yeah?

Voluntourism is one can of worms; one that I feel fewer people take issue with. There are some points against it, and some validity in these points, but nothing that I truly believe is able to undo the sheer amount of good that comes from people travelling through volunteering overseas.

Connections between local communities and travellers are made and something is returned while travelling around the world. It’s a symbiotic relationship – if you’re heart is equally in it for the work as it is for the free-living – and it works, usually for the best.

Travelling overseas delivering a wheelchair

Begpacking gets stickier – it’s a modern-day complaint against a style of living that has existed much longer. That, somehow, choosing to travel with no money makes you self-entitled and undeserving of the kindness of strangers. However, even the name “begpacking” itself stands as a bit of a misnomer.

I’ve never “begged” for something and I don’t know anyone who has. (However, travellers who do quite literally “beg” exist and they should promptly hand in their backpacker card).

I’ve hitchhiked but I’ve never even directly asked someone for a ride. I’ve never asked someone for a place to stay and certainly never for money. I have eaten at free food giveaways but only ones that were welcoming and warm to travellers and wanted me there (sometimes, with some volunteering on the side).

Usually, if someone wants to offer you something, then that’s a gift of kindness (except when ulterior motives may be at play). As a traveller, a long way from the comfort of home, a bit of kindness goes a long way.

I know there are people out there that abuse this kindness in their attempts to get a free trip. This is a reminder not to .

It’s about having tact and moving with grace; leaving places in the world better than when you arrived. Be a little bit of good in the world wherever you go. Considering all the places you’ll go, that’s a lot of good.

A low cost traveller delivering a wheelchair for charity

If you’re choosing to travel without money, then remember that’s your choice. A long way from home or not, no one owes you a hand, so be grateful when they lend it.

Before I tie up the ‘How to Get a Free Vacation Handbook’, it’s time for the final bonus tips. These may not individually rock your boat, but together they’ll groove it a bit for sure!

  • Don’t burn out – Always stressing about money, looking for the cheapest way to travel to your next destination, and racing against yourself: it can be exhausting. Don’t push yourself too hard. Take a rest sometimes, go slow, and remember that when travelling without money gets stressful, home is always waiting.
  • Every country is unique – Every country has its own nuances. What food is cheap, expectations on people volunteering abroad, even the hitchhiking hand signals! It takes time to learn a new place and mistakes probably will happen so cut yourself some slack, alright?
  • Mistakes do happen – On that note, so as much as free travelling around the world may be the goal, it pays to stockpile a little rainy day money. Unless you don’t mind calling in financial favours from the ‘rents.
  • There’s free food in more places than the dumpster – Many countries have food growing in abundance that isn’t privately owned (or in a bin). Learning edible plants and how to forage is pretty goddamn top-tier Broke Backpacking, but it’s certainly possible.
  • Know your rights volunteering – While it’s important to put the hard work in for your hosts when volunteering, it’s equally important that you aren’t being exploited either. Not all hosts are top blokes and some do seek to take advantage of backpackers. Remember that no one is doing anyone any favours: it’s an exchange.
  • You’re broke but you’re not poor – This is especially true when travelling in developing nations. It does get tiresome feeling like you’re being targeted as a tourist by touts and beggars, but you are a tourist. Travelling without money doesn’t bring you down to the level of the legitimately homeless and impoverished; one party chose to be there, the other did not. Just keep that in mind.

how to travel around world for free

Our GREATEST Travel Secrets…

Pop your email here & get the original Broke Backpacker Bible for FREE.

Oh, and one last tip… Get insured before embarking on your free travel adventure!

Yeah, ok, insurance isn’t free (or cheap) but when you’re lying in a hospital bed with some truly astounding food poisoning from the dumpster diving, at least your treatment will be! Seriously, travel insurance is a super important consideration for any journey.

Members of The Broke Backpacker team have been using World Nomads for some time now and made a few claims over the years. They’re an easy to use and professional provider that the team swears by.

ALWAYS sort out your backpacker insurance before your trip. There’s plenty to choose from in that department, but a good place to start is Safety Wing .

They offer month-to-month payments, no lock-in contracts, and require absolutely no itineraries: that’s the exact kind of insurance long-term travellers and digital nomads need.

how to travel around world for free

SafetyWing is cheap, easy, and admin-free: just sign up lickety-split so you can get back to it!

Click the button below to learn more about SafetyWing’s setup or read our insider review for the full tasty scoop.

You don’t need a lot of money to travel: that’s the takeaway! Maybe eventually you’ll need some money so leaving the country with $0 in the bank account isn’t necessarily smart. That said, I have a friend that got his working visa in Australia by photoshopping his bank statement, so, really, anything is possible!

Even if the low-cost world traveller game isn’t for you, I still think everyone should try it once. It changes your perspective a lot.

It changes your perspective on the idea of what you need and what you need to be happy; on what is possible. I have a friend that lost it all in Australia (a different friend) and spent months as a hammock-hobo in Melbourne. He says it was the happiest time of his life.

I can relate. My first experience travelling still remains some of my sweetest memories. It was free travel in New Zealand – a smelly backpacking vagabond volunteering, hitching, busking, dumpster diving, and sleeping in parks – and It taught me how beautiful life is. It taught me how kind people are and how simple things can be, should we so choose.

Gratitude turns what we have into enough.

A dirtbag like any other travelling with no money

To close, I’d like to repeat what a friend said to me today as we bid farewell (at another hippy farm). He said:

“No, I won’t wish you ‘safe travels’ because everywhere you go, you are safe. You have a good heart and many adventures ahead. I wish you to be free because that is the most important thing.”

And I smiled because I understood (and because he’d just written my outro for me). That’s all it is: be free, travel the world with a good heart, and learn what joy there is in nothing. You don’t need anything to learn how to travel for free.

And you don’t need money to travel.

Some time later, the man still knows how to travel the world for free

And for transparency’s sake, please know that some of the links in our content are affiliate links . That means that if you book your accommodation, buy your gear, or sort your insurance through our link, we earn a small commission (at no extra cost to you). That said, we only link to the gear we trust and never recommend services we don’t believe are up to scratch. Again, thank you!

Ziggy Samuels

Ziggy Samuels

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Hey, great blog, read it like 3 times already!!! One question though…do you also get jobs ‘under the table’ with tourist Visa? Cause everyone talks about working and traveling to finance their further travels, but nobody talks about Visa issues. Could I work for a bit of money (whatever crappy job) with a tourist Visa/Visa waiver? And would people actually accept my work for cash on the hand, or can you actually find people who would accept your work for them although it could cause trouble because of the ‘under the table’ issue? Cause Work and travel Visa is too expensive for a broke gal like me and one year a long time for one country. I’m talking more about the ‘getting a bit of cash for travel’ kinda thing. Answers would be so so appreciated. Greetings from germany Svenja

People find, and will continue to find all sort of ways to make it work, Svenja… and so will you I’m sure. Some countries do have very strong rules against this type of thing tho, so it may be better looking for other things to trade for, such as food, accommodation, transport.

Wonderful and surprising information, Thank you

What a blog! Very funny and different, I was delighted with this wonderful content.

😀 dumpster eating

Thank you so much for sharing all this wonderful info with us! It is so appreciated and I would suggest you travel once to India

Hahah guess where that first picture of me in the tree is taken? Gokarna, baby! 😀

now i know how to travel, the next thing that is left is how to have guts to travel lol

Just do it, dude – you got this!!! All you gotta do is take the first step :)))

Is panhandling, begging/scamming arrogant rich backpackers and sneaking into peoples bushes/fields to sleep considered douchebaggery?

Scamming people is morally deplorable on every level.

As for sleeping in peoples fields and bushes, well as long as you remember the “leave no trace” principle.

Ziggy Samuels, it is very courageous of you to be able to travel like this. Besides, in the middle of the way, find good people to help you, even without asking. Good luck in this adventure that in a way is the best freedom.

Thanking you kindly, Sam – Perhaps it’s equal parts courage and stupidiity 😉 You’re 100% right though. There are good and kind people everywhere, and often, travel wouldn’t be possible (nor nearly as special) without them.

Last year i traveled for Australia for volunteering work and i can say it was one of the best experience of my life without any cost.

One good App for volunteering work is Workaway and it was that i used.

Interesting, I never thought that one can travel so easily without expenses a penny. But few ideas are really I think works like “volunteering the work” helps one to travel without any cost. I’m curious to check how this work. You shared some great ideas here to work on…Thank you for sharing such wonderful post.

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More From Forbes

23 companies that help you travel the world for free (and might pay you, too).

  • If you’re willing to do a little work while you’re on vacation, these companies will help you get most — if not all — of your travel costs covered.
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English speakers willing to spend a week talking with foreigners can get a free vacation to Spain or ... [+] Germany with Diverbo. (Courtesy of Diverbo)

Think you can’t afford to go on vacation? Think again.

A Wisconsin-based teacher and author with a passion for Spain, Abbey Algiers looks for inexpensive ways to take trips on her summer holidays. So when she discovered  Diverbo , she couldn’t believe it. Diverbo offers free vacations for English speakers willing to spend a week mingling with foreigners in Spain or Germany to help them practice their language skills.

“It’s the best-kept secret on the planet,” she says.

Algiers spent a week chatting, enjoying Spanish tapas and wine and bonding with fellow travelers. The setting couldn’t have been more perfect: La Alberca, a tiny village four hours west of Madrid. The best part? Apart from paying for the flight there, the trip didn’t cost her a cent.

READ MORE: "Ranked: The 20 Most Dangerous Places to Live"

With Diverbo, you can travel for free to a village like La Alberca, Spain. (Photo courtesy of ... [+] Shutterstock)

Algiers loved it so much, she has done Diverbo two more times and is currently traveling in Portugal with a friend she met on her first trip. "This is a legit way to make lifelong friends from around the world," she says.

Diverbo is part of a growing trend: companies that are giving new meaning to the phrase “business trip.” If you’re willing to do a little work while you’re on vacation, these companies will help you get most — if not all — of your travel costs covered.  Some will even pay you a stipend or a salary. It’s a trend that is taking off, especially among young female travelers who are new to the workforce and looking for affordable vacation options or for millennial women in search of ways to give back while on vacation.

A free trip and a chance to see the world? Sign us up! Read on for 10 ideas and 23 companies to check out right now.

Practice English

Speak English? You’re in luck. Diverbo recruits English speakers to help foreigners in Spain and Germany practice their language skills. Even better: Diverbo prefers if you don’t speak Spanish or German. There’s not much downtime — you’ll spend most of the day "working" in small villages near Madrid, Munich, and Frankfurt. But it’s not a hardship: There are group dinners, parties, and even theater performances. There’s also an offshoot of Diverbo for teens.

READ MORE: "Why You Should Skip Iceland And Go To These 9 Under-the-Radar Places"

Christina from Austria is a Wwoofer, willing workers on organic farms. She's pictured here in Ty'r ... [+] Eithin farm, South Wales. (Photo by In Pictures Ltd./Corbis via Getty Images)

Work On A Farm

Sue Coppard was a London secretary who volunteered on a farm with some friends back in 1971 and thought the idea was so great that she turned it into a business: WWOOF , which stands for World Wide Opportunities on Organic Farms. The company has recently been rediscovered by a new generation of travelers that craves getting dirt under their fingernails. Here’s how it works: Farm owners post help-wanted ads on the site, and you can apply to do anything from sowing seeds to making cheese to gathering herbs. In return, the farm pays for your accommodations and food (you usually need to cover the flight). Volunteers typically work a few hours a day, then get time off to explore. There are opportunities everywhere from Costa Rica to Cambodia.

Working with an elephant and son in Thailand. (Photo courtesy of Shutterstock)

Are you willing to put in a little sweat equity on your next vacation in exchange for free meals and accommodations? The sharing economy has resulted in innovative resources for work-exchange programs.  Workaway  and  HelpX  connect travelers with locals around the globe looking for volunteer help. You could find yourself working for people like  Alex and Allie , who own an eco-lodge in the Northern Thai mountains near Chiang Mai where they rescue elephants and support human rights. Or Pamela , who has a house in Provence and wants assistance gardening and cooking. Or there's  Rick and Lindy , a couple who needs workers for their cattle farm in New Zealand. Generally, volunteers work four or five hours a day, five days a week, then have the rest of the time to themselves. It's a great way to affordably see a new place and live like a local.

Work In the Adventure Space

Want to spend a week or two skiing and snowboarding — and get paid to do it? The website AdventureWork lists jobs in the adventure space, some long-term postings but others for vacationers looking for a free trip. For instance,  PGL  hires ski reps at its resorts in France, Italy, Austria and the U.S. to accompany school groups. In exchange, PGL covers your room and food, in-resort expenses, lift passes, board hire and gives you a small stipend of $229 (£175).

Organize A Trip

Now here’s a sneaky way to get a free vacation: Plan a trip for a group of your friends or family. Many travel operators will cover your costs if you function as a trip leader. The rules change depending on the company, but as an example, YMT Vacations will give you a free vacation if you enlist 12 people to take a trip with them; if eight of the guests book their flight through YMT, your airfare is also covered. Other companies offering free trips to group leaders include Grand Circle Cruise Line , Select International Tours , All Abroad Travel and Merit Group Travel .

Host An Educational Trip

Are you a teacher who wants to take your students on a trip so that they can immerse themselves in what they’ve just studied? A number of educational travel companies provide free trips to teachers in order to get them to host trips for students. (Many will even throw in a free training trip beforehand, so that you can learn the ropes of hosting and guiding.) Some of the best outfitters include EF , CHA Educational Tours , and Explorica .

Heritage Greece invites young Greek adults to come "home" on a free trip. (Photo courtesy of ... [+] Shutterstock)

Explore Your Roots

Are you lucky enough to have roots somewhere else? Your home country might want you to come back and connect with your culture. For instance, the Hungarian Human Rights Foundation runs ReConnect Hungary  to get young Hungarian-Americans ages 18-28 to take a two-week trip to learn about their history and traditions. The program covers airfare from New York to Budapest and two weeks of accommodations, meals, transportation, entertainment and programming. Countries with similar programs include  Heritage Greece , aimed at accomplished college students of Greek heritage. Birthright Armenia reimburses expenses for Armenians ages 20-32 who will intern or volunteer for at least two months for a variety of organizations, including media outlets and NGOs. Love Boat Study Program is for people of Chinese or Taiwanese descent, ages 16-27. And  Birthright Israel has helped over 500,000 Jewish young adults travel for free to Israel since the company was founded in 1999.

Take Your Nursing Skills On The Road

If you're a nurse, you can go mobile and travel for free to places like Florida or Hawaii — and get paid for it. The site  TravelNursing.org  offers opportunities around the country, with assignments lasting eight to 26 weeks. Compensation varies based on your skill level and the type of position you're filling, but a traveling nurse can make as much as $10,000 a month, with food and housing often covered.

Become A House Sitter

Are you open to taking care of someone's home – or even their pet — while on vacation? You might have a free place to stay for offering your services. Companies like  Trusted Housesitters and HouseCarers  connect travelers and people in need of sitters around the world.

Teach English

If you're willing to teach English as a foreign language to non-English speakers, you can pretty much write your ticket. Some of the best resources for job hunters include TEFL.com and ESL Cafe , which list salaried jobs across the planet in search of your skills (typically, you don't need to speak the home language). This isn't something you'd do for a week-long vacation: Postings generally range from nine months to two years. Still, it's a great way to have an extended (paid) vacation.

• "The Ultimate Paid Time Off: 17 Companies That Will Give You Money To Travel"

•  "Ranked: The 20 Most Dangerous Places to Live"

•  "Bucket List Travel: The Top 50 Places In The World"

•  "Why You Should Skip Iceland And Go To These 9 Under-the-Radar Places"

Laura Begley Bloom

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How To Travel For Free : 39 Smart Hacks

how to travel without money best tips travel budget

One of the biggest myths out there is that you need to be rich to travel. With these simple but life-changing hacks I’ll show you how to travel without money!

Let’s repeat that.

You do not need to be rich to travel.

In fact, a limited budget is a challenge that often results in funnier travel experiences and stories to tell. After all the best things in life are free… or at least cheap!

Here’s some simple life-changing hacks to travel more often with a smaller budget. Choose a category:  

Tips To Travel With No Money At All (Seriously!) >>

1 free walking tours.

One recent development in Europe is the advent of free walking (or even biking) tours. It’s a great way to get to know the place by the eyes of a local at a minimal cost. In expensive places like Stockholm free tours can be a great way to save money . Plus, you can meet loads of people too!

2 Stay in Hostels For “Free”

Paying with money is so last century. WorldPackers allows you exchange your skills for free accommodation in hostels worldwide.

So instead of paying, you can actually collaborate with your hostel. You can end up improving their website, painting a new wall or even bartending. Just be creative!

3 Seek Out Free Wifi

Finding WiFi abroad is becoming the Holy Grail for travellers nowadays. We all need to communicate, google some essential stuff or post some photos on Facebook to make everyone at home envious.

Start with booking accommodation with WiFi available. It’s convenient to communicate with people back home. While you are outside, mobile apps like WifiMagic make sure you are always grinding the networks nearby.

WWOOOF stands for World Wide Opportunities on Organic Farms and is a network of national organizations that accept volunteers on farms around the world.

While you’ll need to get there by yourself, volunteers have a free room and meals. No prior experience required. A great way to combine work and travel on the cheap.

WWOOFF how to travel without money tips

5 Look For Free Days

A simple yet so powerful tip. Museums and other tourist sights often have free days or discounted days. Before your departure, make sure you look on their website for this info.

In Barcelona for instance almost of all of the major museums are free on Sundays after 3pm. Vatican Museums in Vatican City have free admittance on the last Sunday of the month. And the Museum of Modern Art in New York City has a free entrance on Friday afternoon .

6 CouchSurf

Couchsurfing connects travelers with locals willing to let them stay with them for FREE.

Frequent users of this website never have to pay for accommodation all around the world. While you can’t afford to be picky – you might get an air mattress or a lousy couch – it’s always free!

7 Walk, Walk, Walk

For me nothing beats walking when I’m abroad. It keeps you active while allowing you to fully explore a new place. There’s no better way to get lost in narrow streets, experience the local cafés or talk with locals. Ah did I mention it’s FREE?

8 Get Paid To Be a Travel Mailman

Ever been asked to bring something from a trip? Now you can finally get paid to do it! Grabr is a peer-to-peer shopping and delivery network that connects shoppers and travellers all around the world, generating a win-win situation.

Shoppers get a quirky item from anywhere delivered wherever they want and travellers have an extra way to earn extra money to continue their travels.

It’s literally making money while you travel!

9 Land a Job Abroad

I know, who wants to work while you are on vacation?

But if your desire to wander away is stronger than a desire to build a career, you’ll need a way to fund your next adventures. On the plus side, you’ll be making friends and get a taste of the local culture.

You’ll be surprised by the amount of opportunities out there. WorkAway is a good place to start but there are specific jobs that are very remote-friendly, like for instance being a language tutor. On Preply you can be a paid tutor and give language lessons via Skype. From anywhere.

Here are other short-term jobs that don’t require a fancy background or loads of experience.

Short-Term Jobs Abroad To Make Money While You Travel

  • English Teacher (requires a TEFL degree)
  • Ski Resort Worker
  • Farm Worker (see #4)
  • Local Tour Guide
  • Hostel Worker (see #2)

Ways To Lower Transportation Travel Costs >>

10 become flight search savvy online.

Using flight comparison websites like Skyscanner can go a long way to find the absolute best price for your upcoming trip. I always set up their email alerts to let me know whenever there is a good deal.

Hopper goes deeper and gives you insights on the price range of the flight you’re seeking, as well as the expected price evolution until your departure.

I’ve also written a full guide on how to find cheap flights online , full of flight hacks you can start applying today.

Pro Tip to find cheap flights online: Don’t forget to look up flight prices in the anonymous mode of your browser (or delete the cookies/history)!

11 Sleep While Travelling

When travelling a long distance by plane, train or bus, time your journey at night and in order to save a night’s accommodation. You might not get the top of luxury standards, but that one ticket is a “two per one” deal.

12 Use Public Transportation

Whenever the distance is too demanding, I choose to get around using public transports. Not only is cheaper than taxis, it’s a challenging and more authentic way to navigate around a new place.

Bear in mind 24-hour, 3-day or even weekly public transport passes are usually way better value-for-money deals than single tickets.

13 Go On A RoadTrip

I’m a big fan of road trips. I’ve road tripped Portugal a couple of times and my road trip through Croatia was memorable.

Not only a road trip allows you to explore a country at your own pace and rhythm and take more in, it can also be a budget saver in many ways. Journeys, trips and flights can quickly eat your budget.

14 Rent A Bike

Bikes are extremely cost-effective ways of getting around AND you’re keeping yourself active at the same time. After walking, it’s definitely my favourite way to move!

While not all the destinations are suited for this, you can easily explore a city or town for less than 10USD/day in Europe and less than 3USD/day in Asia. I’ve rented a bike for 2USD for an entire day in Ninh Binh, Vietnam !

Some hotels even offer bike rentals included in the room price. I’ll be staying in a Bed & Bike accommodation on my upcoming trip to Chiang Mai .

how to travel without money tips budget - rent a bike

15 Be Flexible with Your Flight Dates

This is one of the golden rules to find a cheap flight online .

Flexibility on flight dates, hours and even airports can make you save BIG . Websites like SkyScanner have monthly and yearly overviews which are quite handy for this kind of analysis. Flying on unpopular hours – like early in the morning – also guarantees you a friendlier price.

16 Explore The World Of Rail Passes

If you’re planning to use train a lot on your upcoming trip, booking ahead of time can usually save you loads of money. About half the price to be exact.

However, rail passes are a better option if you don’t want to stick to a fixed schedule. Specially in Europe, these can be a real bargain. EuroRail website has got more info.

17 Learn The Right Tools to Buy Your Flights

Getting a good deal for flights online has a bit of a learning curve and much of it has to do with timings. Start probing prices as early as possible, but aim to buy your flight 10-14 weeks in advance .

For more info on this check my guide on how to find the best time to buy cheap flights and my comprehensive travel hacks to get you the cheapest flight possible to anywhere .

Tips For Lower Accommodation Travel Costs >>

18 try secret hotel rooms.

Secret or mystery hotel rooms are unsold medium-to-luxury hotel rooms and being offered at a reduced price (usually somewhere 20%-50% their usual list price). Hotels use these as an alternative way to get some money for the rooms left empty.

The only catch is you don’t know before hand which hotel are you booking your room. Weeeeell, technically there are some tricks you can use to find which hotel are you likely to be booking.

Curious? Check my full guide to find secret hotel rooms .

19 House Sit

Not familiar with the concept? House sitting allows you to “take care” of the house of someone else when the owner is away. This basically means free accommodation worldwide!

The bad news is that on the large house-sitting websites like Trusted House Sitters you’ll need to pay before you are able to contact the homeowners. Still, the membership fee is a small fraction of what you can potentially save in accommodation around the world!

20 Deal Directly With The Hotel

Websites like Booking have great accommodation deals but sometimes the best way is to go back to basics.

Call or email the hotel, hostel or guesthouse and ask about rates on their rooms. You might get surprised with special deals there are not online anywhere.

Ideas To Lower Food Travel Costs >>

21 visit local markets.

Market places are usually a great place to take a pulse on the vibe and energy of your destination. For instance, you can get crazy cheap deals while shopping in the street markets in Bangkok . Additionally, it’s home to some of the best places to eat authentic local food without spending too much.

how to travel with almost no money Boqueria

22 Avoid Having Dinner Out

Restaurants often raise prices for dinner and have their best deals during the day. There is a reason why lunch special menus are so popular. You can eat the same (or more) for a fraction of the cost you’d pay during the evening.

Brunches are also great options as they merge two meals – breakfast and lunch – in only one bill.

23 Hit The Buffets

Keep your eyes open for all-you-can-eat buffets. They offer an unlimited amount of food for a decent cost, to say the least. Hitting a few of these places on your trip is a smart way to keep both your belly and your wallet full.

Pro Tip: If you are on hardcore budget, make yourself some sneaky sandwiches and save them for later.

24 Cook Your Meals

While there is the obvious downside of eating out and missing on the local food experience, you won’t ruin your trip to London if you decide not to eat out one day!

Cooking your own meals can be a true budget-saver, particularly in the most expensive destinations. Aim to stay at an apartment – via AirBnb – with free use of the kitchen. Oh and here’s FREE 35USD to get you started .

25 Avoid Touristy Places To Eat

Cafés and restaurants near the top tourist attractions are often overpriced and not good quality. You might end up paying more for something that is not authentic at all.

Sometimes all it takes is to go one block or street over to find hole-in-the-wall places in which you can have much better local meal tucked away from crowds.

Rome is a good example. In a city which such a rich food culture, it would be a crime if you sit to eat in the first trattoria next to the Colosseum . Explore the nearby side streets or go to Trastevere to find cheaper food and avoid tourist traps.

rome eat cheap - tips to travel without money

26 Indulge On Street Food

Street food can be delicious, cheap and against all odds, safe! You can actually see what’s being cooked fresh right in front of you. Pay attention to the busiest street food stalls where locals eat or just try asking someone local where do they go.

An example of a country where you should definitely try street food is Belgium . Belgian street food is cheap, delicious and highly caloric. Oh lord, I’ll never forget those frites !

Digital Tips To Lower Travel Costs >>

27 use reviews in your favour.

Reviews, reviews, reviews. We live in a world of reviews. With this crazy amount of information online, make sure you use it to make smart travel choices.

Apps/websites like TripAdvisor and Yelp are absolute great ways to learn about experiences of other independent travellers and locals on hotels, sights and restaurants. While online reviews have reached the point you can’t trust everything you read, as a whole they’re still useful to make well-founded decisions on your travels.

28 Avoid Roaming Fees

Try to rely on apps that allow VoIP communications like Skype or Whatsapp and if you are an iPhone user, make sure your “Send as SMS” option is disabled. Buying a local or international SIM card might also be an option.

For more details check my complete guide on how to stay online abroad .

how to travel with no money - roaming fees

29 Save On International Transfers

Sending money overseas can do some A LOT of damage to your bank account. That’s why you need to consider to use a cost-efficient option like HiFX . It allows to send money internationally from one currency to another at great foreign exchange rates and minimal fees.

30 Use The Right Apps

Even if you are not a geek like me or you like to travel “off-the-grid”, some travel resources out there are able to save you money just with a couple of taps on your phone!

Here is a small shortlist of the apps you should have installed on your phone.

List Of Must-Have Apps For Budget Travellers

  • Airbnb – Everything from minimalistic rooms to luxury suites, rented directly to the owner. Can be a huge money-saver. Plus, here’s a 37$ voucher to get you started!
  • Yelp – To find out the best nearby restaurants, cafés and other places. Filter by price to get budget deals.
  • Hopper – Amazingly detailed insights about price flights.
  • Whatsapp – Stay in touch with your friends and family by text messages… for free. For voice calls I prefer FaceTime or Skype .
  • Booking – Simply the best to find cheap hotels and hostels.
  • SkyScanner – Great search engine to find the cheapest flights anywhere.
  • XE Currency Converter – Don’t lose money when exchanging money!
  • Splitwise – Keeping track of trip expenses when you travel in a group can be a nightmare, right? Well, not anymore.

Also don’t forget to check my full list of resources to make you travel smarter .

Other Generic Tips To Travel On A Budget >>

31 educate yourself on your next destination.

Even if you’re not the planning type, some research is advisable. Get savvy on the price of things, exchange rates and tours. Learn the best way to get around and the cheapest areas to stay and to eat. This will make it much easier to budget your trip. A good guidebook could be of great help in this planning phase.

32 Use Credit Card Rewards To Get Free Flights

I usually don’t like to give out this tip.

Firstly, I’m far from being an expert on credit card rewards. I could be doing a much better job, but for some reason it just seems too complex . It’s even harder to get advice on how to get airline miles on european credit cards.

Having that said, educating yourself about credit card reward schemes is a good bet. Get it right and you could be having free (!) flights frequently without spending almost any extra money!

I recommend you start learning with the experts I’ve got bookmarked on my favourites: The Points Guy and Flyer Talk .

33 Avoid Expensive Countries

I know, this one is pretty obvious. But I often know people who get surprised by the costs of food and accommodation in some countries so I feel it should be on the list. Even though expensive places like Stockholm can be travel hacked and visited on a budget, there are way wiser options.

Expensive Countries Travel

Angola , Japan , Iceland and Qatar are also amongst the most expensive in the world.

Do some research, plan your trip accordingly and spend more time in budget-friendly countries. Most of the countries in Southeast Asia , Africa and Eastern Europe are affordable.

34 Keep Track Of Your Expenses

This is key. Take note of your expenses abroad in a notebook, a memo on your phone or in an app. I usually do this once a day, when arrive the hotel at night. Yes, sometimes is utterly boring, but it creates more awareness than you think. It’s way easier to keep on budget if you visualize where your money is going.

35 Travel Off Season

Traveling off-peak season is one giant step to make your travel costs go down instantly. Flight prices in high season can be the double as compared to peak summer dates, not to mention the combined price of accommodation, restaurants and guided tours which will likely be inflated too.

Timing your trip to target shoulder season – when crowds are far from massive and weather is still acceptable – to save you loads of money.

36 Buy Travel Insurance

I know, it seems another drain on your money, but travel insurance is essential. You never know what can happen. And if you’re not insured in a foreign country, it could end up with a bill of hundreds of dollars!

Get a quote from the simple & flexible World Nomad’s travel insurance .

how to travel around world for free

37 Follow The Disaster

While the rest of the world rules out destinations because of political issues or natural disasters, it’s your time to enter in scene. Right after one of these events, flight prices and accommodation are at a fraction of what they normally cost.

This period of grace can last anywhere from a few days to years. If you are smart about it, you can save loads of money!

38 Be Careful With Exchange Rates

You should try to take a good amount of money at a good rate even before the departure. Additionally, this helps budget your total spend.

When you’re abroad, use the rule of 3: always check three places before exchanging money to get the best deal. Usually airports and withdrawing money directly from ATMs are a bad choice.

Like mentioned in #30, XE Currency can be of great value.

Obviously this can only be done in some countries, but if you train yourself at it, you can save a respectable amount of money in each purchase. In places like Thailand and Indonesia , take the initial price as a suggestion only, even if it is advertised.

Check out this guide to haggling by Rick Steves .

Haggling pro tip: As a rule of thumb, try to pay less than 50% of the initial price.

ways to travel without money - istanbul grand bazaar

Travel Without Money Is Not A Bad Thing!

Watching what you spend by any means does not mean less fun. In fact, it’s often the opposite. To travel without (almost any) money you need to do is to do smart choices!

Like everything in life, balance is key .

Now that you’ve saved literally hundreds and hundreds of dollars, loosen up a bit. Use your savings and splurge on that amazing once-in-a-lifetime experience that is both an unmissable opportunity and something normally out of your price range. Allow yourself some treats.

Help me find the tip #40! What is your biggest budget secret to travel without money and to lower your travel costs?

Note: This page contains affiliate links which means by clicking them and visiting or purchasing the website, I may get a small commission. Please note there’s absolutely no additional cost to you. Instead, it’s a win-win relationship: you get an awesome product/service and I get to keep this website going.

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The Best Websites to Help You Travel for Free

Want to travel the world for free? Check out these online resources to get you started.

Traveling around the world is something many of us dream of. One of the biggest barriers to worldwide travel, however, is budget. Many of us believe that a life chasing wanderlust can only be achieved with high earnings, or by saving money for a long time.

Jetting around the world is actually more accessible and cheaper than you might think. Read on to find out how you can travel the world for free by using these websites.

Look After Other People's Homes and Pets

Accommodation can be a huge cost to consider when making international travel plans. Perhaps you’ve bought a plane ticket can't find affordable accommodation at your destination. The solution? Sign up for a housesitting service.

Housesitting is a great way to explore new areas rent-free, and many homes have a furry resident to keep you company—perfect if you're a solo traveler. There are hundreds of pet and homeowners around the world who are looking for people to look after their belongings and animals whilst they themselves travel.

house and pet sit to travel for free

Getting started with housesitting is straightforward. Most websites require you to set up an account, fill out a personal profile, and then undertake a few security checks to verify you as a reliable and trusted house sitter. Don’t forget to fill your profile with plenty of info about yourself, including adding some friendly selfies to increase your chance of securing a sit.

It’s worthwhile looking for certified sites, as you’ll be covered by insurance (both pet and home). Plus all household members have to undertake security checks, so you can be assured that you will be staying somewhere safe.

Here are three certified house and pet sitting websites.


TrustedHousesitter website to travel for free

If you love pets, TrustedHousesitters is a great place to start. Sits are available in England, Australia, South America, Asia, and more, with accommodation ranging from houses and apartments, to city or farm sits. Expect to look after all sorts of pets, from cats, dogs, and birds, to tortoises, chickens, and horses.

To become a certified member on TrustedHousesitters, you will need to provide a full profile and undertake some security checks. Couples are also welcome to sign up together under one profile, which is ideal if you're traveling with a friend or partner.

There is a registration fee, but for the money you save on accommodation, electricity, and Wi-Fi, it's a small price to pay.

House Sitters America

House sitting opportunities in America to travel for free

If you're keen to discover more of the States, then House Sitters America is the perfect site for you. Hosted exclusively for house sits in the US, sitters can choose to look after homes with or without pets.

There is a joining fee for sitters, but unlike TrustedHousesitters, some homeowners offer to pay their sitters for their services. This means that you have the potential to earn back your registration fee reasonably quickly.

Having a criminal record check and good references will also help your profile stand out amongst the competition of other sitters.


Mind My House website to travel for free

Global house sitting service, MindMyHouse, offers sits in Canada, the US, New Zealand, Australia, the UK, South Africa, and more.

Established in 2005, MindMyHouse is a great place for newbie sitters, thanks to its robust online community. It provides encouraging testimonials, helpful advice, as well as blogs and FAQs to answer any questions or concerns of new house sitters.

MindMyHouse claims the "lowest annual fee" on the internet (just $20 per year) and doesn't automatically renew. With a simple sign-up and easy-to-assemble profile, it's a great platform to use to save money on travel.

Related:  Apps for Finding Cheap or Free Places to Stay While Traveling

Work and Live Abroad as a Seasonnaire

work and live abroad as a seasonnaire

Despite the association of university gap years and seasonal work, there isn't an age limit on becoming a seasonnaire. You can find a wide choice of paid roles that are suitable for all ages, skill sets, and experiences, with many perks and freebies included.

Not only do you have the opportunity to live like a local for free, but many employers will also pay for your flights, accommodation, and sometimes meals as part of the employee package.

For example, winter seasonnaires living in a ski resort may receive employee benefit packages which include ski lift passes and ski rental, whilst summer employees can enjoy free excursions, such as boat rides and land tours.

Seasonal work is traditionally split into summer and winter opportunities—although there are positions that span across multiple seasons—where you can find yourself living in a new country for five to six months at a time. You might find yourself taking on the role of a resort representative, kids' club activity leader, or even a tour guide.

There are several online job boards for seasonnaires, including the following.

Season Workers

Work abroad to travel for free

Season Worker is an easy-to-use bulletin board website. Not only can you find summer and winter seasonal work on Season Workers, but there are also opportunities to undertake courses (e.g. ski instructor or cookery courses), find airline work, and even jobs teaching English as a foreign language (TEFL).

Go Abroad website for jobs abroad to travel for free

Go Abroad has been helping students travel the world since 1997. You can choose to study, teach, intern, or volunteer abroad, as well as just undertake a worldwide adventure. It offers opportunities for travel around the world, so you aren't limited by location.

Anywork Anywhere

Find jobs abroad to travel for free

Based in the Netherlands, the international recruitment website Anywork Anywhere offers a huge list of jobs around the world to suit all tastes and experiences. You can find a range of jobs from Au Pair and Activity Instructor positions, to fruit picking, farm, and customer service roles.

With thousands of opportunities worldwide, you're bound to meet like-minded travelers wherever you go.

Related: How to Teach English Online and Work From Anywhere in The World

Volunteer Abroad for Amazing Life Experiences

Volunteer abroad to travel for free

Volunteering abroad is a way to travel the world whilst getting involved in huge projects, such as helping local communities and tackling poverty. Like seasonal work, you'll meet like-minded people when you volunteer abroad.

Here are some brilliant websites that let you make a difference while traveling.

Volunteer Forever

Volunteer Forever website to travel for free

Volunteer Forever is a comprehensive resource for finding and funding volunteer, internship, and "teach abroad" experiences. Packed with expert information, scholarship advice, and shared experiences, it's a great website to get started as a volunteer.

International Volunteer HQ

Volunteer Abroad to travel the world for free

If you want to enjoy life-enriching travel experiences that also have a positive impact on a community, check out International Volunteer HQ (IVHQ). You can plan your trip based on the causes you want to help (for example, childcare, conservation, women's empowerment, or community development), or pick a country and see what projects you want to be a part of.

The stressful stuff, like securing plane tickets and booking a hotel, is taken care of by IVHQ. This way, you can fully enjoy the travel and volunteer experience.

International Citizen Service

Travel the world for free with ICS

Funded by the Department for International Development, the International Citizen Service (ICS) is ideal for candidates looking to volunteer for charity services whilst on a budget.

Volunteer placements are available for 18 to 25 year-olds, and anyone age 23 to 35 can sign up for projects as a team leader. Participants are encouraged to raise money before travel, but financial support is given by the ICS staff.

Get Ready to Travel for Less

There are plenty of opportunities and resources online to help you travel for free or on a budget. It's also always worth checking out the World Health Organization 's website ahead of travel to clue up on rules and safety advice of the country or region you're planning on traveling to.

how to travel around world for free

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16 Ways To Travel The World For Free (Yes, Really)

published by Bren

Last updated: May 15, 2023

It’s not really possible to travel the world for zero dollars. Eventually you’re going to spend a dollar somewhere. Maybe to buy a cocktail for that pretty Balinese girl, or to get your nails done before that Indian wedding you’re about to attend.

But that doesn’t mean everything needs to cost money. Whether it’s flights, accommodation, transport, food or entertainment, there are ways to travel the world for free. You just need to know where to look, and have a willingness to do things a little differently.

For you aspiring nomads on there who are looking to see the world on the cheap, here are a few zero-dollar-ideas to get you started:

  • The Real Reason I Quit My Job To Travel The World
  • The Practical Guide To Making Money While Travelling
  • How To Start A Profitable Blog In Ten Simple Steps

1. Travel the world for free by House sitting

House sitting has been taking off recently in backpacker circles, especially with more long term travellers hitting the road and looking for places to base themselves for extended periods.

House sitting is a system where you can live in someone’s home for a few weeks or months while the owner is away. Usually people seek house-sitters because they need someone to feed the pets and water the garden etc. That means as a house-sitter, a little work is involved. You’ll spend a couple hours each day walking dogs and feeding chickens, stuff like that.

Nonetheless, it’s a pretty good gig and you can find some pretty amazing places to stay. Did I mention you stay for free?

Get started in house-sitting by

Checking out some of these established sites:

Luxury House Sitting House Carers Mind My House Trusted Housesitters

2. Home Exchange

Remember that movie “The Holiday”? Yeah, the one with Jack Black and Cameron Diaz and a few others, I don’t really remember. That actually happens in real life. It’s called Home Exchange or House Swap, and it’s been around a little while.

Basically before you go to Australia, you find someone in Australia who wants to come to your city. You exchange emails, make sure they’re not a looney, presumably they do with the same with you, and then you agree to swap house keys. You go to Aussie and stay in their home for free, they come to your city and stay in your home for free. You both get a free house-sitter, and nice home to holiday in, maybe a car to drive, and you save a ton of money. Pretty cool.

Get started in home exchange by

International Home Exchange Network Home For Exchange Stay 4 Free Love Home Swap

3. Couchsurfing

  A photo posted by Bren (@brenontheroad) on Jun 15, 2016 at 11:15pm PDT

I talk about Couchsurfing a lot on here, because it’s awesome.

Couchsurfing involves sleeping on someone’s couch (or if you’re lucky, a mattress or a bed) for free. The focus of the community is on cultural exchange and travellers helping other travellers.

If you want to get the most out of it, don’t just use it for free couches. Really get involved in the community by joining groups, going to events and hosting other travellers in your city.

Get started in Couchsurfing by

Signing up at Couchsurfing.org and completing your profile! (note: as of 2020, Couchsurfing is no longer a free service. Try BeWelcome or Trustroots instead.

4. Stay With Friends and Family

  A photo posted by Bren (@brenontheroad) on Aug 14, 2016 at 3:18am PDT

Don’t be afraid to ask around and see who’s got a couch free. I try to keep my house-crashing to a minimum but if I’m in uber expensive places like France, London or Hong Kong, I always try to find a friend to crash with. As you meet people on the road many will go above and beyond to help you out – don’t be surprised if you get offered to stay with the friend of the brother-in-law of the guy you shared a hostel dorm with in Argentina. It happens!

When I was in Turkey earlier last year I met a guy who had travelled all over the country, total hobo style. He’d been hitch hiking the whole way, and would pitch his tent by the side of the road at night and sleep. It sounded mad, but he said it was fine and trouble free. On that same trip, I had a Greek couple who had spent an entire summer camping on the beach in Greece, for free. Get involved in the camping community and get familiar with the rules, and you can sleep for free in many countries around the world.

Get started by

Reading some guides on wild camping here and here .

6. Travel the world for free with WWOOF

Every second backpacker I meet in New Zealand is WWOOFing. Traditionally WWOOFing refers to farm work but it’s become synonymous with any kind of work exchange these days. Recently I met a girl who is WWOOFing at a hostel down at my local surf beach – she surfs in the morning, cleans the hostel in the afternoon. Others are WWOOFing at farms and hostels across the country. Sounds fun.

Get started in WWOOFing by

Checking out WWOOF.net , but during your travels all you need to do is ask! Hostels, guesthouses and farms are always looking for people.

7. Travel the world for free with HelpX

HelpX is similar to WWOOF – it’s a network where people offer housing and food in exchange for a few hours work each day. Very common requests are for people to help renovate properties, look after children, help run B&Bs and guesthouses, cleaning, painting, sometimes people just want you around to practise English with a few hours each day. HelpX is literally all over the world and there are a ton of interesting projects on there for every type of traveller.

Get started in HelpX by

Checking out the endless opportunities on HelpX.net

8. Workaway

Workaway is another work exchange network where you can trade work for room and board. Opportunities are global and the network is very professionally run.

Get started in Workaway by

Checking out Workaway.info

9. Cruise shipping

I’ve met quite a few people who spent time working on cruise ships. The common theme is that it is hard work, but you are literally being paid to travel around the world and that makes it awesome.

There is work for everyone on a cruise – they need cooks, waiters, IT staff, a band to play at night, personal trainers for the gym, dance teachers, cleaners, tour guides, management staff etc. The pay isn’t bad, and because room and board is provided you save around 90% of your salary.

Get started in Cruise shipping by

Reading Earl’s guide on getting your first cruise ship job , or browse some current cruise ship jobs here .

10. Au pairing

Au pairing is where you work as a live-in assistant in a foreigner’s home. Duties are standard household chores such as laundry and cleaning, as well as dropping off/picking up children from school, helping them with homework etc. Au pair work usually requires 4-5 hours of work a day, and the work is paid. This is very popular in more expensive destinations to travel/live in, such as Europe, Australia and New Zealand.

Get started au pairing by

Reading guides from experienced au pairs: Ashley has one here , and Yara has another here .

11. Walking!

  A photo posted by Bren (@brenontheroad) on May 3, 2016 at 8:31pm PDT

12. Hitch hiking

  A photo posted by Bren (@brenontheroad) on Aug 2, 2016 at 12:00pm PDT

Simple, right?

Matt hitch hiked across the States .

Kristin hitch hiked across China .

I hitch hiked across the Baltics .

We’re all still alive, because we did our homework.

Staying safe on a hitched ride is more common sense than anything else. Try to hitch hike in pairs. Don’t hitch hike at night. Do it in countries where it’s normal and accepted. If a car stops and you get a bad vibe, don’t get in. Stuff like that.

Get started with hitch hiking by

Checking out this detailed breakdown from Jamie at Great Big Scary World. When the time comes, you can find all the best hitching spots and seasoned advice on Hitchwiki .

13. Free entertainment

  A photo posted by Bren (@brenontheroad) on Sep 18, 2016 at 11:24pm PDT

There are endless ways to stay entertained for free. Start with your standard parks, plazas and markets where you wander, take photos, watch buskers and get to know a few strangers.

During the week in big cities there are often free shows, concerts, open mics, festivals and cultural events.

Beaches, boulevards and city squares always have interesting things going on. Hiking, regional parks and major landmarks are often free as well.

Many major museums often have free entry days in low season.

Couchsurfing events are free . On Meetup.com there are often casual sports gatherings and pickup games which are free.

This is just a few of many examples – always check out your hostel noticeboards, tourist info offices and online city guides to stay informed. Or as Rolf likes to say, “When in doubt, just walk until your day becomes interesting.”

14. Dumpster dive

  A photo posted by Bren (@brenontheroad) on Sep 20, 2016 at 3:16am PDT

That’s not a literal term – you don’t actually need to dive inside the dumpster (although that works too).

It is very common for small family owned bakeries and restaurants to throw away leftover food at the end of the day. Fruit and vegetable shops will also have produce left at the end of the day which they can no longer sell. Food that is also one or two days away from expiry usually gets thrown in the bin too. It’s perfectly edible food and there’s no shame in asking for it!

In fact, you’re actually helping reduce food wastage while saving a bunch of cash at the same time. It’s a win win.

Just head to these places before closing time and ask if they have any food they’re going to throw away. If you let them know you’re a bunch of broke hungry backpackers they may be extra nice. I remember a friend telling me about the markets in Italy, where he would get given so much free food he was actually turning it down because he couldn’t carry it all!

Some places may try to sell it for a nominal amount, maybe a couple of dollars, which is fine too. And of course many people still do it the traditional way – looking through the supermarket dumpsters at night – which is how we scored the bounty in the photo above!

15. Teach (anything!)

  A photo posted by Bren (@brenontheroad) on Aug 20, 2015 at 3:19am PDT

This is really common and there are a lot more ways to do this than people realise. It does require you to be pro-active as not all opportunities are advertised on the likes of HelpX or Workaway, but if you have skills, chances are someone else needs them.

Things such as zumba, yoga, surfing/skiing, dancing (all types) and personal training are some of the most in-demand skills and there are resorts, cruises, schools and tour companies always looking for people to jump in and start taking classes for clients. If you’re qualified or experienced in these kinds of things and looking to settle down for a bit, approach the big resorts and tour companies and ask! You’ll be surprised how many opportunities there are.

Get started with teaching by

Checking out Dave’s ESL cafe for English teaching, or read Earl’s technique for “Creative English Teaching” (which could be used for teaching anything, really).

16. Travel hacking

Travel hacking is the art of playing the frequent flyer and hotel points systems to your advantage.

Frequent flyer points are free. Sign up for a credit card and you get 30,000 of them. Eat at a restaurant, get another 1,000. Put your spending on a credit card, get a few more. Most cards will waive an annual fee for a year, and waive it a second year when you tell them you want to cancel. You can rack up a tidy number of points if you’re willing to figure it out.

Some people have dedicated their lives to this and play these frequent flyer programs full time. It’s like a game to them and they end up jetting all over the world for free. If you’re willing to invest the time, you can too.

Get started in travel hacking by

Great resources on the topic are Million Mile Secrets and the Flyer Talk forums , although if you’re a newbie it can be hard to understand the lingo and what they’re talking about. Good source of free information though.

If you’re a Kiwi, check out my travel hacking guide for Kiwis . It will give you everything you need to know.

Inspired? While there’s a lot of info here, this is really just scratching the surface. Whether it’s someone ironing linens on a rich man’s yacht or restoring ruins in rural Italy, I constantly meet people doing interesting things out here to travel the world for free. If you’re low on funds it doesn’t mean you can’t travel. It just means you need to think outside the box and do things a little differently.

Got anything to add? What are some ways you’ve managed to travel for free? Share your stories in the comments section below 🙂

Disclaimer: World Nomads provides travel insurance for travelers in over 100 countries. As an affiliate, we receive a fee when you get a quote from World Nomads using this link. We do not represent World Nomads. This is information only and not a recommendation to buy travel insurance.

how to travel the world for free

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Good, Housesitting was a new info for me. Thank you for that. Nice writing model too. I liked the way you narrated free traveling part. 🙂

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Hi, any chance to write an updated version on this topic? also, some basic tips and tricks on how to write. I find your writing absolutely gorgeous. Thanks

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World Travel Family

How to Travel the World for Free

By: Author Alyson Long

Posted on Last updated: 05/11/2023

Categories How to Travel the World , Travel

This post may contain affiliate links.

free travel how

How to travel for free? There are many ways to organise free travel and companies that will help you travel for free. Travel doesn’t have to be expensive and it is possible to travel for free, or partially free. This post is on how to travel the world for free, in various ways! We all know the old mantra,  travel is cheaper than staying at home, and it’s true, but who doesn’t want to minimise travel expenses to get maximum mileage from their dollar? We’ve been doing just that for years, supporting our travels on very little cash. These days there are many ways to travel the world for free or at least ultra-cheap. We give you several ideas and opportunities on how to travel the world for free in this post. Some you’ll know about, some you won’t. Let’s take a look at tips, tricks, companies and hacks, working your way around the world, and more, for free, cheap, or super budget.

Man working How to travel the for free guide

Free here means, cash-free, of course, you’re likely going to have to exchange something for your free travel and that usually means time, expertise, or work. You also need travel insurance, never skip that.

Travel The World for Free

You can travel the world for free by getting smart. It’s not easy, or everyone would do it, but if you know these tips or are prepared to work or exchange time for free travel, it can be done. The companies below give us opportunities to travel for free or super cheap. They may not make your whole travel experience free, but parts of it can be free. Employ tricks like Couchsurfing, volunteering, crewing, cleaning, farm work, hosting, and you can make a large part of your world travel free, or very cheap.

We made a little video to give you some ideas on how to travel for free. Watch it, then have a look at the ideas below.

Free Travel Video

ways to travel for free. Work and other ways to travel the world for free, man working

Just save this post to Pinterest for your future reference. Please double check all information for yourself, particularly visa regulations. We try to keep this page up to date but things change constantly.

Work For Your Bed and Board, Maybe Even Get Paid. Work Your Way Around the World

travel the world for free useful skills

There are many ways to work your way around the world, some old, some new. Helpex and Workaway are established companies that have been around a long time and are trusted by many. The Working Traveller website stands out as being a genius idea but has cumbersome sign-ups. Some, most, have sign up fees.

Various websites exist to allow you to work as you travel. Check out Workaway, Helpx, CultureGoGo and Working Traveller. The links are on our resources page .

The Working Traveller website maps hundreds if not thousands of employment opportunities around the world. Good workers will gain a good reputation on the site and will build up an online resumé to impress future employers. These future employers can either be through the site or in the real world.

This model could help you get a better job when your travels come to an end. Obviously you need to check working visa requirements for yourself.

I’m hoping my own kids will use this to get valuable work experience and, guess what, we, a family, even got a one-week placement at a hotel in Romania many years ago. Admittedly, we know the owner of this site, just for full transparency.

Where to look: Workingtraveller., similar such as Workaway, also Culturegogo and Helpx. Other sites may exist.

Travel the World For Free With Couchsurfing

Joining Couchsurfers gives you access to a global network of people, happy to open their homes to you for a night or two, just because they’re nice and like to chat.

What goes around comes around, of course, members maybe do better if they also have a couch or spare room to offer and can build up a strong profile, but it works on good reviews of hosts and Couchsurfers.

Couchsurfers could cook dinner of help around the house or garden to say thanks. We take in Couchsurfers whenever we can. I feel like we have enough money to allow young backpackers to take a shower or wash their clothes at our place.

We’ve met some wonderful people this way and sharing makes the world a nicer place. I love this platform and they don’t pay me 1 cent to say that. Where to look:  Couchsurfing.com

Travel for Free by House Sitting and Have a Home, for Free

When homeowners go away, they sometimes like to have somebody move in to look after their dog, cat, goldfish and garden, or maybe just be there to keep an eye on everything and be a deterrent for thieves.

These gigs are sweet if free accommodation is at the top of your list of travel priorities.

Finding a house sit can take a lot of effort, the market is highly competitive and professional house sitters with a string of references get first dibs.

Improve your chances of scoring a house sit by producing a slick video introducing yourselves to prospective homeowners and loading it onto the house sitting website.

Where to look: housecarers, also mindmyhouse.com, housesitworld.com.au, happyhousesitters.com.au,  trusted housesitters or aussiehousesitters.com.au. We’ve also scored house sits through word of mouth.

Travel for Free by House Swapping

Agencies exist to bring homeowners together for mutual benefit through house swapping. You normally have to pay a fee for annual membership of the house swapping site, but after that expense, you could stay in somebody else’s home, for an agreed period, for free.

This obviously works best if your home is in a desirable vacation spot or big city and you will normally have to book your stay well in advance. It’s unusual to find last-minute house swapping opportunities.

Where to look: Home Exchange (this is the site we will be using for our Romania house), homexchangevacation.com, People Like Us also homebase-hols.com

Travel for Free by WWOOFing

If working outdoors, on the land, is your thing,  the World-Wide Opportunities on Organic Farms offer opportunities for volunteers to help out in exchange for room and board.

Where to look: Visit wwoof.org. to find contact details of the WWOOF office in your destination country. You needed to register and pay a small fee before accessing lists of member farms.

Fly for Free

Budget airlines have been known to offer flights for $0 . OK, you will usually still have to pay taxes, but it’s a sweet deal.

The trick here is to receive notification of upcoming airline sales and be ready to pounce on a bargain the moment the sale goes live. These offers sell out fast.

Where to look: Sign up with the budget airlines relevant to your area of travel, Air Asia have amazing sales, but you could also try ryanair.com, easyjet.com or flymonarch.com, virginaustralia.com (watch for happy hour rates) and jetstar.com. Email notifications of sales and special offers put you in a good position to score the best deals.

Ski for Free

Seasonal jobs in ski resorts give you easy access to the slopes on your days off. Apply early, places fill up fast.

Where to look:  Adventure Work  or  NZSki.com

Teach English Abroad to Help You Travel For Free

You don’t have to go the whole hog and get a TEFL qualification, sometimes you can just be a live-in conversational language improver.

If you are TEFL certified (a course to become an English Second Language instructor, no teaching experience needed), you can receive a salary proportional to the cost of living in your placement country.

The Middle East and Far East pays particularly well according to friends of ours who do this. Sometimes free accommodation comes with the job.

Alternatively, fluent English speakers can receive free room and board during a period of conversational volunteering. Diverbo (see below) accepted English-speaking volunteers for their sites in Germany and Spain and provided some volunteers with full room, board, and transport.

Where to look:  Diverbo . Read up on what it’s like to teach English as a foreign language here, young couple Andrew and Amy spent the last year teaching in Vietnam. Or check out Let’s TEFL for TEFL courses.

Travel The Seas For Free

If you’ve got your sea-legs, opportunities exist to crew on yachts or cruise ships. What an amazing way to see the world for free! You’ll have to work hard but plenty of job opportunities exist for chefs, entertainers, cleaners, and more.

Where to look: For cruise ship opportunities, go direct to the cruise line’s website, try carnival.com or royalcaribbean.com. To find crew posts on yachts try  Crewseekers International, there was a joining fee, or crewseekers.net. Find a Crew is another site to try. Sailing skills are not always required. Skippers sometimes just need company, an extra pair of hands, someone to take turns on watch, and so on. Alternatively, head down to the port, find the yachties and ask around.

Travel For Free by Hitchhiking

In some parts of the world hitchhiking is common, normal and considered safe. For example in Romania locals in rural areas regularly hitch a ride and offer the driver a little petrol money.

Stay safe, use your common sense and trust your gut instinct. I regularly picked up hitchhikers back in Australia, often because I was worried for their safety.

Where to look: Check out Hitchwiki to find general rules of hitchhiking in each country.

Free Travel With Vehicle Returns and Relocations

Free camper van or motorhome How to travel for free vehicle returns and relocations

Certain vehicle rental companies need cars, motor homes and camper vans moving to particular depots. This can be seasonal with specific destinations having a higher demand for vehicles at certain times of year.

This is rather like how relocation cruises work. Alternatively, the vehicle will have to be returned after a previous customer’s lease. You can often score these vehicles along with a fuel allowance from companies like those we mention below.

The catch is usually your time allowance. Unfortunately, you will have limited drive time to get your new home to its destination.

Where to look: transfercar and imoova are 2 examples of vehicle relocation companies.

Food As You Travel for Free

Autumn gleaning How to travel for free Food is free

Dumpster diving and Freeganism are two of the buzz words here. I’ve seen city workers in suits picking up sandwiches, usually well wrapped, from the supermarket bins here in London.

So much food is wasted because it’s 5 minutes past its sell-by date and it’s a terrible shame.

Another alternative is gleaning. See the Falling Fruit website, below for information on trees in public places currently producing food.

The Food is Free movement is also taking off around the world. As people return to gardening and growing their own food they are gladly sharing their abundance with neighbours. It’s good for the planet and good for us.

Where to look: Read more about Freeganism at Jamie’s site, Great Big Scary World , or check out this website for free food opportunities in your area. For the Falling Fruit world map, look at the Falling Fruit website. Is free travel starting to sound possible?

Camp For Free

Free camping is possible in some countries and locations, it’s illegal in others. If you have a self-contained camping set-up, ie. you can deal with your own waste and not pollute the environment, you’re more likely to find a spot.

If you’d like to camp but cheaper than the big sites, try HipCamp. For free camping information look at Wikicamp.

free travel how to man hitchhiking

Travel For Free as a Travel Blogger

Travel bloggers can and do travel for free, sometimes. Most of the ideas you’ll find for free travel involve exchanging work for travel, so it’s never totally free, there is a trade of services. Travel bloggers and influencers do the same.

I am a travel blogger but we rarely take “free” or sponsored stays. Some bloggers and influencers do a lot of “free” travel.

If you want to find out more just visit our blogging section. But remember, it only looks free to outsiders, we work very hard at what we do.

If you’re still looking for “free” stays your influence maybe isn’t great enough to be of use to the business hosting you. By the time you’re earning good money through travel blogging, you’ll likely prefer to pay your own way or be paid well to visit these places.

Past a certain level travel bloggers can even be paid to travel and share a destination, hotel, or attraction with their audience.These are sometimes called sponsored trips or stays. If not, then the money they make from their travel blogs can easily cover travel expenses.

Can you travel for free?

In all honesty, none of these methods of travelling the world for free, are truly free. Whichever way you choose there must always be some sort of exchange of work, time, company, or swapping something you already own. However, many of these methods and companies will help you travel at a very budget level and have some incredible experiences along the way. This is a very smart way to travel and it’s often far more eco-friendly than mass tourism and fancy hotel stays. We hope you find your way to travel the world spending the minimum cash and don’t let anyone ever call you a freeloader. They’ll simply be jealous that you’re clever enough to figure life and travel out.

If you'd like to hire a car during your stay, use this car rental comparison tool to find the best deal! We also suggest you take a look at this company to get a quote for all kinds of the more tricky adventure or extended travel insurance. Try Stayz / VRBO for an alternative way to find rentals on homes/apartments/condos in any country!

Related Posts:

How To Travel More New Year

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Wednesday 18th of October 2023

Traveling isn't free; it comes at a cost. When you receive food or accommodation or any facility, you give something in return. There is some cost involved, whether in terms of cash, work, time, or energy. Traveling can be affordable or done on a budget, but it is never truly free.

Alyson Long

Yes, I say that in the post. Cheers.

Monday 19th of June 2023

The information on the english tutoring was useful.

However, you must mention that travel bloggers of certain countries should drop the idea all together, because the word "travel" has no traction

I have been trying to lift this dead travel blog of pakistan for the past 7 years now

Alyson for World Travel Family

Tuesday 20th of June 2023

That's not true. Even just looking at your domain name I can see an issue. You are a dot com, so that's fine for global reach. You're simply doing it wrong in terms of SEO. There are bloggers from all over the world in the Mediavine group and travel is incredibly popular again.

Tuesday 7th of February 2023

I would love to travel around exploring diffrent culture heritage and their food and people please give me an opportunity to become a traveller.

Wednesday 8th of February 2023

There's a lot of work and saving up involved. In our case we sold a lot of stuff, saved for a year, and learned to live with very few posessions. After that I grew my business. Nobody gave us anything, you need to find a way.

Rajeesh babu

Friday 9th of December 2022

I am interested please contact. Interested to travel, work, stay overseas.

shabila yasmeen

Wednesday 7th of December 2022

I don’t have money to travel and I would like to go to overseas.How will I go without paying.i will be happy work there with my family.


Ask Me Anything: 12 Ways to Travel the World for Free

Home » Ask Me Anything » Ask Me Anything: 12 Ways to Travel the World for Free

I like to share common questions I get not only because it helps you but it saves me time in responding to emails and messages throughout the day. I do this in my “ask me anything” series. Click over to see more questions I’ve answered. I get this question a LOT about how to travel the world for free:

“I don’t have much money, I just break even paying my bills but I want to travel! How did you save? How can I start traveling, just get up and go with NO money?”

Ermm… it’s not that easy! But with some planning there are a few steps you can take to get on the path to traveling and help you see how to travel with no money. First up, remember to check out the articles I’ve already written on budget:

  •   9 ways to save money for travel
  • 13 ways to spend less money while you travel
  • 14 ways to EARN money abroad

How to Travel with No Money / Ways to Travel the World For Free

1. couchsurfing.

Make your Couchsurfing profile as soon as you start thinking about how to travel the world with no money. It’s a website that helps connect travelers and hosts. You stay for free and the host will show you around their town most likely. Start hosting people who come through your town.

Even if you are in a small town, people might come through. Make a full post & follow these 9 safety tips for couchsurfing . You can go to “Couchsurfing meetups” to make friends in the community to give you references. Once you build your profile, reach out to hosts and set up free accommodation in the places you want to go. You truly can stay for free every night of your trip abroad. Always remember to give back to the community as much as you take; this platform will only enrich your experiences with locals and see a place the best way possible!

Sign up and create you profile so that you seem like a safe candidate to hosts. You can use this to sign up – it’s free.

couchsurfing, USA, Europe, tips, travel, backpacking

2. Research what’s free in the places you are going

Usually cities offer free walking tours which are a great way to see the city. Literally google “what can I do free in  insert city name” and see what pops up. Whether its museums, hikes, public pools, or cool parks, there are an abundance of activities to do for free.

3. Start trying to save at least a little / Earn money online

You have to get a plane ticket. No one is going to give you that for free! You need to save money. It’s not possible to be dead broke and start a round-the-world trip (even if blogs makes it seem that way). Here are some tips to start saving money that actually work and tips on how to stay on your budget .

You could get a free flight potentially with travel hacking , but you have to spend money to earn points so this may not be an option for you if you’re broke. But if you’re using your card to pay bills online, why not earn points on that toward a flight or upgrade?

Earn money online: You can find odd jobs on Fiverr  even if you don’t have graphic design skills, for example holding a sign about a company up in a pretty place and taking a photo: $5 in your bank account. Crazy. I totally recommend signing up! As a blogger, I hire people on here all the time.

For more on my blogging tips:

  • How I Make Money from Travel Blogging
  • Best Blogging Tools for Productivity & Earning a Higher Income
  • 10 Fail-Proof Ways to Up Your Travel Blogging Game

4. Travel somewhere less expensive

Your money will go further in Kuala Lumpur than in London . You have to pick a budget destination. Think Southeast Asia , India , Nepal , or Eastern Europe . This might be the most important step. A good idea is to use Kiwi’s anywhere or radius tool to “fly to the cheapest place” from your base and see what pops up. Next, you can see which of those places is affordable to travel. Now you’ve got a cheap ticket to a cheap place.

views near jog falls

5. Travel to that less expensive place at the least expensive TIME

Traveling off-season has saved me bundles of cash. Everything in Goa is 1/2 off in monsoon ! You’ll find great deals and have fewer tourists around. The best time to go is just before or after a destinations “peak season” or you might get caught in too rainy of weather. Here are 11 ways to save on offseason travel . You can find all the best hotels deals online ahead of time for the monsoon seasons of the world.

**  Get $35 credit toward your first room!!* 

get airbnb credit for signing up

THE BEST DEALS are going to be people’s homes who are on vacation since locals leave in the off season. Check airbnb and get a gorgeous villa cheaper than a hotel. Sign up now on this link and get $35 off your first booking! It doesn’t expire.

6. Stay in rural areas

Sometimes staying away from the cities can save you huge amounts of money. In India for example, you’re going to spend more in Delhi and Mumbai than if you go even 45 min outside the city.

7. Consider hitchhiking or car sharing

I am not saying it’s safe, but I have done it in a number of countries. It saves bucket loads of money. If you feel like it’s too dangerous, that’s fine. It’s just one way that’s helped me. There’s a lot of websites offering car sharing now like Bla Bla Car  or you can join Facebook groups, for example, in Goa, there is a Goa car sharing group and people go to the airport together.

8. Volunteer

Many volunteer programs charge a hefty fee, but there are some that will give you a free place to stay and food if you work for them. You’ll be helping the community, learning more about the locals, and not have to spend much money at all. Sites like Work Away can help you find gigs but it does cost money to sign up. I can best speak to volunteering in Goa , so check that post out for tips.

Another option,  WWOOF stands for worldwide opportunities on organic farms. You can work on farms and in return get free lodging and food. Some people do this as a way to get a working visa into a country and then stay longer after working to explore. WWOOF isn’t the only way, and some jobs like this do pay. I met a girl who made minimum wage in Aus picking tomatoes and working on their farm from the break of dawn.

Just be careful you’re not veering into voluntourism , which can be detrimental to the community!

uganda corruption terrorism love

9. Cook in or eat local

If you’re really broke you won’t be able to dine out all the time, so this is imperative. Buying pasta and cooking it in the hostel will save you cash. Eating street food will also save you bundles. Even choosing take away rather than eating in (you can drink your own drinks and won’t have to pay luxury/sitting taxes many places have to eat in).

backpacking India 2 months

10. Camp or sleep in overnight transportation

You can camp if you take your own sleeping bag and tent. I haven’t done this because it’s a lot of work. I do tend to travel on overnight buses and trains instead of during the day because it saves on a nights’ accommodation.

train selfie

11. Do your own laundry

Instead of paying someone to wash your clothes, wash them yourself! Here’s a guide on how to do laundry while traveling.

12. Housesitting instead of Couchsurfing

You can sign up for sites like Trusted Housesitters  and just babysit people’s houses as you go. You might have to take care of their pets but in return, you could get a great villa in middle of nowhere countryside! Typically you don’t get paid for this. Here are some tips on how to start housesitting .

PS it does cost money to sign up but is worth the investment. I’ve seen some bloggers perfect this and share the incredible mansions they stay in!

**Most importantly, travel slow & safe**

The longer you stay in one place (especially a free one) the more you save on transportation. When you’re on the road, that’ll cost you the most so this might be the most helpful tip of all. When you travel slow , you can also pick up work. Start your travels in your own country, figure out how to earn money online or another way (remember that article I linked above with 14 ways to earn while traveling?) so you can stay on the road longer!

You’ve got to be safe while you travel as well. The most important thing you can do is get travel insurance before your trip so you don’t have crazy bills abroad if you end up sick from the water, fall of your scooter, get an IV for food poisoning, or anything else.If you can’t afford that, you probably should wait for your trip!

Now that you’re doing all this to save up, spend less, and travel for free, you need to take the tips linked above to earn some money. Once you combine them all, you can shift to taking nicer transport and staying in cozy hotels with room service, right? ;)

But really, it’s a slow process. If you are dead broke I can see how it seems unreachable and could be. I don’t know your life, ya know? But when I think back to leaving for Europe the first time, after booking a plane ticket I didn’t have much more than 1,000 bucks and an emergency credit card. It was 6 years ago and I lived on baguettes and lettuce from the supermarket. You have to be able to rough it if you’re broke but if travel is your goal you WILL find a way to make it happen!

travel slow, travel with no money

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Sleeping on overnight transport is my number one top tip for saving when backpacking. On my first couple of trips I made the mistake of wasting a couple of days on long bus journeys that I could easily have done overnight. Plus you save the money you would have spent on accommodation. I even enjoy most overnight buses – or at least I did in South America – as they’re quite comfy and they show hilarious movies :)

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a movie would be nice! some volvo buses in india too, but they are VERY loud bollywood movies and i hate it lol

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HI Rachel, nice summary indeed! Although it seems like these things are for free, they are indeed not. You always give back something to do community, just in a different form. House sitting is on my to-do list for next year, and I also want to try workaway.com project. I’ve been following you for some time, thank you for being so inspirational! Now I finally had enough courage to create my own travel blog – http://www.nextstopabroad.com I hope to be as successful as you are one day :)

I’m sure you will overtake me ;) good luck with your blog & thanks for sharing your thoughts

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Great tips! We’re planning our long-term travel now and I completely forgot about WOOfing! Thanks for the reminder :)

awesome, have fun

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Travel is like the comment that I made the other day about staying healthy; if it is a priority, then you will find a way to make it happen, if it is not, you will find excuses. That being said, there are plenty of ways to save money for a trip in addition to being frugal WHILE traveling. Here are my ways that we save PRIOR to traveling so that we can travel as much as possible! (Some of them are quite extreme, but hey, like I said, it is a priority to us, so we’ll make it happen!) http://www.economicalexcursionists.com/save-for-a-vacation/#.VbdmxPmqqko

sometimes extreme measures must be taken :)!

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Great list… and add on season work! Its got me round the world for four years non stop… great because the company give you everything AND you get a wage. Think ski seasons, summer camps, yacht jobs…. I’ve even been a cowgirl in the outback! :)

great advice!! being a cowgirl sounds totally cool

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Before kids, I did the Eurorail trip & always took night trains as it was cheaper -India is good for night train travel too. Will have to venture into camping with kids now! Great story & website! Keep adventuring!

that sounds like it’ll be fun!

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Great tips Rachel. I’d agree with travelling slower and not trying to rush through every destination in just 24 hours unless you’re only going to visit a little part LOL and of course, go to cheaper destinations like Asia & Eastern Europe. Not only do they cost pennies, but you’ll find the locals more approachable and the experience more worth-while, since “everyone” hasn’t been there already LOL! Also, save a little and don’t try to leave your home country without some savings as you never know what might happen along the way!

great advice. you’re right you have to try and have some savings, i think it’s so important!

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Wow Rachel…. It so much excites me that you are staying in Goa… I belong to near province of UP.Currently working in Malaysia. I myself miss my food. and language.. But have seen generally beaches in Thailand and Bali etc. very beautiful. What made you stay there so long?

Also… I would like to know …as night parties in Phuket,Pattaya etc.are so lively, how did you decide to stick in Goa.. Just m curious…:)

My boyfriend works in India, so we chose to live in Goa.

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I also always think about sitting more on the one place as transportation really takes significant part of the budget (even at such comparatively cheap countries as India and Vietnam), but I am always getting bored so soon when sitting on the same place for more than several days..

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Great tips!! I am just starting to blog and I am slowly saving for a month long trip to Thailand and I was pricing all the flights to travel throughout the country and it was adding up quickly. When I repriced with doing overnights trips on trains instead of flights it was dramatically less. Thank you!!

Awesome, happy to help!

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no body has mentioned Africa yet. I traveled as a tour leader for an overland company for 3 years round Eastern and Southern Africa. Getting paid to see and do some amazing things. Overland companies often advertise for staff in Wanderlust magazine or online. You don’t have to drive trucks or buses either you could be a camp master and look after the catering and finances. I now enjoy overland trips round Europe and the UK in my VW caddy van. Vacations are the way to go! Happy trails folks.

That should say vancations not vacations. Sorry

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OMG! THis is the best blog I have ever read! Thanks so much for sharing!!!!

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Great tips! Especially about travelling to places that are historically less expensive. Your money can go a lot further in a place like Indonesia than it can in the United Kingdom, or France.

Yes! I was just in London and couldn’t get over the high prices! ahh

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Hi Rachel How’s Goa compared to other places you had stayed as per cost of living.

I have a excellent suggestion one can contact by email the marketing head of state tourism departments and large travel companies usually they offer a all free stay especially to greatly dedicated bloggers with high follow rate like yours…

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Omg! Thank you very much for these tips.

I’m only 15 years old, but I’m interested in travel. I can’t wait to grown up and to visit the world. Is one of my deep dreams. I save money since now, because I think people waste money on unnecessary things. So, for travel is worth it.

P.S. I’m sorry if my English is a little bit stupid, but I try to speak better everyday. Thank you again!

That’s awesome you know you want to travel at such a young age- so did I! It’s always smart to start saving young.

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I think, it’s great to dream about your future, also it’s a good idea to save some money – it’s allways helpful) You can also “travel by google map” using streets’ sights or use some tips like to-do things to plan your trip. Good luck

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I have never heard of couchsurfing, but it sounds really cool. It would be cool to host it too, I think people would love to go hang out in my little town.

You should totally sign up! I loved hosting when I lived in Charlotte.

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You’re absolutely amazing Leanna! Truly, I have done the same things as you traveling wise but only in America. It makes me want to go across seas to Ireland and Rome like I’ve always wanted! Thanks for that extra push reading this made me feel like I’m not so alone in the World. Peace be with you Love. :D <3

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Some great tips. I’m a travel hacker fan but appreciate it isn’t for everyone. Where in Goa are you?

I stay in North Goa near Anjuna!

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Thank you Rachel For tips, tricks, hacks and insights And above everything thanks for showing the possibilities

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I want to volunteer abroad so badly! I haven’t done it yet because I need to do a ton of research before I go – I have to fully trust the initiatives of the company and be sure that it’s making a positive impact on the surrounding community! Great tips here though, done quite a few of them myself

Yes that’s the problem it’s really hard to trust these companies because so many are cheating the people who need help.

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Very good ideas here! Thanks for the post!

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A very informative article to travel the world, save money and make some money to stay on the path we are following, not easy indeed, but possible – Hi this is Adam.

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I love this post, always refer to it. Great advice. Everyone should be able to save a small amount to travel initially. There are so many travellers who start in Australia as the working holiday visa is easy to obtain and actually the money is much better than even in the home town. I had 2 friends from France who worked for 3 months and then traveled the whole Australia for another 3 and still had savings from their farm work to open a photography studio in Lyon. Australia has great programs for young travellers. Plus its a beautiful place (Im bias ) ;) Plus Australia is close to Asia and many travellers also do the South East Asia route after seeing Australia as its pretty cheap to get there. I’ve started a new section See Australia where I’ll give visa info and other backpacking advice for young travellers wanting to see Australia. http://www.eatstaylive.com/category/see-australia/

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Hi Rachel, Interesting article, although I feel the title is a little misleading. Only 6 things on this list are actually free, the rest are good budget options. I also wanted to comment on ‘free’ walking tours. While this is how they are advertised, most ‘free’ walking tours ask for a tip at the end of the tour. While this tip is optional, it is also the only wages that the tour guide gets paid! So it’s important to encourage people to leave a good tip that represents the value of the tour, or else many of these tours may cease the exist. The only exception is free walking tours organised by the local council/government where the tour guide is a government employee (but these kind of tours are rare). Anyway, love your blog, keep up the great work.

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Nice article it inspired me im totally fed up with this daily routine my wish i have to left everything and bag pack up travel the beutiful world like u rachel.

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Thanks for suggestions Rachel. It has great info regarding start of travel though with less bucks having in pocket. I ll take these inputs and thanks for being inspirational

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Great ideas! I will definitely take a look at Fiverr. Personally I am also a big fan of doing work exchanges with Workaway.

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I am also planning to go somewhere, my tricks are inspired from your suggestions like travel with local bus with my friends and stay in normal good hotels which are not so expensive, Thanks for your help.

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World Traveller

Travel Around the World for Free

5 Ways to Travel Around the World for Free

Travel Around the World for Free

Imagine embarking on a journey that takes you across continents, through bustling cities, serene landscapes, and exotic cultures, all without draining your bank account.

Is free travel around the world possible?

This question might seem too good to be true, but as we delve into this guide, you’ll discover that the answer is not only a resounding “yes” but also a thrilling adventure waiting to unfold.

Let´s find some alternatives to travel around the world for free.

The Aspiration for Free Travel

The allure of free travel has captured the imagination of countless individuals with a passion for exploration.

Whether it’s the desire to wander through ancient ruins, savour delectable street food, or witness breathtaking natural wonders, the aspiration for global travel is a dream shared by many.

Beyond Financial Constraints

While the conventional notion of travel often involves substantial expenses, we’re here to challenge that notion.

This chapter introduces you to a world where financial constraints need not limit your wanderlust.

Instead, we’ll explore strategies, mindsets, and opportunities that enable you to embark on remarkable journeys without a hefty price tag.

The Journey of a Thousand Miles Begins with a Single Step

As the ancient Chinese proverb reminds us, “The journey of a thousand miles begins with a single step.”

In our case, that step is the decision to explore the possibilities of free travel.

It’s about embracing a different mindset, being open to unconventional ideas, and understanding that travel doesn’t always require a bottomless wallet.

The Thrill of Traveling on a Budget

Travelling on a budget isn’t just about saving money; it’s about uniquely experiencing the world.

It’s about forging connections with locals, immersing yourself in cultures, and creating memories that transcend the cost of your ticket.

In this guide, we’ll show you how to savour the thrill of travelling on a budget while still enjoying the best that our planet has to offer.

Setting the Stage

Before we dive into the specific methods and strategies for free travel, it’s essential to cultivate the right mindset.

This chapter sets the stage for your journey by exploring the concept of affordable adventures, the psychology of budget travel, and the transformative power of exploration.

Travel Around the World for Free

House-Sit Your Way Around the Globe

The first option to travel around the world for free is to get a house.

House-sitting, often considered the gateway to cost-free travel, offers a unique opportunity to explore the world while taking care of someone else’s home.

This chapter delves into the world of house-sitting, uncovering its nuances and showcasing how it can be your ticket to free global adventures.

What is House-Sitting?

House-sitting is a mutually beneficial arrangement where homeowners entrust their properties to responsible individuals, known as house-sitters, while they are away.

These properties can range from cosy apartments to sprawling villas, providing house-sitters with diverse living experiences.

The Trust Factor

Trust lies at the core of house-sitting. Homeowners place immense trust in house-sitters to maintain their homes, care for their pets, and ensure everything runs smoothly during their absence.

In return, house-sitters enjoy rent-free accommodations in desirable locations worldwide.

How Does It Work?

House-sitting platforms and websites connect homeowners with potential house-sitters.

These platforms provide detailed listings of available house-sitting opportunities, including location, duration, and homeowner expectations. House-sitters create profiles outlining their experience, references, and availability.

Benefits of House-Sitting

House-sitting offers a plethora of advantages:

  • Free Accommodation : The most obvious benefit is free accommodation, which can save you a substantial amount of money during your travels.
  • Living Like a Local : House-sitting allows you to immerse yourself in local communities and experience destinations from an authentic perspective.
  • Pet Companionship : Many house-sits involve caring for pets, providing animal lovers with the joy of furry companionship during their travels.
  • Extended Stays : Some house-sits can be long-term, enabling you to settle in one place for an extended period, perfect for digital nomads or those seeking a slower travel pace.
  • Exploring New Places : House-sitting often takes you to destinations you might not have considered, adding a sense of adventure to your travels.

How to Find House-Sitting Opportunities

Now that you understand the world of house-sitting, let’s explore how to find these unique opportunities to travel for free.

House-Sitting Websites

Numerous websites cater to both homeowners and house-sitters.

Websites like TrustedHousesitters, Housecarers, and MindMyHouse provide extensive listings of house-sitting opportunities worldwide.

Building a Strong Profile

Your house-sitting success depends on a compelling profile. Include references, photos, and a well-written description of yourself and your house-sitting preferences.

Applying for House-Sits

Actively apply for house sits that align with your travel plans and preferences. Personalize your applications to stand out to homeowners.

Interview and Agreement

Once selected, homeowners may conduct interviews to ensure compatibility. A clear agreement outlining responsibilities and expectations is essential.

The Benefits of House-Sitting

Beyond free accommodation, house-sitting offers enriching experiences, a sense of responsibility, and the chance to form connections with homeowners.

This chapter’s closing section explores the multifaceted benefits of house-sitting, setting the stage for your cost-free global adventures.

How To Travel Cheap Hitchhike 1024x683

Carpooling and Hitchhiking Adventures

This is another great way to travel around the world for free.

Carpooling, a sustainable and cost-effective travel option, allows you to share rides with fellow travellers headed in the same direction.

This chapter explores the art of carpooling and how it can be your ticket to free travel adventures.

The Eco-Friendly Choice

Carpooling contributes to reduced carbon emissions, making it an environmentally responsible choice for travellers who care about the planet. By sharing rides, you minimize the number of vehicles on the road, thereby decreasing traffic congestion and pollution.

Finding Carpooling Opportunities

Numerous online platforms and apps connect drivers and passengers looking to share rides. Some popular options include BlaBlaCar, Zimride, and Lyft Line. These platforms allow you to find rides going your way and connect with fellow travellers.

Benefits of Carpooling

  • Cost Savings : Carpooling significantly reduces transportation expenses, making it an ideal choice for budget-conscious travellers.
  • Social Connections : Carpooling introduces you to new people, potentially leading to friendships and shared travel experiences.
  • Shared Responsibilities : Passengers often take turns driving, reducing the burden on individual drivers and making long journeys more manageable.

Tips for Successful Carpooling

  • Plan Ahead : Schedule rides in advance to ensure you find suitable matches for your travel plans.
  • Communication : Establish clear communication with your carpool companions to coordinate pick-up points, schedules, and any special requirements.
  • Safety First : Prioritize safety by sharing your itinerary with someone you trust, and ensure the vehicle is in good condition.

Navigating the Hitchhiking Culture

Hitchhiking, a timeless and adventurous way to travel, involves soliciting rides from passing vehicles.

The Spirit of Adventure

Hitchhiking embodies the spirit of adventure, allowing you to embark on spontaneous journeys with no fixed plans. It’s an opportunity to meet locals, hear their stories, and experience the unexpected.

Safety Precautions

While hitchhiking can be exhilarating, safety should always be a priority. Here are some essential safety precautions:

  • Choose Well-Lit Locations : Opt for well-lit and busy areas to solicit rides, preferably near gas stations or rest stops.
  • Trust Your Instincts : If a situation feels uncomfortable or unsafe, trust your instincts and decline rides from individuals who raise concerns.
  • Share Your Plans : Inform someone you trust about your hitchhiking plans, including your route and estimated arrival times.

Environmental and Financial Benefits

Carpooling and hitchhiking offer not only financial advantages but also environmental benefits, aligning with the values of responsible travel.

Financial Savings

Carpooling and hitchhiking can dramatically reduce your travel expenses, allowing you to allocate your budget to other aspects of your journey, such as accommodations, activities, and dining experiences.

Environmental Impact

By sharing rides or using existing vehicles, carpooling and hitchhiking help decrease the demand for additional cars on the road. This results in reduced air pollution and less congestion, contributing to a cleaner and more sustainable planet.

A Responsible Choice

Choosing carpooling and hitchhiking demonstrates a commitment to responsible travel, where your actions align with your desire to explore the world while minimizing your impact on the environment.

Embracing the Journey

Carpooling and hitchhiking are not just meant of transportation; they are avenues to connect with fellow travelers, experience the generosity of strangers, and create unforgettable memories on your path to free travel adventures.

How To Convert Primary Residence To Rental Property

House-Swap or Rent Your Home

When it comes to financing your global adventures, your home can be a valuable asset.

In this section, we’ll explore the concept of house-swapping and renting your home while you travel.

These innovative strategies not only help fund your journeys but also ensure the safety of your property.

Exploring House Swaps

House swapping, also known as home exchange, has gained popularity as an ingenious way to experience new destinations without the high costs of accommodation.

The concept is simple: you stay in someone else’s home while they stay in yours.

This mutually beneficial arrangement allows both parties to enjoy cost-effective travel.

How House Swaps Work

  • Create a Detailed Listing: To attract potential swappers, create an appealing listing of your home on house-swapping platforms. Include high-quality photos, descriptions of amenities, and information about your location.
  • Search for Swaps: Browse listings of homes in your desired destination. Contact potential swappers to discuss the terms and dates of the exchange.
  • Agree on Terms: Establish clear agreements regarding the duration of the swap, responsibilities for cleaning and maintenance, and any other pertinent details.
  • Prepare Your Home: Before departing, ensure your home is clean, well-organized, and equipped with essentials for your guests.
  • Enjoy Your Stay: During your trip, immerse yourself in the local culture while living in a comfortable, home-like environment.

Renting Your Home While You Travel

If you’re not ready for a full house swap, consider renting your home to travellers.

This option allows you to generate income while you’re away, helping to cover travel expenses.

Platforms for Home Rentals

Several online platforms connect homeowners with travellers seeking temporary accommodations. Airbnb , Vrbo, and Booking.com are popular options that offer flexibility in terms of pricing, availability, and guest screening.

Preparing Your Home for Renters

  • Clean and Declutter: Ensure your home is spotless and free of personal clutter to create a welcoming environment for renters.
  • Set Clear Rules: Establish house rules and guidelines for renters, including check-in and check-out procedures.
  • Secure Valuables: Lock away valuable items or personal documents to provide peace of mind to both you and your guests.
  • Delegate Responsibilities: If possible, designate a local contact or property manager to assist renters during their stay.

Ensuring the Safety of Your Home

Safety is paramount when renting your home or engaging in house swaps. Here are some essential tips to safeguard your property:

  • Insurance Coverage: Ensure your homeowner’s insurance covers short-term rentals and house swaps. Consider additional coverage if needed.
  • Security Systems: Install security systems, such as cameras and alarms, to deter potential issues and provide peace of mind.
  • Local Contacts: Have trusted neighbours or friends keep an eye on your property and address any unexpected situations.
  • Legal Agreements: Draft a comprehensive agreement with your guests, outlining responsibilities, liabilities, and expectations.

House-swapping and home rentals not only support your travel dreams financially but also allow you to travel around the world for free with the confidence that your home is in good hands.

These strategies make it possible to balance the thrill of travel with the security of knowing your property is protected.

Fundraising volunteers - BHF

Volunteer and Fundraise for Global Exploration

Travelling the world for free isn’t just about cutting costs; it’s about embarking on meaningful adventures and giving back to communities worldwide.

In this section, we’ll delve into the world of volunteering and fundraising as a means to explore the globe without emptying your wallet.

Volunteering Abroad: An Overview

Volunteering abroad offers a unique and rewarding way to experience different cultures, contribute to positive change, and make lasting memories. Here’s an overview of what you need to know:

  • Types of Volunteer Opportunities: From teaching English to conservation work, there are diverse roles available for volunteers.
  • Duration: Volunteer programs can range from a few weeks to several months, allowing you to choose experiences that fit your travel plans.
  • Costs and Benefits: While some programs charge fees to cover expenses, many provide free accommodation and meals in exchange for your time and skills.
  • Research: Select a program that aligns with your interests and values. Ensure it’s reputable and has a positive impact on the communities it serves.

Fundraising for Your Volunteer Journey

While volunteering often covers your living expenses, you may still need to cover transportation and program fees. Fundraising is a powerful tool to secure the necessary funds for your journey. Here’s how:

  • Online Fundraising Platforms: Utilize crowdfunding platforms like GoFundMe, Kickstarter, or Indiegogo to share your story and raise funds from friends, family, and even strangers who support your cause.
  • Grant Applications: Explore grants and scholarships specific to volunteer and travel opportunities. Many organizations offer financial assistance to passionate individuals.
  • Host Fundraising Events: Organize events such as bake sales, charity runs, or garage sales to raise money for your adventure.
  • Sponsorships: Partner with local businesses or seek corporate sponsorships to help cover costs in exchange for promotion and support.

The Rewards of Volunteer Travel

Volunteering isn’t just about reducing travel expenses; it’s about the enriching experiences you’ll encounter along the way:

  • Cultural Immersion: Live among locals and gain a deeper understanding of their customs, language, and way of life.
  • Personal Growth: Volunteer experiences often lead to personal growth, increased self-awareness, and the development of valuable skills.
  • Social Impact: Contribute to meaningful projects that create positive change in communities and the environment.
  • Lasting Connections: Forge bonds with fellow volunteers and locals, creating lifelong friendships and networks around the world.

Incorporating volunteer work and fundraising into your travel plans not only enables you to explore the world affordably but also allows you to be part of something bigger, making a positive impact on the destinations you visit.

Embrace the opportunity to give back while you roam the globe.

Carnival Liberty March 2017

Staffing a Private Yacht for High-Seas Adventures

Are you ready to set sail on an adventure of a lifetime?

Staffing a private yacht offers an exclusive opportunity to explore the world’s most breathtaking destinations while enjoying the luxuries of the high seas.

Keep reading because, we’ll delve into the alluring world of yacht staffing, from the perks to the qualifications you’ll need to embark on this seafaring journey.

The Allure of Yacht Staffing

Staffing a private yacht is often synonymous with a life of luxury and adventure. Here’s a glimpse into why it’s such an enticing option:

  • Travel in Style: Yacht staff enjoy the opulence of these floating mansions, complete with world-class amenities and stunning ocean views.
  • Exotic Destinations: Yachts navigate some of the most idyllic and remote locations on the planet, granting you access to hidden paradises.
  • High-Earning Potential: Yacht crew members can earn competitive salaries, along with tips and bonuses from satisfied charter guests.
  • Networking Opportunities: Working in the yachting industry exposes you to influential individuals, potential future employers, and a tight-knit community.

Opportunities in the Yachting World

Yachts require a variety of skilled professionals to ensure smooth sailing. Here are some of the key roles you might consider:

  • Captain: The leader of the ship, responsible for navigation, safety, and overall operations.
  • Deckhand: Assist with various tasks, including maintenance, water sports, and guest services.
  • Steward/Stewardess: Provide top-notch service to guests, from serving meals to maintaining cabins.
  • Chef: Prepare gourmet meals and cater to guests’ culinary preferences.
  • Engineer: Keep the yacht’s systems running smoothly, from engines to electrical systems.

Embarking on a Seafaring Adventure

Before setting sail, there are essential factors to keep in mind:

  • Qualifications: Depending on your desired role, you may need certifications such as STCW (Standards of Training, Certification, and Watchkeeping) or a yacht-specific course.
  • Experience: Entry-level positions may require minimal experience, but advanced roles often demand a proven track record.
  • Networking: Attend industry events, use online platforms, and connect with yacht crew agencies to secure your first position.
  • Contracts: Understand the terms of your employment contract, including salary, working hours, and time off.

Staffing a private yacht can provide unparalleled experiences and open doors to a world of adventure.

Whether you’re drawn to the seas as a career or for a unique travel opportunity, the yachting world offers an exciting and glamorous path to explore the globe.

How to travel the world for free | Talk Business

FAQs on Free World Travel

As you embark on your journey to explore the world for free, you’re likely to have questions and concerns.

In this chapter, we address some of the most common queries travellers have when it comes to unconventional and budget-friendly adventures. Read on to find answers to these frequently asked questions.

How can I ensure safety while hitchhiking?

Hitchhiking can be an exciting way to travel, but it’s essential to prioritize your safety. Here are some tips to stay safe on the road:

  • Trust Your Instincts: If a situation or person makes you uncomfortable, it’s okay to decline a ride or find an alternative.
  • Travel in Pairs: Whenever possible, hitchhike with a friend or fellow traveller for added security.
  • Share Your Plans: Let someone know your travel route and estimated arrival times.
  • Research Hitchhiking Norms: Different countries have varying hitchhiking cultures, so do some research to understand local practices.

Are there any specific skills required for yacht staffing?

While specific requirements vary depending on the yacht and position, some skills can enhance your chances of securing a job in the yachting industry:

  • Hospitality Skills: If you’re interested in a steward or stewardess role, excellent customer service and interpersonal skills are a must.
  • Mechanical Knowledge: Understanding basic mechanics can be valuable for addressing minor issues onboard.
  • Culinary Skills: As a yacht chef, having culinary expertise and the ability to cater to various dietary preferences is crucial.
  • Certifications: Some roles may require certifications like STCW or a yacht-specific course. Consider obtaining these qualifications to stand out.

How do I choose the right volunteer program?

Selecting the perfect volunteer program can significantly impact your experience. Here’s how to make the right choice:

  • Define Your Goals: Determine what you hope to achieve through volunteering, whether it’s gaining skills, making a difference, or exploring a particular destination.
  • Research Organizations: Look for reputable volunteer organizations with positive reviews and a transparent application process.
  • Ask Questions: Contact the program coordinators and ask questions about their projects, accommodation, and support for volunteers.
  • Consider Costs: While you’re aiming for free travel, be aware of any program fees or expenses you might need to cover.

What precautions should I take when house-swapping?

House-swapping can be a fantastic way to experience a new location, but it’s essential to ensure a smooth and secure exchange:

  • Legal Agreements: Draft a clear and legally binding agreement that outlines the terms of the house swap, including responsibilities, duration, and expectations.
  • Insurance: Verify your home insurance covers house-swapping arrangements, and consider additional coverage if necessary.
  • Secure Valuables: Before the swap, secure or remove valuable items from your home to prevent any potential issues.
  • Communication: Maintain open and honest communication with your swap partner throughout the process.

Can I combine multiple methods to travel for free?

Absolutely! Many travellers combine various methods to create a unique and cost-effective travel experience. For example:

  • Volunteer and House-Sit: You can volunteer in a region and then house-sit during your time off to explore nearby areas.
  • Hitchhike and Camp: Combine hitchhiking with camping to save on accommodation costs while exploring new destinations.
  • Carpool and House-Swap: Use carpooling to reach your house-swapping destination, making your journey more affordable.
  • Yacht Staffing and Volunteering: Consider working on a yacht for part of the year and volunteering during the off-season.

By combining different approaches, you can maximize your travel opportunities and enjoy a diverse range of experiences.

With these frequently asked questions addressed, you’re well-equipped to pursue your free world travel adventures with confidence.

Remember that each journey is unique, so embrace the opportunities that come your way and create your path to affordable and fulfilling global exploration.

Related video: Travel around the world for free

As we conclude this journey through the world of free travel, it’s essential to reflect on the incredible opportunities that await you.

Travelling on a budget doesn’t mean compromising on the quality of your adventures.

It opens up a world of possibilities that can lead to some of the most memorable experiences of your life.

Let’s recap what we’ve explored in this guide and the mindset you need to embrace affordable adventures.

The World of Free Travel

Throughout this guide, we’ve delved into various methods and strategies to explore the world for free or at minimal cost.

From house-sitting in exotic locations to volunteering your way through captivating cultures, you’ve discovered an array of options that cater to different interests and preferences.

The key takeaway is that there’s no one-size-fits-all approach to free travel.

Your journey can be as unique as you are.

The Thrill of Adventure

One common thread that runs through all these methods is the thrill of adventure.

Travelling on a budget often means stepping out of your comfort zone, trying new things, and embracing the unknown.

It’s about discovering not only the world but also yourself. The challenges you encounter along the way will become stories you’ll cherish for a lifetime.

The Mindset for Affordable Adventures

To make the most of your free travel experiences, it’s crucial to adopt the right mindset:

  • Open-Mindedness: Be open to new experiences, cultures, and people. Embrace diversity and welcome the unexpected.
  • Resourcefulness: Develop a sense of resourcefulness and adaptability. When things don’t go as planned, see them as opportunities rather than obstacles.
  • Resilience: Traveling on a budget may involve some discomfort or uncertainty. Build resilience to face challenges with a positive attitude.
  • Gratitude: Appreciate the opportunities you have to explore the world. Gratitude can enhance your travel experience and connect you with the communities you visit.
  • Sustainability: Travel responsibly, minimize your environmental impact, and leave a positive footprint wherever you go.

Your Journey Begins Now!

Now that you have a toolbox filled with strategies for free travel and the right mindset to embark on budget-friendly adventures, it’s time to take action.

The world is waiting for you to explore its wonders, cultures, and landscapes. Your journey begins the moment you decide to make it happen.

Remember that each adventure is a chapter in the book of your life, and the more you explore, the richer your story becomes.

So, pack your bags, set your sights on your dream destinations, and start your journey to travel around the world for free.

The world awaits your discovery, and with the right mindset and a sense of adventure, you’ll find that the possibilities are limitless.

Safe travels, and may your free travel adventures be filled with unforgettable experiences and cherished memories. Your affordable adventure awaits—go out and embrace it!

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Around the World

Do you have plans to travel around the world?

How to travel around the world.

Do you have big dreams running through your head about traveling around the world? Is long-term travel something you are considering but don’t know where to start?

Planning an around the world trip can be an overwhelming experience. From figuring out your budget to designing your itinerary to packing your bags, there are so many things to consider.

We know what it is like. It’s exciting and terrifying and awesome all at the same time. It took us four years of discussion just to even make the decision to travel around the world. We know what a hard decision it can be.

From the planning phase to what it’s like to be on the road and then what it is like to finally come home, we have lots of information to share with you.

The Planning Phase

So, you made the decision to travel around the world. Now you have to figure out your budget, plan your route, and buy your gear. 

how much does it cost to travel around the world

How Much Does it Cost to Travel Around the World?

RTW Ticket vs. One Way Tickets

RTW Ticket vs. One Way Tickets, Which One is Better?

how to design an around the world itinerary

How to Design an Around the World Itinerary

Our Around the World Itinerary

Our Around the World Itinerary

around the world packing list

Our Around the World Packing List

checklist before traveling around the world

A Checklist Before Traveling Around the World

On the Road

Curious about what it’s really like to travel long-term? Here are some of our posts written during our around the world trip.

day 1 of a trip around the world

Day 1 of a Trip Around the World

a one month recap

A One Month Recap…How Are We Doing?

6 month update

6 Month Update…Halfway Already?!!

A Typical Day for the Earth Trekkers

A Typical Day for the Earth Trekkers

quotes from tyler and kara

Excerpts from a Travel Journal: Quotes from Tyler and Kara

Your Questions, Answered

Your Questions, Answered

one year around the world

One Year Around the World

365 days of travel

365 Days of Travel in 100 Photos

Worst Travel Moments While Going Around the World

Worst Travel Moments While Going Around the World

Coming Home

It can be hard to imagine what it is like, coming home, when you are still in the planning phase of this awesome adventure. But, for most people, coming home is inevitable. Read about what it was like for us.

So, What’s it Like Returning to the USA?

So, What’s it Like Returning to the USA?

settling back our first week home

Settling Back In…Our First Week “Home”

feeling weighed down

Feeling Weighed Down

just like riding a bicycle

Just Like Riding a Bicycle

6 Months Home…But That is About to Change

6 Months Home…But That is About to Change!

one year later

One Year Later…

Did We Miss Something?

If you have any questions or comments, email us.  We would love to help you as you undertake this amazing journey.

Only those who risk going too far can possibly find out how far one can go.

                               – T.S. Eliot

how to travel around world for free

Here's what you need to know to plan a trip around the world

Dec 29, 2021 • 7 min read

Cenote Suytun at Valladolid, Yucatan - Mexico

Don't start planning your round-the-world trip without reading this guide © Getty Images

In 1924, a team of aviators from the USA successfully completed the first-ever circumnavigation of the globe by airplane, a feat that took 175 days, 76 stops, a cache of 15 Liberty engines, 14 spare pontoons, four aircraft and two sets of new wings. This achievement ushered in an era of international air travel, and nearly a century later, travelers are still creating their own round-the-world itineraries. 

You might not have the same worries as those early aviators, but planning a round-the-world trip has never been a more complex process. As COVID-19 continues to alter world travel , heading out on a multi-country trip might be more complicated than it has been in decades. While it might not be the right time to hit the road, luckily it's never too early to start figuring out the logistics of a trip around the globe. After all, who doesn't have a lot of pent-up wanderlust at the moment? 

When it comes to booking your trip, there are several options for booking your airfare, as well as flexibility on timing, destinations and budget. But don't let that overwhelm you – start here with our handy guide on how to plan that round-the-world trip you’ve always dreamed of.

Where and how to get a round-the-world plane ticket

The most economical way to circumnavigate the globe is to buy a round-the-world (RTW) plane ticket through a single airline alliance. These are confederations of several different airlines that make it simple to maximize the number of places you can travel and pay for it all in one place or with points. There are three primary airline alliances to choose from: Star Alliance, OneWorld and Skyteam.  Star Alliance is a coalition of 26 airlines that fly to 1300 airports in 98% of the world’s countries.  OneWorld includes 14 airlines traveling to 1100 destinations in 180 territories.  Skyteam is made up of 19 airlines that serve 1000 destinations in 170 countries.  

Read more:   How to save money when you're traveling

Once you pick an airline alliance, whether because of a loyalty program you’re already a member of or because you like its terms, conditions and destination list, you can purchase a single RTW airline ticket made up of several legs fulfilled by that alliance’s partners. The RTW ticket rules vary between each of the airline alliances, with particulars like Star Alliance’s rule that a RTW ticket can include two to 15 stops. But there are some general principles that apply to most RTW tickets, no matter which airline group you go with. 

You typically must follow one global direction (east or west – no backtracking); you must start and finish in the same country; and you must book all your flights before departure, though you can change them later (though this could incur extra charges). Typically you have one year to get from your starting point to the finish line.

How long do I need for a round-the-world trip?

You could whip around the world in a weekend if you flew non-stop, especially with the advent of new ultra-long-haul flights that can clock in at 20 hours of flight time. However, the minimum duration of most RTW tickets is 10 days – still a breathless romp. To get the most out of your round-the-world ticket, consider stock-piling vacation days, tagging on public holidays or even arranging a sabbatical from work to take off at least two months (but ideally six months to one year). Because most airline alliances give you up to a year to use your ticket, you can maximize your purchase if you plan well.

A hiker approaching an archway on a mountainous trail in Nepal

When should I travel on a round-the-world trip?

The weather will never be ideal in all your stops, so focus on what you want to do most and research the conditions there. In general, city sightseeing can be done year-round (escape extreme heat, cold or rain in museums and cafes), but outdoor adventures are more reliant on – and enjoyable in – the right weather.

Research ahead of time if any must-see destinations or must-do activities will mean facing crowds. For example, if you’re hoping to be in Austria for the famous Salzburg Festival, you’ll want to plan ahead and book your tickets months in advance. If you’re hoping to fit a shorter thru-hike into your round-the-world trip, you’ll want to make sure you’re going in the correct season and starting in the right spot. You won’t get far or have as enjoyable an experience if you’re, say, attempting the Tour du Mont Blanc during the dates of the annual winter marathon or headed northbound on the Pacific Crest Trail in July, missing most of the warmer months. 

Accept youʼll be in some regions at the "wrong" time – though this might offer unexpected benefits. For example, Victoria Falls has a dry season each year , which means a slightly less thunderous cascade, but it does open up rafting opportunities and a chance to swim right up to the lip of the falls in The Devil’s Pool. Going to Venice in the winter might mean grayer skies but fewer crowds. Heading to Kenya and Tanzania in April is likely to mean fewer humans, but not fewer chances to spot wildlife, all while saving money on safari.  Also keep in mind that mom-and-pop locations have their downtime and holiday seasons as well; don't be too surprised if your local bakery in Paris is closed for a holiday week or two in August.

Where should I go on my round-the-world trip?

The classic (and cheapest) RTW tickets flit between a few big cities, for example, London – Bangkok – Singapore – Sydney – LA . If you want to link more offbeat hubs ( Baku – Kinshasa – Paramaribo , anyone?), prices will climb considerably. The cost of the ticket is also based on the total distance covered or the number of countries visited.

A train crossing a bridge curves through lush green hillsides in India

Remember, you donʼt have to fly between each point: in Australia you could land in Perth , travel overland and fly out of Cairns . Or fly into Moscow , board the Trans-Siberian railway  and fly onwards from Beijing.  Pick some personal highlights and string the rest of your itinerary around those. For instance, if youʼre a keen hiker, flesh out a Peru ( Inca Trail ) – New Zealand ( Milford Track ) – Nepal ( Everest Base Camp ) itinerary with stops in Yosemite , Menz-Gauassa and the Okavango Delta .

If budgetʼs an issue, spend more time in less expensive countries and plan budget city breaks along the way. You’ll spend more in metros like Paris, Dubai and San Francisco than in Nusa Tenggara , Budapest  and Buffalo . 

Tips, tricks and pitfalls of round-the-world tickets

Talk to an expert before you book a round-the-world ticket: you may have an itinerary in mind, but an experienced RTW flight booker will know which routes work best and cost least. A few tweaks could mean big savings in time and money. Hash out a budget well ahead of time, not only for your RTW ticket, but also for the whole trip. Reach out to friends or travel bloggers who have done a round-the-world trip or are full-time travelers because they can offer tips on how to budget for a trip around the world .

Be flexible: moving your departure date by a few days can save money. Mid-week flights are generally cheaper, as are flights on major holidays such as Christmas Day. Avoid days and times popular with business travelers to escape higher prices and more crowded cabins.

Think about internal travel: it can be cheaper to book internal flights at the same time as booking your RTW ticket, but with the global increase of low-cost airlines, you may find it better (and more flexible) to buy them separately as you go.

Be warned: if you donʼt board one of your booked flights (say, on a whim, you decide to travel overland from Bangkok to Singapore rather than fly it) your airline is likely to cancel all subsequent flights.

You might also like: 10 destinations perfect for solo travel Can visiting lesser-known places offer a better travel experience? 6 things I learned from flying 6 days in a row

This article was first published March 2012 and updated December 2021

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How to Travel the World for Free Using Miles and Points

Right now, somewhere 30,000 feet above, there's someone savoring caviar with a porcelain spoon or perhaps downing bottles of $300 Champagne. They're flying international first class on Cathay Pacific, Emirates, or one of a handful of other airlines that take service seriously, and they paid just a few hundred dollars for the privilege. Read on to see how you, too, can jet to Europe or the South Pacific for less than the cost of a family outing at a neighborhood restaurant.

There are two primary virtual travel currencies to consider: Frequent flier miles and hotel points . Either can be earned using a combination of methods or purchased outright during occasional sales. But regardless of your pick, you don't need to take a flight or spend a single night in a hotel to get started. Of course, for business travelers , building up account balances is easier than accumulating those tiny bottles of shampoo and shower gel, but you can easily earn enough to cross the Atlantic with your spouse or bring your family on that trip to Hawaii without a lot of work.

Getting started is simple. To get going, you'll want to sign up for the frequent flier program of your preferred airline, along with the hotel chains where you stay. Every airline has a rewards program, but it's important to pick one airline (or airline alliance) and stick with it. So, say for example that you live in Chicago. You'll probably want to do most of your business with American or United since those airlines have "hubs" in your city. You'll have the greatest number of options for non-stop flights, so whether you need to go to Tokyo or Wichita, you'll get there without changing planes.

Earning by Flying

Earning by flying is the easiest way to rack up miles, but only if you travel often . These days, at least here in the U.S., most airlines award miles not by how many miles you fly, but by how many dollars you spend. Delta Air Lines, United Airlines, and American Airlines have a revenue-based mileage system whereby the number of miles is calculated by the ticket price, minus government-imposed taxes and fees. Therefore, even if you’re flying across the Atlantic from New York to London, you may earn a similar number of redeemable miles as a short hop from New York to Boston, if both fares are priced equally.

Some airlines, like Alaska Airlines, still count how many miles you fly to determine how many award miles you’ll earn. For instance, if you fly Alaska from New York to Los Angeles one-way on a standard economy ticket, you’ll get around 2,500 redeemable miles regardless of how much that ticket costs. In both of these examples, elite members (the “real” frequent fliers) earn even more miles.

Credit Card Bonuses

Credit card bonuses can get you flying for free even faster. Some top-tier cards offer up to 50,000 miles or more when you sign and meet minimum spending requirements, but those deals typically come along with annual fees of about $100 and mandate that you spend several thousand dollars or more with that card within the first few months of opening an account. The benefits can be tremendous, however, so if you qualify and can meet the requirements, this is often the best way to boost your mileage and hotel point balance.

With certain credit cards, you not only have the ability to book travel directly through their online portals, but you may also have the option to transfer those points or miles directly to an array of airlines and hotels.

Redeeming Miles

Redeeming miles is much easier than earning, assuming you have the required number to get where you need to go. If you earn miles with one airline, you're usually able to redeem for that carrier's own flights, along with travel on their partners. If you have MileagePlus (United) miles, for example, you can also travel on Air Canada, Lufthansa, Swiss, Thai, or dozens of other airlines, usually for the same number (or more) miles. Rates differ depending on the airline, but expect to spend 25/35/50k for domestic US flights in economy/business/first, double those numbers or more to Europe, and perhaps 2.5x the amount for flights to Africa, Asia, Australia, or India. Also, keep in mind that free flights are affected by very strict capacity restrictions, so even if there's a seat for sale to paying customers, you may not be able to use your miles to "buy" it.

Hotel Stays

Hotel stays typically earn you points within the chain's own program, though there are exceptions, where you can earn miles instead. You'll likely get the best value out of the hotel points, though. Earning here works a bit differently. You'll receive a fixed number of points (probably between two and 10) for every dollar that you spend at the hotel, based on the nightly rate, meals billed to your room, spa services, etc. You won't earn points for paying taxes.

Hotel Credit Cards

Hotel credit cards can earn you points very quickly, just as you would with an airline card. Bonuses work much the same way, but since redemption rates can vary significantly from chain to chain, you'll want to read up on each program before making your pick. Expect to earn between 20,000 and 150,000 points when signing up for a credit card. You can also earn points when you purchase a timeshare through the hotel chain, so if you're planning to do that, it never hurts to ask during the negotiation process.

Redeeming Hotel Points 

Redeeming hotel points can often be easier than finding a reasonable free flight since many chains will let you secure a free hotel room as long as there's a basic room available for sale. Point requirements can vary tremendously though, depending on the hotel chain, the hotel location, and the hotel "category." Generally, expect hotels that cost more using cash to require more miles. Redemptions vary significantly here, so we recommend reading our hotel program overview before picking your chain.

Buying Miles and Points

Buying miles and points  is an option as well, but more often than not, you'll only want to do this to top up your account before making a redemption. For example, say you're trying to book a roundtrip flight from Seattle to Miami. The airline requires 25,000 miles, but you only have 22,000. You can purchase the difference, either at checkout or in advance, for a relatively high rate. For example, while you may get two cents of value for each mile, the airline may want you to pay three. This only makes sense if you need those miles for a specific flight. Once in a while, an airline will sell miles at a discount. Sometimes you can even score a deal, but we recommend saving those opportunities for a bit later in the game, once you have a solid feel for how to take full advantage of each program.

Calculating the Value of a Frequent Flyer Mile or Hotel Point

How to Use JetBlue's Frequent Flyer Program

Do You Have to Pay Taxes on Airline Miles?

Don't Use your Miles and Points for Merchandise

Don't Lose Miles and Points You've Already Earned

Airlines and Hotels Have Used 2021 to Shake Up the Miles and Points Game

Tips to Earn Points and Miles by Booking With Hotels and Airlines

How Airline Employees and Their Families Fly Free

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Where in the World is Nina?

11 Ways on How to Travel The World for Free

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“I can’t travel because I don’t have the money for it.”

This is everyone’s ultimate excuse for not traveling.

BUT! There are ways to travel for free or very cheap!

If you open your options and mind to other ideas on how to travel, you can end up traveling a country or two and spend very little money doing so. One way is to give up some of your time for some perks.

What does that mean? It means you can give up some of your time to dedicate to a few hours of work each day and in turn, you won’t have to pay for things like shelter, food, and possibility other benefits. On top of this, you will likely be helping a local individual or group accomplish their goals, whether it be a new cafe that needs help being built or a local farmer who needs help in his garden or a dog that needs to be watched over!

This is a chance to get to know the people hosting you and get to know the country as well. People who do these volunteer work exchanges are individuals willing to take on something different, help people, and get a deeper knowledge of a destination.

Oh, and it lets you travel the world for free… That too!

There are even more ways to cut back on major costs, things that are so simple but maybe you haven’t thought of yet. Anything to cut down costs and to travel for almost free is a win!

Let’s get you traveling more and spending less!

Here’s How to Travel The World For Free… *Almost*

So! In case you haven’t noticed, I’ve made it pretty obvious that I’m happy to share with you how to travel the world for free, but it’s not totally for free. Hence the use of “almost” being used. When I say you can travel the world for free, it’s not literal. It’s almost for free.

Women looking over the mountains on Yosemite road trip

These opportunities wouldn’t pay for your flight, every single meal, your “in between moments” where you’re looking for your next opportunity…etc. I won’t keep saying it, but yeah, you’ll learn how to travel the world for free here, but just know it’s not entirely free. I think you were smart enough to pick up on that though 🙂

Impatient? Here's a quick list of my TOP and FAV ways to travel for FREE:

how to travel around world for free


Exchange some time helping a local for free rent! Read more about this or click the button to sign up! (discount included at check out!)

how to travel around world for free

Trusted Housesitters

Watch cute pets, and get a free house abroad! Read more about this or click the button to sign up! (discount included at check out!)

how to travel around world for free

Travel Credit Cards

Get free flights and hotels with your points! Read more about this or click the button to sign up!

1. How to Travel for Free: Volunteer Exchanges

This is a popular choice for many who want to travel the world for free.

If you have a love for everything green, this is the volunteer position for you.

WWOOFing is a volunteer exchange program that connects people to organic farmers who need help on their farms. It’s an excellent way to learn skills about growing organically and helping people make these farms flourish with tons of fresh produce! All while getting a free room to sleep in and organic veggies in your belly. Win-win! No?

RELATED: 10 Jobs Abroad With Accommodation (& Without Experience!)

HelpX, Work Away, and Worldpackers

These are some of my personal favorites on this list. I have been a HelpX-er before and it was an awesome experience! I got to live in Pai, one of my favorite spots, and the work was easy and fun. Not to mention I had a sweet house in the mountains with a kitchen (YAY! Another money saver), a mango orchid in my backyard, and the cutest puppies as my neighbors. Heaven!

volunteer exchange abroad

These websites require a small fee to join but it’s well worth it. What these sites provide is an opportunity to connect with people around the world who are willing to exchange some shelter and food for your help. Worldpackers has become my favorite because they have a massive selection, not as much competition as WorkAway, and an overall better setup and insurance.

  • Worldpackers – Get $10 off with code NINA10! ( Read more on Worldpackers here )

The positions range from helping out at a B&B, running a guesthouse, doing some gardening work, to teaching in an underprivileged school, helping someone build a house, and helping take care of animals. The jobs and benefits have a wide range. Some offer just shelter, some food, some both, some might have other benefits. Sometimes you stay at the guesthouse, sometimes they have a room for you. You have to check it out for yourself.

Woman working on laptop with view of Lake Atitlan, Guatemala

You can look at the jobs on the website before you buy the membership for the nominal fee. You can even wait to purchase it until you find a job you want to apply to. It’s a great way to connect with people, help them, and a great how to travel for free hack!

Of course, you will also get to know some locals and immerse yourself in the culture during your time. A HUGE added bonus!

  • It’s worth noting that the people who post the jobs get reviews so you can make sure the work was fair and the conditions were what was advertised.
  • Make sure to see when they signed in last. If it’s been a year, you’ll likely not get a response.
  • Don’t send a blanket statement essentially saying, “Hey, I’m trying to travel the world for free and get free shit while in ____ so can I work at your place?” Noooo. Remember you’re going to a locals home or place of business! You’re a stranger. Write a nice introduction, include reasons why you’d be a good choice, and make sure the communication is clear so you don’t get there and have an unwelcomed surprise waiting for you.

These three choices are the epitome of how to travel the world for free!

RELATED: Worldpackers Review: Doing a Work Exchange For Free Rent!

Peace Corps

So you’re super hardcore and don’t mind jet-setting for at least two years? Want to help people around the world?

Good for you! The  Peace Corps  gives great benefits for those who join and commit, and opportunities are plentiful. The process might be a bit long but the rewarding positions are worth it. The position might have a small allowance and other benefits such as transportation and accommodation paid for as well.

Even student loan reimbursement is on the table depending on how long you participate in their programs!

An amazing choice and another way on how to travel for free, but it does take some work and a commitment.

2. How to Travel for Free: Living Situation

Everyone knows about  Couchsurfing . This is a given. If you’re too broke for accommodation, you Couchsurf. If you are in a cheaper country it may seem unnecessary to Couchsurf. Honestly, I haven’t used Couchsurfing very much for this reason, because the cost of accommodation is so low in many countries plus I value my privacy A LOT.

Not too many visit this Algarve beach, Praia do Martinhal

I’m happy to travel the world for free, but I’m OK paying for some things, like my own room.

If you’re not up for the couch-crashing then house sit. It seems so simple. There are actually tons of people who want you to house and pet sit for them and there are websites that help you see this process through.

Let me just repeat – You get a place for FREE and adorable animals to watch over. It’s amazing!

Trusted House Sitters is the website I use to help me travel for free and get my puppy and kitty cuddles in!

Besides being able to live there, you will have access to a kitchen which saves money on meals. Plus a home is way comfier than a hotel room, right?

Traveling for free isn't too hard!

READ MORE: An Honest TrustedHousesitters Review as a Remote Worker!

3. How to Travel for Free: Transportation

Seems silly to mention, but we spend a lot on transportation. How to travel for free when you’re too busy paying crazy prices for transportation?

Well, something I ALWAYS do, especially in pricey countries, is walk.

I always love walking because it’s not only free, but a great way to see what’s around me. If you are underground on a subway or whipping past in a car, how do you see and get to know the area you’re in? Take the time to walk more!

If it’s too far and you have some time, how about hitchhiking? I’ve done it plenty of times by accident. How? I just started walking intending to walk the distance but cars have stopped and offered me a ride. Sweet! Imagine if I was actually trying to hail someone? Free rides are another great to meet locals.

*Obviously be very careful using this and look up safety rules and if it’s accepted in the country you’re going to.

thailand transportation train

The practically free version: Use what the locals use. For example, songtaews in Thailand are a popular way for locals to get around. They cost less than $2 and sometimes as little as $.07!

Take an Uber, tuk-tuk, taxi, or metro and you’ll be paying way more! Of course, these will be necessary sometimes so use them only when needed.

4. Travel Hacking Can Help You Travel the World for Free

Sometimes, if you’re REALLY good at travel hacking, you can get parts of your trip for free or very little!

This usually involves using airline miles that you accumulate from using credit cards in a smart way.

Here’s EVERYTHING you need to know on which travel credit card I like using to help me travel for free. The #1 thing you must keep in mind is – DON’T get a travel credit card if you’re not going to pay it off every single month. It won’t be worth it! So be wise and charge carefully.

If you can manage that, then you’ll be earning points like crazy! I charge almost everything I can and pay it off each month. I earn plenty of points which in turn helps me travel for free!

I can travel the world cheaply with these tips.

Keep in mind some destinations are very much cashed based so at times, you might not be able to charge much, but you can pay online when you have the chance.

Check here for flight hacks and how I get cheap flights .

5. How to Travel For Free: Sightseeing

So how to travel for free when you’re actually out and about?

Most major cities have FREE walking tours. This is not only a great way to see something for free but it’s an awesome way to spend your first day so you can get to know the place you’re at. You’ll have a guide right there in front of you to ask questions to and you’ll maybe even meet a few friends!

Also, every single place on earth has beautiful places that don’t cost a dime.

woman with a dry bag

Don’t feel obligated to dive in the Silfra Fissure in Iceland, something that will gouge $250-300 USD out of your pocket! Opt to drive around and see literally everything else because it’s FREE. (And thankfully it is because Iceland is otherwise very expensive!)

This is just a small example, there’s always a way to spend money but there’s a lot of free stuff too. And when you travel for free in one place, it leaves you with more money for places that are harder to travel for free in so take your chance when you can.

6. Making Friends Can Help You Travel Cheaper

Making friends will ALWAYS make your costs go down. That tour that needs a minimum of four people on board to do, that taxi that’s the same price regardless if there are 1-4 people in the car, that hotel room that’s going to be pricey alone but will be half the price when you add another human… Everything gets more budget-friendly with friends, so make them, especially if you’re solo on the road!

Traveling the world for free isn't as hard as you think.

Are you awkward like me? Are you really crap at being outgoing and making friends? In comes Couchsurfing… again I haven’t used it much for actually crashing on someone’s couch, but I have used it to make friends! It’s a great way to connect with people who are traveling in the same city you are. There are even frequent meetups in some cities too. It doesn’t hurt to try and connect with others this way.

Another way you can make friends if you’re a bit shy is through Facebook groups. Just type in the region or country you’re traveling in and watch tons of groups populate! Join them and ask who is around *insert country/city.*

Oh, and sometimes, finding friends actually does make your travels free! Locals can be so kind and take you in and not accept a dime in return.

7. How to Travel For Less By Using The Seasons

If you Google “shoulder season” or “low season” for the country you want to visit when planning a trip , you’ll find that flights, hotels, and even activities can be discounted simply because you won’t be visiting during the high season.

Huay Chang Waterfall in Pai

Of course, weather is usually less desirable during the low season but more often than not, it’s fine! Thailand during the wet season really isn’t that much different than my home town in Florida. It only rained for a short period of time a few times a week in the late afternoon and usually only lasted an hour.

During shoulder season, the weather can be just as great as high season and is my favorite time to travel. It’s worth looking into and will often reward you with more budget-friendly choices and more availability too!

REALTED: How To Plan a Trip: 13 Step-by-Step Instructions

8. Skip a Night at a Hotel to Travel for Free

If you want a night off from shelling out cash for a hotel room each night, you should use overnight trains and buses or red-eye flights. They are an awesome way to get around!

how to travel around world for free

If you’re going from A to B, and it’s quite a few hours away, make sure to ask if there’s an overnight mode of transportation. Pay for that ticket, sleep on the bus, train (or even plane!), and then you don’t need to spend a night at a hotel. Easy!

9. Choose a Cheaper Country to Visit

Another way to significantly cut down on the costs of your trip is to choose your countries carefully. Plenty of places around the world are significantly cheaper, so if you’re on the fence on where to go – you might want to focus on some more affordable destinations.

Here are the cheapest places to live around the world!

Here are the cheapest places to visit around the world!

Backpacking Morocco around Chefchaouen.

10. What About a Job Abroad to Support That Travel Habit?

So maybe you want to take things a step further? You want to really get a job abroad so you can make some real money and wander about. Sounds good, that’s what I do most of the time! Check out these awesome jobs you can get abroad .

There are TONS of opportunities to live and work abroad . It’s literally my blog’s mission to make this more well known, especially for all my American people here. You guys are my biggest audience, have a badass passport to have, AND have the most opportunity! Yet, we travel and use these opportunities the least.

11. How to Travel for Free? Take My Tips Above and GO SLOWER!

My top tips for budgeting yourself smarter and on ways to travel for free are all above but my best tip is – TRAVEL SLOWER!

When you travel slower you spend less. No matter where you are, what you’re doing… You’ll save money and time, and if you work online or abroad , you’ll need to travel slower too. It gets too hectic to go quickly. I recommend staying a few months in each country.

The more you travel the country, the more you learn about it, which in turn, helps you become a savvier traveler in that country, saving you money! Check out my travel longer tips for even more money-saving tips.

Come on, guys! Get out there and travel! It doesn’t have to be expensive , especially with these tips. 🙂

So what’s the excuse now? Will you try some of these options out? Do you know any more tips on how to travel for free or practically free?

Nina Ragusa | Where in the World is Nina?

Nina Ragusa is an adventurer, messy bun master, breakfast fan, and full-time travel blogger. She’s been abroad since 2011 and blogging on Where in the World is Nina? for nearly as long. Nina helps people like you move around the world while making money. She loves talking about how to work abroad and online to travel longer!

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Wow! So educational and motivational post, Nina! I enjoyed reading it!

Yay thanks, Agness

  • Pingback: This is How I REALLY Afford to Live Abroad and Travel
  • Pingback: 10 Tips for Long-Term Traveler Wannabes

Thanks so much for these good suggestions! I have been researching HelpX and Workaway lately and am really interested in trying something like that soon.

They are great resources! Have fun ?

Thanks! I know, right! I’m more poor now and I get to travel compared to when I was working my ass off but not getting to enjoy life back home…Hmm… hard decision- poor but get to travel, or working my ass and miserable? 🙂

Ahhh great tips you have here. I always get questions from people how they can travel without a lot of money. Somehow people always think that you need to be rich to travel.

Hi Steven, why would being South African put you at a disadvantage? The Peace Corps may not apply to you, but everything else surely does! The other ideas are obtainable by nearly any nationality. I’m curious to know what make you think differently? 🙂

Thank you for all these suggestions. However, they seem to be geared more towards the American market. As a South African, which of these suggestions would I actually be able to pursue?

Great suggestions but I would add that collecting miles and points can often help you to travel to those places too – sometimes for free 🙂

Thanks Torsten! You’re 100% right. I actually mentioned that in another blog post about traveling on a budget. 🙂


I can’t wait to HelpX again! It’s awesome!

We helpxed in Italy and it was one of the most memorable experiences of my life. Seriously.

These are all great suggestions! I get so frustrated when friends back home say they’re envious of my nomadic lifestyle and tell me I’m lucky, because they could absolutely do the same if they wanted!

I know right! Exactly! 🙂

  • Pingback: 12+ Jobs Abroad Even You Can Get (Yes, I Mean You)

Matador Original Series

how to travel around world for free

This Free Hack Helps Solo Travelers Better Navigate Almost Every City Worldwide

W hen I’m exploring a new destination anywhere in the world, my first mission is to try to get acquainted with the local culture and become familiar with my surroundings.

One of my favorite ways to do this is by signing up for free walking tours in cities, also known as “pay what you can” tours. Plenty of organizations host free walking tours worldwide with local guides who can offer insight into their cities in exchange for tips (and appreciation) in a safe and social environment. In many cases, the guides are in training programs for tourism certifications, or the free walking tours may be funded by tourism boards trying to boost visitors to their destinations.

On the tours I’ve taken, from Athens, Greece, to Melbourne, Australia, I’ve met interesting people from across the world and explored parts of cities I may never be able to find on my own. And thanks to these walking tours, I’ve been introduced to great communities of like-minded adventurers.

Here’s what to know before embarking on one of the ultimate travel hacks perfect for outgoing (or not) travelers: free walking tours of cities and towns around the world.

How to stay safe

To stay safe, vet your tour source. If you’re staying at a hostel or backpacker hotel, there are often message boards in common areas advertising legitimate, ongoing tours offered by trusted sources. Sometimes, hostels even offer them for free to guests as an added perk of staying there.

If you’re searching online, ensure the company is rated and reviewed by authentic travelers on a trustworthy website. Examples of a few tour sites I’ve used Freetour.com , GuruWalk , and Generation Tours . Official tourism board websites for destinations often also list tours. For example, you can find “Paris Greeters” free walking tours in Paris on the official “ I love Paris ,” website, and there are tons of free walking tours in NYC .

As always, steer clear if your gut tells you something is off. Never meet someone at an isolated location or at an awkward time. Free walking tours are common enough around the world that finding them should be pretty easy.

General etiquette for free walking tours

tourists on a free walking tour in lisbon

Tourists on a Free Walking Tour in Lisbon Portugal run by the company Lisbon Chill-Out Free Tour. Photo: Glen Berlin /Shutterstock

Even in countries that tend not to have a tipping culture, from my experience, guides on most free walking tours are volunteers, meaning they aren’t being paid for their time and the only compensation they’ll get is from tips. So if you’re able, tip accordingly. Cash is king when it comes to tipping abroad .

Avoid leaving the tour early or without warning, especially if it’s a small group. The guide will likely be concerned about losing people, and you don’t want to disrupt the rest of the group’s experience just because you had a set lunch reservation time or weren’t interested in doing the whole tour. It’s also respectful to the guide to stay the whole time (and not talk when he or she is talking).

Tips for free walking tours around the world

rainy free walking tour bogota, colombia

Check the weather before you go, and be prepared to spend several hours outside. Photo: Felipe Mahecha /Shutterstock

Go to your tour prepared for an adventure. Tours can range between 90 minutes to a few hours, depending on how well the group gets along and how fast you move. Some tours are longer than others, and sometimes it depends on how much the group is chatting and what they’re interested in. It also depends on what the tour guide has planned for that day, and the terrain you’re walking through as some cities are known to be more hilly than others (hello, San Francisco). Comfortable shoes make for a more enjoyable trek. I’ve walked up to five miles, and been on tours that were just over three hours long.

If you get sunburned easily, bring sunscreen, a couple of layers in case it gets chilly, and an umbrella, if you’re in a destination known for its wet climate, like London, Seattle, or just about anywhere in Norway.

Carrying water and snacks is also a good idea. Some guides plan for a break halfway through for tour-goers to use the bathroom or grab a quick bite to eat, but it’s easier to bring something with you, leaving that break for one-on-one chatting with your (presumably) knowledgeable tour guide.

Why I love free walking tours

guide on a a free walking tour with colorful umbrella

Photo: EvaL Miko /Shutterstock

As you can probably tell, I recommend these tours to everyone, whether you’re a young backpacker or a DINK couple jetting around the world. Here’s why.

They’re my favorite way to meet like-minded travelers

There’s a strong chance if you’re doing a free walking tour by yourself (or traveling by yourself, for that matter), you’re an outgoing person. You’re probably interested in meeting new people and having authentic, non-manufactured experiences in new destinations.

From my experience, most people who go on these tours are either solo traveling or traveling in pairs, which can be an excellent opportunity to meet one or two like-minded friends for the remainder of your time in the city. Sometimes, the guides are also very social, and are up for hanging out after the tour, or can at least give you the scoop on where solo travelers tend to congregate.

Guides are your best source for info about a city

young guide speaking in front of a musuem on a free walking tour

Guides are locals who know way more than any guidebook — and are the type of people who enjoy chatting with strangers, like you. Photo: Preisler /Shutterstock

The various free walking tours I’ve taken have all had another benefit: they allow you to pick a local expert’s brain for recommendations on restaurants, bars, and attractions, including harder-to-find information, like when museums offer free entry or bars host live music.

There’s a good chance the tour guide’s suggestions for the best (or cheapest, or coolest) local watering holes might not be in the travel guides, and can be great places to meet locals or expats. You may even find yourself hanging out at the last stop with your fellow tour participants or the guides themselves.

Being on a tour with a local allows you to see the city through the lens of someone who knows the city well, and knows what kinds of people will like various bars, restaurants, or attractions. But they’re also people who welcome tourists and are happy to share their town with visitors, so they’re going to give you honest recommendations, instead of sending you to the touristy places that give them kick-backs when you mention their names.

For example, while on a tour in Melbourne, my guide was a local university student who shared suggestions on everywhere to grab a drink, from trendy underground speakeasies to the most affordable dive bars and places well-known for being safe LGBTQ+ and BIPOC hangouts. I actually went back to one of her recommendations that night with someone from my tour – something that happens frequently when I travel.

You might get extra discounts

Of course, you don’t want a guide who is going to send you to the lunchtime pizza place in Rome that only has menus in English. But if you listen to their recommendations, you may get the locals discount.

In Athens, Greece, our guide was friends with the man who owned one of his local favorite restaurants. When we walked in, you could tell they were buddies, rather than it being some business exchange where every guide in town is sending tourists there. He ended our tour at the restaurant, and the owner gave everyone on the tour a discount. That made us stay longer, eat and drink more, and build deeper connections with each other.

Even if your guide doesn’t know business owners by name, they probably at least know what places in the city have happy hours, discounts, or other good deals for budget travelers.

They make starting conversations feel more natural

free walking tours - friends taking photos for each other on observation deck

Asking someone to take your photo can start a conversation. Photo: Ekaterina Pokrovsky /Shutterstock

There’s usually a fair amount of free time to chat while walking from landmark to landmark on these free walking tours. It can be intimidating to put yourself out there, but asking your tour-mate questions – “ What else have you been doing in the city so far ?” “ Is there anything you’re looking forward to ?” “ What made you to decide to visit place ?” – is a good way to start natural conversations, and maybe learn something new about the destination. Even asking someone to take your photo can be a conversation starter.

There’s a chance you’ll find someone with a common interest, from a deep love of Spanish tapas to a bowling obsession to speaking Greek as a second language. If you get along well and the timing works out, it may be the first of many conversations with a new friend who shares similar tastes. It helps to have WhatsApp downloaded on your phone if you’re outside of the US, as that’s the easiest way to communicate with travelers with phone numbers from other countries.

They eliminate language barriers

From my experience, it doesn’t matter whether your tour group is large or small. They’re always great ways to connect with other travelers, especially since tours are offered in specific languages. So if you’re taking a free walking tour in English, the other people on your tour will also speak English, no matter where in the world you are.

During your tour, don’t be afraid to speak up and ask questions. It shows the guides that you’re interested, which drives them to share even more information. And curiosity can connect you with other travelers with common queries, sparking conversations and encouraging other people to speak up, too.

New friends can be future travel buddies

chatting tour mates on a free walking tour in australia

You’ll likely meet other outgoing people who you can travel with short- or long-term. Photo: Ben Wehrman /Shutterstock

Another easy way to initiate a conversation is by asking people on the tour where they’re from. People usually enjoy sharing stories about themselves and their backgrounds, and I’ve met multiple people who had similar mindsets on travel, as well as similar backgrounds. I’ve met people who live in places in the US I’ve always been interested in visiting, and we’ve connected so well that I know I’ll be reaching out to them when I make it to their hometowns back in the States.

how to travel around world for free

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How to Travel the World for Free – Top 11 Tested Ideas (+ Get Paid to Travel!)

how to travel around world for free

Our articles are based on real experiences, with no sponsorship from hostels 🙏 Learn more .

No doubt every traveller considers ways to travel the world that involve spending as little money as possible. But have you ever wondered about how to travel the world for free!?

It’s totally possible in this day and age, dear readers!

Forget selling your soul to a job you hate. And holidaying for 2 weeks of the year is outdated.

Read : 39 Simple and effective Travel Safety Tips

Budget travel is certainly our main focus in this guide. Yet it doesn’t mean having to skimp on accommodation or eat poorly, oh no.

Have you seen our collection of 5 Star Hostels ? Great design, phenomenal privacy-led dorms, social events and a reasonable price tag – all and more to support your quest to travel the world.

Whether you plan on travelling solo, as a couple or with your family; we’re here to tell you how to travel for cheap. We’ve got tricks up our sleeve that will have you exchanging wealth for experiences, meeting awesome people along the way.

Here are a few other handy guides we’ve designed with long-term and budget travel in mind:

  • Long-Term Travel Insurance? A simple step-by-step guide
  • iVisa.com in Review – your visa for around the world
  • Smart Packing List for 2024 (23 clever things to pack)
  • Skyscanner in Review – Cheap flights & booking hack

In this guide we cover:

  • Volunteer with Worldpackers & WWOOF
  • Housesit (+ pet sitting!)
  • Meet great people by Hitch-Hiking
  • Grab yourself a Car Relocation
  • Work for Accommodation at your favourite Hostel
  • Try out Wild Camping
  • Get Crafty & Sell your Creations
  • Teach English as a Foreign Language (TEFL)
  • Get a Seasonal Job in the mountains
  • Festival Hop around the World
  • Write for Hostelgeeks or other Sites

1. Volunteer with Worldpackers & WWOOF

Promo Code : Use promo code ‘Hostelgeeks’ for Worldpackers and recieve a $10 discount on your annual subscription.

Read : Our full, honest Review of Worldpackers

In case you were wondering, we don’t mean woof like a dog whilst you volunteer. That would just be weird.

We’re talking about World Wide Opportunities on Organic Farms = WWOOF!

Volunteering is such a good way to save money. When you give your time to help a certain project, in most cases you will be housed and fed in return.

So all you need to worry about money wise is getting to/fro the volunteer placement.

Websites such as Worldpackers and WWOOF offer a safe and secure platform for volunteers and hosts to connect, keep in touch and arrange a suitable agreement for exchange of time and skills.

Whilst WWOOF focus on organic farming, on Worldpackers you will find all sorts of volunteering opportunities. Here is a a good comparison guide and review of Worldpackers .

Important : always communicate via the platform and not via personal email or by phone. This helps keep you safe and email conversations can be monitored by the organisation at all times.

From teaching English and earth building , to helping in rural villages and animal care . The possibilities are endless and spread all across the world!

Many hostels also offer volunteering jobs. Here is our guide how to score a volunteering job at hostels .

Our top tips when choosing to volunteer are…

1. Commit to at least 3+ weeks

It takes time to settle in.

It takes time to get to know people. In our experience, if the longer you spend at a placement, the better. We’d go as far as saying that you shouldn’t book a return flight and allow yourself the freedom to extend (and extend).

2. Have the right mindset

Sure, you’re essentially working for free.

But that doesn’t mean you can do a lazy job and treat your hosts like parents. Remember: many people would kill to be in your shoes, and you’re being given a roof over your head and food for your belly.

3. Arrange a Skype before you go

Though the experience might sound incredible, the people you’ll be working with/for are an important factor.

If possible, have a chat with the hosts and get a feel for them. It’s often a long way to travel, so best that’s is worth it.

4. Check feedback (+ leave some)

This is a great way to get an idea whether the placement is for you.

Most listings will have feedback, but there is of course a chance that you find some that are new and you may be the first volunteer.

That’s when we strongly suggest following tip #3. Don’t forget to leave honest feedback once you’ve left – help your fellow travellers and thank your hosts!

How to travel the world for free? Give your time and do some volunteering

2. Housesit (+ pet sitting!)

Answering the question of how to travel on a budget just gets so much easier when you don’t have to spend a penny on a bed and have free accommodation instead!

For those that travel long-term or full time, sometimes it’s just nice to wind down, spread out and get away from people, right?

We’ve been there.

Let us introduce to you the idea of house sitting and pet sitting – the two often go hand in hand, especially with Trusted House Sitters .

Here’s the deal : you agree to look after someone’s house/pets/garden for a certain period of time, and you get to live there during that time. No bills to pay, you sort your own food.

We’ve written a full review of TrustedHousesitters – check it out.

It has become a popular thing and there are now so many sites offering this opportunity across the world, for different periods of time.

Whether you’d like to housesit close to home for a few days, or travel to another country for a few months – there are options for everyone.

The top house sitting and pet sitting sites to consider, include:

  • #1 : Trusted House Sitters
  • Kiwi House Sitters , (+ an Australian, UK, Canada and USA version by the same company)
  • Mind My House
  • Housesit Match

In our experience starting off was quite easy, even though we didn’t have any references. A friendly phone call goes a long way. Obviously the more experience and 5* feedback you have, the easier it becomes.

Top tip : put some effort into writing up a great profile. Mention what you like doing, your experience and reasons for wanting to house sit. Include as many photos as you can, including any interactions with animals and garden care.

3. Meet great people by Hitch-Hiking

Let’s face it, public transport can become quite costly if you’re moving around a lot.

So, why not give hitchhiking a try?

Ok ok, so you’ve heard it’s dangerous and you’d rather not get abducted in the middle of nowhere. Fair enough.

But with the right precautions, hitchhiking can be a great way to travel and save money. We’ve met some amazing locals and fellow travellers, and ended up visiting places we’d never have seen otherwise.

We’ve been given homemade kombucha, taken to a river for a swim and offered a place to sleep.

Stay safe and hitchhike following these tips:

  • Hitchhiking is safer in groups of 2+ people 2. Stick to hitching on main roads between places 3. Avoid hitching at night time 4. Listen to your intuition – don’t get in the car if something doesn’t feel right 5. Give yourself too much time (it can be a slow process)

Always do your research. Some countries are more known for hitching than others. Trust your friend Google and check out Hitch Wiki for help on good places to stand.

How to travel the world for free? Try hitchhiking between destinations

4. Grab yourself a Car Relocation

Alright, this one is super cool and another great answer on how to travel the world for free.

If you’re still dubious about hitchhiking but love overland travel, then signing up for a car relocation will put an end to your worries about getting around for cheap/free.

How does it work?

Basically, you decide a trip from A to B, check to see if there is a car/campervan that needs relocating, and then apply to be the driver.

More often than not you get to relocate for FREE (or $1 per day) over a set amount of days. Sometimes fuel is paid for and if there is a ferry crossing the driver gets a free ticket.

It’s also possible to extend the trip by adding days for an extra cost.

We’ve ended up driving some seriously fancy cars that we’d never afford to drive otherwise!

Restrictions to be aware of:

  • Driver usually has to be 21+ years old
  • A refundable bond needs to be paid ($100-$500 usually)
  • KMs allowed to drive is usually capped
  • In a lot of cases, only Credit Cards are accepted for booking

Transfercar is a brilliant company we’ve used a few times. They operate in Australia, New Zealand, Unites States, Canada and South Africa.

Imoova is a great option for moving around the UK and Europe.

How to travel the world for free? Grab yourself a Relocation Car

5. Work for Accommodation at your favourite Hostel

Let’s talk about hostels; our favourite subject!

Frankly, you’ve landed on the only website you need to discover the absolute best hostels in the world.

Before you go : have a look at all of our ‘Best Hostels in …’ guides.

Hostels are great for saving money, meeting people, having fun and getting to know a place at a more personal level thanks to helpful, local staff.

Read : How do be the Worst Hostel Guest Ever? Here is your 22-step recipe

And! In many cases, hostels are in need for travellers to work in exchange for accommodation.

Usually, all they expect is a few hours each day to help with cleaning. In return, you get to stay in a shared dorm for free. In our experience, a minimum commitment of 2 weeks is required.

A great way to find hostel jobs is

  • Worldpackers (use promo code HOSTELGEEKS for a $10 discount )
  • Workingholiday
  • hosteljobs.net

New to hostels or not sure which hostel type is for you? Let us help:

  • 7 Types of Hostels – Party, Boutique + 5 Star Hostels
  • Hostel Room Types – What are the differences?
  • What is a Hostel? 12 Definitions

Top tip : if you’re actively seeking work-for-accommodation, contact the hostel personally to find out if this is something they offer before heading there.

It’s also worth checking their website and social media channels to see if they advertise on there. Some hostels use HelpX to find help.

Caveland , the 5 Star Hostel in Santorini actually offers to work in their hostel for a season. In the case of Caveland, you will need to apply for a job by the end of the year as interviews are happening in early January.

Ani&Haakien Hostel, Was ist ein Hostel? 11 Definitionen und 1 klare Antwort

6. Try out Wild Camping

Depending on where you decide to travel, wild camping is a fun option for ways to travel the world for free.

All you need to invest in before you set off is a good sleeping bag and lightweight tent and you’re set!

Before you pitch up in someone’s backyard or accidentally create a brown patch on a golf course; do your research!

Each country has its rules when it comes to camping. In some places it’s illegal, in others it’s encouraged in certain areas, following certain rules. And sometimes, the rules are worth breaking for that spectacular camp spot (as long as you clean up after yourself)!

Living or travelling in a van? Camping for free is still possible. It’s particularly popular in countries such as Australia and New Zealand.

Handy app : WikiCamps is the perfect travelling buddy for camping wild and free.

The other option is to save some coins and opt for an official campsite instead of a hostel/hotel.

How to travel the world for free? Try out Wild Camping

7. Get Crafty & Sell your Creations

Hey you! Yes you: the one that’s about to scroll this part because you’re ‘not creative’. Come back here.

This is your chance to learn a new skill and try your hand at something creative. If it means earning a bit of money on the road, what have you got to lose?

There are so many avenues for offering up something unique and intriguing that people will want to part money for.

From making jewellery , creating cards , painting , sketching people and tarot card reading. To busking , offering workshops and playing music to win a competition. Why not write a travel blog and leave a link for people to donate for your daily coffee needs?

Get clever, get inspired, and put yourself out there.

If nothing else, you’re sure to meet other budding creatives and develop your expressive self-love.

How to travel the world for free? Sell your creativity

8. Teach English as a Foreign Language (TEFL)

Who hasn’t daydreamed about whisking off to some foreign country to surround themselves by little kids in a classroom setting? I know I have!

In fact, I went one step further and made it happen.

No experience with teaching English, let alone children? Believe it or not, that’s actually no problem at all. It’s possible to become a TEFL teacher even without a degree.

Though native English speakers are preferred, as long as you are fluent it’s possible to get a job teaching English.

First things first; get yourself enrolled on a TEFL course.

There are SO many online companies offering this, so we won’t list them here. Take some time and do some research and find the one that’s right for you.

This page here will help explain how TEFL works . Basically, there are 6 simple steps you need to take:

  • Enrol your chosen course (there is plenty!)
  • study and master it
  • finish the course
  • Write a good CV and start applying for jobs
  • Have Online interviews
  • Choose your role & let’s go.

Next up, once you’re qualified, have a look at TEFL.com for job opportunities across the globe.

Read : How to find travel jobs

Before you know it, you’ll be living in some far flung country being paid to have fun all day. That’s the life!

How to travel the world for free? Teach English as a Foreign Language

9. Get a Seasonal Job in the mountains

Now let’s look at a fun way to get paid to travel.

How does spending the winter season working as a chalet host sound? Or perhaps picking fruit all summer long? What about working at a summer camp in the USA?

Working a season or two is definitely about the lifestyle and not about the money.

It’s your chance to spend all day outside doing what you love with good people and way too much food. And wine!

Hours can be long, days can start super early. Yet you’ll also get an awesome tan and make friends that will last you a lifetime.

Have a look at Anywork Anywhere and Season Workers for some current opportunities that will get you booking that flight in no time.

How to travel the world for free? Do some seasonal work

10. Festival Hop around the World

Lastly on our list of how to travel the world for free, we recommend volunteering your time at festivals around the world.

This is actually a very clever idea. Festivals typically run during the summer months, right? So you need to follow summer as she moves!

No matter what your festival style, there is always a big need for more helping hands.

Usually you are asked to work a set number of hours, say 12-16 hours, and in return you are given entry and camping for the entire festival. Pretty sweet deal, if you ask us.

Link the festival dates up with house-sitting, and hitchhike with other festival-goers to the site. Sorted.

What are you waiting for?

How to travel the world for free? Fesitval hop around the world

11. Write for Hostelgeeks or Other Sites

This is not really a way to travel for free, but to earn some money to travel more.

From time to time, we at Hostelgeeks are looking for new writers. Simply check our site here for more details.

Pretty much everyone of our writers is location independent and travels the world as his/her own pace.

And it is not just our site that needs and wants writers to deliver fantastic content. There are many more.

This can be sites like Hostelz.com, Hostelworld.com, Worldpackers and so many more.

How to apply?

Well, this is the tricky part. Personally, we love it when a writer contacts us via Instagram and asks if we need a helping hand with cool content. this gives us the opportunity to directly check their insta site. Is this girl/boy a traveler, a backpacker, or more a poshy-suitcase-5-star-resort-traveler. You get the idea.

Many other sites have online application forms as well. Just check google. Type in the name of the outlet and the “write for us”. You could also randomly search Google for websites to write for. For this, type in Google “travel” “website” “write” “paid writer”. You can adapt this method obviously.

Contribute - Travel Writers Wanted for guest post

Summary of How to Travel the World for Free

By now you should have lots of inspiration on how to travel for free. Free travel, travel hacking, travel tips, how to score a free room – it has all been covered in this helpful guide.

Read : Backpacking for Beginners? Mistakes to avoid

How to travel the world for free?

  • Try house sitting and pet sitting
  • Sign up for a Car Relocation
  • Work for hostel accommodation
  • Go wild camping
  • Sell your creations
  • Teach English
  • Get a seasonal job
  • Festival hop
  • Write for Websites to earn €

No doubt there are many many more creative solutions and ways. Traveling the world opens up a whole host of unexpected opportunities!

Do you have any more suggestions we have failed to include?

What’s your favourite way of saving money and having fun whilst you’re traveling?

This is your chance to share your best kept travel hacks and help fellow travelers on their journey. The world is big enough for everyone, after all.

pin for later

A complete guide on how to travel the world for free for all traveller types and budget travellers

We are 100% Independent: Some links on Hostelgeeks are so-called affiliate links. If you decide to book through these links, we earn a small commission at no extra cost to you . Your support allows us to keep producing high-quality, independent content free of influence from hostels or external advertisers. Learn more here . 🙏

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Nice tips, super handy to know 😉

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Women Blazing Trails

Women Blazing Trails

Wanna Get Paid to Travel the World? Here Are 10 Cool Ways to Do It

Posted: November 29, 2023 | Last updated: November 29, 2023

<p>So, you want to get paid to travel the world? You’re not alone! In fact, there are more and more ways to earn money while traveling or to travel for free. A little creativity, an adventurous spirit, and some determination can get you pretty far around the world.</p> <p>If you’re passionate about learning how to travel for free and how to make money while traveling, don’t put limitations on your thinking. Let this list get your creative juices flowing and open up a world of possibilities (quite literally).</p>

So, you want to get paid to travel the world? You’re not alone! In fact, there are more and more ways to earn money while traveling or to travel for free. A little creativity, an adventurous spirit, and some determination can get you pretty far around the world.

If you’re passionate about learning how to travel for free and how to make money while traveling, don’t put limitations on your thinking. Let this list get your creative juices flowing and open up a world of possibilities (quite literally).

<p>You don’t necessarily have to start your own blog to write about travel. Hundreds of sites will pay you to write about your travels for them. If you have excellent writing skills and you’re ready to start pitching your travel stories, start looking for blogs, magazines, and other travel sites that pay freelance travel writers.</p>

Become a Freelance Travel Writer

You don’t necessarily have to start your own blog to write about travel. Hundreds of sites will pay you to write about your travels for them. If you have excellent writing skills and you’re ready to start pitching your travel stories, start looking for blogs, magazines, and other travel sites that pay freelance travel writers.

<p>If you want to get paid to go on vacation, becoming a professional travel blogger might just be your piece of cake. While some may say that the travel blogging world is saturated, there is still somehow room for everyone, including you, to live the travel blogger lifestyle and reap the cash.</p> <p>Good writing skills and an entrepreneurial spirit are two keys to success in blogging. You won’t get free travel opportunities offered to you left and right on your first day, but with patience and time, becoming a travel blogger can really pay off.</p>

Get Paid to Be a Travel Blogger

If you want to get paid to go on vacation, becoming a professional travel blogger might just be your piece of cake. While some may say that the travel blogging world is saturated, there is still somehow room for everyone, including you, to live the travel blogger lifestyle and reap the cash.

Good writing skills and an entrepreneurial spirit are two keys to success in blogging. You won’t get free travel opportunities offered to you left and right on your first day, but with patience and time, becoming a travel blogger can really pay off.

<p>This is an overlooked option. Not all careers can be worked remotely, but with all the technology we have now and companies becoming more accustomed to remote workers, this might be the perfect fit for you.</p><p>While you can find remote positions on classic job search sites, you’ll probably have much better luck if you search on a site-specific to remote jobs.</p>

Work Remotely in Your Current Field

This is an overlooked option. Not all careers can be worked remotely, but with all the technology we have now and companies becoming more accustomed to remote workers, this might be the perfect fit for you.

While you can find remote positions on classic job search sites, you’ll probably have much better luck if you search on a site-specific to remote jobs.

<p>Do you have an eye for photography? You can offer your services as a freelance photographer for events such as weddings, birthdays, and corporate events. Have fun with your camera and make money while you’re at it!</p>

Travel Photography

Yes, becoming a travel photographer can be very profitable if you have a high-quality camera and some photography experience. If you can land high-paying clients like National Geographic, photographing wildlife can be a cash cow (except I recommend you take pictures of animals other than cows).

Following some major travel photographers on Instagram can be inspirational and also educational as you watch and learn from people who are already living your dream.

<p>A virtual assistant is just like it sounds: you assist someone else with a variety of administrative tasks, typically from your computer. Some virtual assistants work essentially as personal assistants, and others specialize in a particular skill, such as managing and growing someone’s social media accounts.</p>

Become a Virtual Assistant

A virtual assistant is just like it sounds: you assist someone else with a variety of administrative tasks, typically from your computer. Some virtual assistants work essentially as personal assistants, and others specialize in a particular skill, such as managing and growing someone’s social media accounts.

<p>Do you love being on the water and cruising around the world on a boat? Have you thought about working on a cruise ship? You can make pretty good money, plus your food and accommodations are fully covered. Some cruise lines even offer free medical insurance. Because you won’t have very many expenses (if any at all), working for a cruise line can be an incredible way to make money and save money simultaneously.</p>

Work on a Cruise Ship

Do you love being on the water and cruising around the world on a boat? Have you thought about working on a cruise ship? You can make pretty good money, plus your food and accommodations are fully covered. Some cruise lines even offer free medical insurance. Because you won’t have very many expenses (if any at all), working for a cruise line can be an incredible way to make money and save money simultaneously.

<p>If you’re a native English speaker, you can teach English as a second language to people in foreign countries. Depending on the program, you’ll need a bachelor’s degree and possibly an online certificate course. You don’t need any teaching experience or a traditional teaching certificate, and any other information you do need, you’ll learn through the online certificate course. A simple Google search will get you started.</p>

Teach English as a Second Language

If you’re a native English speaker, you can teach English as a second language to people in foreign countries. Depending on the program, you’ll need a bachelor’s degree and possibly an online certificate course. You don’t need any teaching experience or a traditional teaching certificate, and any other information you do need, you’ll learn through the online certificate course. A simple Google search will get you started.

<p>Explore another city, visit the top destinations, and become a local expert? Yes, please! Becoming a tour guide might just be one of the most exciting ways to get paid to travel abroad, especially if you’re an extrovert or you really enjoy being around other people. Take a look at the tour guide jobs available in another city or country. There are so many ways that people enjoy seeing a city, including Segway tours, walking tours, bus tours, and so much more!</p>

Become a Flight Attendant

Explore another city, visit the top destinations, and become a local expert? Yes, please! Becoming a tour guide might just be one of the most exciting ways to get paid to travel abroad, especially if you’re an extrovert or you really enjoy being around other people. Take a look at the tour guide jobs available in another city or country. There are so many ways that people enjoy seeing a city, including Segway tours, walking tours, bus tours, and so much more!

<p>If earning money isn’t your priority and you just want to know how to travel for free, your best option is to volunteer. You get to live and work at various locations. While you won’t get paid, your hosts will open up their homes and dinner tables to you in exchange for your help. WorkAway offers a broader range of educational and cultural experiences, not just agriculture. Help out your local hosts for a few hours in exchange for food and board for as many days as you choose, and explore the city in your spare time.</p>

Volunteer Around the World

If earning money isn’t your priority and you just want to know how to travel for free, your best option is to volunteer. You get to live and work at various locations. While you won’t get paid, your hosts will open up their homes and dinner tables to you in exchange for your help. WorkAway offers a broader range of educational and cultural experiences, not just agriculture. Help out your local hosts for a few hours in exchange for food and board for as many days as you choose, and explore the city in your spare time.

<ul>   <li><a href="https://womenblazingtrails.com/puerto-vallarta-travel-tips/">7 Puerto Vallarta Travel Tips For a Stressfree Holiday</a></li>  </ul>

7 Puerto Vallarta Travel Tips For a Fun and Stressfree Holiday

Is PV safe? When is the best time to go? What kind of fun things can I do there? This article answers those questions and many more. If you’re heading to Puerto Vallarta, you’ll find lots of helpful tips here.

  • 7 Puerto Vallarta Travel Tips For a Stressfree Holiday

<ul>   <li><a href="https://womenblazingtrails.com/most-affordable-places-to-retire/">10 Most Affordable Places to Retire in 2023</a></li>  </ul>

  • 10 Most Affordable Places to Retire in 2023

If you’ve been thinking about packing up and enjoying your retirement in another country, this article will help. Here are the 10 most affordable countries to retire to in 2023.

<ul>   <li><a href="https://womenblazingtrails.com/10-ways-to-get-paid-to-travel-the-world/">10 Ways to Get Paid to Travel the World</a></li>  </ul>

  • 10 Ways to Get Paid to Travel the World

Retired but still want to make some money on the side and travel? This one is for you. Here are 10 brilliant and easy ways to travel the world and get paid to do it!

<ul>   <li><a href="https://womenblazingtrails.com/travel-journal-ideas-and-prompts/">35 Travel Journal Ideas and Prompts</a></li>  </ul>

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What better way to keep track of your traveling, your bucket list trips, and so much more than to make sure you have a travel journal on hand? Here are 35 travel journal ideas and prompts to keepsake your adventures.

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how to travel around world for free

Amidst reports this week that federal officials are considering changing COVID-19 isolation guidelines, experts offered reminders that the coronavirus remains dangerous, killing more than 1,000 people a week nationwide and more than 2,000 a week as of last month.

But the approach to prevention has shifted now that most Americans have been infected and vaccinated at least once.

There are also treatments available for the most vulnerable, though they are dangerously underused and most of the people who end up hospitalized are among the vulnerable groups who missed the opportunity to get an updated vaccine or a timely treatment, experts say.

"We're not going to prevent COVID anymore ‒ people are going to get COVID," said Dr. Anand Parekh, chief medical adviser for the Bipartisan Policy Center, a think tank.

But what's important is preventing hospitalizations, severe illness and deaths in the face of a virus that "is much more transmissible than the flu or than a regular rhinovirus that gives you the common cold," he said.

So how hard should you be trying to avoid COVID-19 and what should you do if you get it?

That depends on your level of risk and risk tolerance, experts say.

"The science hasn't changed, but the public's perception (has) and the willingness of the public to inconvenience themselves has definitely dropped since the early days of the pandemic," said Dr. Daniel Griffin, an infectious disease specialist with Optum and a co-host of the podcast "This Week in Virology."

Even early in the pandemic when 2,000 people were dying daily in New York, the vast majority of Americans decided that isolating themselves when they fell ill was inconvenient, he said.

About 75% of people typically hide their illnesses when they are sick even though they know it might be harmful to others, because they don't want to miss out, especially on social activities, according to a recent study.

"People are already going to the office, they're going to school, they're taking their antihistamine, so no one notices," he said.

Most people have been quick to forget the lessons learned during four years of the pandemic, Griffin said. "For the elderly, for the immunocompromised, we're turning back to our previous rugged individual approach to public health."

What should you do if you get sick?

Anyone who has a respiratory illness ‒ a cough, stuffy nose, often a fever ‒ should assume they have either COVID-19, the flu, or RSV, each of which kills tens of thousands of vulnerable Americans a year, said Dr. Paul Offit, a pediatrician and infectious disease specialist at the Children's Hospital of Philadelphia.

"We've added COVID-19 to the pantheon of winter respiratory viruses," he said.

Offit recommends that people at risk for severe disease from COVID-19, including those who are pregnant, immunocompromised, or over 65, get tested quickly if they develop these symptoms so they can benefit from the very effective available treatments : Paxlovid and the antiviral Molnupiravir.

People who are not at high risk should assume they have one of these highly contagious infections and wear a mask to protect the vulnerable, he said.

Dr. William Schaffner, an infectious disease specialist at Vanderbilt University School of Medicine, said he's one of the few people in his Nashville, Tennessee, region still masking in public. He and his wife are caring for a family member undergoing chemotherapy for cancer and he doesn't want to bring anything home.

Schaffner said the government should offer more attention and support for treating high-risk people who catch COVID-19. Many doctors are hesitant to prescribe Paxlovid even to extremely vulnerable patients because they don't understand the medication, Schaffner said. He said he wished there was a "911 equivalent" that doctors could call for advice.

Parekh, speaking on Day 9 of his own mild COVID-19 infection, said the current system assumes people at high risk will be willing and able to go through "nine hoops to get Paxlovid."

When is it OK to return to work?

Still testing positive but with a faint red line, Parekh, from the Bipartisan Policy Center, said he'd stayed home for the first three days and then benefitted from a weekend before coming to work wearing an N95 mask to conform to CDC guidelines.

"I've been asking myself, just in terms of the convenience, how other people could do this," said Parekh, acknowledging that not everyone can work from home or time their infection for a weekend.

He's worried that much of the public is now a few years away from their last vaccination and people are not staying home if they're sick, so it's likely that "a lot more people potentially could be walking around with COVID-19 and be infectious."

Still, many people don't have the luxury of taking a day off work.

On a recent trip, Offit saw ‒ and heard ‒ an airport cleaner sniffling, sneezing and coughing. He watched people's faces change as they saw the man and they quickly moved away.

"If we value human life," he said, "we should make it easier for people" who are sick to take a day off. It would also save businesses money in the long run if one sick worker didn't get all their co-workers sick, he said.

"But at the very least, he should have worn a mask," Offit said of the airport worker.

What about testing?

Dr. Michael Mina has been a fan of rapid testing since the earliest days of the pandemic and says they can still play a vital role in fighting COVID-19.

Mina, an epidemiologist and immunologist, said he thinks people should test themselves if they think they might have COVID-19 and stay at home if at all possible, if they test positive, particularly if the line is strongly red.

"If it's positive, especially if it's dark, you know you're infectious," said Mina, also chief science officer at eMed, a home testing company.

Typically, he said, people are most contagious in the first few days of an illness.

Mina's upset with new state regulations in California and Oregon – which may become a federal model. These rules say people should isolate only if they have a fever and other symptoms are mild or improving .

Fever is a terrible metric for deciding whether someone is contagious with COVID-19, Mina said. Many people are contagious without ever having symptoms or have symptoms other than fever.

Other people may feel quite sick with COVID-19, but the virus is contained in their gastrointestinal system, rather than shedding from their respiratory tract, so they wouldn't be contagious, he said. A test from a person in this scenario would show up negative.

"Symptoms alone have always been a poor indicator ‒ both positive symptoms and the absence of symptoms," Mina said.

Do people with COVID-19 need to isolate themselves?

Guidance from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention still calls for people to isolate themselves for five days if they test positive and then wear a mask in public for five more days.

There were reports this week that the guidance was about to change, but CDC officials said they're not ready to make a change yet.

Several experts said it makes sense to change the rules because few people are following the current guidelines.

Any change needs to be supported by lots of public communication Offit said.

"The CDC should be out in front of the media every other day and explain what's going on," he said. If they want to change a recommendation, they should be explaining the science behind that change and "keep pounding it out there."

The goal of any policy change should be to get people to isolate for the first two to three days of illness when people are the most contagious, said Griffin, an infectious disease specialist.

"If you can actually come up with guidance that more people will follow, you can effectively reduce the amount of people out there who are highly transmissible," he said.

Is it still worthwhile to get vaccinated?

Yes, all the experts say vaccination is still worth the effort and sore arm, particularly for people in high-risk groups or for anyone who doesn't want to miss an important life event, like a wedding or a trip.

Most Americans got their last shot more than a year ago, which means that when they catch COVID-19, the immunity they got from it will have faded. They won't get as sick as a person who'd never been vaccinated or exposed to the virus at all, but they will get sicker than if they'd had a recent shot, experts say.

That's just how the immune system works.

Immune protection typically fades over time, which is why people can catch a cold year after year. Plus most viruses, like the one that causes COVID-19, mutate over time, so the body isn't prepared for precisely the one that arrives the year after an infection or shot.

A vaccine, like an infection or probably even an exposure that's not enough to cause illness, Mina said, gives the body a reminder, a memory "boost" that helps it fight off illness.

The current COVID-19 vaccine doesn't prevent all infections. But a vaccine almost certainly reduces the severity of illness, experts say, along with the risk for long COVID , in which symptoms linger for months or years after the initial infection is gone.

In terms of side effects, most people will still get a sore arm. Some might feel lousy for a day or two. People who had a severe reaction to an earlier dose of the COVID-19 vaccine should talk to their doctors before getting another one.

For everyone else, the vaccines available in the United States and worldwide have been shown to be remarkably safe overall.

Anything given to tens of millions of healthy people will have negative consequences for some.

Teenage boys and young men have a higher risk for myocarditis and pericarditis , a swelling of the heart muscle and area around the heart. But Mina noted that the risk for these is higher during a COVID-19 infection than following a vaccination.

Vaccination during pregnancy has also been shown to be safe and to protect the newborn .

The bottom line, Offit said: if you're sick and can't stay home, wear a mask.

"The goal is to keep people out of the hospital, out of the ICU and out of the morgue," he said.

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Courtney the Explorer

12 Ways to Travel the World for Free in 2021

how to travel around world for free

There is never going to be a perfect time or the perfect amount of money to travel. Truth is: you can travel the world for free. Whether it’s house-sitting in London or working on an organic farm in Ecuador, there are options for all personalities and lifestyles to travel the world for free.

In 2015, I booked a one-way ticket to Antigua, Guatemala. For two months I worked as a caretaker for an 86-year-old English woman named Annette. I lived for free comfortably in a spacious bedroom in her antique-style home. In exchange, I walked the dog, painted her nails, and helped organize her home.

It was during my time with Annette where I found my passion for free travel.

After my 8 month trip, the memories that stuck out the most were the people and moments that costed nothing.

I’ve compiled a list of 12 ways to travel FOR FREE. They require little-to-no experience.

Now, let’s jump right in!

This post may contain affiliate links. If you use my links, I get a small percentage without costing you a thing. Thank you for using my links and supporting my blog! xoxo

1. Sign up for a work exchange (volunteer abroad)

workaway volunteer as a caretaker in Antigua, Guatemala

Work exchange is volunteering your time for 20 hours a week (or less) in exchange for food and housing. Some examples of volunteer jobs are yoga instructor, caretaker, English teacher, hostel worker, and more.

You can use websites like Worldpackers to find work exchange positions. Worldpackers requires a membership fee for their site (valid for one year). Once you’re in, you have access to thousands of work exchange opportunities around the world.

Click here for $10 off a Worldpackers membership or use discount code “courtneytheexplorer10” for $10 off!

How long are the volunteer positions? They can range from a week to a couple months. If you love your position, you can ask to extend. If you hate it, you can leave.

Who is work exchange right for? Work exchange is for anyone looking for a cultural immersion and unforgettable experience. There are so many opportunities, you are bound to find one that fits your personality. Worldpackers also offers an initiative program for writers and video creators who want to share their volunteer experience.

Workaway , Help X , Culture Gogo , and Working Traveller , are also websites in which you can find work exchange opportunities.

Related article: Ultimate Guide to Work Exchange: Travel for Free

2. Work on a farm for a month in the middle of no where

travel for free | working on a farm in Palora, Ecuador

WWOOF is a worldwide movement that links volunteers with organic farmers and growers to promote cultural and educational experiences. Its goal is to build a sustainable, global community. Much like Workaway, hosts provide housing and food in exchange for working on their organic farm.

One of my best friends WWOOFed in Italy for 3 months and loved it. My cousin also WWOOFed all around South America. Both have similar stories of hard hands-on work, hot and sweaty days in the sun, and unforgettable experiences.

Who is WWOOFing right for? I would only recommend this for people who like the outdoors, are interested in sustainable living, and are adventurous travelers. A lot of times things are chaotic, unorganized, and sweaty (like the picture up above.)

Tip: Make sure to check out reviews from former volunteers and always message your host with questions beforehand. My friend even skyped with hosts before she committed to volunteer with them. Never be afraid to ask questions!

Note: you can work on farms using other sites (like Workaway), but WWOOF is one of the most popular.

3. House sit your way around the world

how to travel around world for free

House sitting is when you take care of someone else’s home and pets while they’re away. You get a free place to stay and they get peace of mind knowing their home and furry friends are in good hands. Although house-sitting opportunities are most popular in Europe, you can find opportunities everywhere.

Who is house-sitting right for? House sitting is perfect for long-term travelers or digital nomads who like animals.

How long are house sits? The time period can be anywhere from a week to a couple months.

Related article: How To Housesit Around the World

4. Teach English for a year in Asia

how to travel around world for free

I taught English in South Korea in 2019-2020. English teachers are paid a monthly salary and given an apartment to live in. The job (in some cases) also includes free lunches, flight reimbursement, medical insurance, and paid vacation.

Teaching abroad is most popular and lucrative ($$) in places like Korea and China, but there are opportunities all over the world. I have met a lot of teachers who have paid off student loans and saved thousands of dollars. Even though some days are tough, it can be quite worth it in the end.

Who is teaching abroad right for? I only recommend teaching abroad for people who like kids and are patient, flexible, and adaptable. It’s a challenging and exhausting job. For the right person, it can be a rewarding experience.

Interested in teaching in Korea? Check out, How to Teach in South Korea .

Want to get TEFL (Teaching English as a Foreign Language) certified? Check out, The Best School for Your TEFL Certification .

Interested in teaching online for $22/hour? Check out, 9 Steps to Getting Hired with QKids

5. Au Pair for a family in Europe

how to travel around world for free

An au pair is a young person (18 to 30 years old) who goes abroad to live with a family and take care of their children in exchange for room and board. The main objective is to have a cultural exchange .

A friend of mine spent 3 months in South Korea traveling around Asia with a Swedish family with 2 small children. Her housing, food, and luxurious trips were all covered by the family. She stayed in a high-rise condo off the ocean with a private bedroom and bathroom. She worked during the week with nights and weekends off.

My friend found a rare (but possible) experience. Most au pair jobs are in Europe or Australia where you live with one family for a summer, a year, or maybe longer. It’s a great option if you’re single, want to travel, and LOVE children . (I repeat: must love children.)

How to become an au pair? You can use an agency ($$) or there are many websites where you can find opportunities ($). Below is an article with the top 10 websites that can help you find an au pair job in different regions of the world.

How much are you paid? The pay ranges, but in most cases the pay is low.

Related article: How to Become an Au Pair

6. Couch surf the world

travel for free | couch surfing in Guayaquil, Ecuador | courtneytheexplorer.com

Couch Surfing is one of my favorite ways to travel. Couch surfing is staying in someone’s home for free as a way to promote free and affordable travel as well as have a cultural exchange.

Couch surfing is super popular in Europe, but there are hosts all around the world. I couch surfed as a solo female traveler and while traveling with a partner in South and Central America.

You simply sign up for a membership (free) , create a profile, and start looking for couch surfing spots. Some people provide private bedrooms and bathrooms, others provide a couch hence the name.

Who is couch surfing right for? I recommend couch surfing for adventurous travelers looking to meet locals and learn the language.

Related article: Solo Female Travel Guide for Couch Surfing

7. Hitchhike

Travel for free | Hitchhiking in Mexico | courtneytheexplorer.com

Hitchhiking is simply asking someone for a free ride . It could be to the next town over or a days trip. Hitchhiking originated in the United States, then made its way to Europe and other parts of the world. Hitchhiking has been around forever, but became decreasingly popular in the 70s (in the states). The decrease was caused by a better economy, more access to cars, and the fear of trusting strangers. Hitchhiking has become illegal in most parts of the United States but in Europe and other parts of the world, it is still quite popular.

I met a few hitchhikers in Guatemala and although I was skeptical, I decided to give it a try. I ended up hitchhiking for the remainder of my trip, up through Mexico. It was some of the most adventurous and magical moments of my life . I met kind strangers and have some of the greatest stories to tell from those experiences.

If you are traveling alone, I recommend always hitchhiking with a friend or group of people. Always have a plan and know where you are going. I also recommend knowing the basics of the language.

Related article : Ultimate Guide to Hitchhiking

8. Sign up for free travel opportunities

Gabby Beckford from Packs Light , a blogger I follow, opened my eyes to the possibilities of travel opportunities for young people (mostly 16 to 30). There are plenty of opportunities to travel internationally for conferences, leadership programs, fellowships, internships, scholarships, grants, festivals, and etc. And almost all of them can be completely funded.

This option is mostly for students, but there are grants and free trips for writers, photographers, artists, and entrepreneurs. Gabby always says to apply even if you don’t 100% qualify. It’s worth the shot.

Some examples of current opportunities: Capetown Writer’s Retreat (5-day all expenses paid retreat), Holland Scholarship ($5,000 scholarship to study in Holland), Tinggly Blogger Accommodation (free stay for Bloggers/Creatives in Lithuania). Click here for a full list.

9. Become a travel blogger

travel for free | travel blogger in Teotihuacan, Mexico | courtneytheexplorer.com

Do you love to write, take pictures, and share your experience ? Start a travel blog. It’s never too late.

As a travel blogger or influencer companies will pay you (or give you free product/service/trips) to share an honest review and promote their brand.

Nowadays, companies are spending billions of dollars on influencer marketing. Travel bloggers receive gifted hotel stays, free tours, press trips, and etc., because of their influence and following on social media platforms.

Important Note: you do not need a huge following to get free stuff or get paid. My Instagram following is under 5K, I have under 500 subscribers on YouTube , and my blog numbers aren’t too crazy either and I have worked with brands.

Interested in learning more? Everything I Learned At Travel Con (one of the biggest national travel blogging conferences), Lessons from The Chicago Blogging Conference (7 tips and secrets)

10. Be a travel hacker

Travel Hackers strategically collect frequent flyer miles and points to travel for free. Most miles are earned without ever stepping foot on a plane. To be honest, this is not something I have done. But, I’ve seen friends reap the benefits, so I must share.

Who is travel hacking right for? I think travel hacking is a good option for travelers who book flights often, stay in hotels, and have good credit. With some credit cards you need to spend at least $5,000 in the first couple of months to get the mega rewards. Therefore, this is a good option for people with car payments or those who spend $$ every month. But, I think EVERYONE who owns a credit card should take advantage of points and rewards.

There are Facebook groups, books, and tons of blogs to help you step by step travel for free using travel hacking.

More resources: The Lazy Person’s Guide to Travel Hacking , follow @basictravelcouple on Instagram (they are the bloggers who originally opened my eyes to this form of free travel)

11. Crew a sailboat or work on a luxury cruise ship

travel for free | crew on a sailboat across the world

Sailing the world is both amazing and expensive. If you can’t afford to buy a sailboat, why not work on one? People who own sailboats and travel the world often hire (both paid and unpaid) help.

How to find opportunities? There are websites to match owners with crew. One popular site is crewseekers.net . There are also Facebook communities and groups. (Facebook groups are great for finding opportunities in general.)

You can also work on a cruise ship and travel the world. To find these sort of jobs, go to the cruise ship’s main website and search for employment. It’s an easy and adventurous way to save money while traveling the seas.

For more information: Check out, How to Get a Job on a Cruise Ship with No Experience , How to Crew a Yacht

12. Join the Peace Corps or AmeriCorps

travel for free | join the peace corps or americorps | courtneytheexplorer.com

AmeriCorps is a government funded organization (like PeaceCorps) who supports non-profits in the United States. These are technically volunteer jobs, but they pay you a housing stipend. AmeriCorps salary ranges from $15,000 to about $27,000/year. At the end of your term, you are given an education award of $5,000 (max).

I volunteered with AmeriCorps for their summer program while I was still in school. I managed the volunteer program for a Habitat for Humanity ReStore in Iowa. It was one of my favorite jobs I’ve ever had . I trained new volunteers, created a volunteer guide, and recruited new volunteers.

AmeriCorps is a way to get away from your home state, go to a new city and live and explore for a year.

The Peace Corps is similar to AmeriCorps, but requires a two-year commitment. I applied for the PeaceCorps after University, but didn’t get accepted. The jobs are pretty lucrative, but I encourage you to apply if it feels fitting to you!

PeaceCorps accepts all ages (over 18) and is a two-year commitment. You must have a bachelor’s and be a US citizen to apply. Jobs range from English teacher (most popular) to environmental specialist to health educator.

For more information: AmeriCorps and Peace Corps

I hope one of these options feels like a good fit for you. Have you ever done a work exchange or been an au pair or even anything on the list? (or not on the list!) I’d love to hear your story! Share in the comments, e-mail me at he***@co*****************.com , or DM @courtneytheexplorer to chat! xoxo

Other resources: 6 Ways to Learn Spanish for Free , How to Quit Your Job to Travel , Tips for Solo Travelers

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Alla Ponomareva

I especially like your tip about Travel Hacking, it’s not very well known among the non-travelers. They think it’s cheating the system or having the need to accumulate millions of points in order to fly once for free. I’d say I fly free maybe every couple of years just from the points I acquire by doing/having everyday expenses.

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' src=

Great advice!

My partner and I have been using Workaway for a bit and were full time travel blogging when Covid hit. It was an incredible experience. Thank you for sending me to Gabby! We will definitely be looking further into this.

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ramahaj kaur

Hey, my name is Ramanpreet kaur and i am from India . I want to travel for free , now i am student and dont have money . please suggest me something

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Places to live in

Your love and respect for the places you visit and the people you meet shine through in your writing. It’s so refreshing to see.

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How Travel Chicago On a Budget

Adios chicago | february 2021 update.

I made over $225,000 in a year as a 27-year-old government contractor overseas — and got paid to travel in my free time

  • Symoné Berry made over $225k working as an overseas US government tech contractor .
  • While in Taiwan, she took a week off every month and received "rest and relaxation" pay to travel. 
  • Berry sometimes worked 90+ hour weeks — the benefits were worth it to her but it's not for everyone.

Insider Today

This as-told-to essay is based on a conversation with Symoné Berry, a 31-year-old government contractor living in Atlanta. Her jobs and income have been verified by BI. It's been edited for length and clarity.

I always knew I wanted a government contracting job .

My mom was a mortgage underwriter and we lived in the DC area. She would always tell me about these overseas government contractors who lived in Iraq and Afghanistan, and they would buy $500,000 houses in all cash.

I didn't know how I was going to do it and I didn't know anything about it — but I knew that's what I wanted to do.

At 16, I started to build my career in government tech and went to vocational school. From there, I went to Christopher Newport University on a basketball scholarship and eventually transferred to Virginia Commonwealth University. I graduated with my bachelor's degree in computer science with a minor in math.

I had seven job offers by the time I graduated

I graduated in the fall of 2014 with seven job offers, a mix of federal and government contract roles.

I accepted an offer as a level one embedded engineer for $72,500 a year at Raytheon, a defense contractor. I started on the first Monday of January 2015 in their Fort Meade office.

Over the next two years, I wrote code for Raytheon's radars and started looking at internal positions abroad. I figured out that I needed to get a CompTIA Security Plus authorization to work in many of the overseas positions. It took me about a month to get the certification and then another three months of interviewing and training before I started my first job overseas.

I lived in the snowiest city in the world, making $140,000 a year

As a radar systems engineer in Japan, I made just over $140,000 a year and had all of my living expenses and food paid for. I lived in a spacious one-bedroom apartment that was provided for me in Aomori Prefecture, a few minutes away from the site.

My job was to make sure that the radar system was up and running 24/7. At the time, North Korea was shooting missiles over Japan and our job was to monitor them. Most of the time, we were sitting ducks. But there were times when something did go wrong and I had to go to site at four in the morning.

In Aomori, I worked 12-hour days about four days a week and then I had off from Thursday night until Monday morning.

On the weekends, I would usually travel with my coworkers. You make a lot of friends on the job because you're all living in the same place. I went to Tokyo almost every weekend.

Aomori is the snowiest place in the world. It gets 26 feet of snow every year.

I would walk to work in a blizzard with ski goggles and a face mask on. I don't like the cold and after that first winter, I didn't ever want to go through another winter there again.

I worked 90+ hour weeks in Taiwan, but the money and time off made it worth it

After a year and a half in Japan, I started a new job in Taiwan as a senior testing engineer. At this point, I was 27 making about $225,000 a year.

My housing was paid for and there was an on-site chef to cook staff meals — but the hours were crazy.

When I started, I only had two days off every 10 days and I worked about 92 hours a week. After a few months, I negotiated my contract so that I worked three weeks straight and then got a full week off every month. During that week, I would usually visit my girlfriend in California.

I also received a quarterly pay of $2,500 for "rest and relaxation" pay, referred to as R&R. This is money that compensates for the long hours so that staff can travel during their time off. It varies in each job. In Japan, I only received $1,500 annually for R&R.

South Korea was hands down the best overseas role I had

After Taiwan, I deployed to South Korea as a senior system administrator for about $220,000 a year.

That was hands down the best living situation I had. I had a really nice three-bedroom apartment and a car rental. Plus, the surrounding area was great.

We were close to Osan Air Force Base and there were a ton of Americans in the area. I worked 50 hours a week in that role and was able to work from home sometimes there because if we weren't flying we really didn't need to be there.

During my weekends in South Korea, I didn't travel much because of Covid but I went to Seoul a few times.

This career path isn't for everyone

This lifestyle is all I know and I have no regrets.

But it's not for everyone.

Doing years of long-distance took a toll on my relationship and for people who have a family or struggle to be alone, this job would be very difficult.

Also, most of the places I worked were remote and in isolated areas. If that's a problem for you, this job path isn't the right one.

If you don't like to work long hours, I also don't suggest entering this field. Overseas government contract work requires at least 50 hours a week. It also often comes with a long commute to site — in Taiwan, it took us an hour to get down the mountain every day. While this is covered by the contractor, it still takes time out of your already long day.

But I love traveling and experiencing different cultures. Plus, this career path allowed me to save money and get into investing since I had no living expenses for years. I've saved up enough money now that I can take time off for myself and start my own business.

Over the last year, I stopped working and started building my online presence and a nonprofit called GovTech Foundation, which provides career guidance for government jobs. I might do a short-term contract to make quick money, but right now, I'm 31 and enjoying the time off to travel and focus on personal projects.

Do you work in a government job? We'd like to hear from you. Email the reporter from a non-work email at [email protected] .

how to travel around world for free

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    Impatient? Here's a quick list of my TOP and FAV ways to travel for FREE: Worldpackers Exchange some time helping a local for free rent! Read more about this or click the button to sign up! (discount included at check out!)

  21. How to Travel the World for Free • The Blonde Abroad

    Couch Surfing. One of the better-known free methods of travel is Couch Surfing where you can host or stay with people around the world. People likely to host you couch surfing are travelers themselves who know what it's like to be on the road. Some people may be worried about their safety when staying with a stranger, but use your best ...

  22. Six Tips for Taking Free Walking Tours and Making Travel Friends

    Tips for free walking tours around the world. Check the weather before you go, and be prepared to spend several hours outside. Photo: Felipe Mahecha /Shutterstock. Go to your tour prepared for an adventure. Tours can range between 90 minutes to a few hours, depending on how well the group gets along and how fast you move.

  23. How to Travel the World for FREE in 2024? (13 Tips to Earn $)

    1. Commit to at least 3+ weeks. It takes time to settle in. It takes time to get to know people. In our experience, if the longer you spend at a placement, the better. We'd go as far as saying that you shouldn't book a return flight and allow yourself the freedom to extend (and extend). 2.

  24. Wanna Get Paid to Travel the World? Here Are 10 Cool Ways to Do It

    A little creativity, an adventurous spirit, and some determination can get you pretty far around the world. If you're passionate about learning how to travel for free and how to make money while ...

  25. What should I do if I have COVID in 2024? Experts on isolation rules

    Guidance from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention still calls for people to isolate themselves for five days if they test positive and then wear a mask in public for five more days ...

  26. 12 Ways to Travel the World for Free in 2021

    6. Couch surf the world. Couch surfing host, Henry (middle) in Guayaquil, Ecuador. Couch Surfing is one of my favorite ways to travel. Couch surfing is staying in someone's home for free as a way to promote free and affordable travel as well as have a cultural exchange.

  27. I've Traveled to Every Country in the World—Here's What I Learned

    Boris Kester is an author, fearless adventurer, polyglot, avid sportsman, programmer and political scientist. He is one of about 250 people worldwide to have traveled to every country in the world ...

  28. I Made $225K As a Government Contractor Overseas

    Symoné Berry. Symoné Berry made over $225k working as an overseas US government tech contractor. While in Taiwan, she took a week off every month and received "rest and relaxation" pay to travel ...