10 Tips For (Almost) Free Travel
Most people dream of travelling the world for extended periods of time but in actuality only a small number of people actually have the courage to do it. There are so many reasons why a dream will always stay a dream but, with the power of social media, the Internet and your mind, money should not be one of them.
I have spoken to so many people on my personal travels and I have found numerous ways to travel for cheap and even free. For those thinking they don’t have the money to travel...think again!
1) Say YES and speak to EVERYONE!
When travelling it’s so important to have a completely open mind and to capitalise on any and every opportunity that comes your way. You should always tell yourself to say YES to anything that is presented to you. Obviously use your common sense at the same time. Saying yes will serve you so well and you will find yourself in some incredible places that you weren’t even aware of.
The best way to learn of hidden beaches, local delicacies, upcoming events, places to stay and where to visit is through communicating with other people. When you are friendly and polite people will open their hearts to you. Some people may even offer you a free bed for the night or a ride to your next destination.
2) House swap or rent out your home
This idea is aimed toward the older people in life who are looking to travel the world. If you know how long you will be gone for then you can rent out your house for the complete period of time. This will leave you the peace of mind that your bills are being looked after and, more importantly, your home is being looked after.
Alternatively you can do a house swap for a few weeks. homeexchange.com and homebase-hols.com are great websites that give you the chance to choose a destination and start communicating with homeowners from that place. The great thing about speaking to homeowners beforehand is that you can get some great knowledge on what to do and see and you can make sure your home will be left in good hands.
3) Airbnb and CouchSurfing
The hostel life can be exhausting after a while and you may find yourself wanting something a bit more luxurious for the same amount of money. Airbnb.com and couchsurfing.com are great, and often cheap, alternatives. The beauty of these websites is that there is a vast choice of beautiful places to stay. On Airbnb you typically stay in someone else’s house when they are not there. The wide selection means that you can be situated wherever you want! Next to the beach, on top of a mountain and even in a tree house in the middle of the jungle.
On couchsurfing the homeowners are often present which can be even better. They will often feed you and take you out for some beers! You can also get some inside information of them in terms of things to do and places to visit.
3) Exchange Your Skills
Worldwide Opportunities on Organic Farms is an international network of organic farmers (WWOOF.org) who from time to time offer opportunities for volunteers to join them. You can find yourself in some incredible locations doing some life changing things. You often get room and board as well as weekends off so you can go and explore. The list of farms offering these services is constantly growing and on last check there were at least 70 different countries that you can choose from.
There are also websites like www.workaway.info and www.helpx.net where you can exchange your skills for room and board. Skills may be anything from gardening to teaching English and even building. This option is another great way to meet local people and also get some valuable work experience.
4) House Sitting
For those of you who aren’t lucky enough to own your own house yet then this is another alternative to the house swap. housecarers.com and mindmyhouse.com are websites where you can search for a house that needs looking after by location. The owners of the house often go away for long periods of time and so need plants and pets looking after. They usually won’t pay you but it’s a really great way to save money on accommodation.
5) Craigslist Rideshare and Hitchhiking
Definitely the best section on craigslist! If you are trying to get to your next destination but the bus/train is looking to expensive, or to long, then you should check craigslist. Often people post on there a few days before they personally make a big drive to a particular city. If this is the same city you are trying to get to then they will be happy to take you as long as you chip in with gas!
It’s really great getting a ride to places especially if you are on your own. Having someone to talk to on that 6-hour journey can really help the time go much quicker. If you are feeling brave then you may want to try hitchhiking. Although its technically illegal in some places you wont receive anything worse than a slap on the wrist. Petrol stations are a great place to try and catch a ride because you can have a chat with the driver before you potentially set off. The stereotypical hitchhiker (the guy with the beard, the shabby clothes, the handmade sign and the smell of a dog) is not a real truth at all. If you approach it in a professional and polite way then some people will be happy to give you a ride somewhere.
6) The Power of Social Media
Social media is such a huge part of peoples lives now that there is no reason it cant be used to travel for cheap. If you know where you are going then touch base with friends or even friends of friends and see if they know anyone in the area. They may feel like a stranger but the friend link can be a real icebreaker. You can use social media to communicate with them before you leave and slowly try and work a way of asking if you can crash on their floor for a couple of nights.
If you have a large social media following then you should approach hotels and see if they can give you a discounted deal on a room in return for a mention on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram etc. The big franchises will usually say no but a family owned independent place could use all the exposure they can get. If you don’t ask you don’t get!
7) Become Part of a Yacht or a Cruise Ship
You may be thinking you don’t know anything about boats but you can learn quickly whilst on board. If you are a good cook, mechanic, engineer, photographer, navigational expert, painter, carpenter etc. then your services could come in really handy and earn you a paid position on board. Just make sure you ‘sell’ yourself well.
Crewseekers.net is just one website which could make this option a possibility for you. Most people tend to find work through face-to-face conversations. If you are in a town that has a harbour then get yourself down and just ask around. Stay positive and remember yacht owners are rich so the more you can do, and the less they have to do, the happier they will be.
A cruise ship is another alternative if you want to strengthen your sea legs. Carnival.com and royalcaribbean.com are just two websites that can help you travel the vast oceans. The great thing about a cruise ship is that there are so many different jobs available that ANYONE can find a job on board. Who wouldn’t want to travel from place to place and meet hundreds of interesting people each week?
8) Raise Money For Charity
Why not do something good for others whilst also doing something good for yourself! Whether it’s climbing to the peak of Mount Kilimanjaro or hiking the entire Pacific Crest Trail many people undertake incredible challenges in the name of charity. You will find people are very generous when they know you are working hard to raise awareness of a charity. Homes will be opened up to you, you will be fed free of charge and people will even give you free gear out of the kindness of their hearts. You should never enter into these challenges with the mentality that they will be easy. People train for months on end in preparation for hard-core charity events.
There are a few companies that will help you organise your challenge and even go as far as to pay for a flight and any other travel costs. You just have to get enough sponsorships. Check out Global Adventure Challenges (globaladventurechallenges.com) and Across the Divide (acrossthedivide.com)
9) Work at a Summer Camp
If you love kids, travelling and getting paid then this option will be right up your street. Companies like www.campamerica.co.uk and www.campleaders.com offer you the chance to work at some incredible summer camps all over the world. There is an upfront fee but you get paid once you complete the summer so you end up in profit (unless you spend it all on beer).
You typically get two days off a week whilst working at the camps and so you will get to travel around. Your visa also allows you stay in the country for 28 days after the end of you contract with the camp. This means you can do some serious travelling with your new colleagues!
There are literally hundreds of websites dedicated to help you volunteer abroad. The great thing about volunteering is that it even looks good for future employment. Everybody respects someone who is willing to give their time up for free. You can think of anywhere in the world you would like to go and just do a Google search of volunteering opportunities in that area. If you are passionate then it will pay off. You will make friends with other volunteers and get invited to stay places for cheap, even free.
As you are only volunteering you can usually help out as and when you want. This gives you the freedom to do some more travelling outside of the volunteering environment.
Top Tip - Wherever you are travelling one of the biggest struggles is navigating your way around. If you load up your maps whilst in wifi then you can use it as a guide even when wifi disappears. The little icon to signify where you are will even follow you as you move around (as long as that part of the map is pre-loaded).
Secret Number 11)
Use the MyPhotography group to your advantage! We have members from all over the world and everyone is so friendly. Pay them a visit and in return let others pay you a visit. We have a social community so why not build a real one?!