Travel for free?! Who wouldn’t be up for that?? Before we started traveling, we had no idea of all the possible ways to travel for free. Yeah, we knew of a couple ways, but man… the possibilities are endless.
We’ve shared how to make some cash before you leave, but what about keeping you abroad? From working abroad to volunteering and free transportation, we’re covering ten ways to travel for free! Some of them we’ve done ourselves, others we highly considered, but all ten ways to travel for free listed here we found out about while backpacking through South America. Let’s get started.
TRAVEL FOR FREE BY WORKING ABROAD
1. PICK FRUIT IN AUSTRALIA
Australia can be quite an expensive place to travel! The fruit picking opportunities there are the perfect way to visit! You typically get free room and board, meals, and a paycheck on top of that! We’ve even met people that work for six months there, leave the country and get all the taxes they paid back, and then they travel with just the tax return for six months, and repeat! This is a labor intensive job, but definitely one to consider!
[Find out more here.]
2. TEACH ENGLISH IN ANOTHER COUNTRY
We can’t tell you the amount of times this idea has crossed our minds! If you want to experience another culture while getting paid to do so, teach English abroad. You don’t even have to have a teaching license!! And, places like South Korea or China reimburse you for your flights, and give you free flights home during the year!
[There’s a great post here with more info on this!]
3. BARTEND FOR A FREE ROOM AND TYPICALLY DRINKS AT A HOSTEL
If we had a dollar for every person we met that has used this as a free option to travel, we would be millionaires! Okay, maybe not millionaires, but we would be pretty rich! If you plan ahead (we’re talking like a couple days or a week), you can typically arrange to work at a hostel in exchange for staying there for free! The work shifts are super short (think like 6 hours), sometimes just bartending (think of all the fun people you’ll meet), and you get to stay somewhere for free while exploring that city! This is the perfect gig to meet people, extend your stay in cities you love, and stretch your weekly budget a bit!
TRAVEL FOR FREE BY VOLUNTEERING
Workaway is an organization that provides travelers places to volunteer in exchange for free accommodation and food. You can stay a few days or months at a time and get a true cultural feel for the country you’re visiting. Workaway offers volunteer opportunities in 155 different countries, so if you’re up for a bit of cultural learning, this is the place for you. While the accommodation and food come free, there is a $29 USD annual fee to use Workaway, definitely worth it if you’re planning on doing some long term traveling.
[To sign up for Workaway and get more information head here.]
5. TRY OUT WWOOFING
WWOOFing is another organization that takes in volunteers in exchange for food and accommodation. WWOOFing provides volunteers with a range of organic farms in more than 60 countries to put their farming skills to work. The sign-up fee for WWOOFing ranges depending on what country you’re looking at. And again, the duration of your stay is arranged individually. Like Workaway, you’ll have to create a profile and apply to work at different locations around the world. We have heard many great stories of people’s experiences while WWOOFing.
[To get more of the details on WWOOFing and see where you can WWOOF go ahead and click here.]
ON THE MOVE? TRAVEL FOR FREE WITH THESE OPTIONS
6. JUST ASK THE LOCALS IF YOU CAN VOLUNTEER FOR THEM
Okay, so the two volunteer opportunities above have some sign-up fees and some thought and work going into creating your profile/resume. While loads of people use both these to volunteer, and you gain great experiences for personal growth and resume building, these aren’t really for everyone. Another option you have is to just ask around with the locals to see if you can work for them in exchange for a place to rest your head and some food. When we were in Chile, we ended up volunteering on a farm for ten days by simply expressing how lovely it was to visit their farm, and how sweet it would be to stay there. If you’re genuinely interested in the people/place, you’ll probably be able to swing this too!
7. WILD CAMP
Why pay for a hostel when you can camp for free! If you have camping gear and a stove, you can pitch your tent anywhere. We’ve even heard of people pitching tents in city parks!! Although we’ve never done that, the camping possibilities are endless!
[If you’re traveling in the States, check out this link for free camping all across the US.]
We get it, camping isn’t for everyone! Couchsurfing is another great money savin’ people meetin’ tool. Couchsurfing is an online community providing travelers with a local to get in contact with and even stay with for free. It’s an amazing network of individuals who love traveling and meeting new people and is a fabulous resource for you while on the road.
[To set up a Couchsurfing account and see what the Couchsurfing community is all about, head here.]
Don’t tell your parents you’re doing this one. 😉 Hitchhiking is a huge money saver! Yeah there are horror stories, and yes, sometimes you get in sticky situations while hitching, but man it’s so fun! You get to really practice the local language, have to get way out of your comfort zone, and have this untouchable freedom of having no idea where you’re going to end up for the day. It’s amazing! Patience and a relaxed personality are musts if you’re going to try hitching. We recommend hitching with another person, however, loads of people hitch by themselves.
10. CASH IN POINTS FOR MILES
If you have self-control, you should have a credit card. As long as you pay off balances straight away, credit cards are the hack of the century. With so many companies offering outrageous sign-up bonuses, you really can travel for free with the points you receive! It’s absolutely crazy!! We even snatched up our camera using points!! As sign-up bonuses are always changing, we can’t offer a perfect card, but we can give a few pointers. Whichever card you choose, be sure the credit card has no foreign transactions fees (these add up way too fast!) and take a look at the annual fee for the card. Some of them are astronomical even though the benefits are quite good.
By using any of these ideas to travel for free, you can extend the duration of your travel and really stretch your budget. Yes, we know you don’t want to travel to just work. But think how much longer you can travel if you filtered in a couple volunteer or work experiences throughout your time abroad! You won’t be staying at five-star resorts, or living the luxurious traveling life, however, you will be getting a real cultural experience. In the end, that’s what we hope you’re after! One of our favorite parts of our six months in South America was the time we spent volunteering on a farm, who knows maybe these experiences will be your favorite too!
Have you used any of the ideas above to travel for free? Share your experiences with us! We love to hear your stories!