Ever dreamed of seeing more of the world but always end up putting it off because of money (or lack thereof) is holding you back? Well, I’ve got good news for you – being broke doesn’t mean you can’t travel! In fact, there are loads of ways that you can satiate your wanderlust without breaking the bank. Here are 12 great ways that you can travel for free (or even make money)!
It’s true that travel feels much more attainable when you’re rolling in money – flights and accommodation can quickly add up to eye-watering prices! I’m a strong believer that travel can be accessible for most people however, you just have to find more creative ways of doing it. Often this means giving up your time or trying something you’ve never considered before. But if it gets you out there on an adventure, who cares right?!
WWOOF stands for World Wide Opportunities on Organic Farms and helps to pair volunteers with farms across the globe. As farming is mostly seasonal work, famers often need temporary help – perfect for the traveller on a budget! Whilst you won’t get any help paying for transportation, your room and board will be provided in exchange for 4-6 hours help each day! The rest of the week you can explore your new surroundings!
The best thing about WWOOF is that is provides opportunities all over the world, from Australia to Greece to Costa Rica. Wherever you want to go, chances are it’s on the list! You can also apply by yourself, with friends, as a couple, or even as a family, so perfect if you’re travelling in a group.
2. House Swap
Another great way to get free accommodation when travelling is by doing a house swap. Make like Cameron Diaz and Kate Winslet in ‘The Holiday’ and swap homes with someone else for a week or two! There are a number of reputable sites that allow you to find people around the world who are willing to swap homes for free!
If this sounds like it could work for you, check out websites like Love Home Swap, Home Exchange or Home Link. Sometimes these sites do have an annual membership fee. However they’re generally much cheaper than general accommodation costs, so you’ll quickly make your money back! You could also make use of the 30 day free trial that’s often on offer.
3. Take a Heritage Trip
A number of countries offer free trips for those who have national heritage. Young Jewish adults (aged 18-32) can experience a free 10-day trip to Israel through Birthright Israel, including flights, accommodation and activities. Heritage Greece offers a similar two-week cultural immersion for Greek American college students, as do Hungary and Armenia.
4. Become a Crew Member
Becoming a crew member is one of the easiest ways to not only travel for free but also get paid doing it! You can work on a cruise ship in entertainment, hospitality, housekeeping, personal training or childcare and will be given both a full wage and free accommodation. This is a great way to work abroad whilst also exploring multiple different destinations. If you fancy ticking some Caribbean islands off your bucket list whilst also making some money, this could be a great option for you!
5. Work in a Hostel
If you’re looking for free accommodation whilst travelling, then working in a hostel is a great option. You can exchange a few days work for a free bed and use your time off to explore your new destination. This can seriously reduce your costs when travelling and is perfect for long term trips. This practice is widespread across the world, meaning you can easily move from place to place to check out new destinations. The best places to find volunteer opportunities are work exchange sites such as Worldpackers, Workaway or HelpX. You can also speak to a hostel directly however, if you’re already in the area!
6. Au Pair
Becoming an au pair in another country provides the perfect opportunity for free travel. It often doesn’t require too many qualifications or prior experience, making it accessible for most travellers (although being good with kids is a must!). You’ll have free accommodation in the family home. And generally you’ll also be provided with free food, as well as a wage. Being an au pair offers a great opportunity to live abroad. You can truly immerse yourself in the culture whilst working there.
7. House Sit/Pet Sit
Accommodation is one of the biggest costs when travelling and this is a great way to get it for free! People need house sitters for a variety of reasons. Often they have pets that need looking after. Sometimes they might want to deter burglars or need someone to collect the post. Whatever the reason, it’s a great way to bag some free accommodation on your trip. You can use websites such as Mind My House or Trusted House Sitters by making a profile and applying for positions. The length of time you’ll be needed can vary. Anything from a week to 6 months is possible!
Another popular way of finding free accommodation is by couch surfing. Fellow travellers from around the world open up their homes for free. Not only will you save on accommodation, you’ll also have a built-in tour guide. People on couchsurfing tend to be excited about both travel and their hometowns. It’s always an added bonus to get some top tips for a local!
Couchsurfing should always be done with caution. Make sure to read plenty of reviews of your prospective host and speak to them before agreeing to stay with them. Don’t forget to also let your friends and family know where you’re staying. Couchsurfing is an amazing way of making friends and travelling for free but don’t forget that safety comes first! If something doesn’t feel right, don’t do it!
9. Become a Ski Rep
Do you love skiing? Or maybe you’ve always wanted to learn? Why not do a ski season abroad? Plenty of companies desperately need to fill a number of roles each year for the ski season. These positions can be found all over the world, from Europe to the US to New Zealand. The most popular option is to become a chalet host but there are also positions as bar staff, childcare staff and resort reps. Generally you’ll not only be paid for your job but also be given free food, accommodation and ski passes!
If you fancy a ski holiday but don’t want to commit to a few months of work, PGL is a great option. They offer roles lasting 1-4 weeks as ski reps working with group trips for young people. Your main responsibility will be ensuring that everything runs smoothly by liaising with the hotel, drivers, ski school and ski hire. You’ll be paid for the role and given accommodation, ski hire, lift pass, winter sports insurance and transportation to and from the resort for free! This has to be the cheapest way to get some skiing in!
Workaway is an incredible website where you can find a host of different volunteering opportunities in exchange for free accommodation. They have positions all over the world – from Greece to Canada to Costa Rica. Wherever you want to go, I can almost guarantee there’ll be a workaway opportunity. The jobs vary a lot, with anything from schools to farming to animal welfare being listed. Although you’ll spend some of your time working, you’ll generally find that you’re also given plenty of time to explore your new neighbourhood.
11. Teach Abroad
There are plenty of opportunities to teach abroad, both on a paid and volunteer basis. Native English speakers are particularly in demand with plenty of TEFL opportunities available around the globe. One short term option is Diverbo. They offer week-long volunteer opportunities in Germany and Spain. You’ll be given free accommodation in a hotel resort in exchange for your English conversational skills!
12. Deliver a Car
This a surprisingly popular option in the US. The car owner pays the individual to move his or her vehicle across the country for them – i.e. you get paid to take a road trip across the country. There are a number of countries who facilitate this but the best-known one is Auto Driveaway. Bear in mind that you have to be at least 23 years old with a clean driving license!