This sounds too good to be true, doesn’t it? But there are many ways that you can save money and travel for free, or very cheap.
I’m not talking about travel hacking with credit cards, I’m talking about the different methods that will save you tons of money and get you free travel!
And you don’t even have to live dirt cheap to do it either: in some cases you could be living in luxury! For free!
Keep reading for my 9 top tips for free travel around the world.
Travel for free with these 9 top tips
1: Work Exchange
There is usually a small fee to register, but you’ll likely have made that back in savings within your first placement!
I’ve used Workaway in the past and absolutely loved my experiences, and I have friends who have used WWOOF and HelpX and loved it just as much.
Think about it: you get to stay somewhere AND eat FOR FREE! These are two of the biggest costs in travelling, and they’re taken care of.
All you have to do is work for a few hours, then the rest of the day is yours to explore and experience something completely different from the average tourist.
I find that locals always know the best places to go and things to do, so ask your hosts what you should do with your free time.
2: House Sit
There really is nothing better than this: look after someone’s house and, often, their pets too, while they’re away.
You can use the house as your own (while taking proper care of it, of course) and it’s free!
You get free accommodation in an actual house, and the homeowner gets to relax on their trip knowing that their house and pets are in good hands.
I’ve used Trusted Housesitters and thought it was really well set up to ease the minds of both the owner and the sitter.
There are security verifications that you can get on your profile, and the more verified you are, the more likely you’ll get a house sitting gig. You can chat with the hosts in detail before you go so that you can get to know and trust each other, and they will usually leave you plenty of information for when you get there.
You can confirm the house sit on the website so that the people at Trusted Housesitters know where you’re going and when, as another level of security.
Again, you will need to pay a fee to register, but this works out as nothing compared to how much you can save!
You may have already heard of this one as it’s very popular and a great way to travel for free.
On the Couchsurfing website, you can search for listings all over the world from people who open up their homes to travellers for short or long periods, for free.
Of course, you still have to be a decent human being and give back to your host, whether that’s by cooking dinner, buying drinks, helping around the house or just providing good conversation.
Each host will describe what they expect from their guests in their profile, as well as their hobbies and interests so that you can figure out if you’ll get along.
Respect your host and don’t just use their house as a hotel; they are letting you stay there for free out of the kindness of their heart!
Couchsurfing is also great for meeting new people without going straight into staying with a stranger. There are meetups held around the world, so if you’re a little nervous, why not go along to one and find out what Couchsurfing is all about?
Camping seems to be becoming a more popular holiday option since the pandemic, but you don’t have to book into a fancy holiday park.
Many countries have free camping options (we used a lot of these in New Zealand) but make sure you do your research to ensure you’re not breaking any laws before you do this.
Even if free camping isn’t an option, it’s very likely you can find cheap campsites that will cost you a lot less than a hotel or Airbnb!
And it’s a completely different experience! I love waking up and being able to hear the birds and spend more time outside.
5: Relocate Vehicles
Have you always wanted to rent a camper van or motor home, but always thought it was too expensive?
There is a way around this.
Often, travellers who rent these vehicles will return them to a different city from where they collected it, so that they don’t have to go back on themselves.
The company then needs to relocate the vehicle back to the original depot, and they get people to do this for them, for as little as $1 per day!
I once made use of this in Australia, relocating a motor home from Cairns to Brisbane, then relocating a different one back to Cairns a few days later!
This isn’t exactly a free way to travel, as you do need to pay for insurance, but you’ll have accommodation and transport sorted for a few days. AND you’ll get to live in an expensive motor home for pennies! So I count that as a big win.
Just search “vehicle relocation” to find companies in your area.
6: Home Exchange
I only heard about this one recently, and I’m unable to participate yet as I’m not a homeowner, but it sounds like a great way to travel for free- in comfort!
Websites like HomeExchange allow you to organise a trip to stay in someone else’s home. They can either stay at your house in return or you can give them ‘GuestPoints’ through the website for them to use at another HomeExchange member’s house.
The community is built on trust and respect for other members, but also provides security. You must put your own house up for exchange to stay at someone else’s house, so you are expected to treat other people’s homes as you expect yours to be treated.
The great thing about Home Exchange is that you can set up a free account to start looking at options and contacting other members, and you only need to pay the $150 membership fee once you’re finalising an exchange. This payment gives you one year of membership, so you can tavel for free as much as you like in that time!
7: Stay With Friends
One of the best things about travel is that you meet so many awesome people who live all over the world!
Why not get in touch with some of your travel friends and see if you’re able to stay with them for a while?
A lot of times, when I’ve had to part ways with travel friends, we’ve said something along the lines of, “If you’re ever in my home country, get in touch and we can hang out!”. I know that I’ve always meant it when I’ve said that and I’d like to think that they did too.
I have stayed with friends a couple of times when I’ve been travelling and, even if we hadn’t been in touch for a while, it always worked out great.
8: Hitch Hike
This is one that you’ll have to use your common sense with; it’s not always safe to hitch hike.
However, if you feel safe in the country you’re travelling and you’re not doing it alone, hitch hiking is a great free way to get around.
It doesn’t work everywhere, but in a lot of countries people are happy to pick you up and give you a ride if it’s on their way.
I hitch hiked with Theo in Thailand and New Zealand and it was a great experience.
But, I must stress this again, trust your gut instincts, use your common sense and don’t do it if you’re not comfortable.
Of course, the best way to travel without spending your savings from home is to do some paid work to fund your travels.
Hospitality work is often the easiest to get into, along with seasonal work and temp office jobs.
Note: Only do this if your visa allows it! Do not break your visa conditions.
You can also find ways to earn money online, such as starting a travel blog or monetizing a skill or service that you can provide online.
How to travel for free: final thoughts
There are so many ways that you can travel the world without having to save a huge amount of money before you leave.
A lot of people seem to think that you have to be rich to travel, but I can tell you that is not true at all.
I’ve never had a lot of money, and yet I’ve been travelling for most of my adult life! It truly is possible and these top tips are just a few of the ways that you can have a great travel experience for little to no money.
So, what do you think? Will you be trying out any of these travel methods? Have you tried any of them before? Let me know in the comments! 🙂
Want more like this? Check out these articles:
- Workaway: an introduction to work exchange
- How a Working Holiday Visa could change your life
- 14 Easy ways to save money while you travel
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