HOW TO TRAVEL FOR FREE

As a budget traveller, my goal is to make my pot of money last as long as possible. And in order to travel long term and not make sacrifices on excursions, we have to get creative with how to save money whilst on the go. I have curated a list of ways we can all get a little further and travel for free. From volunteering to seasonal work to housesitting, there are many ways you can travel for free. In this guide, I will spill the tea on exactly how you can get involved in these travel opportunities and travel the world on a shoestring.

How to Travel for Free

WORK EXCHANGE

Seasonal work can be a really good way to make money, without taking too much time out of your big trip. Farm work is a great example of this, some farms offer free accommodation and pay. These farm spots get filled very quickly so make sure to contact them well in advance. Other farms will pay you per bin or hourly and charge fairly cheap rent.

You can also sign up to WOOFING which helps you get free accommodation and food for different jobs. However this has a yearly membership cost of £20 (single) £30 (joint). These prices are subject to change depending on which country you are signing up in. Please note that you have to sign up in different countries, there is no international all round membership.

A similar platform to Woofing is Worldpackers. They ask you a series of questions before you start to determine what you are looking for. For example your travel interests, where you would like to explore and the types of jobs you can help out with. The site will then churn out different jobs in different areas.

A few jobs that came up on my profile were:

  • Llama animal care and training in Australia
  • Environmental volunteering in Nepal
  • Content Creator for a start up in Spain

In order to join these programmes you will need to become a member $49 a year ($59 with partner/friend).

Working in hostels as a cleaner or a receptionist can also offer pay and/or accommodation. If you do the morning turn down (changing bedlinen after people check out), you will have the afternoons to go exploring the destination you are in. If you like children another way to get money and board is by becoming an au pair. This is where you will be a live in nanny for a duration helping out a host family.

girl in apple orchard, with apron holding a pouchful of apples.

VOLUNTEER ABROAD

There are so many ways you can volunteer overseas but do your research! Not all volunteer programmes are free and ethical (Tagging turtles in Belize costs £2,500). If you are from the UK and aged between 18-25, there is an International Citizen Service which offers 10-12 week schemes. These programmes ask you to raise money before hand, but members will be assigned to help you collect donations. This means nothing will come out of your pocket unless you want to contribute.

HOUSE/PET SITTING

Signing up for house/pet sitting can be a tad tricky depending on which sites you go through. Again do the research and sign up to reputable sites like Trusted House Sitters and Mind My House. There is an upfront cost (so it isn’t completely free, sorry!) of around £70 a year. But this allows you to sit in over 90 different countries. You will need to provide a police check and reference, but there are tons of adverts all over the world you can apply for! so it is a really good investment of money. If you do the math and house sit for 2 months of the year (which doesn’t have to be consecutively), you would be spending £1.16 a night.

Dog on sofa, getting petted. Dog is short haired with salt and pepper colours.

COUCHSURFING

Couchsurfing.com has allowed so many people to travel for free. Couchsurfing is a service that connects members to a global community of travellers. The site is free to join and has over 200,000 couches/sofabeds in different towns and cities all over the world. An experience like this is an opportunity to really see the place you are exploring through the eyes of a local. Most hosts are willing to share secret gems of the city, the best places to eat and provide you with local information. One thing I do want to stress though, is if you do not feel comfortable or safe then say thank you and leave. Or just leave. Always listen to your gut no matter how silly you feel.

CREW A YACHT

If you fancy being a stewardess or a deck hand and sailing around the world, have a look at the adverts on Crew Seekers or Find A Crew. Sometimes no sailing experience is needed just a willingness to learn. This is an amazing opportunity to go from point A to B and gaining valuable skills.

FAMILY TREE/CONNECTIONS

Looking into your family history can help you travel. By following your heritage, you may find a long lost 2nd cousin in Australia or a Great Aunt in Spain. This would allow you to reconnect, find out interesting stories about your family and spend a week or 3 in a new country.

Family jumping together in front of Monument Valley.

If you do one of the above options for a portion of your trip, you are guaranteed to make your money go further. Do you have any other ideas on how to travel free, pop it in the comments to help others within the community.

Happy Exploring!

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