I recently asked my newsletter subscribers about the main factor preventing them from traveling. The almost universal answer? The Ultimate guide
It’s something I hear from everyone I talk to: “Touropea, I just don’t have enough money to travel.”
This problem, and how to overcome it, is my most frequently asked question. Over the past 12 years, I have answered this question in a Facebook posts, emails, tweets, and posts. Old readers may even tire of seeing me talk about this topic, because it’s a topic I talk about a lot. But I know no matter how many times I bring this up, it will come back.
Since this problem often occurs, I want to keep reminding people of this fact:
You don’t have to be rich to travel.
Let’s repeat this.
You don’t have to be rich to travel.
There are many ways to travel on a budget (and for free), you just need to be prepared to be creative.
Traveling the world without money seems like an impossible dream. But it is possible, and you can do it responsibly without destroying funds. It must be said that there are some expenses you shouldn’t incur (like travel insurance), but there are plenty of ways to travel the world on a budget, including plenty of ways to travel for free.
In this article, I’ll show you two things:
How to travel inexpensively
How to travel for free
Traveling cheaply means taking advantage of useful apps and websites that allow you to save your money, find ways to cut spending, and even make money on the go. It’s about finding value and reducing expenses, while still being able to do what you want.
Traveling for free means taking advantage of existing free accommodation, transportation and activities and reducing your costs to zero. Here, you sacrifice comfort and convenience to make your trips as long as possible.
With the right budget and the right mentality, you can realize your travel dreams. Even if you don’t earn much or are in debt, there are still plenty of ways to go abroad (I was still in debt on my first trip around the world). They may not be luxurious, but if you prioritize travel, they can definitely be achieved!
Ready to start your trip on a budget and save some cash? Simply click on one of the links below to jump straight to this section!
How to travel the world cheaply
Follow this ultimate guide to travel frugality and see the world on the ultra-cheap:
1. Find a job abroad
Are you not making enough money with your work? Or, worse yet, do you work at a job you hate? Why not find a job abroad? There are many opportunities in the world, as long as you are not demanding, and after all, this is not a career that is just beginning, it is just a way to earn money to travel.
Here are some popular (and easy to find) jobs you can get on the road:
- Au pair: An au pair is a resident caregiver who helps a host family look after their children and do some basic household chores. In return, you receive free accommodation and food and a small salary. This is a great visit if you are looking to learn a new language or immerse yourself in a new culture. You can read this article to learn more about how to be an Au Pair.
- Bartender – It’s always 5 a.m. somewhere, so if you have the skills, it’s an easy job to move overseas. It’s also easy to mingle if you decide to go this route. If you don’t have the skills to become a bartender, consider becoming a dishwasher or a waiter assistant.
- Shelter worker: Shelter workers rarely stay long, which means there is always a demand for new help. This is a great way to meet other travelers while adjusting to new places. You can usually start volunteering. (In exchange for availability) to avoid the hassle of obtaining a visa. The three sites that can help you find shelters to volunteer are Worldpackers, Workaway, and HelpX.
- Waitress / Waiter – There are many seasonal restaurants around the world that need extra help during the busier months. If you have experience, it is an easy task to find abroad.
- Farm Worker – While not glamorous, if you don’t mind working hard, this is a great way to make a lot of money in a short period of time (because you won’t have time to spend your money because you farm in the middle out of the blue!). This work is very popular in Australia and New Zealand.
- Dive instructor – if you have your certification it is a friendly job to travel as dive instructors are needed everywhere. Best of all, these jobs are usually done in scenic tropical locations.
- Tour Guide – If you have a knack for history and don’t mind group speaking, this is the perfect job for you. It’s also usually a cashier job, which means you get your tips straight away.
- Cruise ship worker – it’s a much more formal position, but it’s a great way to travel. The hours are long, but it’s worth living at sea!
- Casino worker – although it may take training, if you are a night owl and don’t care about the casino scene, it is a fun job to work abroad.
- Seasonal worker in ski resorts (instructors, restaurant staff, hotel staff, lifeguards), ski resorts need all types of staff to get things done, becoming a gold mine for the foreign traveler (as long as you don’t mind the snow!)
- Yacht worker – although the hours can be long, you can make a lot of money working for the rich and famous on your yachts. Best of all, you usually find yourself in amazing destinations.
- Yoga Instructor: If you have the skills (and certification), teaching yoga abroad is an easy way to make money. Although you need to know the language, there are yoga studios in almost every city in the world.
Will you get a good paying job? Do not.
Will you get a crappy, low-paying job that pays all of your travel bills? Yeah!
I have met people from all walks of life, from Western and non-Western countries, who finance their trips in this way. It’s a fun and easy way to extend your travels, deepen your experience, and earn some extra cash.
2. Teach English Overseas
One of the best ways to earn money to travel is to teach English abroad. You can make a lot of money teaching: I replenished my travel funds while working in Thailand, and some friends left South Korea with tens of thousands of dollars in the bank.
All you need is the ability to speak English fluently and a TEFL degree, depending on the country/region where you work. The world longs for teachers, and this is a job in great demand; many companies in Asia will even pay for your flight.
If you have a college degree, you will be able to earn more money and apply for better positions, although this is not necessary in many countries.
In addition, there are many websites and services that allow you to conduct virtual teaching. As long as you have a good Wi-Fi connection, you can help people learn English from anywhere in the world!
Some of the places you can teach online are:
3. Do WWOOFing and work on the farm
WWOOF stands for World Wide Opportunities on Organic Farms.It is a platform that lets you do farm work in exchange for free rooms and food. It’s a great way to get an in-depth look at the destination while letting you meet a lot of people outdoors. You have to pay to go to the farm. But when you’re there, everything will be covered! Of course, it will help you travel on a budget, have a unique experience and meet many interesting people.
WWOOF has opportunities in over 60 countries around the world. Some of the more popular destinations for WWOOFers are France, Italy, Costa Rica, Australia, New Zealand, and Hawaii.
4. Use the sharing
Use the shared economy to find cheaper accommodation, original tour guides, carpooling options, and home-cooked meals with local chefs. You can bypass the traditional travel industry with shared economy sites and access the sites using your own resources and skills to become a small tourism business at cheaper prices. Plus, locals know where to find great bargains. They know which supermarket is the cheapest, which stores have the best sellers, and where to find trendy restaurants and bars with the most delicious food at the lowest prices. Talking with them directly gives you access to this knowledge.
These sites have changed the travel game and made travel more accessible to everyone.
Here are some of my favorite sites:
- Airbnb: the reference platform for finding budget accommodation.
- BlaBlaCar – A carpooling app that connects you with drivers who have extra seats in their car (mainly for medium and long distances).
- EatWith – platform that connects you with local chefs who serve private meals.
- RVShare – allows you to rent RVs and RVs directly from residents.
- Turo – A carsharing market that allows you to rent vehicles to locals.
- Campspace – This platform allows you to camp on private property. Properties range from basic tent pitches to luxury glamping and trailer stays.
5. Cook your own food
The best way to save money on the road is to prepare all of your own meals. I once spent $ 60 on groceries for a week in Stockholm, instead of an average $ 15 on food outside. This represents a saving of US $ 150!
If you are Couchsurfing, your host will likely have a kitchen, as well as plenty of hostels, camps, and guesthouses.
No kitchen? Pack your own container and cutlery, and pack sandwiches and salads for the trip. Not all meals require a stove, right?
Just because you are traveling doesn’t mean you have to go out to prepare all the meals. You won’t ruin your trip to Paris if you decide not to go out for lunch one day! There is simply no reason to spend a lot of money on food on your trip!
6. Get a rail pass
Train tickets (like the Eurail Pass in Europe or the JR Pass in Japan) are a great way to save money on train travel. If you travel to the area for a while, train tickets are likely to be much cheaper than booking individual trips.
If you book individual trips, booking in advance usually saves around 50% of the price of a train ticket. However, it sets you on a fixed schedule. If you don’t want to be stuck on a set schedule, train passes can save you a lot of money, while still giving you the flexibility you need. I saved hundreds of dollars in Europe by doing this!
7. Sleep in a large dorm
The hostel’s large dorms are the cheapest accommodation available. If Couchsurfing isn’t your thing, this is your second best way to save money on a place to sleep. The larger the part, the less expensive it will be. While a 4 to 6 bed dorm may give you more privacy, a 12 to 18 bed dorm will be a bit cheaper. In the long run, it will add up. As long as you have earplugs and a sleep mask, go to the larger gate to keep your budget intact.
If you are a light sleeper, be sure to read the reviews before you book to make sure you don’t choose a hostel for the holidays. In large cities, you can usually find a hostel that is quieter than the others. It might not be that social, but at least you can get a good night’s sleep.
In a large room, you will almost certainly have some snorers. If the earplugs don’t work, download an app like Rain Rain, which plays the rain sounds on a loop. You can set a timer to stop the ringing after an hour or two, which will help you ignore room noise while trying to fall asleep.
8. Use a student discount card and more.
Are you a student, teacher or under the age of 26? Welcome to the world of attractions with 50% off and lots of discounts! Get a student / teacher / youth card and save a lot abroad. Even if you recently graduated, you will probably still be able to survive with your expired ID card (as long as you don’t have an expiration date). Always ask if student or youth discounts are available, as this is an easy way to save a lot of money while traveling.
Museums, galleries and other important tourist attractions often benefit from discounts (especially in Europe). It never hurts to ask!
9. Get a city tourist card
If you plan to see a lot of sights in a city, you need to get a city tourism card. They offer free and / or discounted access to major attractions and museums, as well as free public transport. I saved over US $ 100 with the London Pass, US $ 80 with the Paris Museum card, US $ 50 with a Helsinki card and more with other city tourist cards.
They are an amazing way to save money on attractions that not many people use. Just go to your local tourist office to find out what maps are available. They can help you answer all of your questions and make sure you save as much as possible. Not all cities have them, but most major destinations do, and you’ll save a lot of money if you plan to visit the major sights.
10. Sell a your services
You need money? Use Craigslist, TaskRabbit, Upwork, or Gumtree to find people who need to do certain things around the house and get paid to help. It is a way to earn money traveling without committing to long term work.
Also, if you have a skill, sell it. Offer hairstyles to other travelers, find cash for cash, provide online services such as editing, graphic design or consulting. Working online has never been easier. As long as you have Wi-Fi, you can earn money. The sky is the limit here, be creative!
How travel the world for free
Want to travel for free? Here are all the ways that can make this happen:
1. Travel hack and get free flights tickets!
Travel hacking is the number one way I have managed to pay for so many flights and hotels over the years. By simply using a travel credit card for normal groceries, dining and shopping expenses, I was able to earn free flights and hotel stays, all for the money I would spend anyway. way!
Nowadays there are many ways to earn free flights. Just sign up for travel credit cards, earn miles, and fly for free.
Most cards offer sign-up bonuses of 50,000 points (or more), which is usually enough for a free flight on site. And if you sign up for an airline card (for example, a United Airlines credit card) and a general rewards card like Chase Sapphire, you can combine two point balances and get a cheaper, faster flight.
By accumulating points and miles through credit card bonuses, smart living expenses, online surveys, bonuses, and other methods, you’ll rack up tons of miles before you even leave for the trip. You can go much further in the world if you take away the cost of flights and some accommodation.
It’s not just for Americans (although US residents have the best options). Canadians can also hack, as can Australian and New Zealand nationals.
Europeans also have several options, including all types of airline cards, such as Norweigan Air, SAS, Aer Lingus, Lufthansa and more.
2. Free Stay
There are many services that connect travelers with locals who want them to stay with them for free. When you use these sites, you will never have to pay for hosting. Years ago I read the story of a guy who traveled for years while he was just Couchsurfing.
I have used this service dozens of times over the years and always meet amazing people. Sometimes you have a bedroom, sometimes a couch, sometimes an air mattress, but it’s always free.
The ideal is to compensate the host’s sympathy by cooking him a meal, bringing him a souvenir of his home or taking him for a drink. But it will still be much cheaper than paying for accommodation!
There are also local Couchsurfing group meetings that can help you make friends in your new town.
In addition, due to the increase in the shared economy in recent years, there are now websites that not only allow you to stay with the locals, but also share tours, meals, train tickets, hardware and much more. These sites not only save you a ton of money, but also take you off the beaten path and into local life. Victory, victory! Here is a list of websites you can use to get free hosting:
- Global Freeloaders
Hitchhiking is a free, relatively safe and fairly common way of getting around in many parts of the world, such as Central America, Scandinavia, Eastern Europe, Australia, and New Zealand .
I have hitchhiked in more than a handful of countries (and I know women who travel alone). Sure, that’s a bad name in North America, but with a little common sense and a little patience, you can travel almost anywhere, saving a lot of money!
Here are some basic tips for getting started:
- Use a sign – Make a clear sign so people know where you are going. This will help drivers decide if they can help.
- Look presentable: wear clean clothes, smile, and don’t cover your face with sunglasses. People want to see who he catches.
- Check the law-hitchhiking is illegal in some places. Always check the laws to make sure all is well where you are.
- Warning: Note the license plate of anyone who picks you up and send a message to a friend. You probably don’t need it, but it’s better to be safe than sorry.
- Keep your valuables with you: don’t leave any valuables in your bag if you go to the trunk, if it’s left in the car (or stolen).
- See Hitchwiki: Hitchwiki is the number one resource for hitchhiking. Always check it before hitchhiking for advice and to make sure you are hitchhiking in a safe location.
4. Join a free walking tour
Do you want to learn more about the city, orient yourself and see the main places of interest? Take a free walking tour. You can find them in most major cities – ask your local tourist office, hostel staff (or just walk into a hostel and ask for them) or “free walking tour (name of town)” on Google.
You will have a solid introduction to the city and at the same time have access to a local guide who can ask questions. I often start my visits to new cities with. Just be sure to tip your guide at the end (this is how it gets paid).
5. House Sittings & Pet Sitting
If your budget is tight and you can’t afford a vacation, consider looking after someone’s house while they care for someone else’s house. You can register at any of the following sites and view people’s homes (and usually their pets) for free, allowing you to stay in a destination for a period of time without having to pay for accommodation. Everyone’s account is verified and has comments to let you know you won’t be fooled. It’s a great platform for long-term travel with a big bonus – you have a kitchen to prepare your food (save even more money!).
Often times you will also have access to a vehicle and sometimes end up with a tip or free food. Usually, it is the rich who can afford vacations for several months, so they usually end up in very nice houses and apartments.
Here are the best cleaning sites to check out:
- Trusted Housesitters
- Home Exchange
- House Carers
6. Use a your social network
Does your colleague have a relative in Spain? Or maybe you have a cousin who is far away in New Zealand. Or maybe one of your childhood friends works in Brazil.
Today we have a huge social network of friends and family that spans the world. Don’t hesitate to use it! Ask your coworkers and friends if they know anyone where you are going. Ask your mother to ask her colleagues and friends as well.
Among all these tips, you can travel for relatively little money. The days of expensive hotels and flights are long gone. With a little planning and creativity, you can travel the world for little money.
Because if I can do it, so can you!
Whether it’s two months, two years or just two weeks vacation, the trip doesn’t have to be expensive. The key is to get out of the mindset that you have to travel by using a flight / hotel combination. Using non-traditional, out-of-the-box forms of travel can generate significant savings.
It all starts with a change in mentality. From there, with a little patience and practice, you can make your travel dreams come true without breaking the bank!
The most important advice I can offer is to buy good travel insurance. Travel insurance protects you against illness, injury, theft and cancellations. This is full protection in the event of a problem. I never travel without it, as I have had to use it several times in the past. You can use the widget below to find the policy that’s right for you:
Book Your Trip: Tips and Tricks
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