So, you want to see the world, but your checking account barely has enough in it for a trip across town. That doesn’t mean you have to put off your trip to Bali or Mexico. It just means you need to be smart and do some pre-planning. Many people are under the misconception that I have a secret trust fund or am independently wealthy because I’ve traveled to over 15 countries in the last couple of years. The truth is, a lot of my travel expenses weren’t expenses at all. In fact I stayed many places for free. If I can do it, you can too. This is how to travel the world on a shoestring budget.
Lodging is one of the largest expenses of international travel. If you’re planning to be away for more than a couple of weeks, the expense of accommodations can easily surpass that of your airfare. The internet has opened a world of opportunities for just about everyone, and many of those opportunities include the ability to travel for free. Did you know that there are people all over the world that need house sitters to keep an eye on their home or pets while they are away? Many times you can stay in their home for free. Sometimes they will even pay you! Check out Trusted House Sitters or International House Sitting for house sitting opportunities in places like New Zealand, Italy, and Australia.
There are thousands of people across the world that are willing to give you a free place to stay, and even feed you, in exchange for your help with something. Maybe they need help with organic gardening. Maybe they want someone to teach them English or help them get organized. I stayed in Lucca, Italy for ten days, eating amazing vegetarian meals, in exchange for helping someone I now consider a dear friend, organize his closets and pantry.
Keep in mind that some people require more hours of work than others, so I strongly encourage you to ask a lot of questions about expectations. Also, ask about how isolated their place is. If you want to site see but their place is ten miles from the nearest town and there is no public transportation available, it might not be an ideal setup for you. Just keep asking questions until you find the right place. Check out Workaway for a variety of work, or WWOF if you enjoy gardening.
Backpacking and Hitchhiking
Contrary to popular belief, backpacking didn’t go out of style in the 1970s. There are still thousands of happy wanders backpacking and hitchhiking through this beautiful planet of ours. Europe is an easy place to backpack. There are cheap, safe, and clean hostels everywhere. It’s easy to thumb a ride and the people are generally very welcoming. When it comes to doing the same thing in Asia, I don’t recommend it as much for female solo travelers because of their fascination with white women. You can still do it but you have to be much more cautious.
Whatever your interests, wherever you want to go, there is probably a way to get there, and stay there, for cheap. You might not be staying in five-star luxury resorts, but you’ll still see the world and have amazing experiences. Don’t let a limited budget keep you from seeing the wonders of this planet. Travel is good for the spirit, and it teaches you a lot about yourself and the world we live in.