20 Ways To Travel The World For Free (Or Even Get Paid Doing It)

June 15, 2017

With today’s exorbitantly-priced rooms and skyrocketing airfare, the conventional way of travel has become a whole lot more challenging to do, for budget travelers. But, what if you can travel the world without spending a dime? Better yet, what if you get paid doing the thing that you absolutely love to do?

For some of us, it can be rather scary to travel and explore the world, with nothing more than good-will and optimism. Let’s face it, we always think that travel is difficult and fairly expensive. But in reality, traveling is easy and amazingly cheap. With a little effort and practice, you can, in fact, travel the world for free.

Don’t know where to start? We’ve listed down the ways for anyone to get their golden ticket in spending days, weeks or even years in exotic places without spending a fortune. Start planning now, and travel the world like a pro. Remember, personal freedom an epic trips start with a leap of faith.

1. House sitting

Are you open to the idea of taking care of someone’s pet or home, while on vacation? Why not become a house sitter temporarily? There are tons of companies like HouseCarers and Trusted Housesitters that connect travelers and homeowners who are in need of sitters across the world.

2. Work in hostels

There are dozens of volunteer opportunities in hostels, providing you with a free stay in exchange for your service. Of course, there are tons of maintenance and cleaning gigs, but you may also work as a receptionist or teach pilates or yoga on a beach.

3. Keep your needs to a minimum

The modern society is built on the false premise that we need to buy services and goods all the time. For me, though, it doesn’t make sense at all.

People need a safe place to sleep, self-esteem, companionship, creative stimulation, exercise, clean water, healthy food and fresh air. And all of these things are easy to get, and some of them are even free.

For exercise and fresh air, just take a walk outside. For companionship, make friends with strangers. For creative stimulation, move your feet to somewhere that’s new. For self-esteem, switch off your smartphone, breathe deep, and open your eyes to the world’s basic goodness.

4. Teach English

If you’re willing to teach English to non-English speakers, then you have your ticket to a life full of travel and adventure. Some of the best resources for English-teaching job hunters include ESL Café and TEFL.com. But, take note that this is not something you do for a week-long getaway. Normally, postings range from 8 months to a couple of years. Nevertheless, it’s an excellent way to have a paid or extended vacation.

5. Volunteer in a language-immersion program

Don’t want to travel for months? You may take a free one-week getaway to places like Scotland, Ireland, England, Canada and Australia, stay in a resort, and have conversations with Spaniards and Germans who are trying to improve their English in a very authentic way. For the most part, these trips are organized through Diverbo.

6. Babysitting spring breakers

Honestly, you need a whole lot of patience to pull this one off. Nowadays, there are plenty of companies, such as Inertia Tours, that organize Spring Break getaways and hire staff members, to ensure everything goes smoothly. What are the perks for this travel gig? You’ll get to work on the fabulous beaches of Bahamas and Mexico.  And the best part is, you’ll going paid doing it. What’s downside? You’ll have to put in some long hours, working in nightclubs and bars.

7. Travel blogging

Blogging is definitely an excellent way to travel the world, and at the same time, get paid. Your travel blog can be your creative outlet that lets you express yourself as well as you thoughts. If you can build a successful blog, you may be invited on several fully-expensed press trips across the world. Although there’s an upfront work needed to gain momentum for your travel, this could be the right gig for you, if you have a passion for writing and travel.

8. Become a skills instructor

Got some mad skills? Perhaps, you should put it to good use, so you can travel the world. If you’re well-versed in a particular sporting activity like mountain biking, skiing or rock climbing, you may get to land a job overseas teaching others the ropes. If you can speak a couple of languages, it may also be a huge bonus, especially since most tourist agencies rely on their instructors communicate with their international customers.

9. Get out of the city

It’s possible to travel for free in a huge city like New York, but it’s incredibly damn difficult. Cities are, after all, built on money and basic necessities like a safe place to sleep, clean water and fresh air are difficult to come by in these areas.

Go to a rural area, when food is plentiful, people are more laid-back, and there is ample room for travelers to lay out their sleeping bags under the stars.

10. Work exchange

Work exchange programs let you work and play, while visiting a new country or city.

WWoofing, which allows you to work on an organic farm in exchange for board and room, is a great way to learn a new skill as well as visit a new destination without spending a dime.

HelpX has somewhat a similar concept to WWoofing, except its opportunities are not just limited to farming, but also to lodges and hostels.

Another viable alternative, for budget travelers, is Workaway – a well-known program that requires you to volunteer for 5 hours a day, and 5 days a week. With Workaway, you’ll have a wide array of opportunities for volunteering, including paperwork, babysitting and farm upkeep.

11. Hitchhike your way

Hitchhiking, nowadays, is generally safe, accepted and common, in some parts o the world. For instance, in Armenia, it’s common for both locals and foreign travelers to hitch a ride. If you want to know which countries are safe to hitchhike, check out Hitchwiki.

12. Become a scuba diving instructor

Scuba diving is practically available everywhere, meaning opportunities to work a diver center abroad are abundant.

You’ll need to study and become a dive master, but it’s arguably the most rewarding job for travelers who love the ocean. Though you may have to spend some time in classroom teaching a bunch of students about scuba diving theories, most of your time will be spent in the sea teaching others the practical aspects as well.

13. Adventure travel

14. Work as an Au Pair

If you love to see a new place, and you enjoy taking care of kids, working as au pair might be the ultimate answer to your thirst for travel.

Au pairs, normally, have the rare chance to live in new location, get paid for their services, and receive free board and room. As for the amount of pay and work, it will vary depending on the employer.

15. Credit card miles

Signing up for two or more credit cards, with sign-up incentives, is one of the best ways to travel somewhere cheap. For instance, a Chase Sapphire Preferred card points can pay for your hotel and car rental, and the miles from a Virgin Atlantic card can pay for a round-trip ticket to your destination.

16. Become a tour guide

Leading group tours through some of the most historic and iconic places in the world seems like a dream come true. Depending on how you approach it, this line of work can offer a plethora of variety. Do you want to become a guide in one beautiful place like Paris, and lead flocks of American travelers through the Eiffel Tower, the Bastille or the Louvre? Or, do you want to lead groups of tourists on longer trips going through a series of cities or destinations?

17. CouchSurfing

With CouchSurfing, you get to connect with hundreds of local hosts, while traveling, allowing you to get a free stay in their home. As an added bonus, CouchSurfing lets you delve deep into the culture of the place you’re visiting.

18. Host an educational tour

Are you a passionate teacher? Want to take your beloved students on a tour, so they can fully immerse themselves in what they have just studied? Guess what? There are a number of educational travel companies offering free trips to educators, to inspire them to host trips for their students. Some of the best companies include Explorica, CHA Educational Tours and EF.

19. Go with the flow

To travel the world free sometimes requires a mix of advance planning as well as the willingness to seize very opportunity and just go with flow. Does a farm in Asia need a sitter for the monsoon season? Take that opportunity! Does your CouchSurfing host need some company for a road trip across the country? Then, grab your bags, and ride along.  In the words of the great Kurt Vonnegut, “peculiar travel suggestions are dancing lessons from God”

20. Trip organizer

Here’s a unique and sneaky way to travel the world for free. Today, there are so many travel companies that will cover your expenses if you work as a trip leader, such as YMT Vacations, Merit Group Travel, All Abroad Travel, Select International Tours and Grand Circle Cruise Line.

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Bryn Wied
Bryn Wied is an outdoor enthusiast and serious travelaholic. She explores every inch of the globe in her Sanuk flip flops with her favorite travel buddy/hubby Matt. Matt and Bryn live in California where they blog, surf, snowboard and raise kids in between road trips and camping adventures.

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