Budget travel is certainly our main focus in this guide. Yet it doesn’t mean having to skimp on accommodation or eat poorly, oh no.
Have you seen our collection of 5 Star Hostels? Great design, phenomenal privacy-led dorms, social events and a reasonable price tag – all and more to support your quest to travel the world.
Whether you plan on travelling solo, as a couple or with your family; we’re here to tell you how to travel for cheap. We’ve got tricks up our sleeve that will have you exchanging wealth for experiences, meeting awesome people along the way.
Here are a few other handy guides we’ve designed with long-term and budget travel in mind:
In case you were wondering, we don’t mean woof like a dog whilst you volunteer. That would just be weird.
We’re talking about World Wide Opportunities on Organic Farms = WWOOF!
Volunteering is such a good way to save money. When you give your time to help a certain project, in most cases you will be housed and fed in return.
So all you need to worry about money wise is getting to/fro the volunteer placement.
Websites such as Worldpackers and WWOOF offer a safe and secure platform for volunteers and hosts to connect, keep in touch and arrange a suitable agreement for exchange of time and skills.
Whilst WWOOF focus on organic farming, on Worldpackers you will find all sorts of volunteering opportunities. Here is a a good comparison guide and review of Worldpackers.
Important: always communicate via the platform and not via personal email or by phone. This helps keep you safe and email conversations can be monitored by the organisation at all times.
From teaching English and earth building, to helping in rural villages and animal care. The possibilities are endless and spread all across the world!
Our top tips when choosing to volunteer are…
1. Commit to at least 3+ weeks
It takes time to settle in.
It takes time to get to know people. In our experience, if the longer you spend at a placement, the better. We’d go as far as saying that you shouldn’t book a return flight and allow yourself the freedom to extend (and extend).
2. Have the right mindset
Sure, you’re essentially working for free.
But that doesn’t mean you can do a lazy job and treat your hosts like parents. Remember: many people would kill to be in your shoes, and you’re being given a roof over your head and food for your belly.
3. Arrange a Skype before you go
Though the experience might sound incredible, the people you’ll be working with/for are an important factor.
If possible, have a chat with the hosts and get a feel for them. It’s often a long way to travel, so best that’s is worth it.
4. Check feedback (+ leave some)
This is a great way to get an idea whether the placement is for you.
Most listings will have feedback, but there is of course a chance that you find some that are new and you may be the first volunteer.
That’s when we strongly suggest following tip #3. Don’t forget to leave honest feedback once you’ve left – help your fellow travellers and thank your hosts!
In our experience starting off was quite easy, even though we didn’t have any references. A friendly phone call goes a long way. Obviously the more experience and 5* feedback you have, the easier it becomes.
Top tip: put some effort into writing up a great profile. Mention what you like doing, your experience and reasons for wanting to house sit. Include as many photos as you can, including any interactions with animals and garden care.
Let’s face it, public transport can become quite costly if you’re moving around a lot.
So, why not give hitchhiking a try?
Ok ok, so you’ve heard it’s dangerous and you’d rather not get abducted in the middle of nowhere. Fair enough.
But with the right precautions, hitchhiking can be a great way to travel and save money. We’ve met some amazing locals and fellow travellers, and ended up visiting places we’d never have seen otherwise.
We’ve been given homemade kombucha, taken to a river for a swim and offered a place to sleep.
Stay safe and hitchhike following these tips:
Hitchhiking is safer in groups of 2+ people
2. Stick to hitching on main roads between places
3. Avoid hitching at night time
4. Listen to your intuition – don’t get in the car if something doesn’t feel right
5. Give yourself too much time (it can be a slow process)
Always do your research. Some countries are more known for hitching than others. Trust your friend Google and check out Hitch Wiki for help on good places to stand.
4. Grab yourself a Car Relocation
Alright, this one is super cool and another great answer on how to travel the world for free.
If you’re still dubious about hitchhiking but love overland travel, then signing up for a car relocation will put an end to your worries about getting around for cheap/free.
How does it work?
Basically, you decide a trip from A to B, check to see if there is a car/campervan that needs relocating, and then apply to be the driver.
More often than not you get to relocate for FREE (or $1 per day) over a set amount of days. Sometimes fuel is paid for and if there is a ferry crossing the driver gets a free ticket.
It’s also possible to extend the trip by adding days for an extra cost.
We’ve ended up driving some seriously fancy cars that we’d never afford to drive otherwise!
Restrictions to be aware of:
Driver usually has to be 21+ years old
A refundable bond needs to be paid ($100-$500 usually)
KMs allowed to drive is usually capped
In a lot of cases, only Credit Cards are accepted for booking
Transfercar is a brilliant company we’ve used a few times. They operate in Australia, New Zealand, Unites States, Canada and South Africa.
Imoova is a great option for moving around the UK and Europe.
5. Work for Accommodation at your favourite Hostel
Let’s talk about hostels; our favourite subject!
Frankly, you’ve landed on the only website you need to discover the absolute best hostels in the world.
Top tip: if you’re actively seeking work-for-accommodation, contact the hostel personally to find out if this is something they offer before heading there.
It’s also worth checking their website and social media channels to see if they advertise on there. Some hostels use HelpX to find help.
Caveland, the 5 Star Hostel in Santorini actually offers to work in their hostel for a season. In the case of Caveland, you will need to apply for a job by the end of the year as interviews are happening in early January.
Depending on where you decide to travel, wild camping is a fun option for ways to travel the world for free.
All you need to invest in before you set off is a good sleeping bag and lightweight tent and you’re set!
Before you pitch up in someone’s backyard or accidentally create a brown patch on a golf course; do your research!
Each country has its rules when it comes to camping. In some places it’s illegal, in others it’s encouraged in certain areas, following certain rules. And sometimes, the rules are worth breaking for that spectacular camp spot (as long as you clean up after yourself)!
Living or travelling in a van? Camping for free is still possible. It’s particularly popular in countries such as Australia and New Zealand.
Handy app: WikiCamps is the perfect travelling buddy for camping wild and free.
The other option is to save some coins and opt for an official campsite instead of a hostel/hotel.
7. Get Crafty & Sell your Creations
Hey you! Yes you: the one that’s about to scroll this part because you’re ‘not creative’. Come back here.
This is your chance to learn a new skill and try your hand at something creative. If it means earning a bit of money on the road, what have you got to lose?
There are so many avenues for offering up something unique and intriguing that people will want to part money for.
From making jewellery, creating cards, painting, sketching people and tarot card reading. To busking, offering workshops and playing music to win a competition. Why not write a travel blog and leave a link for people to donate for your daily coffee needs?
Get clever, get inspired, and put yourself out there.
If nothing else, you’re sure to meet other budding creatives and develop your expressive self-love.
8. Teach English as a Foreign Language (TEFL)
Who hasn’t daydreamed about whisking off to some foreign country to surround themselves by little kids in a classroom setting? I know I have!
In fact, I went one step further and made it happen.
Lastly on our list of how to travel the world for free, we recommend volunteering your time at festivals around the world.
This is actually a very clever idea. Festivals typically run during the summer months, right? So you need to follow summer as she moves!
No matter what your festival style, there is always a big need for more helping hands.
Usually you are asked to work a set number of hours, say 12-16 hours, and in return you are given entry and camping for the entire festival. Pretty sweet deal, if you ask us.
Link the festival dates up with house-sitting, and hitchhike with other festival-goers to the site. Sorted.
What are you waiting for?
11. Write for Hostelgeeks or Other Sites
This is not really a way to travel for free, but to earn some money to travel more.
From time to time, we at Hostelgeeks are looking for new writers. Simply check our site here for more details.
Pretty much everyone of our writers is location independent and travels the world as his/her own pace.
And it is not just our site that needs and wants writers to deliver fantastic content. There are many more.
This can be sites like Hostelz.com, Hostelworld.com, Worldpackers and so many more.
How to apply?
Well, this is the tricky part. Personally, we love it when a writer contacts us via Instagram and asks if we need a helping hand with cool content. this gives us the opportunity to directly check their insta site. Is this girl/boy a traveler, a backpacker, or more a poshy-suitcase-5-star-resort-traveler. You get the idea.
Many other sites have online application forms as well. Just check google. Type in the name of the outlet and the “write for us”. You could also randomly search Google for websites to write for. For this, type in Google “travel” “website” “write” “paid writer”. You can adapt this method obviously.
Summary of How to Travel the World for Free
By now you should have lots of inspiration on how to travel for free. Free travel, travel hacking, travel tips, how to score a free room – it has all been covered in this helpful guide.