Travel for Free: Around the World in Eight Ways.
As fabled in internet lore, travel is the only thing you can buy that makes you richer.
If only it were as easy as that – a whisper: run away with me.
Though travel is enriching, it can also be costly. Note: Costly is not the same as expensive.
After two years of experimentation, my hypothesis holds up: You can have incredible adventures and beautiful moments on the cheap. The results go above, beyond and yonder. A lot of the expenses that you associate with travel can actually be done for free. Yes, it is possible to travel for free.
Doubtful? For all you curious minds I have put together a dream itinerary – an exercise in hypotheticals and possibilities.
So pack light. Bon Voyage.
Leg 1: Across the U.S
Traveling across the U.S makes for a good story – See Kerouac et al. Through the grand narratives – the stories that we tell ourselves and each other to make sense of our world – the American Road trip is a tradition that evokes both cowboys and manifest destiny: a sense that we will discover ourself along the journey.
A feeling that if we just get lost we might find ourselves.
This is why the open road of the USA remains magnetic to so many wayfarers.
So, how do you get away with this travel for free? There are so many jobs available as a Teen Adventure Company Tour Leader. You can find a whole lot of them here: try Transitions Abroad or Cool Works.
Leg 2: The Atlantic
Imagine sailing the Mediterranean sea, windswept and sunsets, with an itinerary easily mistaken for a bucket list.
Here’s the secret: you can sail the world for free if you volunteer as a deckhand.
You will find plenty of resources online that connect willing deckhands with yacht owners in need of some extra help. There are options for all levels of experience, including beginners. You won’t always be paid but you will usually be able to score free board, food and sailing.
There are heaps of sailers who need an extra hand to help out with the atlantic crossing. So this is the perfect opportunity for you to sail from Central America, through the Caribbean and around the Mediterranean.
Leg 3: The Mediterranean.
Stay onboard to travel for free around the south of France, the coast of Morocco, or even Tel Aviv. You can find these jobs at websites like Crewseekers International, Sailing Networks, Find A Crew and Crewbay
Leg 4: Western Europe
It’s not so hard to live and work in France, Italy, Germany or Austria. Ski field’s boast the most postcard perfect locales: all snow-capped and heart-melting. The problem tends to be that high peaks demand high prices. As generations of travellers have learnt, the way to get around this is to spend some time as a seasonal worker. You can find a good resource for seasonal workers here. If your skiing leaves something to be desired, there are plenty of alternative options. Look to hotels, restaurants, chair lifts and child care. A sneaky tip: try to get there as early as possible in the season, to get hold of the best job.
Leg 5: Eastern Europe
A note on hitch-hiking: It’s still possible, just go with your gut. It is a tempting way to travel for free but don’t do anything that doesn’t feel right. On the other hand, you can use car-pooling websites such as blablacar for something more legit . There is something quite special about a road trip with strangers. I have met some amazing people and had some real adventures with blablacar.
Leg 6: Europe to Asia
So, for a completely free crossing you could always try sailing again. If, however, you are keen to try something utterly new it is worth looking in to the Mongol Rally. Though the Mongol Rally is sometimes, but not always, free (depending on the sponsorship you find) it can be extremely cheap and it raises money for charity.
Haven’t heard of it? The basic gist is that you buy a car for $11.50 from a scrapyard, before driving it from London to Mongolia. In the words of the organisers (a deliberately loose term) …
The Mongol Rally is about getting lost, using your long neglected wits, raising shedloads of cash for charity and scraping into the finish line with your vehicle in tatters and a wild grin smeared across your grubby face.
There are three rules
1. You can only take a farcically small vehicle
2. You’re completely on your own
3. You’ve got to raise a £1000 for charity
For more information see, Mongol rally on a shoestring.
Leg 7: Asia
If your reading this article, no matter who you are, you actually have an extremely profitable resource at your disposable that you might not even be aware of. The market for English teachers is huge. Massive. Gigantic.
See, you’ve got synonyms covered.
You might need to get a formal qualification to land one of the many many jobs online ( like here). You can get this through a short course.
Otherwise, with just a website or some flyers, you can set up your own tuition company.
This could be your best chance to live like a local in an Asian country, meet people, and make some money along the way.
Leg 8: Australia
Australia is the perfect country to try your hand at WWOOFing.
The first thing you need to know about WWOOF is that it an acronym that stands for World Wide Opportunities on Organic Farms. The basics: you volunteer on farms in exchange for food and board. The most important thing to know, however, is that it’s not just about the free accommodation. It is about experiencing a way of life. At the heart of it, this is what authentic travel is all about.
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