Most people I know love traveling. And who wouldn’t?
But very few of us actually get to travel the world, mainly because it is very expensive.
From plane tickets and hotel stays to food and entertainment, traveling can get costly. Not to mention when you are on the road, you are not working, so you are losing money that way as well.
Thankfully, there are a few ways that you can travel the world for free or very cheap.
1. Become a Travel Secret Shopper
How would you-you like to make money while traveling?
As a travel secret shopper that is exactly what you will be doing.
You will be sent on assignments to stay at hotels and dine in restaurants around the world, posing as a real traveler. You then report back your experience.
Most assignments cover all your travel expenses and pay you for your work on top of that.
Here are two secret shopping companies that conduct travel related (hotel stays, dining in restaurant, flying with particular airlines, etc) studies excursively that I know of:
You can also join general mystery shopping companies that conduct studies for variety of industries and businesses (retail, fast food, movie theater, etc), who may also, from time to time, have travel related shopping assignments.
Here are a few:
2. House-sit or Be an Au Pair
I have also heard of working abroad doing house-sitting which is not the same as being an Au Pair.
You really won’t be paid to house-sit, but it will give you free accommodations. There are quite a number of tourists who go around places house-sitting for years.
3. Join Work Exchange Programs
There are a few very nice programs out there that will allow you to visit different places around the world for free by engaging in “Work Exchange”.
Work exchange is somewhat different from volunteering. As a volunteer, you are basically giving up your time and skill for free, but with Work Exchange, you are essentially bartering your time and skills for food and lodging with a host.
What I personally find appealing about these Work Exchange programs is that they allow you to totally immerse yourself in the new culture and make local friends quickly.
4. Become a WWOOFer
Why not try traveling around the world through organic farming?
The World Wide Organization of Organic Farms (WOOF) will let you do just that.
You will need to work for around four to six hours a day and in exchange you will have free board, lodging and food coming from a host family.
You can do some traveling and exploring since the work hours are not that long.
You will only need to shell out money for travel expenses since the basic necessities such as accommodation and food will be shouldered by the hosts.
5. Teach English in a Foreign Country
There is always a high demand for those who can teach English.
Consider this: a lot of placement agencies and government organizations will shoulder the housing and medical expenses, as well as pay you good salary that will allow you to live and travel in a foreign place, plus many of them will also pay for your airfare.
Aren’t these perk enough to make it a very appealing option?
Plenty of agencies are actually searching for candidates, and a lot of them don’t require experience in teaching. Although being TEFL or TESOL certified also helps.
Why not start checking these jobs at Teach Away– this has placement all over the world, and they have a lot of resources.
6. Work on a Cruise Ship
Working on a cruise line can be tough when it come s to the actual work, but it can also be very rewarding as you are contently traveling to new places.
7. Work with Voluntary Service Overseas (VSO)
A world without poverty. This is the vision of VSO, an entity that places people first.
And I love that.
You can do volunteer work for VSO in different areas such as animals and natural resources, communications and fundraising, communities and social development, engineering and technical, health, business, education, and more.
The organization pays for the travel expenses, day-to-day expenses and insurance of volunteers.
There is also a Youth Volunteering Program for the young people who still are unqualified as they probably lack the experience for the main volunteer program.
8. Work at a Resort
The most common work that are open to different people from foreign land are resort positions.
Why not try working out as a front desk attendant in a restaurant or in the activity or entertainment department?
This way you can stash some money away and at the same time experience tropical living.
9. Make Money as a Travel Writer
Why not put your travels into words and make money?
Matador Network, for example, gives $40 per post.
This is a nice place to start writing about travels if you do not have much experience yet.
Blogging through this site could actually let you finance your travels as long as you travel like a nomad among third world countries.
You can use this as a jump board to get your work published in bigger outlets.
A lot of writers also tend to strike a deal with resort car rental companies, and other corporate entities in trade for coverage of their products and services.
10. Join the Navy
Aside from being able to explore lands located far far away, joining the Navy also means getting paid training, more job opportunities, reimbursement of college tuition fees plus free health care coverage.
Enlisted sailors with 0-4 years of service are paid between $1500 to $2500. Officers with less than two years of service are paid between $2,800 to $7,000.
11. Become a Flight Attendant
You can’t just walk-in and become a flight attendant. You will need to attend Flight Attendant School like the Travel Academy.
But the time will be worth it as flight attendants earn anywhere between$23K to $79K according to PayScale.com.
Plus, you get travel perks as a lot of flight attendants have free unlimited flights to the destination where their airlines travel to.
12. Become a Tour Guide
Becoming a tour guide is the perfect solution for those who want to land a job immediately abroad.
Having problems with the placement fees?
Don’t worry. Placements fees are easier due to training and or certifications.
For example, the International Tour Management Institute has a two-week program that gives licensing and prepares you to become a tour director, plus they will also help you with the placement.
Start locally like joining the Tours By Locals, since this is the best way to start. Eventually, branch out and be a tour guide in more exotic places.
The pay will range anywhere between $8-$18 per hour.
13. Become a Missionary
Most missionaries don’t get paid. In fact, the church communities raise funds for missionary work.
However, this job can still pay well if it goes with an educational program (we found a $2000 per month job).
You can also travel far as a seller of bibles. You can earn $2000 a month plus the flight expenses.
14. Join the Peace Corps
Joining the Peace Corps is one option that I have given much thought and still do.
Members are required to live and work in a developing country for two years.
Peace Corps members can work in various fields such as education, youth and community development, health, business, agriculture, environment, and HIV/AIDS, among others.
For working as a Peace Corp, you will receive a housing and living allowance, student loan assistance, a re- adjustment stipend of $7,425 upon completion, full medical and dental coverage, plus a few other things.
15. Review Hotels
An amateur who seeks to earn cash while traveling may want to try writing reviews for some website.
I wouldn’t book hotel stays just so you can write a review. The reviews don’t pay that much, so you may be able to barley break even, and even lose money sometimes.
However, if you are going to stay at a hotel anyway, you may as well write a review and get paid for it.
ReviewStream.com pays at least $1.50 per review, but depending on the length and quality of your review, this rate can go much higher.
You may want to try Craigslist too where some gigs that pay better can be found.
As you can see there are ways you can travel for free or very cheap. You just have to know where to look and be prepared to get out of your comfort zone.
If you any tips or hacks fro traveling the world without spending any (or a lot of) money, we would love to hear it. Use the comment section below to share how you are traveling for free, or cheap.