Our family loves to travel, and we always tell our friends be sure to travel as much as you can before you have kids. Not that traveling with our kids isn’t fun, but financial experts say that the average family vacation costs between 5-10% of your total income. For a family that makes an average of $40,000 per year, your yearly family vacation budget should average between $2,000-$4000. That’s a lot of money! If you’re single, perhaps you’re not making that much a year, or maybe you’re a student fresh out of high school or college looking to see the world on a budget.
We’ve found 7 ways that someone can travel the world free.
1. Couchsurfing.org is a site that does not charge to set up an account and has only one catch – you must love meeting new people. According to the site, “Couchsurfers share their lives with the people they encounter, fostering cultural exchange and mutual respect.” Members can use the site to search for a couch or bed on which to crash in countries all over the world. If you love meeting new people, but aren’t traveling, you can return the favor by offering another Couchsurfer your sofa.
2. Teaching English in a foreign country is always a fun and easy way to travel (though, you must have patience and an excellent grasp of the English language yourself). There is some cost to getting your certificate online but the travel is usually without cost. Then, you’ll just need to decide to where you’d like to travel – The Jet Programme and AEON offer options in Japan, CIEE Teach Abroad offers assignments in Chile, China, South Korea, Mexico, Peru, Dominican Republic, Spain, Thailand and Vietnam . Journey East has opportunities in China. You might also check out ESL Cafe for opportunities that span the globe.
3. Working on a private luxury yacht can be a fun (and free) way to travel, especially if you have experience in the service industry. Larger yachts require staff such as cooks, maintenance, maids, engineers and deckhands. The easiest way to find and apply for a position is a directory such as The Crew Network, YPI Crew and Crew Recruit, though this isn’t always the most effective and there is a lot of competition. If possible, the best way is to visit the captain in person – face to face networking is key for an industry such as this.
4. Trade work for room and board when you sign up with WWOOF. You live with a host and are expected to assist with day to day activities on an organic farm, usually based on 4-6 hours of help for a full day’s food and accommodations. Tasks may include sowing seed, making compost, gardening, planting, cutting wood, weeding, harvesting, packing, milking, feeding, fencing, making mud-bricks, wine making, cheese making and bread making.
The length of your stay at the farm is negotiated directly between you and your host. Most WWOOF visits are between one and two weeks, though some may be as short as two or three days or as long as six months. Similar sites are HelpX.com and WorkAway.info.
5. House sit someone’s home while they’re away, and you can stay in their home free of charge! Sites like House Sitters America, The Caretaker Gazette, and Mind My House provide listings for a fee (ranging from $20 to $60 depending on the membership) but considering the trade-off, it can be well worth the fee. One couple wrote a book about their house sitting adventures, claiming to have saved over $30,000 in accommodations by house sitting their way across the globe.
In exchange for staying in a home, you agree to keep the home safe and in sound condition while the owners are away. Jobs can last anywhere from two weeks to six months.
6. If you’re willing to dedicate 27 months of your life to training and travel, you can join the Peace Corps. Fill out an application online, meet with a recruiter for an your official interview, then be prepared to be sent to wherever you are needed if you get accepted. You may want to consider first reading blogs from those who have been a Peace Corps member so that you have an idea what to expect.
The is no upper age limit to volunteer, as the average age is around 28-years-old and 5% of the volunteers are over the age of 50. Perks include possible student loan deferment, paid travel to and from your country of service, medical and dental benefits, a monthly living and housing stipend, graduate school opportunities, 48 paid vacation days, the ability to take leave for family emergencies, and a “readjustment” allowance of about $7,400 upon completion of service.
7. If you can’t afford a cruise, why not work for a cruise? Getting a job on a cruise line can have many benefits such as seeing the world and meeting new people. Cruise lines such as Royal Caribbean, Carnival Cruise Lines, Disney Cruise Lines, Norwegian Cruise Lines and Princess Cruise Lines hire staff for on land and on board positions.