How to travel for free
- November 25, 2016
- Milica Radović
This is the question people ask me most often both in person and via my blog: How can I travel for free or with little money? It is very easy and anyone can do it, the question is whether you want to.
If you have read the text that I wrote about how traveling is not for everyone and you are ok with the facts, then you can continue reading this blog post.
There are several ways to travel for free or with little money:
If you are willing to help anywhere in the world and contribute to local community by working, you can get food and accommodation in return. Here are few options:
- Hippohelp.com – mew platform, give it a try
There are plenty of options, but you can start with these four. Each of them includes local hosts who are willing to offer you accommodation in their home and in return they ask for you to help with the organic farm, babysitting, school lectures, etc.
Some of these sites charge a membership fee of about 20 euros per year but this is acceptable because you get a lot in return. Look at the recommendations when choosing a host. Choose a host with a lot of feedback, and of course with the highest rating.
If you do not like what these volunteer sites offer, you can easily make your own offer and send it to whomever you want. This is what I did when I intended to go to Sicily: First I made a list of all the major restaurants that make pasta and started contacting them with a proposal to work in the kitchen a couple of hours provided I am given the accommodation and food from the restaurant in exchange. Most of them were open for this kind of agreement. I also promised that I would help them with the social media promotion and they appreciated the additional effort I put into it.
This part of the process is rather boring, but it is also great because you have the freedom to come up with whatever you want in whichever part of the world.
On the spot
Sometimes, when I’m feeling lazy, I travel without a plan. I go to a village and ask where the local school is. When they show me, I go there and explain to them who I am and what I could help them with. I say that in return I am looking for food and shelter, and that’s it. Some of them refuse, others welcome me with open arms because they find my suggestion interesting.
I do not recommend that you do this unless you have already traveled. It takes experience to identify potential threats.
When you travel, you meet people from all over the world and mainly stay in touch with them through social networks. When I was in Kenya, I asked a friend from Nairobi whom I met in Israel, to help me find contacts in the villages. He helped me connect with a couple of people and he even invited me to be part of the jury in his startup competition for a couple of days in a town near Nairobi.
Couchsurfing – free accommodation
You have probably already heard about this option where people from all around the world offer accommodation in their homes if they have an empty bed or room. This option is free and you can meet a lot of interesting people. I know people who have traveled the whole world just by using this site. Of course you always have good and bad experiences, but everything has its price. The best thing to do is to send requests only to the hosts that have the highest rating.
Picture taken from the link.
I met a lot of passengers carrying a tent around the world who sleep in public spaces or in yards of locals, but usually these people travel in couples. In Thailand, I met a Russian couple who toured the world this way. I do not know if you remember this story of a young German couple. They also set off on a trip around the world and will be sleeping in a tent. The night before I met them, they put up their tent in some old lady’s backyardoutside of Belgrade As a farewell gift she gave them 10 chicken eggs.
✔ If you arrange with someone to go and help them for two or three months, you may be able to ask them to help you with travel expenses. An owner of English language schools in Sri Lanka is willing to pay the full ticket price to anyone who wants to help him for two months or more. If you are interested, I can help you get in touch with him.
✔Hitchhiking is the most common means of transport among travelers. There is a great website that provides information about how safe it is to hitchhike in each country – hitchwiki.org/en/Hitchhiking
✔If you are looking to buy airline tickets and want them to be cheap, do not be lazy and make sure you find the best deals on www.skyscanner.net. If you know the dates in advance, set a price alert and you will receive an e-mail every time price for that flight changes. When I was planing my hundred days trip to Asia, I kept an eye on the airline ticket prices from March to November. I was able to buy the following tickets: Serbia ✈ Sri Lanka ✈ Malaysia ✈ Thailand ✈ Hong Kong ✈ Japan ✈ Russia ✈ Serbia for 1050 EUR.
Also, look at other options and what the surrounding airports have to offer. The other day I flew from Budapest to Dublin for 50 EUR plus a bus to Budapest – 25 EUR. Otherwise it would have cost me about 160 EUR or more for an airplane ticket from Belgrade to Dublin.
✔An app called BlaBlaCar is excellent and it is used for sharing travel costs by car – www.blablacar.com.
I used it and I loved it. You can offer someone transport and you can look for a place in the car for a particular destination.
Notice that none of these options include the five-star hotel, drinking cocktails on the beach and doing nothing while someone pays for everything. If you are wondering how to travel for free and you already know all the above mention things, then you do not need a source of information but you need to work on your self-confidence and courage, pick one of these options and enjoy.
I have to be more honest here and say this: If you really wanted to travel, you would find a way, not an excuse. Do not be that person that is waiting all week for a Friday and frowns on Mondays, the person that is waiting for summer to arrive all year long and please do not be a person waiting a lifetime for the right time to travel. Just go! The whole World is waiting for you!
As I said, everyone can travel free of charge, the question is whether you want to pay the price of comfort and embrace courage.