There are many ways to travel for free. In the past couple of years, I managed to travel to 15 countries and pay off my $31,000 student loans at the same time. Sometimes, trips are free. Other times, I get paid!
In Europe and most South Asian countries, low budget airlines run the show. You can cross continents for less than $20 on a good Friday. Yet, in my beloved Canada, flying across the country can be as expensive as crossing the Pacific. Even trains give no mercy when it comes to charging us little people.
But there are ways you can leverage the system and travel for little or no money at all!
1. Travel for Free: Attend Conferences
This one is (mostly) for students out there. There are so many international conferences that will happily provide travel scholarships and free accommodation when you apply. The application process may be a bit hectic, and the outcome is not guaranteed, but for the few that get accepted, traveling costs are nearly completely reduced.
In 2016, I was flown to California and China to attend a conference organized by Fee. Of course, some downsides of this will be attending functions you’ve no interest in/ feel strongly against. But to be honest, a few days of debates and interesting people is never problematic. Not to mention my free accommodation along the coast of Orange County :’)
I negotiated a huge gap between my return tickets, which allowed me to organize a two-week backpacking trip across California.
I have also been reimbursed for trips to Washington DC, Montreal, and Colombia.
In Canada, we have a government-sponsored language program-Explore, which puts students in a different province for a month-long French or English learning opportunity. They will provide a bursary for the program, accommodation and even provide meal money! Explore also organize weekend trips to other cities, such as Quebec. Of course, not a lot of governments are like this. But there is definitely opportunity out there if you look hard enough.
Before they started memberships, my go-to site for conferences and events was Heysuccess. They also provide listings of internships and jobs abroad for students and graduates alike. Because of how straightforward this is, applying for conferences is one of my favorite ways to travel for free around the world.
2. Travel for Free and Get Paid: Bizarre Work Opportunities
Like conferences and internships, there are companies out there willing to pay you to travel the world. These opportunities as amazing as they are difficult to obtain.
For example, Thirdhome, a luxury is sending a lucky someone on a three-month round the world tour to test out their luxury homes. In addition to swimming in infinity pools and chilling by the beach, you will be paid $10,000/month to live a better-than-average life.
Royal Caribbean also wants a social media influencer to post Instagram pics from free cruises around the world. In exchange for 3 pictures a day, they will pay you over €50,000 a year.
In this situation, not only are you traveling for free around the world, but you can also get paid to do it! It really doesn’t get any better than this.
3. Travel for Free Around the World: Car-shipping
Whether it be a new car or an old truck, there are hundreds of people looking to ship their cars and vehicles overseas.
You guessed it. As a car-shipper/ handler, you can transport a vehicle to your dream destination while earning some money going about it.
Of course, this usually works as a one-way ticket with a relatively strict timeline. But you can save hundreds for a slow, expensive trip back home.
Look up Tropical Auto Carriers, Freedom Auto Transport or Truck it Transport Inc for more inspiration. These companies will not only let you travel for free but will pay you for the deliverance.
4. Enroll in Contests & Giveaways.
User engagement through Facebook, Instagram, and other social media platforms is used by most marketing strategists.
To captivate the attention of their audience, giving freebies became a normality.
Enrollment in contests may bring in loads of spam emails, but all is worth it.
For something a bit more adventurous, check out Redbull’s “Can You Make It” challenge for a start. They are flying selected teams to Europe for crazy competitions.
5. Digital Nomads
Living the digital nomad life is really splendid. Grab your phone and laptop. Off you go into the wilderness with never-ending contracts and loaded pockets.
Sounds enticing, right? Yet, there are only so many that get paid big bucks while on the road.
The rest are just doing the best they can with what they’ve got.
Of course, upsides to digital nomad-ing are many. While some won’t get the dollar value they seek, there are other tangible benefits-free flights, free stays, free food. So, grab your pencils and pens, and speak to your hearts’ desire. You never know what can come about a two-page rant on say, the meaning of life.
With tickets at an all-time high, travel planning loses its usual magic and becomes pretty darn discouraging.
But fear not, there are so many ways that will enable you to travel for little/ free. If anything, you can also work around the world while traveling!
Cheers to us that believe in the hustle.
Need some motivation to get you off your feet? Read these traveler’s inspiring stories!