Travel is often something we all take for granted. It's incredible how diverse our world is and how many cultures there are to explore. They say that people who travel are more accepting of others and have a greater appreciation of life's little quirks.
The good news is that, with a bit of work, it doesn't have to be expensive at all. In fact, it turns out, you can travel the world for free if you're savvy enough! Who knows, you might even get paid to travel.
Bookmark this page as it's great to re-visit it for reminders on your travels. Let us know how you get on with some of these tips! Here are our 100 ways to travel the world for free.
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Transport - How to travel the world for free
This is often the most expensive element of any good trip. The cost of planes, trains, boats, taxis and Ubers can quickly add up. Here are our best tips for getting around the cost of travel.
It goes without saying, this mode of transport is completely and utterly free. It's also a fantastic way of meeting some incredible people and you'll get to see parts of countries you otherwise wouldn't.
Although there are loads of genuinely nice people who want to help you out, you have to be aware of the potential dangers of hitchhiking. You just don't know who you're going to meet! To minimise the risk, plan beforehand by using a site like compartir.org.
2. A Free Ferry Trip
Why not combine our tip above and hitchhike just before the entrance to a ferry crossing? Of course, you'd have to make sure it's the car carrying kind of ferry first. You'll find that most ferries charger per car, rather than per person.
3. Volunteer on a Private Sail Boat
Unless you're victim to the odd bit of sea sickness, travelling by sail boat is an excellent way to get around. You could try to ride on the generosity of others who are travelling anyway. If you have sailing experience, all the better, you'll be very welcome on board.
4. Fly for Free
This is getting much harder than it used to be, but it can still be done. If you've been collecting your air miles for a while, then this is the perfect chance to use them. There are some great credit cards you can use which reward you for using them with air miles.
If that doesn't work out, you could try complaining? Nobody likes a complainer but you can get a long way with the threat of a bad review or a negative tweet.
5. Walk (yeah, really)
You might struggle to walk your entire round the world trip, but you'll be able to get much further than you think. It can be tricky if you're carrying around a lot of gear, but you can save a lot of money by doing so. Why not combine walking and hitchhiking? If you plan on walking for a long time, you might be better off carrying your belongings in a cart instead of a bag. Keep in mind that you may need to invest in gear, like walking gaiters or similar equipment.
6. Work on a Cruise Ship
Work might not be at the top of your agenda, but this is not only an awesome way to get around for free, but you could even get paid to do so! Understandably, you'll be restricted in terms of where you're going and when. If your aim is simply travel, then this is a good option.
This is a little bit like organised hitchhiking, which we briefly touched upon earlier. There are some incredible services which aim to put together driver and hitchhiker, safely. Check out blablacar.co.uk, karzoo.eu and ridefinder.eu.
8. Train Hopping
We probably have to put a disclaimer on this, don't we? This is totally ILLEGAL. However, it is also free! If you're determined enough to do so, you'll figure out how. In fact, here's a handy guide on how to do it successfully.
If you're not up for breaking the law (we don't blame you), you can seriously reduce train costs by booking ahead of time. It's incredible how much you will save by weighing up your options.
9. Shop at Places Partnered with Airlines
Most airlines offer great deals in conjunction with major supermarkets and online stores, like Amazon. If you tactically shop at these stores, you'll soon rack up enough air miles to fly for free (or at nicely discounted price).
10. Tour Cities with Services like Vayable.com
You can meet up with locals of the cities you are in to explore and navigate by using vayable.com and other similar services.
11. Rail Passes
This is our legal version number 8 (train hopping). Although not as exciting, you won't have to deal with any potential legal costs and fines! If you're committed to travelling by train frequently, then signing up for rail passes will save you a tonne of money.
We're not sure how it took us to number 12 to think of this one.. but cycling is completely free, great for the environment and can be much easier than walking everywhere. It's also an excellent way to quickly tour cities.
13. Budget Bus Trips
Companies like polskibus.com offer tickets so cheap, they're almost too good to be true. Seriously, you can get a long distance ticket within Europe for as much as €1 at times.
14. Charity Trip
A great way to raise funds for a good cause and travel at low cost is to organise a charity event or sign up for an official one. Something like globaladventurechallenges.com offers incredible opportunities for people who are willing to raise the money for their chosen charity.
15. Book a RTW Flight
If trying to get a free flight seems too much work for you, you can make good savings by booking a round the world flight. There are services which organise your lay-overs for you and significantly brings down the overall cost. A simple Google search for "round the world trip planner" will get you started.
16. Fill in surveys for free flights
Yes, this is possible. If you're dedicated some mind numbing work, it can be done. Here's a handy website to get you started. Simply get filling in surveys and over time, you could rack up enough air miles to be deserving of a free flight.
Think about it... Tinder matches you with local people. Change your bio to say something like "Currently travelling around [CITY] and trying to get to [CITY] on the generosity of others". Voila! You've essentially just turned Tinder into a hitchhiking app. Read how a man successfully did this here.
18. Deliver Somebody's Car to Them
Check with car rental places and see if you can deliver a car to their owner. It's a nifty way to get from A to B while helping someone out.
19. Drive a Campervan
If you are travelling with friends, this can be a super cheap way of getting around, since you'll be splitting the cost. Taking a camper van with you means that you can cut down on the costs of flights, trains and buses. Plus, you can sleep in it!
20. Hitch a Ride on a Motorbike
An exhilarating form of hitchhiking! Grab a spare helmet and jump on the back of somebody's motorbike to get around places quickly.
21. Horse Riding
If it's not your own horse, you might not get very far with this. However, it can be a great way to explore rural places and get from A to B. If you do happen to stumble upon someone with a horse AND cart, even better. Offer them something of value for a lift to your destination!
22. Book Directly
If you need to book any transport, be sure to book it directly from the companies website. If you use comparison sites or business listing site, you can often be charged slightly more. This is because these listing sites need to make a cut, so will mark up the price.
23. Paddleboard Across the World
You might think this is super unrealistic, but if we inspire one mad person then our job is done. Read about this man who plans to be the first guy to paddle across the Atlantic. Apparently his journey is due to begin in November 2016.
24. Kayak Your Way to Freedom
Sometimes your pit stops aren't all that far apart and can be separated by a stretch of water. It seems costly to take a boat or plane. So, sticking with the water theme, why not kayak to each destination? It's a good way to tour the coasts of a country.
25. Tour With a Band (or circus...)
If you can somehow become a useful member of a band or a travelling show, you can potentially earn yourself a free round the world trip. You'll need to be able to offer your target something of value in order for the exchange to be well received.
With a combination of creativity, imagination and pure willpower, you can get far with little money. Let's see how we can use the same mentality to find comfortable places to sleep. The list goes on...
26. Couch Surf like a pro
Couchsurfing connects travellers with people anywhere in the world who are willing to give up a free bed or, well, couch. This means that you can potentially stay anywhere around the globe for absolutely free.
27. Work for Your Accommodation
There are plenty of small-medium businesses who will be more than happy to exchange some effort for a free night. All you need to do is ask! It might involve some manual labour or heavy lifting, but definitely worth it for a cost-free night in their accommodation.
28. Leverage Your Talent
Are you an amazing photographer? If so, why don't you offer some free photos of their hotel or B&B in exchange for a free stay. For some businesses, it can costs hundreds of $ for good photography, so there will be people willing to partake in this exchange.
29. House Sit
If you're not up for doing some manual labour, there's still an option for you to 'work' in exchange for your stay. There are services which bring home-owner and traveller together. Typically someone who will be away for a certain time will ask someone to come and stay to look after their house. Check out mindmyhouse.com.
30. Pitch up a tent
Yes, one of the more obvious ways of going about it is to camp. Do check out local rules and regulations as some places you might actually get in trouble for camping.
31. Camp in Somebody's Garden (Huh?!)
Ok, so this is a service which is growing in popularity throughout Europe, where people offer a spot in their garden for you to camp. Browse campinmygarden.com for a place to stay and then apply for that place!
WWOOF is an organisation which essentially gives you free accommodation on the understanding that you help with a variety of agricultural jobs, such as weeding, harvesting or helping with animals.
You have to organise and pay for your own travel, however accommodation is free and you're doing a great thing for local communities.
33. House Swapping
You can live like a local in your chosen city by using a service like HomeExchange.com. This will allow you to have your home comforts and be much more affordable. All you have to pay is a registration fee and you can advertise your house.
Granted, this one is not free. But, you can stay in some ridiculously nice places at amazing prices. Moreover, you can read reviews before you book something so that you know you aren't going to be disappointed when you arrive.
35. Sleep while travelling
You can cut down on the costs of accommodation by some smart travel planning. If you know you have a long train, bus or plane journey, try to plan it overnight. This will mean you can rest during the travelling period, without having to splash out on a place to stay.
Designed with the budget or student traveller in mind, hostels offer a cheap and convenient stay. They're the perfect solution if you're stuck for a night. Also, they're excellent for meeting like-minded travellers!
37. Stay in a Monestary
No, you don't have to be religious for this one, as you may think. There are monestaries around the world which either offer cheap stays or completely free, in exchange for a donation or some work. Here's a great resource to get you started.
38. AU Pair
This is a well-known method to save on accommodation costs. Sometimes you can spend as much as a year with your host and you are often required to help them look after their kids and teach them English.
39. Public Places
Maybe not the ideal place to sleep, but it can be done relatively safely (and even comfortably!). Let's say you have booked a bus trip; why not have a quick nap in the terminal before you have to leave? Alternatively, you can do the same thing in an airport or train station.
No, not at the gym. Squatting is staying in somebody's premises without their permission. This often happens on disused properties and shacks in rural areas. Depending on which country you're in, it may be illegal so it's worth checking out local laws.
41. Stay with friends
It's almost so obvious you might not think of it! We all know some distant cousin or friend we briefly met one time who lives on the other side of the world. Reconnect with them and see if you can stay at their place for a few nights.
42. Sleep in Your Vehicle
If you have taken a car or other vehicle as a form of transport for your road trip, sleep in it! Just make sure you haven't had a night of drinking first, because that can count as driving under the influence of alcohol, even if you're just sleeping.
43. Sneak into a hotel under renovation
This one is maybe a slightly more sophisticated version of squatting. The trick is to find a hotel which is currently under renovation or maybe disused. You can sometimes find a room or floor to stay for the night without anyone knowing!
44. Make Friends with a Local
Force yourself to be sociable and make a good friend with a local. You can explain your situation to them and if you're lucky enough, you might even bag yourself a free stay.
45. Local Homestay
If you don't manage to make friends with a local, you can always pay a small price for a night in their spare room. Local residents are often willing to accept a small sum of money. Again, you just need to be willing to ask!
46. Work on a Cruise Ship
We mentioned it in the list for an easy way to travel. Now, it's on the list for free accommodation for obvious reasons! As well as earning money, you'll be put up for the amount of nights your travelling. Double win. Cruise ships can also be great for parties and festivities, with organised events, top quality marine speakers and good people.
47. Pet Sitting
It's a little bit like house sitting, but for home-owners with pets who need looking after while they are away. Sometimes the home-owners are simply on vacation or working away. Food won't be included, but free rent is!
48. Sleep on the beach
If you're lucky enough to be in a warm (and safe) country, then why not have a night under the stars and sleep on the beach. Be careful you have your belongings safe; maybe tie your bags to your leg or arm. If you choose to sleep in the great outdoors, it might be wise to get familiar with the local wildlife, like venomous snakes and such like.
49. budget guest houses
Most places in the world, you can find a cosy B&B for not too much money. A quick search on Google before you head off or ask a local when you're travelling, will do the trick. Tip: TripAdvisor is a great place to search for cheap rooms to rent.
50. Volunteer for Accommodation
WorkAway.info is a service which partners budget traveller with a place to stay. In exchange for accommodation, you can expect to complete work in Australian rainforests or on farms in Switzerland. The chances are, you'll thoroughly enjoy yourself while earning a place to stay!
How to get free food
It's something we all need to think about, whether we like it or not. The cost of food can soon add up, with meals out at night and convenience food at airport. It's simply a cost you can't avoid too easily. Here are our best ways to get free food or cheap.
51. Look for free samples
There will be many market stalls you visit which offer free samples. Seriously, if you manage to bag enough of these in a day, you'll cut out at least one meal! Plan ahead and find out when the next one will be and make sure you're there. Tip: farmer's markets are often on Sundays.
52. Go at closing time
This will not work every time, but worth a shot. Head to a take away restaurant around closing time and offer to clean up anything they are going to throw out. If they don't give you something for free, you might be able to get something cheaper.
53. Eating competitions
Often, eating competitions are free to enter (or a small fee for the amount of food you get to eat). What a sneaky, devious way to get a cheap or free meal. Even if you don't win, you're bound to last a while before you're next meal.
54. Work in a bar or restaurant
Double win. Earn money and get to eat at a discounted price or clean up the left overs. Just make sure it's a place which serves food you like and won't get sick of; you'll be eating a lot of it!
55. Gather wild food
If you do a bit research, nature offers plenty free food! You can pick wild berries, garlic and mushrooms. Also, why don't you go fishing? If you don't catch a fish, you might be able to pick up mussels or seaweed. Here's a great resource on wild food for you.
56. Freebies on the web
A simple search online for free sample of food and you'll find long lists of companies who want people to try their food in exchange for an opinion or promotion. Usually you'll need an address so that they can send you the samples.
57. Make friends with a gardener
Gardeners and farmers always have extras left over from their crop. If you become friendly with someone who grows fruit or vegetables and they understand the position you're in, they may be willing to give you some of their extra produce.
58. Become a Freegan
After a few viral Facebook videos, this style of living is growing in popularity and becoming more accepted. Supermarkets are notorious for throwing good food out at the end of the day. Much of this food is perfectly safe to eat. Head there around closing times and see what you pick up.
59. Supermarket samples
As well as farmer markets, supermarkets also often give out free samples of food. It won't be much but it might curb the cravings for a small snack.
60. Legal free food from restaurants
When it comes to promotion, businesses are always looking to give out free stuff. Restaurants are no different. We found this list of 156 restaurants which give free food for signing up to their email newsletter. It's a no brainer. Just make sure you use an email address which you don't mind being spammed for ever more.
61. Tinder date
This can work for both guys and girls, but it's a bit devious. Organise a date from Tinder for yourself and charm your way to a free meal. Depending on how strong your dating game is, you could make this a regular thing.
62. Hotel buffet breakfast
Disclaimer: illegal. Fun disclaimer: a super easy way to bag a free breakfast is to take advantage of a buffet in a hotel you're not actually staying in. The key to pulling this off successfully is to walk with confidence. If you feel eyes are on you, grab and handful and leave!
63. Cook at home
This is more of a money saving tip, rather than completely free. It can be far too tempting to eat out at nice restaurants. Save money and cook a delicious meal at home!
64. Book a Hotel with Free Breakfast
Often, breakfast comes included in the cost for a B&B or hotel. If not free, they are usually a lot cheaper than buying breakfast would be. Shop around when choosing your hotel to see how much food you can get away with.
65. Stock up on Hotel Breakfast
Now that you've got your hotel breakfast, it's time to stock up. Fill your bags, pockets and boot with food from the buffet. You can make rolls later with the ingredients you pick up in the morning. This can potentially last you rest of the day if you organise this wisely.
You might have seen the extreme coupon-ing programme on TV where people save tonnes of coupons and get ridiculous discounts on their grocery shopping. Well, without being as extreme, you can save a lot by simply being wise and looking out for coupons.
67. Head to the reduced isle
Supermarkets almost always have a reduced section. Typically, these items will be going out of date tomorrow but are still fine to eat. You should always check this isle first before you do your shopping.
68. Dine away from tourist areas
It's well known that restaurants hike up their prices in tourist areas. If you are eating out, make sure you visit the restaurants locals go to, so that you save on unnecessarily high prices.
69. Accommodation with a kitchen
When you are choosing where you're going to rest your head for the night, choose a place which has a kitchen. Hostels are usually great for this. By planning this part of your trip well, you won't be forced to eat out.
70. Pack lunches
Heading to the airport? Pack your food in advance. Airport prices are extortionate and there is no need to spend this money when you bring stuff with you!
71. Street Food
Buying street food is generally much cheaper than buying a meal from a restaurant. It can also taste just as good! Try to find stands which sell things like hot dogs and sandwiches.
72. Cut out the Snacks
It's just so easy to pick up an ice cream then a bag of sweets at the next shop. Making sure you resist the urges will save a lot of money when added up over time. Instead of snacking, trick yourself and drink more water! It will fill your stomach, making you think you're less hungry.
73. Buy Water from Shops
If you need to buy water, make sure you don't do it at restaurants and bars. Again, the price of water goes way up in places like that. Instead, buy it from a local shop. Usually, if you buy a big bottle, it will be cheaper than a smaller, branded bottle.
74. Split meals
You can either do this with a friend or on your own. If you're at a restaurant with a friend and you know the portions are big, go halves with them. Remember, you don't need to eat until you're stuffed! If you're on your own preparing food, make the portion marginally bigger but then split it into two meals.
75. food included
Try to book travel, events and parties (basically anything) where food is included in the cost of entry. It's the perfect way to double up. If you're booking a flight anyway, try to book one which includes a free meal. Parties and meet-and-greet events often have free snacks available as well.
Jobs to travel the world
Although the ideal would be to travel with no financial concerns, money does run dry eventually. But don't worry, you don't need to keep making dents in your savings. The list goes on with ways to make money while travelling.
76. Teach english Abroad
There are tonnes of organisations which give you the opportunity to teach English abroad in amazing countries. Don't worry, you don't need any qualifications; just a good attitude! Check out GoAbroad.com, InterExchange.org and FootprintsRecruiting.com for a start.
77. Work in a Hostel
Don't settle for having to pay for your accommodation, let the accommodation pay you! Working in a hostel is great because you get to meet lots of like-minded travellers and interesting people all day long. It's a sure fire way to make some friends for life.
78. Travel Blog
It seems that just about everyone is doing this now and there's a reason for that; it works! But it does take a lot of work, and unless you strike lucky and build up a big social following, you'll probably need to know how to rank your blog on Google.
79. Become a Freelance Anything
Maybe you have a skill that people are willing to pay for, for example, writing or photography. Figure out how to leverage your skills in exchange for money. It's a relatively easy way to make money on the side if you're clever about it.
80. Bar work
This is the 'go to' for all travellers. It's not too hard to land yourself a bar job abroad. After all, there are plenty of bars around. It could even save you money on alcohol when it's your turn for a night out.
81. Teach an Instrument
If you know how to play the guitar (or any other instrument for that matter), why not teach it to children and adults? You can earn good money for a half hour or hour long lesson.
82. Teach a Sport
Maybe you're a swimmer or tennis player. Well, there are plenty of places where children learn these sports abroad. If you are particularly experienced in one of these areas, you will find places want to hire you. For example, if you're a keen wakeboarder, you can apply to become an instructor at camps like Neilson Holidays.
83. Au Pair
Like we saw in the accommodation section, organising an au pair is one of the best ways to save on places to stay. Sometimes, au pairs can pay good money too. We've seen friends who have helped out fairly wealthy families.
Hopefully this is already on your list if you're a talented musician. As well as teaching somebody how to play an instrument, you can get paid for standing in the street and playing good music. Just make sure you check local laws before you find yourself in trouble with the police.
85. Personal blog
Just because you're travelling, doesn't mean you have to blog about that. You can blog and earn a living by talking about absolutely anything. We'd recommend trying to find your own niche and in the back of your mind, think of a way you could monetize it.
86. Fruit Picking
This is a very popular option among travellers. There are specific farms you can go to and pick fruit, getting paid per kilo of fruit you collect. You won't earn big money doing this but it's a little extra to help you along the way.
87. Fiverr gigs
Fiverr.com is a freelancer's heaven. You can advertise a gig, from design to voice overs, and people come onto the site searching for the service you are selling. It's completely free to post a job.
88. Give Haircuts
We'd advise you only do this if you're actually good at cutting hair. Otherwise, you're just setting yourself up for complaints. If you cut hair at home, take this skill with you and do it on the side in whatever country you are in. Just be sure to have any relevant visa.
89. Design Websites
Web design isn't super complicated like people think it is. In fact, people even pay half decent money to get a WordPress theme installed for them. Learn how to do this and you could approach small to medium businesses all over the world.
90. Sell Art
There's always markets and stalls in European cities. If you're a budding artist, set up a stand at one of these and flog your art for money. It costs a small amount to rent a stall, but you can soon earn that money back and more.
If you're travelling, it likely that you're leaving a property behind. Post it on Airbnb. You can make a killing doing this, especially if it's in a desired area. Check out the website to see what similar properties are going for and give it a go.
92. Work on a Boat
FindaCrew.net offer jobs on all sorts of boats, depending on your experience level. Simply create a free profile and try your luck with it.
93. Summer Camps
One of the most popular ones of these is Camp America, but there are others too. Work a whole summer in one place and make some really great friends while doing so. People who do this thoroughly enjoy the experience and have one of the best times of their lives.
94. Tour Guides
Although you're in a foreign country, there are still English speaking people looking for tours while they are on holiday. Either set one up yourself or work for a company. Often, the tour agencies are aware that you may only want to do a few weeks worth of work.
Wander around any local bar or restaurant, have a quick glance at the menu and you instantly spot several spelling mistakes or mis-translations. For a small fee, offer to tidy this up for the business owner. You might find that some places don't even have an English menu. If this is the case, you can possibly charge a bit more money.
96. Become a flight Attendant
This will be a more long-term job but it does allow a certain amount of travel. You'll get to stop off on some great places, but it's not always for long. The bonus is that you usually make a good living with this job. So, if it satisfies your urge to explore the world, it might just be the perfect job for you.
97. Buy and Sell on Ebay
An effort based way of making money is to sell stuff on eBay. First, you can make money from selling old things you don't use anymore. After that, visit garage sales and buy used toys cheaply, then mark them up on eBay later that day. If you're determined enough, you can make a few hundred $ in a weekend.
This likely won't make you any money but you'll have an incredible experience. Furthermore, you'll often get free accommodation in exchange for your efforts. It might also help you save some money on food too!
99. Be a Local Handy Man (or Woman!)
If you just have a natural gift for fixing things, don't let this talent go to waste. Try to find local directories or build up a good reputation through word of mouth and you'll soon find yourself in great demand. You don't need to just fix things, you can do lots of odd jobs people need done around their houses.
100. Run Social Media Accounts
If you aren't building up your own social media account, you could always work freelance and run an already existing business social media profile. The great thing about this is that it often doesn't require a place of work, meaning you can do it on the move.
Whoa. Well, that was a long list. Make sure you bookmark this page to refer back to later. If you've found it useful, please share it with a friend!