Ever thought of traveling for free?,leaving your job and volunteering your service to a host family in Bolivia?or be a house sitter while the owners are away. I was once asked by an interviewer of soon to be flight attendants (Of course, I am not applying for the job, I’mtoo short) “If I say, you are applying for this position, why would you like to be a flight attendant? I answered, to see the world for free..” Perhaps, you are thinking,is this possible?Well, there ain’t no such thing as a free lunch and if this is true, you should suspect of anything that appears to be free. Everything costs something or at least cheap. So, why did I answered that?Simple.Wishful thinking. You might be disappointed to see the word FREE is not “free” at all. Here are some ways to travel for free or at least close to nothing.
1. WorkAway from your home
A few hours of volunteering per day in exchange for food and accommodation. Household chores like cooking. Washing and cleaning should also be shared. Workawayers have endless possibilities of exchanges. But this is not an agency. This site enables you to find placements and it is up to you to make a great profile and introduce yourself to the hosts through e-mail. Whether you are fit to work on a vegan organic farm in Greece, create an Eco camping in Brittany or help a nice couple in the middle of Thuringia Forest. In the country, in the mountains, by the beach whatever and wherever suits you best. Hosts sometimes look for language learners and workawayers for a specific language skill.
What they say: It can be a great way to get in touch with locals and learn about their culture.
2. Join Volunteer Organizations
Go WWOOF- This group has affiliations in 53 countries. They have a list of smallholdings,organic farms and gardeners that offers free lodging and food exchange for working on a farm. The WWOOFers need to have volunteers that are dedicated to organic growing and should have genuine love and interest in learning about country living and help their hosts on their daily tasks. Make sure to wear a lot of sunscreen and do not work with an empty stomach.
What they say: Everyone who tries it seems to love it. You reap your harvest. You eat fresh veggies and fruits. Hooray to organic produce!
Be a GVI Volunteer
GVI is a multi-award social enterprise that is responsible for community development programs around the world. They send over 2,000 people to volunteer abroad every year. They also have a wide range of volunteering projects, from community and wildlife expedition in South Africa to Arts and Childcare Volunteering in Costa Rica.
What they say: GVI charges for a low one-time only fee to receive a lifetime GVI membership. Not bad.
People stationed to volunteer for a certain location for 2 years. You can choose from different volunteer programs like education, youth and development, health, business and communication technology and more. Included benefits are A monthly living and housing allowance, full medical and dental coverage, 48 paid vacation days. But for some people, 2 years are already long to stay on just one location.
What they say:Being a volunteer in PeaceCorps can be life changing and a life leadership experience.
Other travelers around the world would like to welcome you to their homes in a couple of days and they sometimes offer you the wonderful sites in their town. CouchSurfing has built a community where both hosts and travelers have discussions on huge travel categories. You can learn great ideas on travel, volunteering and Eco tourism even luxury travel. This community assured safety to both hosts and traveler
What they say:A traveler can also exchange his particular skill like kickboxing in exchange for your couch!
4. House-swap or House-sit
Home swap trades their homes , apartments or condominiums at a time that is convenient to both parties. But not all swap owners want to trade his 70-foot yacht to another luxurious type of house. Instead, they swapped it for an RV in Minnesota only because they want to live in a nomadic style. People house swap for many reasons. One of it is it saves money. It also gives you a local knowledge of your house swapping partner. Search websites that provide online classifieds for owners to advertise (homeexchange.com,homexchangevacation.com or homebase-hols.com). However, House sitting can also be an option for you . Check out www.housecarers.com,www.mindmyhouse.com, housesitworld.com or happyhousesitters.com and a lot more. For some, Finding to house sit is rewarding. You’ll get free accommodation in exchange of keeping their garage clean, feeding their love birds and watering some plants.
What they say: Screen your house sitter or swapper carefully before giving your golden key. Or else, there will be no home to come to.
This is an option for travelers who are open to teach the English as a foreign language (TEFL). While traveling, one can generate great income. Some schools will pay to fly you to the country, provide you a house, on top of your salary. You must be fluent in the English language. A highly-intensive TEFL certificate is a plus.
What they say: Going overseas to teach in another country is very fulfilling and a complete eye-opener
6. Try being a Summer Camp Counselor
This is perfect for those who want to experience working with kids, gain leadership experience and wants long lasting friendships. There is a lot of Camp organization who offers summer camp jobs. These are actually a paid job.
What they say: You can always work your way up to an elite international adventure travel camp job.
7. Crew a Yacht or Cruise Ship
I still don’t know who came up with this idea. But it sure does attracts a lot of travelers out there who wants to sail and see the world on someone else’s dime.For some yacht owners, they are looking for someone who wants to sail to pacific crossing, from Sweden to Norway or anyone who is up for an adventure. Some of them just really need company while hoisting their main sail. On the other hand, there are million of different crew jobs on different cruise ships (http://www.crewseekers.net , http://sailingpoint.com/cc.shtml, http://www.royalcaribbean.com, http://www.carnival.com ).
What they say: Have you watched Pirates of the Caribbean?Who is up for an adventure?
8. Enter Travel Contests
Try this: Google “travel contests” and you’ll get tons of results. Their lines ” Win a free ticket to…” or “Travel to…all Expenses paid” are really alluring. Travel companies offer such fun trips every so often. Depends on their mechanics. Others are may win by just uploading their travel photos, some should have the most Likes from a social media. It takes time, energy and effort but if you are really determined you might think about this too.
What they say: This may sound like a long shot but who knows?
There are more resources on how to travel for free or next to nothing. Feel free to comment and add your thoughts.