Many of us dream of dropping our day jobs, packing up a bag of essentials and seeing more of the world, but worry about the expenses that come with it. The expenses can easily rack up, especially when we’re discussing airfare. If you’re from a country with less powerful passports, visas may also pose to be an expensive problem.
I’ve been fortunate enough to travel a lot, and I’ve met many people along the way who have managed to see the world even on a limited budget. They’ve shared several tips on how you can travel the world for free – or, if not free, then make money to sustain your travels. I’m going to share those with you today.
Make Money On The Go – Go Online!
Get a telecommute job
Realistically, you’ll need a source of income to sustain you. Even travels that come for “free” will have incidental and unexpected expenses. That’s where the Internet comes in.
Online jobs aren’t rare anymore – in fact, if we look at the statistics on either side of the pond, as of 2013 one in five Americans already work from home, and in 2014 13.9% of all those who work in the UK are working from home. It’s also been proven that people who work exclusively from home earn more than their office-based peers. Get a job as a remote writer, an online virtual assistant or a data encoder – these are popular online jobs you can take while traveling.
If you don’t want a full-time telecommute job, or if the telecommute options you are finding don’t allow much control over your schedule, you may want to stick to a freelance arrangement for the aforementioned telecommute jobs for now. You’ll have to consider the loss of benefits (if applicable) and the possible pay cut, but you’ll have more control over the projects you take, the deadlines you set for yourself, and how you can work around your traveling schedule.
Traveling for Free / for a Minimal Fee
Find work exchange programs
This is popular among backpackers and other budget travelers. There are programs that offer free accommodations and even a little bit of payment in exchange for you helping out. A good example is Worldpackers, which matches you with an inn / hostel / accommodation that lets you stay for free if you help out in the reception, the kitchen, etc. This will help you save significantly on expenses, as accommodations are one of the biggest expenses when traveling.
Participate in volunteer programs
This is similar to work exchange programs, except you may have to pay a nominal fee to join a volunteer program. You can volunteer to help out a community while you learn a new language or culture, and the fee you’ll have to pay will cover the classes and will go towards the expenses of the community, school or establishment you’ll be helping. In exchange, you may be provided accommodation and meals, as well as an experience you’ll never forget.
Arrangements like these are common in South America and Asia, but you’ll find many establishments and communities looking for help worldwide. You’ll get to see less traveled parts of the world while helping to make a difference – that’s meaningful travel right there.
Another good way to travel is to house-sit for awhile. You sae on accommodations while getting to stay in a place that’s more homey than stuffy hotel rooms or hostels with limited resources and privacy. You may have to pay a minimal fee for signing up with sites advertising house-sitting opportunities, but consider that an investment in your safety.
Other similar options are house-swapping and couch surfing.
Get a job on a cruise ship
If you’re a people person and you don’t mind lack of privacy and long working hours, you may want to work on a cruise ship. You’ll get to visit different places with tourists while making a fair amount of money. However, you’ll have to get used to spending a lot of time at sea or port, and you will have to plan your sightseeing more efficiently – you’ll only get a limited amount of time off the boat for each location you visit. Make sure to research about the pay, benefits and working conditions that come with a cruise liner you’d like to apply to.
Native English speakers have something that may countries around the world want: good command of the English language. Many organizations around the world will pay you to teach English. You can choose to do this long-term or short-term so you can move from one country to another. The British Council, for example, has an extensive list of opportunities for travelers who want to teach English. Inclusions vary, but you’ll almost always get free accommodations, a food and transportation stipend, and you’ll get paid for the hours you put in teaching English as a second language.
Whichever road you choose, remember to have a little bit of emergency funding stashed away for unexpected circumstances.Traveling the world isn’t impossible – you just have to jump in, get started, and open yourself up to less conventional ways of making money, and you’ll be good to go.