You read it! It’s not impossible to travel without breaking your bank. Most people I know who’ve been out on 3 months, 6 months, 12 months travels etc have done it the classic way. By saving up. But what if you don’t have the possibility to save that kind of money, it’s not cheap to spend months and months travelling around the world and not doing any work. So how can it be done? Well, nothing comes free, we know that, but if you put in the work, it is possible to travel the world without a large bank account.
Now, I do recommend that you have some money saved up before you hop on that flight, just in case of an emergency. It’s always good to have money for a ticket home if you’d need it, or money to use when things don’t go as planned, ‘cuz they won’t. But that part is up to you.
Leave the tiara at home
First and foremost. Don’t expect to travel around the world without spending any money and be hanging around in luxury hotels and traveling first class. Travelling cheap means living cheap, meaning hostels, dorm rooms, street food, busses and a tight budget. No fancy restaurants, expensive shopping or luxury hotels.
Teach English in a foreign country
Teaching English has always been a really popular way to see the world. This you can do either as a volunteer,or you might actually be getting paid for it. It’s important to remember that you will actually have to work here, maybe the equivalent of a full-time job, depending on how you do it.
You might need a degree or TEFL (Teaching English as a Foreign Language) and TESOL (Teaching English to Speakers of Other Languages) Certification, I’ve never done it so speaking from zero expertise. But it’s worth to do some research and find out! If you have a specific place you want to go, try finding some English schools in the area and email them directly, a lot of the time they’re in need of people and might just take you on! I was actually offered a place in a school in Costa Rica, unfortunately couldn’t go but they did offer a volunteer teaching position and accommodation. It’s worth sending an email!
WWOF stands for World Wide Opportunities on Organic Farms and is a work exchange. It’s a way to immerse yourself in a new culture and make local friends quickly, and it’s a great way to save money as they most often offer accommodation for free during your stay. When it comes to WWOOF some countries have their own WWOOF organizations, websites, and programs, as long as you’re over 18 you can sign up as a volunteer and the program is available in 60 countries world wide.
Similar to WWOOF. I’ve never tried WWOOF, but I did try WorkAway and during my travels I’ve run into a lot of people who tried it as well. Basically, you sign up for a small fee and the site matches you with people who offer accommodation in exchange for some help with their business or around the house. It can be anything from painting someone’s house, to working extra in a hostel to working on a farm. Search for the country you’re looking to visit, and just see if you find something that interest you! This is a great way to learn about a new culture, get some new experiences and try something you might have never done otherwise. Work at a horse farm for a couple of weeks or at a scuba diving school, there are endless of things to choose from.
Couchsurfing has become insanely popular and there are several sites like it. It aims to bring together like-minded travellers and promote a more authentic travel experience as you get to know people from the country you visit. The perk is that you get free accommodations, a temporary place to crash on your travels. Participants get in contact and can interact how much or how little as they want. It’s a great way to get to know new people, learn about the culture and save money while you do it!
A more fancy way of couch surfing you could say, but based off the same idea. The idea is simple, you keep an eye on someone’s home while they are away, and you get to stay there for free. I get it does sound a bit sketchy, and I’ve never actually tried this myself, but to my understanding it’s getting more and more popular. There’s a bunch of websites you can do this through, a lot of them take a small fee for showing listings, but it’s worth it if you’re getting the accommodation for free!
Doing volunteer work is a great way to get to know a new culture, new people and give a little back. My biggest tip here is to contact the organisation directly, and not go though a company working as a middle hand. Find out where you want to go and what you want to do, is it working with people, animals, trees what? The do some research and try to find an organisation that does this, and contact them directly. A lot of the time they have a ‘volunteer’ page on their website with information.
Another way is to look into those bigger companies and see what they offer, they won’t tell you which charity they work with, but do some googling (example Sri Lanka + elephants + volunteer) and see if you can find it yourself. A lot of places might ask for a donation, but it could still be cheaper than travelling on your own and by going directly through the organisation you’ll know your money 100% goes to a good cause.
Keep in mind!
As with everything, common sense and being careful is really important! When it comes to couch surfing or WorkAway or anything like that, make sure to be careful, there are always risks with everything. When it
comes to WorkAway, a lot of the places I emailed never got back to me, but a few did and I would definitely recommend it! But make sure to email more than one place, contact as many as possible in fact!
And always make sure to keep in contact with people from home. Let people know where you are, and where you’re going to be. A mistake a lot of people make when getting caught up in their travels is forgetting to keep in touch at home, I know! But it’s a cheap insurance to have people looking after you and knowing where you are. ‘Track my iPhone’ is a great thing when you travel, I gave my app store password to my dad so he could see where I was when travelling in Central America by myself. A great tip to calm your parents and keep you just a little bit safer!