Exploring the world is a dream for many people, but very few people feel they have the means to do so. Flights and hotels can get expensive, and it can be difficult to find the money to set aside to do the traveling you want.
But traveling doesn’t have to be expensive. I’ve met countless people on my travels and shared stories and wisdom on how to keep traveling cheaply. From volunteer trips to discount services, here are 25 ways you can
travel the world on a budget
without spending your entire savings.
P.S. I’ve tried most of these ways myself!
“Travel is fatal to prejudice, bigotry, and narrow-mindedness, and many of our people need it sorely on these accounts. Broad, wholesome, charitable views of men and things cannot be acquired by vegetating in one little corner of the earth all one’s lifetime.”
― Mark Twain, The Innocents Abroad/Roughing It
1. Au Pair
While it may be a longer commitment than you’re looking for, Au Pair is an excellent way to explore the world without spending a ton of cash. Not only will you be making money during your time abroad, but most au pair families also cover room and board for you.
This is a job that requires commitment, but nevertheless, you can easily travel. One family at a time.
– Here’s a link to get started: How to Au Pair
2. Teach Abroad – International Education jobs
Is that degree in”Underwater Basket Weaving” not helping you out too much in America? Well, how about you try teaching in another country. Many countries have open doors for teachers from other countries, especially native English teaching ones. Like au pairing, teaching in a foreign country won’t give you a full schedule of freedom, but you will get a long term feel for the country you’re in. Teaching in another country also offers a way to make money while exploring a new city. Teaching English is by far the most popular subject for people exploring teaching abroad. Studying English as a foreign language is not an uncommon interest for many non-native English speaking people. That does not mean being an English teacher is the only topic available, there’s a handful to choose from.
To find more opportunity for the best places to teach English abroad and many other subjects,
GO TO: Teach Abroad
AND GO TO: Teach Abroad – International Education jobs
Volunteer trips vary in length and destination, but you can find a program that will send you to almost any city you want to visit. Not all volunteer trips are free and might require a fee to use their planning services, but the price usually includes everything you will need while away from home. This is a mutually beneficial approach to travel the world on a budget.
You’d be surprised when you discover the variety of positions available for volunteering. You could be saving whales deep in the Pacific from illegal poachers or helping 3rd world countriess rebuild their infrastructure. The power is yours!
4. Use Credit Card Points
Invest in a credit card that gives you points to use internationally. These programs allow you to rack up points that can be used on flights, hotels, or renting cars. If you already use a credit card to make purchases, you’ll have a free flight or hotel stay in no time. Also, many credit cards give you mile points just for signing up, and some people have mastered that method to travel virtually for free.
– If you want to discover more about this method, Emily and Daraius have every detail down packed on their blog: How to use credit card points for travel
5. Groupon Getaways
Discount sites like Groupon typically offer getaway deals, many of them including a flight in the package. Because many of the deals offer a few days in multiple cities, Groupon Getaways are great if you’re looking for a cheap vacation abroad. This isn’t necessarily the rough-neck way of traveling but great if you want a cheap holiday to sit back and relax somewhere tropical.
– Groupon isn’t the only website that does this, my favorite website for deals on flights and packages is really: Hipmunk
6. Couch Surf
If you’re looking to save money on a hotel or housing accommodations while abroad, couch surfing is one option you can take. Through apps or websites, couch surfing allows you to see who has an extra bedroom or couch they are willing to lend for a low price or sometimes even for free.
– It can be the more reasonable option from Hostel jumping or using AirBnB, even though those are both excellent routes, if you want to know how to Couch Surf like a pro, <– check out this blog.
Freelancing is a pretty broad category of jobs; you could be a freelance DJ or actor, or something less exciting less interesting as a tour guide or a programmer. It doesn’t matter as long as you can afford a plane ticket and a cheap roof over your head. I have an SEO company, this blog, and I build websites for clients. The key is to find something you love and monetize it to do more of what you love.
8. House Sitting
If you are looking to travel on a budget, I’m sure you’ve noticed where most the money ends up going, housing! House sitting is a short term and relatively easy way to travel abroad. There are many websites dedicated to helping individuals find someone to watch their house while they are away, and while you’ll need to buy your transportation to the area, house sitting will give you a free place to stay and possibly some income. This can be a hard field to get into; it’s one of those jobs that can be hard to get if you have the experience on your resume already.
Here’s a website that can help you get started with house sitting.
9. Fly Smart
Take the best and worst days to fly into account when booking your trip abroad. Avoid high travel days in favor for less busy days. If you have the freedom to travel when others can’t, you can save a ton. But the potential for savings can go so much deeper, it takes a very accurate cheap airfare website, good timing, and flexibility on time and destination. If you haven’t already, check out the adorable furry wizards at Hipmunk for cheap airline tickets to help you travel the world on a budget.
– Here’s my article on the Cheapest Places to Fly
— Also, stay tuned for my article on the Cheapest Places to Travel in the world.
(you’d be surprised to know that they aren’t always the cheapest places to fly.)
10. Staying in Hostels around the world.
Hostels are the sanctuary for the weary traveler, those who’d rather share stories, beers, and a little space with people such as themselves for a lot less money than a hotel. You can find some great friends to travel with and share experiences. Also, if you’ve unfortunately seen the horrible movies titled “Hostel” by the
terrible director Eli Roth, don’t worry, many hotels have outstanding security. Hostels provide another cheap alternative to hotels when traveling the world. Because you could be sharing a room with dozens of strangers, hostels aren’t for the shy, but could save you hundreds of valuable dollars. Plus it may be another option for employment, many will offer free stay in exchange for work, which can give you time to enjoy the country or a lot longer.
There’re tons of websites available to find hostels, and it’s BEST PRACTICE to check reviews before putting your hard earned change down for one, for starters check out this site. I have personally used them while traveling in Hawaii.
11. Travel via Budget Airlines
If you’re willing to skip the fancy extras that come with popular airlines, like an in-flight meal or extra leg room, you can find cheap plane tickets to almost any destination. While budget airlines typically only fly from major airports, it is well worth it to seek them out. You can save hundreds of dollars on a plane ticket by just waiting for the right deal.
I am personally going to be using one of the most popular South American budget airlines to travel to South America this year. Using their service will save so much money, money I could use or food and fun!
12. Traveling the world by Train
I first discovered how cheap it can be to travel the world by train when I ran into a website called “Seat 61,” owned by a retired Rail Regulator named Mark Smith. If you live in the U.S, you may not be aware of how popular train transportation is around the world. It is big, it is usually cheap and can be a comfortable ride. I’d suggest this particular route of transport in China, Europe, and Japan. To learn more ways to travel cheaply by train, you should check out the blog I mentioned above called Seat 61.
Farming is similar to volunteering, but instead of building houses or working in an orphanage, and you’ll be an extra set of hands on someone’s farm. Programs like World Wide Opportunities on Organic Farms help place individuals on farms in the country of their choice. The only issue is it is not uncommon for many of the opportunities available for WOOF’ing are more geared towards people who follow alternative lifestyles like Veganism or Vegetarianism. Which isn’t a bad thing per say, but it is pretty inconvenient if you are Omni. Try out some farm work available on websites that offer a more variety of available jobs, like this one.
14. Study Abroad
While this may not be the cheapest option, it’s the best for students. Many studies abroad programs are comparable with the tuition you would already be paying. Also, many people swear to it, some say you haven’t experienced college unless you’ve experienced a year abroad. I, unfortunately, haven’t had the opportunity for it yet but I will soon!
(2017 come sooner!)
– If you want to find opportunities for studying abroad, check out this site for a huge list of potential destinations to feed your brain on knowledge and your soul on travel.
15. Casual Work
If you’re looking for a way to make money abroad, find some casual work in your destination city. This quick, no commitment work won’t pay big, but it could buy a meal! This isn’t as grandiose or skilled as Freelancing; this is something for the less experienced, Passing out flyers in front of clubs or directing traffic are just two of the many odd jobs you can find overseas. What you should do to find work is finding the country equivalent of craigslist to start, just about every country has one.
I’ve used Sulekha.com in India, and I have used Pantipmarket.com in Thailand for starters.
Now I can’t stress enough that this shouldn’t be your only source of employment, or rather you should have some amount of savings set aside for emergencies. You never know what will happen in the great unknown!
Instead of cash for small jobs, trade goods for food or board. I have met some interesting people in my travels, plenty of actors and musicians but one or two people who barter. While spending some time in Texas, I came across a man who traded Magic the Gathering cards for quick cash and also went to competitions in whatever town he may have been in, it doesn’t sound very lucrative, but you’d be surprised how well he was doing for himself. He didn’t tell me much about himself, but he did say that he’d been traveling for three years straight, exclusively using Magic the Gathering cards. Impressive way to travel the world on a budget!
It’s hard to give advice on what you should trade, seeing as you could barter just about anything as long as someone else finds it valuable.
17. Be a Tour Guide
As I mentioned earlier, traveling overseas and finding work as a Tour Guide isn’t too uncommon. If you’ve got the experience and knowledge, lead your personal tours. I have met two people who made a living as a Tour Guide overseas. All it takes is knowing an area well; it also helps to know people and the language. You could even find work as a guide in America to save up to do the same thing in a more exotic country!
Being a tour guide is not limited to working Freelance as one, you could find work with a Tour Guide company as well, depending on how experienced you are.
If you are one of the many men who eventually end up in Thailand, I’d suggest reading this blog, and possible using their guiding service.
18. Work a Cruise Line
Working a cruise line could bring you all around the world for free, well at least at the cost of labor. You’ve seen the massive cruise liners on the coast line of your favorite cities; the cruising industry is huge. But it isn’t limited to just that, smaller boats offer work too, and some don’t require nearly as much commitment.
If you’re looking for work on a massive cruise line and you are okay will only spending an hour or two in that country you’ve always wanted to see, check out Carnival Cruises for work. Either routes are a great way to travel the world on a budget.
If you’re looking for work on a smaller vessel, something a bit more challenging and personal, with the opportunity to spend more time elsewhere. Check out this website.
19. Become a Flight Attendant
Like a cruise line, becoming a flight attendant means your job is to travel the world, meet weird people and deal with a few sassy ones. It’s a fair exchange because Flight Attendants tend to spend more time in a location, and they see more of them. I recently came across a Reddit post from a flight attendant that at the time had over 400 flights under her belt:
- 233 Asia
- 64 Oceania
- 41 Europe
- 12 Africa
- 8 North America
Check out her Tumblr.
She doesn’t just travel the world on a budget; she get’s to do it in style!
20. Travel Hacking
I’d say this a go-to for anyone looking to travel the world on a budget. This takes commitment, but can be rewarding. Do your research and travel hacking could save you hundreds. It’s a broad topic and using credit cards is considered travel hacking, but it isn’t limited to just that. Any glitch or hole in a company’s points plane could be your chance to get some cheap travel fares.
You’ll have to dig deep on this topic to find what fits you best, check out this website to get started.
21. House Swap
Trade houses for a week! You’ll see a new area without hotel costs. This won’t quite get you to travel the world on a budget, but at least, you can see quite a few new places at a low cost. This obviously is limited to people who have a roof to swap. But that applies to a pretty large population. Want to spend some time in Miami without the costs of a hotel? House Swap! Web sites that help House Swappers usually have systems in place to help you determine whether or not that person you are swapping with is trustworthy.
Check out this website for more information.
22. Join the Peace Corps
This option takes a lot of dedication but can be very rewarding. Not every journey should be about yourself, sometimes you’ll find some places need more than a tourist, they need help, this is your opportunity to help and explore. Joining the Peace Corps takes just as much dedication as joining the Military in my opinion, and you may just end up in the same place as a soldier, without a gun.
The Peace Corp originated out of more of a political play from John F. Kennedy but with good intentions; he wanted to better the world and fight Russia at the same time.
I have no qualms with Russia, but I do love to help!
Check it out!
If you can, buy a bus ticket instead of a train or plane. It will take longer, but you’ll save money. Even better if the bus is overnight! This isn’t a guaranteed statement, but it is true! I almost travel by bus exclusively in South East Asia because of the cheap fare and the fact that you can find a ride in just about every city. This can be a very scenic way to travel the world on a budget.
The downside to using a bus is not all buses are created or maintained equally, they can be cold, hot, dirty, stuffed or just bumpy but hey that’s half the adventure! Just ask around taxi drivers and airports for information on Bus routes.
Organic Farms are everywhere, plus some. If you enjoy some hard labor and the possibility to get free food and board, this is a good option. Just one more way to save on housing costs to help you travel the world on a budget a bit easier. What you can expect while WWOOF’ing is getting a few days off to do your travel thing in between working a most of the week on the farm. All amenities offered are different; it depends on the farm you get lucky enough to land a gig on.
The best source for WWOOF’ing would have to be this site.
25. Do a Charity Challenge
This last option takes balls and a good heart, as you are well aware, a lot of people put money into charities. Many people take advantage of this and use it as an opportunity to give back to the world and adventure simultaneously. You can offer to complete a challenge in the name of charity, like climbing Mt. Everest. Take donations to get you to your destination, but make sure to follow through!
Many people use websites like GoFundMe to fund their charity and trip, you can to the least get the trip partially funded but with the right exposure, you can get more than enough assistance to travel the world on a budget.
Check out My article on the Top 51 things to do in bakersfield.
Check out Buzzfeed’s guide on how to travel the world on a budget.
Check out Expert Beacon’s guide on how to travel the world on a budget.