I have a verrrryyyy long travel wish list right now. AND I have very limited funds. But there are definitely ways around that. People always say to me “Oh I wish I could travel more but I just can’t! I can’t afford it!” Or “How do you afford to do all of this? You must be rich or something”…. NO. That’d be nice but no. I’ve just done my research! And I wanna help more people get the opportunity to explore. So here’s some cheap (or even free) ways that I’ve found to help you be able to travel more often!
“Wolfing?? What’s wolfing?” No, it’s WWOOFing!! WWOOF stands for World Wide Opportunities on Organic Farms. I tried WOOFing for the first time in Hawaii! This is honestly such a great way to travel and meet awesome people. Essentially, you’re doing work trade – in exchange for working on an organic farm, they house you and feed you awesome food! You can go all over the world to do this. You can choose vegan farms, vegetarian farms, non-vegetarian farms. You can look at how many hours you’ll be expected to be working each day (usually around 4-6), read reviews from people who have previously stayed there, and send messages to farms. The only downside is that you usually have to pay a membership fee to be able to find & contact all of these farms (anywhere from ($0-$65). If you want to WWOOF in a specific country you MUST contact and subscribe to the WWOOF organization in that country. I went to Hawaii with www.wwoofhawaii.org and I think my year membership was about $30.
Follow this link if you wanna find out a little more about WWOOFing! There’s also a list of links to each countries wwoofing organization. 🙂
AuPairing is so awesome. I definitely plan on doing this in the future. I found out about this because we had two aupairs when I was little, one from Austria, and another from Germany. They each lived with us for a year and I still remember and love them both!! An aupair is basically a live in nanny. You become a part of a family: you live with them, they feed you, pay you a small monthly amount (amount is based on the country), and in exchange you take care of their kids! You do get time/days off so you have the chance to go explore where you are living. The best part is that you can do it in almost any country that you want! The only money you would really need to start off is to buy your flight there (sometimes the family you’re working for might even buy your flight). The most common amount of time for an aupair to live with a family is a year, however you can find families looking for an au pair for as short as a month or two. That being said you could also go for 3 months, 6 months, 9 months, etc. Once you register on an aupair site, you make a profile describing yourself and what you may have to offer to a family! Babysitting experience, CPR certification, love kids? Any family would love to have you! No experience but really motivated and seem to be a good fit for a family? They’d still love to have you! Do some more research, and register for free on one of these websites to start!
Teaching English Abroad
This is a really great way to make money as well as travel! You have to get certified ($1395 for online classes, and about $3000 for in person classes). You will have more job opportunities if you have a college degree (in anything) however anyone 18 or older can do this once you’re certified! Usually your employer will provide your housing and transportation, and you get a paycheck! The size depends on which part of the world you’re in. In some regions (like Europe) you won’t be able to save that much, but in others (Asia) you could make enough to save thousands of dollars in a year.
Follow this link to see how to get certified and read more about the program and where you can be employed www.internationteflacademy.com
One of my favorite travel bloggers did this to save money, read this blog post to find out how she saved $17,000 teaching english abroad in South Korea!
EVERYONE IS SO SCARED OF THIS!! I feel like there is a very exaggerated stigma around hitchhiking. And mostly just in the U.S… People seriously hitchhike all over the world, regularly. When I was in Finland my friend hitchhiked to work almost every day! And it’s not out of the ordinary for people to hitchhike really long distances. Like from Finland to Italy.. yes he did that. It’s really not that big of a deal and it’s definitely an adventure. Sure you might meet some strange characters but they’re mostly harmless! People are nicer than you may think. I mean I don’t think I would ever do it alone but I think it’s a pretty cool way to travel. I just read this book called The Kindness of Strangers: Penniless Across America by Mike McIntyre and I highly recommend it! This guy hitchhiked all the way across the country with absolutely no money – he relied solely on hitchhiking for transportation and on the hospitality of strangers across the country for accommodations. I also just read his two other books, The Wander Year and The Distance Between – if you like travel, you have to read them both! Google ‘hitchhiking to travel’ and you can read tons & tons of peoples stories about how they traveled by hitchhiking. Even if you don’t want to do it, it’s cool to read about other people’s hitchhiking escapades.
This goes hand in hand with hitchhiking, hostels, and couch surfing. Backpacking is obviously super popular among young people taking a year off from college or after high school etc. I haven’t backpacked yet but I’ve got some plans! Read the books I listed above, plus A Year Without Makeup. Everyone should do it once in their life, enough said.
I personally have not had the chance to do this yet but I’m really looking forward to trying it! I attempted to find someone to stay with while I was in Maui but it was kind of a spontaneous trip so the timing was a little off. Couchsurfing is exactly what it sounds like – you’re sleeping on someones couch! (Or maybe in their guest room, air mattress, you get the picture) It’s a really really great way to meet local people where you’re traveling. People are a little hesitant about this one too, but I promise, it’s a pretty safe and popular program. Go see for yourself!
Study Abroad Scholarships
If you’re in high school or college, you should really be taking advantage of this!! This is how I went to Finland last summer for 6 weeks. I decided late in the school year that I wanted to go abroad that summer. SO I started researching! There are sooo many scholarships out there.. and they aren’t even that hard to find! Be flexible about where you would go. I had no plans to go to Finland, but since it was so late in the application season, my options were limited! I ended up going to Finland and I truly believe that’s going to remain my favorite place for the rest of my life. The people, the culture, the environment, all things I never would have experienced if I had been stuck on going to Paris or Italy or something like that. Let go and think outside of the box! Also, don’t be discouraged if you don’t have perfect grades. I finished off high school with a way lower GPA than people expect. It looks great on all sorts of applications if you’re involved with your school or community! Play a sport, join a club, volunteer. You will be so happy you did once you’re filling out resumes or applications.
This is the program I got my scholarship to go to Finland with. The deadlines this year have long passed, but new applications should be coming out soon after the summer is over!
It depends what you’re looking for but there’s so much out there. Look through your specific university, do tons of google searches, guarantee you’ll find something that fits for you.
Yayyyy I finally got to stay in a few hostels while I was in Hawaii!! It was pretty fun. And so interesting! There’s so many adventurous little hippie urchins hopping around hostels. Make you sure read a lot of reviews before you book a hostel!! THAT IS SO IMPORTANT. If you’re willing to share some living quarters and ditch the luxury accommodations, consider staying in hostels when you’re traveling. $20-$40 dollars a night rather than $200 a night for a hotel saves you tons of money so you can do more things or stay longer!
Flights are by far the most expensive part about travel. I honestly just need to buy my own plane at some point. Over time I’ve come across a few little tips though!
1. The best day to buy flights is on Tuesday usually. Fridays, Saturdays, Sundays, are always the most expensive because that’s when it’s most convenient for people to travel. But if you can, you should try to leave on a tuesday! Make sure you
2. SKYSCANNER IS A LIFESAVER
Skyscanner is literally all that I use to find flights now. Input your destination search, select “Flexible”, then “Whole month” to get an easy to understand graph with the best fare for that month. You can also sign up to receive email alerts when a certain flight price drops! You find the cheapest flights using this website (plus they have an app sooo yeah I spend countless hours in bed at night searching flights 😉 )
3. Rapid Rewards Points
If you fly one airline a lot (for example I fly southwest all the time) make sure you have an account with them so you can rack up some points to get yourself free or discounted flights. They add up faster than you think! I just went on a roundtrip flight from LA to Reno for like, $50.
– also if you’re traveling and your schedule is flexible you should volunteer to give up your seat if your flight is overbooked. Just a few days ago I was offered a $300 flight voucher to wait for another flight that was only 3 hours later. That’s 3 hours of chill time, read a book, watch netflix on the free airport wifi- in return you could have a new trip planned!! Best advice for flights is just DO YOUR RESEARCH. Don’t buy the first flight you see, keep your eye on them so that you’ll know if the prices drop or start rising (skyscanner helps with this).
I hope this opened your eyes to how easy and cheap it can be to travel!! These are only the things I know that I quickly wrote down for you- there are so many more options out there, I didn’t even get into peace corps or volunteering! Do your research and start living your travel dreams!!