Here are 15 creative approaches to seeing the world without spending a dime.

2023-01-28 06:58:13 - Drany Macley Drany Macley, the senior editor of, brings extensive journalism background and over eight years of experience in travel writing and editing to the site, offering practical insights and first-hand knowledge through articles on innovative hotels, backed by a BA in Journalism from Ithaca College.

Do you long to travel the world but lack the resources to do so financially? There are more ways than ever before to see the world on the cheap or even for free.

On her income alone, my wife and I are able to travel to ten different countries annually. Neither a neurosurgeon nor a stockbroker does she work as a profession. Being a school counselor earns her about the same as a classroom educator.

Our plan is to stay in Airbnbs and local guesthouses to minimize costs while traveling to developing nations. However, the most important factors that allow us to travel around the world without breaking the bank are the numerous free travel opportunities we have discovered.

How to See the World Without Spending a Dime

Free lodgings are provided by some of these options, while others provide free transportation, and some provide neither. These travel hacks are unrivaled if you're on a tight budget, but they all have their drawbacks.

One quick note: although we'll go into greater detail about how to maximize credit card rewards below, we do want to emphasize the importance of using a rewards credit card whenever possible when making travel arrangements or buying goods and services in a foreign country. (Impossible to avoid using these cost-free vacation methods) )

The Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card is our top choice for a credit card with travel perks. The benefits that it offers are:

  • An outstanding sign-up bonus of 0, redeemable on qualifying travel purchases
  • The card is regarded as one of the best hotel credit cards due to its annual $50 hotel credit that can be applied to Chase Travel hotel purchases.
  • Once your $50 hotel credit has been used up, you can still earn 5x points on eligible Chase Travel purchases.
  • At a rate of three points per dollar spent on dining out, select streaming services, and online grocery shopping, among other things, are considered eligible purchases.
  • All other qualifying travel purchases earn double points.

And now, the tried-and-true methods for cutting costs while seeing the world.

1. Seek Out Expat-Friendly Fields Of Employment

Numerous professions, from international nursing and medicine to au pair work, teaching, and engineering, are open to expats.

My wife and I are able to take such wonderful trips because I teach abroad. In Abu Dhabi, she helps run an American school. It covers our health care costs in full, gives us free luxury housing with a gym, pool, and jacuzzi, and pays for us to fly home for the summer. Finally, in the United Arab Emirates, there is no personal income tax.

Being based in Abu Dhabi has unlocked a world of possibilities for us in terms of vacation destinations. In total, our nonstop flight to Bulgaria cost us $185. A round-trip flight to Cyprus with no stops cost us even less. We always spend a few days in Europe on the way back to the States, whether it's to sample the cuisine in Lyon, shop at the Christmas markets in Munich, or experience the vibrant nightlife in Amsterdam.

Thousands of international schools across the globe are in need of native English speakers for a variety of positions, including those in administration, IT, and teaching. Check out Search Associates, a global staffing firm, if you're curious.

Do not hold a degree in education With a TEFL (Teaching English as a Foreign Language) certificate, you may still be able to teach English to non-native speakers. However, you shouldn't expect to receive the same perks as certified educators at foreign institutions.

Alternatively, you could keep things very basic and just look up international jobs that match your current set of skills. It may come as a surprise to learn how many possibilities exist for Americans outside the country.

Consider Participating in a Job Swap

In exchange for employees' time and effort, many businesses offer temporary or permanent housing at no cost. A "work exchange" describes this type of arrangement.

If you've ever been curious about what it would be like to work and live on a farm abroad, WWOOF could be your opportunity. Worldwide Opportunities on Organic Farms, or WWOOF for short.

Seasonal workers are essential in farming because most farming occurs during off-seasons. While many organic farmers have plenty of land, shelter, and food, they may be short on cash. They offer room and board in exchange for four to six hours of work per day. The expense of getting there is entirely your responsibility.

Individuals, couples, groups of friends, and even families with kids can all participate in "WWOOFing." Simply choose the country where you'd like to WWOOF and you'll be connected with farmers in that area.

And just like organic farmers, many hostels find themselves in a labor shortage despite having an abundance of beds and rooms. Therefore, they provide lodging (and oftentimes food) for free in exchange for labor. Few even provide a modest allowance for living expenses.

There are thousands of opportunities to stay for free all over the world in exchange for your services, and you can find them all by visiting websites like HelpX, helpStay, and Workaway.

3. Pet or House Sitting

I bet you didn't know this, but there are websites whose sole purpose is to set up house sitters and pet owners. Dog and cat owners don't like leaving their pets in kennels with strangers. They'd rather have them stay in the empty, unused house they own.

In exchange for taking care of the owners' pets, house sitters are welcome to stay for free in these homes. It's a simple job, but you'll have to rearrange your schedule to accommodate your pets. You are not permitted to leave for a 14-hour day trip or a weekend getaway. However, for those who adore animals, house sitting can be a convenient way to cut costs while still experiencing luxury accommodations all over the world.

Furthermore, house sitting is not just for people who own pets. When you offer house sitting services, you give some homeowners peace of mind by taking care of their home and garden while they're away.

However, such openings are more unusual than common, and the vast majority of house-sitting jobs do require pet care.

You can find free house-sitting opportunities in many countries by signing up with TrustedHousesitters.

4. Become a Peace Corps Volunteer and Stay for a While

Volunteering with the Peace Corps allows you to spend a few years helping a community in need of dedicated individuals. Despite being a large international organization, the Peace Corps does a fantastic job of maintaining its emphasis on local communities. In order to help the world's poorest people, volunteers will go anywhere and do anything.

Even though many people would benefit from participating in the Peace Corps, it isn't for everyone. The time commitment is substantial, totaling 27 months (3 months of training and 2 years in the field). As an added bonus, you can say goodbye to the luxuries of Western democracies. There is no guarantee that you will have access to a cellular network, and if you happen to be in a particularly warm area, you might not even have air

You will be given a monthly stipend that will provide for your basic needs in the area where you will be stationed. This will include housing (if you are not provided with free housing), food, and other necessities. Don't expect your parents to pay for expensive hotel stays or dinners when you come to visit. Your best bet is to stay with a close friend or relative.

Thus, you will have the chance to personally aid in the revitalization of economically depressed areas by making them into prosperous cities and villages. You will, in many cases, be saving people's lives. The Peace Corps is an excellent option for those who want to make a difference while also gaining some international experience.

5. Participate in volunteer initiatives with a limited time commitment.

Try short-term volunteer placement services like Go Overseas or Idealist if your time to volunteer is limited to weeks or months rather than years. They provide access to a wide variety of jobs around the world, from instructing English to constructing buildings.

Try Diverbo if you want a gentle introduction to international volunteer work. English immersion retreats are held for a week in Spain and Germany for people who are not native speakers of English. You're a native speaker there to help them perfect their skills in conversation. It covers expenses like eating out and hotel bills. Getting there is the only requirement.

Volunteering is a great way to see the world for free and gain invaluable experience in a foreign culture. After an hour of online research, the many ways to give back while traveling the world are sure to inspire you to take action.

Plan Your Own Volunteer Vacation (6)

One other option is to plan one's own volunteer vacation. Crowdfunding platforms like GoFundMe allow you to solicit financial support from people you know and those you don't (sometimes complete strangers) to help pay for your expenses associated with a volunteer trip. Maybe they'll even come along on your adventure.

If you're going to use helping the less fortunate to get your friends to foot the bill for a vacation, at least make sure your trip will actually make a difference.

Recently, I witnessed this happening to a newly arrived couple at my wife's school. They convinced their friends in the United States to give them money by creating the name of a fake educational "ministry" they were leading in Abu Dhabi. Since they offer the same generous teaching package as my wife does, it was obviously a sham.

Whether or not they were able to get away with it among their peers at home, they certainly couldn't do so in this setting. They have few friends after the link to their GoFundMe page spread among teachers.

In this regard, it is essential to approach any crowdfunding campaigns with honesty and openness.

Using the right credit card, you can accumulate points toward free airline tickets. Many of the top credit cards for travel rewards also come with appealing perks. Of course, that's not your only choice if you want to maximize your returns.

American Express's Delta SkyMiles Platinum Card is just one example of the many travel rewards credit cards that include annual companion vouchers in their perks package. Your rewards points can get you a free flight, and the companion voucher can get your travel companion a greatly reduced-price or even free flight.

Sign-up incentives also exist. The Chase Sapphire Preferred Card's benefits are particularly generous.

Using a credit card for all of your flight purchases is another great way to rack up points. When booking a flight, you can earn double, triple, or even more rewards with certain credit cards and partner airlines.

Using rewards programs, you can easily earn free airplane tickets. However, avoid making irrational purchases in an effort to cut costs.

Make the Most of Loyalty Programs

Not only do credit cards offer rewards, but there are other sources as well. Those who frequently use the services of a particular airline, hotel chain, or other travel company may be eligible for a loyalty program.

You can earn frequent flyer miles by flying with the same airline repeatedly. Hotels are the same way. Short-term promotions with incredible deals to rack up points quickly and cheaply, or to accept fewer points than usual for flights or stays, are not uncommon from these companies.

You can keep up with current deals by frequenting travel discussion boards and blogs that focus on affordable vacations.

9. Trade Places

You're from Seattle, and you're planning a trip to Berlin. Someone from Berlin is interested in a trip to the Emerald City. Why not arrange a home exchange with them while on vacation? Everyone benefits. Instead of paying for a hotel, you can stay in a real, local home for free, and your own place won't be at risk from things like burglars or floods while you're away.

Although not always the case, Perhaps you have your heart set on visiting Berlin in July, while the Berlin resident has his sights set on Seattle in October. Maybe you're hesitating to host a stranger because you're concerned about potential dangers.

The good news is that members of trustworthy home-swapping websites have access to features like peer reviews and identity verification. Indirect house swapping can be made possible through the use of credit systems on some home-swapping websites. Through the sharing of your home with others, you can earn credits that can be used to stay at other people's homes anywhere in the world. Imagine adult version of "couch surfing."

HomeExchange, Love Home Swap, and HomeLink are a few trustworthy house-swapping websites to check out. Do your research before agreeing to your first swap, even if you use one of these services.

10) Go to the "Old Country" without spending a dime

The government of some nations sponsors "discover-your-roots" initiatives so that people can travel back in time and see where their families originated from. Typically, young adults participate in these programs by staying with host families in the area.

Features such as:

No matter where you came from, there are likely to be private or government-funded programs that will make your trip back to the "old country" easier, provide free lodging, and maybe even pay for your plane ticket.

Researching citizenship programs for descendants is a good idea while you're at it. For instance, thanks to Italy's generous citizenship program, those with documented Italian ancestry can apply for dual U.S. S The possession of Italian nationality

One of my closest friends, originally from Boston, has the Italian passport and the option to live anywhere in the European Union because he was able to prove that his great-great-grandfather was Italian.

Make a long distance road trip in someone else's car.

Sometimes people need assistance transporting their vehicles during long-distance moves. Exactly where you come in Some motorists will pay you to transport their cars from A to B in a given amount of time. They may even pay for your plane ticket to return home. When you really want to get to know a country, especially your own, there's no better way than to hit the road and go for a drive.

When I was in my twenties, I was dating a travel nurse, and we spent two years uprooting our lives every few months to live in different parts of the country. Over the course of six cross-country road trips, my appreciation for and understanding of the United States deepened. S than I ever did on weekend trips to other cities

It's more likely that you'll strike up a conversation with the locals at the roadside diner where you stop for lunch after a six-hour car ride. While enjoying regional specialties, you might cross paths with interesting people.

Such adventures on the open road need not even take place within the United States. S Vehicle transportation is a necessity for people on every continent. Let's get the ball rolling with a U.S.-style automatic driveaway. S Canada auto shipping plus free gas money plus a chance to see the country by car

Join the Yacht or Cruise Ship Crew! 12.

If you can tie a square knot and a bowline, you can crew a boat. Crew members on yachts and cruise ships need a wide variety of skills, including cooking, security, and communications. The ship offers a place to sleep and eat while sailing the Seven Seas and beyond, and it also gives passengers a chance to see the world.

The work is rewarding, but the pay is low and the hours are long. In fact, one of my friends once spent an entire year serving as a crew member on a floating hotel. She claims that while at sea, she slept for only five hours per night.

Seek out yachting opportunities if you yearn for the sea but are wary of cruise ships. CrewSeekers, Yacrew, and Find a Crew are just a few of the websites that bridge the gap between yacht employers and crew members.

I've gotten a lot of free trips thanks to timeshare pitches. However, doing so is like playing with fire, and the final price you pay may be significantly higher.

The pitch used by timeshare vendors is highly refined. You won't find better salespeople than them. My dad always said, "Make up your mind before you go that you're not going to buy anything, write it down, and then when you get that overwhelming urge to buy, pull that paper out of your pocket and read it."

You should give this some thought. How else could they afford to send all the attendees on a free vacation if the event wasn't successful?

Salespeople will present and offer the product or service initially at the event. A handful of buyers are present at the initial asking price. The next step is a one-on-one meeting with a skilled salesperson who makes a pitch to you while also assessing your needs and concerns in order to tailor a presentation to your specific situation. After that, a substantial price cut is made.

They will continue to ask questions, offer incentives, and eventually lower the price until you give in. You can't refuse such a low final offer, which is a mere fraction of the original presentation's starting price.

Visit to look into some of these offers if you're willing to take the risk.

14 Use Oversold Flights to Your Advantage

This is probably not new to you. An airline employee gets on the intercom and says, "We're slightly overbooked for today's flight and are offering a free flight voucher up to $500 for any passengers willing to take our next flight at 7pm." ”

It isn't always realistic to accept their offer. There are times when you simply must return home, perhaps because of an important meeting the following day. However, there are times when spending a bit more time at the airport is well worth the potential savings.

If no one accepts the airline's initial discount, the price of the ticket will rise. They could offer a $300 voucher at first, and then $500, 0, and so on, until the deal is so unbelievable that customers rush to the register to claim it. Move closer to the counter and keep your ears open if the first offer isn't good enough, but you have some wiggle room. Stay on the lookout for signs of an uptick in the deal's activity and be prepared to act quickly if it seems to be worth your time.

Being adaptable can help tremendously.

15. Set up a bank account in the Bask currency.

The vast majority of reward programs are in direct opposition to the goal of saving money.

But Bask Bank provides American Airlines miles in exchange for frugal behavior With American Airlines, you can earn one mile for every dollar you save, year after year.  

The best part is that there are no fees associated with using Bank Bank, so your rewards come at no outlay. The rewards programs of debit cards don't rely on the interest paid by cardholders who don't pay off their balances each month.

Final Word

Less polished travel feels more authentic, meaningful, and memorable. When I was 23 and trying to impress a girlfriend, I stayed at a Wyndham in the Bahamas, but I couldn't tell you anything about it. A night at a guesthouse in Telavi, Georgia (the country, not the state) cost us only $19, and the owner treated us to homemade wine made from her own vines.

If you're adaptable and open-minded, you can find ways to see the world without breaking the bank. Keep in mind that there's usually a catch when it comes to free travel, and you should learn about it thoroughly before making any plans.

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