Ways to Travel the World Even When You're Absolutely Broke

Ways to Travel the World Even When You’re Absolutely Broke

Broke but desperate to travel for free? Maybe you’ve heard of Couchsurfing and Wwoof or working holidays and wild camping.

Not having much money need not be an impediment to travelling the world. There are plenty of ways to travel for free (well, sort of). With a little creativity, imagination and effort, geographical location need be no impediment to real adventure. Here are seven ideas to serve as a starting point and to help you plan your own holiday of a lifetime:

1. Staying for free: Rely on the kindness of strangers

travel for free

Image credit: Jacob Bøtter

People are often given a bad press. We hear negative stories of greed and selfishness all the time. But most of humanity is inherently good and there are many people all around the world who are ready and willing to open their homes and hearts to strangers. Sites such as Couchsurfing or Hospitality Club link up those who want to travel with those who want to host for free, so you can check out the options, get to know a new location, and perhaps even make some new friends while you do it.

2. Staying for free: Home swaps

If you are a little uncomfortable about the idea of accepting kindness of this kind without giving something in return, and you own your own home, why not consider a home swap? There are several different schemes that allow you to let someone stay in your home for a holiday while you stay in theirs. Some schemes even include cars in the deal, giving you transport for just the cost of the fuel during your stay.

3. Volunteer abroad

Another thing you can trade for accommodation and often also food is your time and effort. Why not volunteer for a good cause? You could help with humanitarian efforts, volunteer on an organic farm with Wwoof or a sustainable building project with Poosh. There are many options for you to see the world and do good while you are seeing it. Why not offer to help bring aid to countries who are suffering from famine, drought or natural disaster? You can truly get to know the landscapes and people of a country while also helping to make the world a better place.

4. Work abroad: Working holidays

If you want to be useful and pragmatic, your other option is to work abroad. You could join a gap year scheme to work abroad, teach a language or work in the service or hospitality industries. Why not work on a farm? Be a nanny for a family with young children or work on board a ship to work your passage to new lands. You could be a waiter or waitress or work in a hostel or hotel in exchange for your room and board. You could be a guide or companion to a fellow traveller. If you are a musician then perhaps you could make some money that way?

Also read: Why I Got A Working Holiday Visa In New Zealand

There is really no end to the ways in which you can use your skills and abilities to work on the go or in a variety of locations around the world.

5. Staying for free: Wild camping

Image credit: Nick Bramhall

If you love nature and want to enjoy the many and varied landscapes of our planet then in many countries it is possible to camp for free in the wilds. In the Scandinavian countries, Iceland and Scotland, for example, you can camp for free with your backpack and your tent if you use common sense and follow the basic rules of the outdoor access codes. In other countries there are restrictions, so check before you go. But if you like being in the great outdoors then wild camping could be a great option for you.

Camp deep in an ancient old-growth forest, on a mountain or high plateau, beside a rocky shore or on a golden strand where you can make up to the soothing sound of the waves lapping against the shore.

Also read: The 6 Essential Items for Every Camping Trip

6. Exploring for free: Walking and long-distance hiking

It may take longer, a lot longer, but just imagine how much more you can see and take in at walking speed compared to how much you can take in travelling in motorised transport. When you are on a long-distance hiking holiday your transport will cost you nothing while you are there. All you will have to worry about is where to sleep and what to eat. You can see some wonderful wildernesses on foot that would otherwise be inaccessible to you and get some absolutely amazing views that are all the more magical for being gifts for getting there under your own steam.

Not only is this sort of holiday extremely affordable, it is also great for getting fit. You will lose pounds and tone up without even realising it. Walking can also take you off the tourist trail so you can have unique experiences and do things hardly anyone else has done.

7. Exploring for free: Cycle touring

Image credit: Vera & Jean-Christophe

If walking seems a little too slow and sedate and you want to cover more ground then why not consider a long-distance cycling holiday? There are many cycling trails all over the place so you do not even need to cycle much on roads if you don’t really want to. You can take your own bike or hike a bike when you reach your destination.

Cycle touring is a cost effective way to see a region or country, and of course to tone up and get fit while doing it. There are plenty of countries that are really set up to welcome visitors who wish to tour on two wheels – for example the European countries of the Netherlands and Belgium, where cycling is very much part of the way of life. In some places there are even bikes that you can use free of charge, as long as you return them when you are finished with them for the day.

If you put your mind to it, you too can find a way to travel the world using the skills, resources and abilities available to you without having a lot of money to spend. Don’t let your lack of drive be an impediment to travel – no matter how limited your budget you too can see the many wonders of our wonderful planet.

Also read: 9 Signs You Are Ready to Quit Your Job and Travel The World

About Author

Elizabeth Waddington
Elizabeth Waddington

Elizabeth Waddington lives in rural Scotland with her husband and her dog. She is part of a small community who are trying to live as sustainably as possible. A professional freelance writer who works from home full time, she has over ten years of writing experience and an MA in English and Philosophy. She mostly writes about travel, sustainability and permaculture and has a particular interest in adventure holidays, camping, walking and sustainable travel. She travels whenever she can.