3 Ways to Travel Free (Or At Least Really Darned Cheap!)

by Kate Luther on 18 June 2008 8 comments
Photo: Stock Xchng

How would you like to get out and "see the world"? Visit the Carthage Ruins or spend a week just hiking across Europe. Paris, Italy or maybe the Bahamas... there's really just no end to the places you can go.

Now, I know what you're saying - those places cost money and technically you'd be right. While traveling is certainly one of the more exciting ways to spend your time, airfare and hotel rooms can add up quickly and with the economy the way it is... well, it looks like Aunt Tessie's farm is about all the traveling you'll be doing anytime soon.

But there are ways to get around those big travel expenses without sacrificing your fun. In fact, with these tips you might just find that your trips become all the more adventurous!

  1. House Swap - Seriously. Swap your house with someone else for a week, a month or how ever long the two of you agree to do so. House swapping is actually a pretty popular way to travel and it has quite a few advantages to staying in a hotel. For starters, most house swappers make their various amenities available to you so you'll have a functional kitchen which means you can save money by buying a few groceries and eating in and you won't go home with a big bag of dirty laundry because you can wash your clothes before you go. Those "amenities" also often include a car, jet skis, boats and other cool things that you'd have to rent otherwise. Another advantage is that while you're manning the ship in their house, they'll be watching over yours as well which means that your property isn't left vacant and theives are less likely to try to venture in. No more packing up your valuables when you leave and no more vacating the room so that the cleaning staff can change your sheets. And instead of those goofy connecting rooms for the kids, you can keep your family under one roof for the entire trip. To learn more about house swapping, check out InterVac or The International Home Exchange Network.
  2. Cruise For Free. Yes, free! Those big cruise liners take pride in providing a variety of entertainment and activities for their paying guests. Provide some of that entertainment or activity and you could sail the seas for free. Traditional entertainment includes singing, dancing and of course acrobatics but don't think for a minute that the list stops there. Magicians are very popular on cruises as well as comedians and jugglers. But again, the list doesn't stop there. Don't let a lack of artistic talent keep you off that boat - cruise lines are also looking for a variety of "enrichment" instructors, meaning those who can teach something fun and/or enriching such as arts and crafts, painting, yoga or even how to trace a family tree. The idea is to come up with something that's inexpensive for you (you'll have to provide any necessary supplies) while giving the passengers a unique opportunity to learn something new. Teach them to mambo or jitterbug. Give them a crash course in Spanish or French. Show them how to write a best-selling novel or how to meditate properly to gain eternal peace. Whatever your niche, think about how you could share your knowledge and turn it into a class for others. Then market that course to the cruise lines. You can also check out Cruise Ship Jobs to help you get the most from your efforts.
  3. Study For Free, Live Abroad. Universities tend to believe that an education obtained abroad is one of the most enlightening ways to learn and our government tends to agree. As a result, there are a number of grants and scholarships available for students that want to study in a foreign country. If you want to tap into government funding, you'll have to find a school that has a domestic branch in the States as any credits you obtain must be able to count here at home as well. That said, there are also work-study programs that don't come with those restrictions so if you don't need the government funding, you're pretty much free to go anywhere you like. Check out American Institute for Foreign Study for more information.

And there you have it. Three creative ways to seriously cut your travel expenses and tap into the vast opportunities that await you when you see the world. Granted, these ideas aren't as conventional as just booking your own hotel room but then let's be honest... life without a little adventure isn't really "life" at all, now is it?

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Guest's picture
Jul

Why spend a quick and expensive vacation in Munich when you can get paid to spend a year there? :)

Kate Luther's picture

I think most of us have always looked at travel as a "vacation" and one that will cost a pretty penny. But there's no reason you can't work your way across the country. :)

Guest's picture
EmmieR

Nowadays there is a great variety of itineraries to choose for travelling. Unfortunately many people think that travelling is too expensive but it is not the case. On the contrary, it is getting more affordable if you spend your money wisely.

Guest's picture
Lois

Hi Kate

Thanks for including home swapping in your article as a great way to travel free (or almost!) I'm glad to see that you mentioned the security aspects of having people living in your home too.

With the value of the dollar low, no doubt many of your readers have dismissed Europe as a destination at present. But it doesn't have to be if you swap homes. In fact, as our own home exchange service, Home Base Holidays, has been operating in London for many years, we have a huge number of attractive exchange offers here, making even our notoriously expensive city affordable (and there's lots of free stuff to do here too!).

If interested in finding out more about home swapping, I hope you will visit my blog too.

Cheers

Guest's picture
Wilson

At leas at my college, financial aid was awarded no differently than if one was studying domestically. No special grants required. Pell grants were paid to the college, and then were transferred to the foreign program or cash.

Guest's picture
Laura

There are many Internet-based services that pair prospective travelers with one another for a home-exchange vacation but I would highly recommend www.homeforswap.com

Guest's picture
Guest

Another great way to travel for very very low cost is to use a site like www.workaway.info. They list places you can stay and help out at, in return for food and accommodation. :)

Guest's picture

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