6 Easy Ways to Get Free Travel

By Nick Wharton on 30 August 2016 0 comments

A common misconception is that travel is expensive. But you may be surprised to learn that there are easy, accessible ways to score free travel that don't require you to be an expert travel hacker. In fact, most of them are fairly straightforward.

1. Get a Free Plane Ticket With Your Next Credit Card

If you're serious about getting free travel fast, you can do so in as little as 15 minutes, and it doesn't have to cost you a thing. There are many travel rewards credit cards that offer a large sign-up bonus. This bonus alone can be enough to cover a domestic round-trip ticket. If you wait a little longer, you can earn more points through purchases and get enough for a free international trip.

See also: 5 Steps to Getting a Free Vacation in 9 Months or Less with Credit Cards

2. Sail for Free

You can score a lot more than free flights. Many people who sail in the Caribbean or between Europe and the Americas are often looking for extra help to crew their vessels.

You don't necessarily need to have experience. You just need to be willing to learn and spend a few weeks at sea. You will learn a valuable skill and have an unforgettable experience. (See also: How to Score Free Accommodations (and Paid Jobs) on Boats)

3. Sleep for Free

Once you get to your destination (whether by a free flight or a free sail), there are some easy ways to get free accommodations. If you have a home, consider signing up for a home exchange program. This works especially well if you live in a desirable city, such as New York, or San Francisco.

Services such as Home Exchange are well-regarded, and although you may have to pay a sign-up fee, you can save more than this initial fee in the free accommodations you will receive after signing up.

For those who don't have an apartment or home to list, you can still find free accommodations in the form of house or pet sitting. You can find house-sits throughout the world for different dates. If you are looking for a shorter stay, check out Couchsurfing, which is ideal for a few days. You can connect with locals in the city you are traveling to and they will put you up for absolutely free.

And finally, another great way to land free accommodation is by volunteering or staying in places such as ashrams and Sikh temples. Especially in India, you can volunteer your time cooking, cleaning, or being a yogi, and in exchange you'll get free room and board, plus an unforgettable experience.

4. Volunteer

Volunteer programs are available both on a short-term and long-term basis. Travel with the Peace Corps, United Nations, and ArtCorps for assignments that can last one or two years. World Wide Opportunities on Organic Farms connects you with farms all over the world that will host and feed you in exchange for a few hours of work on their farm daily. (See also: 11 Volunteer Opportunities for Free or Very Cheap Travel)

5. Travel by Foot or by Bike

If travel by plane or boat are not your cup of tea, consider walking or biking. You are guaranteed to have a memorable travel experience, while spending $0 on transportation costs. There are some amazing places in the world you can see by foot. You could hike the Camino trail in Spain. You can stay in hostels and refuges along the way, or you can bring your own tent, avoiding all accommodation costs as well.

Bike trips are another way to eliminate the cost of transportation entirely. Tom Allen provides great resources for planning a bike trip. Usually you can buy a bike for very cheap and it will quickly pay for itself in the savings you'll make on busses, trains, or planes.

6. Start a Travel Blog

Starting a blog is easy, but building it up takes some time. However, if you learn how to start a travel blog and begin building your blog audience now, by this time next year, you could have a following that is actually worth something.

Many hotels, tour operators and airlines will be keen to access your hard-earned audience, and they will often offer you free accommodation, trips, and flights in exchange for an honest review on your blog. I know from experience! I haven't had to pay for scuba dives, hotels, or tours in a very long time! This is technically more of an "exchange" than free travel, but it's pretty amazing staying in beautiful hotels and getting to share the experience with your readers.

There are many ways to travel for free. All it takes is a little bit of thinking outside the box and some time. Remember that traveling slow is another way to save a lot of money. Consider what skills you have to offer and then remember that you can always barter those skills along the way instead of paying.

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