'If travelling was free you'd never see me again.'
Haven't we all heard this quote already? I think most us dream of travelling around the globe, diving into foreign cultures and getting to know people living on the other side of our continent. Or planet. Well, for any of you using this quote, I got good news for you: it is indeed possible to travel for free or at least without spending heaps of money. As you probably know, I am very passionate about travelling and about foreign cultures in particular so I did my best of find affordable ways of travelling. And my search didn't remain unsuccessful. Especially over the last year I came across many exciting projects and ways to save money while travelling and I thought I would share these with you today.
1. Voluntary work
Volunteering is one of the most fulfilling experiences. You are helping others and by doing that you're indirectly helping yourself, by gaining valuable experiences and by getting positive feedback. There are many ways to work as a volunteer - you can do it in your hometown or you can do it abroad (read about my experiences here
). There are organisations who financially support volunteers and who pay for their accommodation and sometimes even for the flight. If you do your research, you will come across a long list of these opportunities. Make sure to start searching at least a year before you'd like to depart, though, as these organisations often set deadlines for applications. Volunteering is especially easy and affordable in Europe as the EU started an initiative giving young people the chance to do voluntary work across the continent (you can check out their portal by clicking this link
This is probably the easiest way to explore foreign countries. Workaway
is based on the concept of working in exchange for accommodation and food and the application process is super simple. There is a website where hosts and workawayers create their own profiles and if a 'job offer' appeals to you, you simply send a message to the host. The opportunities on workaway are endless: you can work as an au pair (which I'm doing right now), work at a farm, a restaurant, a hostel etc. Workaway exists worldwide and it offers you the chance to really get to know a foreign culture and to meet other workawayers. If you want to work at farms in particular you could also check out WWOOF - it is very similar to workaway but specialises in living on organic farms.
Another way to explore new places is by doing couchsurfin
g. A lot of you have probably heard about this already - couchsurfing is based on a website that allows you to connect with hosts, people who are willing to offer their couch for a night or more. That way you can stay at a place for free and in return you'll spend a bit of time with the hosts. I have never tried couchsurfing but I've heard amazing things about it and I believe it's a great opportunity for a cultural exchange. You can also use couchsurfing if you're looking for a rideshare, a meet-up etc but more about that later.
This is a very obvious one. If couchsurfing isn't for you you can use sites like hostelworld.com
to find the best offers. In some cities staying at hostels is incredibly cheap. Pay attention to the reviews though to make sure that it's in a good area and that they stick to hygiene standards. There are two clichés concerning hostels that I find to be wrong - first of all, they aren't always inferior to hotels. I have already stayed at hostels that offered great comfort (just like I've already stayed at pretty bad hotels). Secondly, hostels aren't always the cheaper option. When you're travelling in a group double or triple rooms at hotels are sometimes cheaper (and offer more privacy).
This leads me to deals. I somehow never manage to secure good holiday deals but I know that they exist if you just keep looking. Another great thing are coupons. As far as I'm concerned they aren't popular in Europe (or have I been living under a rock?) but they definitely are in the US and in Canada. You can discount on attractions, sightseeing tours, dining experiences etc. Another thing to look into are special offers for exploring a city for example a museum card guaranteeing you discount at the major attractions or special offers for transport.
Now this is something you can save a lot of money on if you're doing it right. My tips would be to look into deals for flights, buses etc. If you want to travel Europe I highly recommend going by Flixbus, it is super cheap and you eve get a discount if you download the app. Other than that, share your ride. Not only is it more fun to travel with others, it also allows you to save plenty of money. There are usually sites you can use (depending on the country) but you can also have a look at the rideshare page on couchsurfing.
7. Gain money while travelling
If you're running low on money you can consider gaining a bit of money by doing freelance work on the internet. There are pages like clickwork offering the opportunity to translate/write texts in exchange for money. Or you could look into working at events etc. Speaking of events - a lot of festivals are also searching for volunteers. So if you'd like to experience a festival without paying this might not be the worst idea.
These are my tips for travelling on a smaller budget. Oh and I nearly forgot to say: always ask locals. They often have amazing tips for saving money and for exploring the area. So before you buy a really expensive card that allows you free entrance to all the clubs and then discover that all the clubs are free anyway (that nearly happened to me and a friend), rather ask them first.
What are you tips for travelling on a small budget? Leave a comment. xx
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