Did you know it’s completely possible to travel the world even when you’re broke?
In fact, travelling can be cheaper than living in one place! If you’re smart about it, you can use the following methods of travel that cost almost nothing, and actually save money by travelling.
Think about it. You’re paying rent. You’re paying bills. You might be paying off loans. You’ve probably got a car that’s draining thousands of dollars per year in upkeep and depreciation. Your weekly expenses are pretty high.
So imagine if you converted all that money you’re spending on staying in one place, into money for travel?
Here are my tips on how to travel the world, even when you’re broke.
The road to Mt Cook, New Zealand
Before you travel
Give up your lease / Sell your house. You don’t want to be paying rent or a mortgage while you’re away. That’s basically dead money as you’ll be paying for something you’re not using! Give up your lease, sell your house, move in with your parents for a few months if you have to!
If you want to keep your place as an investment, you can also rent it out on Air BnB. I’ve known of a few people that do this, and they make a fair bit of moolah!
Sell all your stuff. Car, mattress, beanbag… everything. You don’t need it. All you need to live off is a few items of clothing, money for food, and a few toiletries. If you’re worried about giving up your stuff in case you need it when you get back, just remember – you can always buy new stuff later.
Pay off loans. With the money you’ve just made from selling all your shit, pay off your loans. Debt makes it hard to do anything. Live financially stress free by getting rid of any loans you have first.
Do a road trip using relocation rentals. Search for cars or campers that will give you days or weeks to get to a certain place for next to nothing!
Hitchhike your way across the country. I’ve never done this but I know plenty of people who have. Make a cardboard sign with your destination scribbled with permanent marker, and stick out your thumb for some free transport.
Travel hack your way to cheap flights. I’m wary about adding this in as Australians don’t get the same benefits on frequent flyer programs as our friends in the US, but many travel bloggers swear by it. Check out this list of resources on travel hacking by Chris Guillebeau for more info.
Couchsurf. I’ve been a couchsurfing host before, and it’s great fun to have someone to show around your city. As a couchsurfer you can crash at someone’s place for free. Just search for the location you’re after and send through a few enquiries.
Stay with people you know. Distant family members, people you previously met while travelling, friends of friends… you’ll be surprised at who says yes to crashing at their place, even if you only know them through the girlfriend of your second cousin.
Volunteer. Many people offer board in return for a few hours of work per day. You’ll still get plenty of time to see a new city, and have free accommodation while you’re visiting! Check out WWOOF (which stands for Willing Workers On Organic Farms) or Help Exchange to find opportunities.
Housesit. You can spend weeks or months housesitting other people’s places for free! I’ve never tried it, but I know people who swear by it.
Stay in hostels. As long as you don’t mind bunking with a few other people, then hostel dorm rooms can be cheap as chips.
Street food in Krakow, Poland
Dumpster diving, otherwise known as ‘urban foraging’. I’ve never tried this but I’m quite tempted. I know it sounds kind of gross, but grocery stores and restaurants dispose of perfectly good food every day and many people fish it out of bins to use in their cooking at home. If you don’t want to feel weird rifling through someone’s dumpster like a lonely hobo, you can find dumpster diving groups on websites such as meetup.com.
Street food is super cheap in many countries in South East Asia, South America, and Europe. Support the locals while taking advantage of paying .50c for a pretzel or barbecued corn cob.
Buying groceries to make your own meals is probably going to be the cheapest option for eating. If you’re a former uni student or backpacker, you’ll know how far a packet of rice or pasta can go for sustenance! Check out my practical guide to hostel cooking over at Global Goose for some easy cooking tips.
There are so many ways you can earn a few extra dollars while you’re travelling! And no, you don’t have to be a bartender or barista. Teaching English, working on a Cruise Ship, or being an Au Pair are all great options.
See how to make travel your career to get a good idea of ways you can make money while you’re exploring a new country.
It’s totally possible to travel the work on very little to no money. So give up the lease on your house/apartment. Sell all of your possessions. Use that money you would have spent on bills creating some kind of crazy amazing experience! And don’t wait – there’s no time like the present. I guarantee you won’t regret it.
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