A few people have told me they want to travel but don’t have the money. Sorry, but that tired, old excuse for not traveling doesn’t work anymore. There are so many options available to travel for free, or really really cheap. Mind you, these vacations do not involve being served fruity drinks with little umbrellas in them, but they may involve relaxing yoga retreats and good, organic food.
WWOOF.org Not only do you have a free place to stay, but you get fed too! Membership is only about $20 for a year, and you have access to descriptions of each farm. You contact the owner of each farm directly and discuss the activities that are going on, and the best times to work. Not all WWOOF opportunities are on farms either. Many are yoga retreats, where other people actually pay to go. There are adventure lodges, orphanages, environmental centers, breweries, and all kinds of different organizations.
Workaway.info Similar to WWOOF, but less emphasis on farming, and more on language learning and cultural exchange. Either way, your trip is what you make it. Membership costs 18 euros for 2 years
Where to stay
Couchsurfing.org Get this, there are cool people all over the world who want to let you stay with them for free. Why? Because they can say they have friends from (insert cool country here), and when they travel abroad they can stay somewhere for free too! This is just like another social networking site. You can see pictures of the person you’ll be staying with, and read what other travelers have said about them. I love Couchsurfing, and not just because I get a free place to stay (and often free food). I get to feel like a local, and make real friends in every place I visit. I also occasionally meet other people to travel with.
Maybe you thought you didn’t have any marketable skills, but if you speak English (your are reading this, right?), you do! If you’re really serious about travel (and I think you should be), then you should look into opportunities teaching English. These are better than free because you get paid. Here’s the deal: some teaching jobs are posted online, but lots more are available if you network. I know most people want a job lined up before you go somewhere, but it just doesn’t work like that. Go to Couchsurfing meetups, check out bulletin boards at hostels, or just start asking around.
My strategy is just to get out there, talk to people, and hope someone needs some help with something I know how to do. Believe it or not, it happens quite often. I have had to turn down offers because I already had so much going on! This isn’t even a complete list; these are just the services my friends or I have used.