Many of us have dreams of traveling the world. We secretly fantasize about packing our cases and filling our passports with stamps. The sad reality of the matter is travel is expensive and as much as we'd like to jet off to some exotic location, the cost of it can be sky-high.
There are a fortunate few who have broken the code and are globetrotting for little or nothing. How are they doing it? Their tricks are revealed with these six secrets for free travel around the world.
1.Get a job where travel is a requirement
There are plenty of jobs out there where employers will pay you to go to different locales as well as cover your room and board. Companies with global networks are a good bet. You could find yourself in their metropolitan headquarters one year and be working from one of their more far-flung locales the next. Countries, where there are large expat communities, are also another option. These countries often need skills that are unavailable locally that you may have.
Gaining employment in the travel, tourism, and hospitality sectors can also allow you to see the world for free. Cruise ship employees have free food, room, and board and have shore leave where they can checkout multiple countries. Travel writers get paid to review and write about destinations they are sent to.
If you lack the skills for paid employment, you can consider volunteering. Volunteers have been very successful at moving around. So much so, that it can be said they've got Travel Hacking down to fine art and science. A chat with the average volunteer will reveal they've been around the world and back for literally next to nothing. There are a number of global charities and organizations that have a steady demand for persons with humanitarian interests.
These organizations will match you with countries/communities that need help, whether it's constructing schools, teaching in them, helping to plant food, or administering these projects. Typically these jobs don't pay, but they do offer the opportunity to learn more about the people and the country once you've finished your daily tasks.
3. Work exchanges
These are similar to volunteer opportunities in that you essentially work for your room and board. A key difference is instead of working for organizations, you'll be working for much smaller concerns. You also will probably deal directly with the person offering the work exchange opportunity whereas the volunteer organization serves as a proxy, connecting you with those communities.
The work opportunities are also more eclectic than the ones offered by traditional volunteer organizations. Like volunteer opportunities, your new home country is your oyster once you've fulfilled your daily work requirements. Feel free to explore and get to know the people, the food, and the culture.
4. Swapping/sitting/ couch surfing programmes
It may sound too good to be true, but there are people out there who will let you stay in their homes in another country and happily accept lodging on your own in exchange. There are also those who will want you to house sit or pet sit, while they go off on business trips or their own dream vacations.
You can also use the Couchsurfing network and hook up with a like-minded traveling community and have room and board provided. Here, you'll have access to a "couch" offered by someone who has given a commitment to open up their home to travelers. You may have to incur the cost of travel in this situation, but once you can get to the country you'll be staying in, you'll have room and board covered.
5. Credit card miles/frequent flyer reward programmes
If you already travel a lot for work or business this may be a good option for you. Most credit card companies have a system, where they award points for purchases charged to the card. When you hit a certain milestone, you're rewarded with plane tickets. The destinations are correlated to the number of points you would have racked up.
Frequent flyer miles work pretty much the same way except you're awarded miles from airlines you travel regularly with. The trick here is to pick the credit cards and airline companies with the best programs. So you might have to do some shopping around.
If used in combination with one of the free room and board methods mentioned above, you could put some miles between yourself and your humdrum, everyday life, and see the world for free.
6. "Ancestry" programmes
There are many countries that offer significantly discounted or free travel to descendants of citizens who left to establish a life elsewhere. Do your research and you may find that you are the descendent of one of those people. If you want to learn about your ancestral home and culture, this may be a perfect opportunity for you to do so.
With a little ingenuity, your dreams to travel the world can come through. Even better, it won't be that hard, when you explore these travel secrets.