7 Ways to Travel the World for Free (or Almost Free)

The idea of traveling the world, staying in exotic locations and experiencing beautiful cultures for free (or close to free) pulls at the heartstrings of people young and old. But is it really possible?

Well, whether you are a college student planning a trip around the world or an empty nester looking to explore, the answer is a resounding yes! There are a number of ways we can travel and stay in fantastic locations around the globe for next to nothing.

Before we book our first flight there are a few things we need to consider. These include:

ic_circlecheckgrey Do we need to apply for any tourist visas? (each country has its own requirements and timeframe for completing your visa)
 ic_circlecheckgrey What type of traveling insurance should we purchase? Factors: age, destination and type of travel (adventure, business, empty nester, etc.) will determine our traveling insurance needs.
 ic_circlecheckgrey  Safety considerations for our intended destinations? (check the local government’s website for travel warnings and precautions)

Now that we have some of the basic planning completed, here are 7 ways to travel the world on the cheap. These can be broken into two basic categories. First category is travel related, getting from here to there in the world, including flying and cruising. The second category is accommodation related based on where we’ll stay.

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Travel Hacking

Travel hacking is the idea of trading mileage points from credit cards to travel for free. There are dozens of credit cards that offer mileage points or flight rewards for purchases. However, there are usually minimum spending requirements in order to become eligible for the travel rewards.

The idea is to find opportunities to purchase items that are easily converted back into cash with little loss in the exchange. For example, a few years ago the US government was pushing the dollar coins as a replacement to paper currency. They allowed anyone to purchase dollar coins at face value (dollar for dollar) with no shipping charge. We could buy $10,000 worth of US coins with a credit card and then take the coins to the bank once we received them to pay off the balance in full before the end of the grace period.

Another way is to pay our federal tax bill at the end of the year with our credit card. This will incur a fee of 1.87%, but if we have any real tax liability, this could cover the minimum spending requirements to earn a free trip.

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Travel the World as a Cruise Line Employee

Although this can be tough work, there are many benefits to working on a cruise ship. We get to see exotic locations around the world for free, and depending what job we have on the ship, we might be able to go ashore when the boat is in port. A tour guide, entertainer or massage therapist may get time ashore. While other jobs like laundry or cleaning will probably require us to be at work while the passengers are ashore.

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Become a Flight Attendant

Being a flight attendant won’t make us rich, but it will allow us to travel all over the world for free. As a flight attendant, we get free flights anywhere in the world, when we’re off. Flight attendants make a relatively modest wage (between $25,000 and $50,000 per year), but on average they only work about 20 hours a week. This leaves a lot of time for exploring the local life, wherever that happens to be.

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Au Pair

An Au Pair is a person who helps a couple with their young children. This can include duties like helping them learn English, cooking, and general child care. It usually involves about 25 to 30 hours of work each week. In exchange for the service, we can receive free travel, room and board, monthly travel expenses, and free language lessons. Since we’ll be living with the family, it’s best to make sure we feel comfortable and compatible with them.

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Research and Write for a Travel Guide or Website

Many people think travel writing is an absolute dream job. Although it can help feed our travel wanderlust at someone else’s expense, it’s not quite the dream it may seem. Time spent doing research, tight deadlines and working under pressure can all be a part of life as a travel guidebook writer. We’ll be working, and it’s not a vacation, but hey, we’re being paid to eat fine food, see exotic places and jet set around the world!

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Local Tour Guide

Although travel expenses are not usually paid for being a tour guide, once we have arrived, we can make a fair wage, engage with different kinds of people from all over the world and get to see the sights in our desired location. Because there are so many different types of travel, there are many opportunities in this field. We could do work in a major tourist city in Europe or as a guide in a remote location in the Far East. Some of this work can be seasonal allowing us to save up some money before we embark out on the next leg of our journey.

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House-Sitting

Once our travel expenses are covered, house-sitting can be a great way to stay at one-of-a-kind locations around the globe. There are hundreds, if not thousands of opportunities to stay in homes, villas, and apartments around the world. We get free room and board while the owner has the peace of mind knowing their property is being taken care of while they’re away. Contracts for this service can last from two weeks to six months, so extended world travel is definitely possible.

So, having a passport full of stamps from around the world doesn’t have to break the bank. A little initiative and creativity can have us exploring the places we’ve always dreamed about.

Since you’re traveling on a tight budget, don’t leave things to chance. A $15 travel insurance policy from Yonder Travel Insurance could provide hundreds of thousands of dollars for emergency medical costs!

If you’ve figured out a way to travel for free not included on this list, share with us on FacebookTwitter, or tag us on Instagram (@insureyonder)!