I’ve never met anyone who has traveled the world for free, but I’ve met plenty who’ve done it on very minuscule budgets. It’s possible if you’re smart and flexible to find free accommodation, free car hire and even free flights. All of these methods take a bit of work, so it’s important to work out whether the amount of effort you need to put in equals what you’re getting back.
Either way this should make for some interesting reading.
House sit – Free Accommodation
Look after other people’s homes and pets while they’re away. When I stumbled across this idea I couldn’t believe I hadn’t heard of it before. No more hostels or hotels; instead live in presumably a very nice house and all you have to do is walk the dog and water the plants.
In reality there have been a few more chores than that, and some of the dogs have been very large and so have needed very long walks, but it’s turned out to be an excellent source of free accommodation.
As of April 2013, I will have house sat for nine months straight in France in four different house sits throughout the South of France and will have looked after more than five dogs, eight cats and eighteen alpacas. I’ll also have saved myself a fortune on accommodation costs in what would have been quite an expensive country to live in. My thanks goes to Trusted Housesitters where I found these house sits. You can see a full list of housesits worldwide here.
Similar ideas that offer free accommodation, but usually you have to give a lot more are: home swapping (swap your home with someone else’s), wwoofing (work for roughly four hours a day for your accommodation) and couch surfing (stay on other people’s couches).
Road Trip for Free – Free Car Hire
House sitting has its own restrictions, such as you have to fit your holiday around the dates the home owner is going away and like house sitting, this method of getting free car hire has its own restrictions as well.
The idea is simple. Car hire companies often need cars transported from one side of the country to another. Rather than hire someone to do the job, they put adverts up online and interested parties can get involved.
You’ll have a deadline to work to, but if you’re interested in taking a road trip and want your fuel, car and expenses paid for this idea could work for you. Check out Apollo for their list of driving gigs in Australia or check out Jayride (also Australian) for a list of similar ways to travel including ride-sharing opportunities across the country.
Free Flights – Smart Credit Card Use
Credit card companies want us to use our credit cards and to do that many of them offer incentives and schemes for doing so such as free flights, points and other novelties. From this a community of ‘Travel Hackers’ and ‘Airmile Hackers’ have sprung up: essentially a group of people who work out how to get these bonuses and post the information online.
Now it’s important to point out that credit card companies want people to borrow credit and in their ideal world they’d love for you not to be able to pay it all off so they can charge you interest. If you’re going to start using credit cards, you need to be sure that you won’t get into debt. A good air miles ‘hack’ is one in which you don’t have to spend any more money than you were planning on i.e. if a credit card company is offering points for using their card this Christmas, put your Christmas shopping on the card and pay it off immediately. That way you get the points and no debt.
One last way…
If you’re a good-looking lady, which I’m not, you can travel for free with guys who want a female companion for their journey using MissTravel.com. The site has definitely had some mixed responses and if I was a lady, pretty or otherwise, I’m not sure if I would do it. But hey, it’s good to have options.