Can You Travel Without Money?

When people consider traveling long term or find out that someone they know has done it, one of the first questions they ask is, ‘how did you find the money for that?’

Until you’ve actually set off on a trip, you might think that you need thousands of dollars a week to travel long term. Most people’s experience of traveling is the two-week vacation their family takes each year. This generally involves nice hotels, car hire, airfares on peak days to fit in with leave dates from work, eating in restaurants every night and visiting popular, and expensive, tourist attractions.

For those that have traveled long term, there is the knowledge that you actually need a lot less money than you think. If you’re prepared to rough it more than you’re used to, you might even be able to learn how to travel without money. When you’re working out how to travel without spending too much, there are a few ways to save that you should consider:
  • You could work in return for free accommodation and board. Hostels, restaurants, and some tourist businesses will offer you a place to stay and a couple of meals a day in return for work. Guesthouses often run on a shoestring budget and instead of paying an extra staff member to clean the rooms each morning, they might pay a backpacker to do this task for a few hours, in return for a bed in a shared room. If you have website building skills or know a lot about social media, why not offer to help out the owner in return for free accommodation?
  • When you travel long term, you have the luxury of choosing travel dates to fit in with airline sales. You can get some amazing airfare deals if you’re not choosy about when you fly or how long it takes you to get there. This is especially true in places like South East Asia where flights between countries can cost just a few dollars. With extra time comes the ability to also take a bus from country to country. This will save you lots of money if you plan it right.
  • Volunteering on farms or at big events is another great way to cut your travel costs. It can be hard work though, so be sure of how much is required of you before you agree to a placement.
  • Dumpster diving is gaining in popularity around the world, though it might not be for everyone. Advocates insist that raiding dumpsters is a great way to get perfectly good food that supermarkets or shops have thrown away. If you’re brave enough to give it a try it could mean no food costs for you! Food and accommodation are two of the top expenses while traveling away from home, so eliminating one of them will do wonders for your budget. We suggest that maybe you don’t tell your mum, though!
So, you know what you could do to save your pennies, but how do you find these positions that allow you to travel without money? The best way is to simply ask. Don’t expect to always see a sign in the hostel where you are staying. Ask the person at the desk when you check in if there is any work available in return for a room. If you have other skills, offer them to the owner and see what happens. Talk to others staying at the same location and see if they have any recommendations, too. Networking is a great way to find new opportunities. 

You might be pleasantly surprised to find that you can travel without money if you are patient, flexible and ingenious!

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