by Amy Hornsby for letsg.ooo.
One of the drawbacks of travelling is the often hefty price tag that comes with it. So is it really possible to travel for free? Well, in a word, yes. From physically being on the road (or in the air), to sleeping, and even eating, here’s some top ways to keep your travel costs down.
A common one you’ll find on a lot of roundup lists, but it really is worth the investment. Type in the place you’re travelling to and you’ll find a whole host of people hosting their digs for you to stay at – for free. Don’t go looking at it as just a free bed for a night or two, but as a way to enhance your travel experience with the community spirit that it’s really made for. Find people you have common interests with like yoga, sports, or cooking, and reach out with the offer of cooking them up your favourite stir-fry or practising yoga outdoors with them. In return you’ll not only have a place to sleep, but maybe even a friendship and some priceless local knowledge of the area.
Housesit or Houseswap
Okay, so this one’s not totally free as most sites do carry an annual fee, but if you score just one place to housesit or swap with, you’ve already made your money back. You probably have some idea what houseswapping is – trading your digs with someone else’s digs in another country at the same time. Did you know you can also do the same with vehicles and motorhomes? When you consider the price of short term rentals and car rentals, it’s a pretty good deal.
Housesitting is a slightly different idea. Usually you’ll be asked to take care of people’s house, garden, and at least one pet while they’re away. While this is “free”, it’s still a big responsibility, so only go for this one if you really love pets and/or general domestic duties.
Air miles or frequent flyer miles work like a loyalty programme; the more you spend, the more points you earn. Earn enough points and you could bag yourself a free flight. Sounds easy enough, right? You’ll need to be loyal to one airline for your next few flights to earn enough points to get a free flight, but you’ll eventually get there. Credit card signup bonuses are also excellent for piling up the miles. American cards tend to be the most generous…if you have a US address, have a look at Million Mile Secrets for inspiration and tips.
Donate your time and energy to helping out at a B&B, a hostel, a pet sanctuary, a standard family home, and many other things in exchange for room and board. Workaway combines volunteering with travelstay, and again comes with a membership fee. There are some really fantastic opportunities on here in all corners of the world, but it probably helps if you love volunteering.
So you’ve already decided to drive from point A to point B, but it’s gonna cost a lot in petrol money. Pop your trip on ridesharing sites like BlaBlaCar, where people looking t o take a similar journey will tag along and chip in for petrol costs. If you end up having a car full, this may even work out as “free travel” (to fit in with the promise of the post). Looking for a ride yourself? Set up a ride alert to cut travel costs by sharing someone else’s ride. It’s basically a much safer version of hitchhiking.
While all (or most) of these are free, of course we’re talking about money costs and nothing else. If you’re travelling on a budget, be prepared to spend your time and energy even if you aren’t parting with money. Nothing is completely free, after all.
Note from letsg.ooo: Thanks for the post, Amy! Great tips. It seems silly not to take advantage of this opportunity to mention that this very site can help you save a huge amount on travel. So there you have it – blatant self-promotion! Fantastic. Click through to the home page to find out more.