In this article I would like to share some hints and tips with all of those who would like to travel the world for free or by spending very little. There are in fact a various proven methods that can be used allowing one to travel the world using very little money. Following just a few rules you’ll be able to travel the world saving lots of money! So then take note of these tried and tested suggestions provided by many of our readers and you too can travel the world for free!
Despite what you might think, to travel with maximum savings, as well as adaptability, you will need a good deal of organisation first.
The fact that you don’t have lots of money available shouldn’t discourage you though. Knowing what and where to look, you’ll be able to reach your goals (and by goals I mean physical places) even ones covering great distances.
In this article therefore, I’d like to show you all of the tactics and strategies available to organise a journey with the goal of saving as much as possible.
Alone or in company?
Traveling with little money means first and foremost being ready to travel alone or at most with one other person. This type of journey isn’t suitable for couples with children or with the whole family tagging along. The main reason being that a ‘no-money’ journey requires a spirit of adaptability towards situations that for a single person (or a close partner) means just a simple change of plan, but for a family with children, could form real obstacles in the way of a peaceful journey. I’ll go more into this topic later.
A hit and run holiday, or nice and easy?
To spend little or nothing, first of all you must avoid the typical all-inclusive holiday packages, meaning of course the usual travel agency package in which you are offered a flight ticket, hotel, transfers and various guided tours. This is how you will spend the most amount of money in the smallest amount of time, in fact this type of holiday normally only lasts 1-2 weeks. Conversely, an “economic” approach will last much much longer, which on the face of it seems contradictory but it is in fact the case. A cheap trip should last at least 4 weeks, but if you have more time, even several more weeks.
A very interesting point to consider is that when your not under strict time constraints, food, accomodation and travel (even over long distances) can in most cases be acquired for free, or worst case scenario for very little money. In this way, minimizing every single expense, a trip or holiday can be extended and developed through itineraries that stop at even more destinations.
Therefore we have already covered two main points, a real cheap holiday should be done alone (or with a close friend) and with lots of time available.
The right way to spend as little as possible on a journey is to predetermine the various expenses: first of all you have to divide your adventure into steps. For example let’s say that you want to organize a trip to any city in the world. To do this, you’ll need to create a step by step breakdown.
We’ll break this down into 5 steps:
- Internal travel
After having divided the journey into steps, you’ll need to understand how to achieve each step without spending money, or at least with as little money as possible. Of course, spending nothing will be difficult, but the more effort you put into organizing the journey, the less you will have to pay.
Now for each of 5 items in the list, we need to carefully analyse them and decide which would be the cheapest way possible of carrying out each step.
The journey (departure and return)
When talking about traveling without spending money, the main variable at hand is the destination. For example if you decide to remain in Europe, thats one thing, but if you decide to travel overseas is whole other kettle of fish.
If you decide to travel by plane, the cost can’t be zero of course. However, don’t be discouraged because there are ways to spend little in this area too. In fact you’ll be suprised at just how cheap you can find flights and you’ll ask yourself why you haven’t taken advantage of them before. Firstly you’ll have to shape your trip around the varying prices of flights. Usually these offers are launched in the new year: early spring and winter. You may also register to newsletters of various low cost airlines (such as Volotea, Easyjet, Ryanair). It is often possible to buy tickets for major European cities from as little as £5-£10 per flight.
If you don’t have any time constraints, the absolute cheapest periods for air travel are the second week of February and the month of May. Booking the flight in these moments saves an average of 15%. Along with this booking during the week, normally from Tuesday to Thursday gives big savings too.
You’ll need to book 6-7 weeks in advance if you want to fly a short-haul flight, otherwise you will have to plan 6-months in advance if you plan to take a long-haul flight.
You should also purchase the ticket in the afternoon/evening. Prices are lower than in the first half of the day.
Pay attention though, I’ll tell you another trick: many airlines and major search engines for online ticket sales use stratagems related to complex algorithms to increase the cost of tickets based on the number of times you carry out a certain search. If you visit the same site more than once by performing the same search (including the same date and the same destination) or if other people are interested in the same type of ticket in the same hours, the prices automatically go up. So what you should do is either change the date for the flight when you actually make the purchase, so that the software doesn’t understand that it’s the same search, or you could change your PC (or smartphone) when you buy the ticket. Equally you could carry out the search in incognito mode on some browsers. You will see that the price will be lower or closer to the original search.
If you go by train instead of the plane, you won’t be able to travel completely for free either, but there are also ways to spend a lot less in this area too. In general this rule applies to Mondays and Fridays, these are the most expensive days. Wednesday is the most preferable. If you buy a ticket for a high-speed train, you will also spend twice as much as you would on a ticket for a regional (or similar) train. Obviously the regional train will take longer, but as we have already know, to save money you need to take your time. If you book your ticket one month before the actual departure, you will save approximately 50%. Here is an example; a ticket bought on Sunday for the following Monday would cost you, let’s say, £90, but bought on a Wednesday and a month in advance it would have cost £30 instead.
Since 2011 a German company called “FlixBus” connects the major European cities and, since 2018, has also been operating in the southwest of the United States. Trips can start from around £5.
If you want to travel by car, the best choice is most likely a company called “BlaBlaCar”. You just have to visit their website and check if there is someone taking the same route as you. The cost with BlaBlaCar is generally lower than the cost of a journey made with one’s own car, as the costs are divided among the various participants. Its also possible, and sometimes necessary to divide your trip (outward or return) into different stages by taking more than one BlaBlaCar.
Another alternative would be to go for the older, and perhaps much more interesting approach of hitchhiking. You’ll have to wait to find a nice person to give you a lift of course. This method can sometimes be risky, but you certainly won’t spend anything.
Accomodation and food
Is it possible to sleep comfortably for free when you travel? Yes, even if it’s not so easy to belive, it is in fact possible. This doesn’t mean it simple to carry out though. As mentioned earlier in this article many of these methods will require a certain spirit of adaptability to any upcoming changes in your journey. Now I will show you the main ways in which this can be done.
The first method to recieve accomodation for free is by using a website called Couchsurfing, through which people make their sofa (or bed or sofa-bed) available for free. The most popular website for this as already mentioned is Couchsurfing.com. The concept is developing exponentially and almost all the countries in the world (apart from the majority of African states) are home to thousands and thousands of “hosts”. Most of the time, by using couchsurfing you can also use the kitchen of that house so you won’t have to spend money at the restaurant. All you have to do is buy the shopping like you would have done if you had stayed at home.
An alternative method to receive both free board and lodging is to do some work in exchange for hospitality. This is very popular in Australia. There are platforms such as Helpx or Wwoof that connects those who want to travel with those who want to host (these are many properties scattered around the world, often ranches, farms or B&Bs). If you have no time limits and if you’re available to exchange food and lodging with your work, this is a great way to travel the world for free.
Another possible method to solve the problem of free accommodation is to join home exchange circuits like HomeLink. This is how the system works: you make your home available for a given period of the year, then you are contacted by those interested who would like to stay there, in turn, you will propose to stay in their home for the same period. Basically you swap houses for an agreed period of time. If you like to travel and maybe do it more than once a year, it’s a really good method. However, some sites require that you pay an annual pass for the use of their website, this can be in the area of £90. If you plan to fully exploit this system, it’s definitely worth forking out for.
Internal travel i.e getting around and about
For this area of expenditure it’s quite possible to completely eliminate all costs, or if not, it’s easy to get by spending very little money indeed. If the road ahead is not too long, then the easiest option would be going by foot as well as the most healthy. Equally for slightly longer journeys and if you are dynamic enough you can use a bicycle. If your willing to spend a little money you could even buy a bicycle (maybe used) that you can sell later. Alternatively you could rent it for the time you need (two days, one week, one month). Another option is to borrow the bicycle from someone who is hosting you. If your trip is in Europe and you have decided to do the longer journeys by train, you could take it directly from home, of course you would have to pay a small supplement for the ticket, but you will always have your bike available when you need it.
If you don’t want to travel by bicycle, you could opt for public transportation which is normally quite cheap apart from big European cities where it can be more expensive.
BlaBla Car which we mentioned previously can also be used for traveling within a city or to nearby cities as well as longer journeys.
Keep in mind however that the right approach to a no-money journey should never mean that you put yourself in dangerous situations. Therefore you should avoid countries with high crime levels. There are countries where not only petty crimes are common but even murders are a daily occurrence. In states like Honduras, El Salvador, Guatemala, Jamaica the murder rate is very high and people killed on the street aren’t accounted for. Westerners who have decided to live in these countries have had to barricade themselves in fenced-in houses with barbed-wire walls and armed guards at the gate.
If you care about your own physical safety, you should consider reading this article about air travel: https://mypersonaleden.com/the-safest-way-to-travel/
Many of the strategies listed in this article are to make your journey as easy as possible, but these strategies are useful even if you plan to make a real transfer to live a new life abroad.
If your interested in moving abroad, all the information you’ll need is found in this very useful tool called “Paradise found at last!”. Read what is written in this link and you will find all the answers to your questions.
Joshua Giuseppe Fontanella