How to Travel Around the World
By Adam Stokes
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It’s the stuff that dreams are made of. Exploring beaches, cities, jungles and mountain ranges with nothing but a backpack and a sense of adventure. Some go alone, some take friends, family, or their partner – but however you decide to travel round the world, doing it on the cheap is a lot easier than you might have first thought. These are our best tips for preparing yourself for your mammoth journey ahead, so get your notepad out.
#1 | Research and Education
Before you do anything, you’re gonna need to make a rough decision of some of the places you want to visit, and do a little digging. Here’s how.
1.1 | Learn the Lingo
Knowing the basics of a few languages is a great way to get comfortable before setting off on your travels. Surely your mother taught you that please and thank you go a long way? Well that’s pretty much universal, so if you can get down the basics before you leave, you’ll be prepared in case you get a little lost… (which is bound to happen at least once). You can easily find free language courses online on sites such as Babbel, Bussuu, Memrise and Duolingo and through tandem language learning so keep your wallet where it is.
1.2 | Do Some Research
A little research goes a long way. Working out currency, customs and places of interest of anywhere you want to explore is essential if you want to make the most of it. Popping into your local travel agents is the easiest way to get to this kind of info. You can pick up brochures for free, which will have loads of local knowledge that can help you get prepared.
1.3 | Do Some More…
As great as brochures are for travel information, we’re not booking a holiday here – we’re going it alone. So, reading up on adventurers who have done the same is even better for getting the kind of insight that you’re looking for. A few taps on Google will soon turn up some relevant travel blogs, so go and see what your fellow travellers have to say.
#2 | Training
So, you’ve decided where you want to go and done a little digging. Now it’s time to prepare your body for the differences that may lie ahead.
2.1 |Sleeping rough
No one said travelling the world on the cheap was a walk in the park, and it’s certainly no luxury hotel either. Sleeping in less comfortable areas of your house such as the settee or even the floor can help get you ready for some of the bumpier or lumpier places you may be laying your head down to rest.
2.2 | Not Eating Enough
The same goes for your precious tummy. If you really want to budget, it might mean eating less while you’re out there, so getting your belly ready is essential if you don’t want to starve. No more gorging for you.
#3 | Travelling Cheaply
Okay, so we’re finally at the fun part. The actual travelling. Depending on how cheaply you really want to go, there are a few options available.
3.1 | Sailing the Seven Seas
Travelling for free on a boat isn’t as hard as you might think. It’s no world cruise, but when you’re setting off to your destination without having spent a penny, who’s complaining? All ships need crews, and while many look for experienced members, the shorter trips are often willing to offer work in exchange for a free passage. Check out this See the World For Free article for more information.
3.2 | Let’s Fly Away
Okay, so flying is one of the more expensive options, but it can still be done on the cheap. Plane tickets can be found at reasonable prices if you know where to look, with one way flights being even cheaper. Travel comparison sites such as Momondo and Skyscanner offer some of the cheapest flights around, and unlike sailing, you can control your destination by choosing exactly which tickets you want to book. Alternatively (if you’re really adventurous) you can also just search for the cheapest flights possible and let your adventure start from there!
3.3 | Broom Broom
Hitchhiking. Though it may get a bad press from certain horror flicks, if you’re careful it can be just fine. One smart way to combine two modes of transportation to gain free passage around the world is to hitchhike your way onto a ferry. A lot of ferries charge per vehicle rather than per person, so if you find someone nice enough to offer you a lift, you can get as far away from here as possible without dishing out a dime.
3.4 | Riding the Rails
Much like going by air, using a train isn’t going to be free. However, cheap train tickets aren’t too hard to find if you’re open to where you want to go. With the Eurostar, there’s a whole host of European destinations you can travel to in order to start your adventures. Once there, you can explore the city you’re in or keep on moving.
#4 | Sleeping for free
Everyone needs their beauty sleep. Accommodation can come at a price if you’re choosy. However, if you’re easily pleased then cheap options are out there too.
4.1 | Couch Surfing
Despite the way it sounds, this is actually much simpler than balancing on a settee while riding the waves. Couch Surfing is a free and friendly way to get shelter. You might have to do a little research before you set off, but once you’ve found a participant who is willing to have you for a few days, you’re sorted. Though free, remember to appreciate the hospitality by chipping in however you can.
4.2 | House Sitting
House Sitting is another great way of finding accommodation that is absolutely free. By offering to look after someone else’s house while they’re away, it gives you free and easy accommodation in their absence. However, it will obviously mean staying put until they get back before continuing your travels. For house sitting opportunities have a look at websites such as Trustedhousesitters.com and Housecarers.com.
4.3 | Home Exchange
Swapping homes is another handy way of securing somewhere to sleep for free while abroad. However, similar to house sitting, if you take part in a Home Exchange, you have to be prepared to stay put in the house that you have selected. For home exchange opportunities, check out Homeexchange.com and Lovehomeswap.com.
#5 | Eating on a budget
Getting a good old munch is top priority for many of us, wherever we are in the world. There are various ways to find food for free while abroad, but some come at a cost that doesn’t involve paper or coins…
5.1 | Whistle while you work
Many establishments will allow you to volunteer to earn a free meal. Cleaning, collecting glasses, and helping out in any way you can will make that meal taste that much better. Smaller establishments are much more likely to offer this kind of work, so click here for more information on the best ways of finding where.
#6 | Working abroad
If you think that living on the cheap might be a little too difficult for you, then there is a solution! Though these options might affect your plans to keep on travelling, they’ll be able to keep you abroad for a whole lot longer.
6.1 |Become and Au Pair
An au pair is basically like a nanny or child carer that lives with the family and looks after the children while their parents go to work. It provides the opportunity to live and eat somewhere expense free, as well as earn a wage. Awesome! Sites like BAPAA and Gap360 are perfect for this.
6.2 |Coach at Summer Camps
If you’re into your sports, then becoming a coach at a summer camp could be the ideal solution. With locations available all over the world, and the chance to coach kids in a variety of different sports, sites like Bunac, Challenger Sports and Camp America can offer you the perfect opportunity to travel the world, while also making money.
6.3 | Teaching English
Maybe you’re less into sports and more into education. Teaching English abroad offers you the chance to travel to a variety of non-English speaking countries across the globe to educate them while soaking up the sun and atmosphere of their culture. TEFL and the British Council are great places to start searching for work.
6.4 | Agricultural Jobs
Possibly the easiest work you can find abroad is agricultural work. Unlike the previous three options, many opportunities don’t require any prior skills or education, due to the work being mainly labour based. Check out our How to Get International Experience article to find out more.
So, there you have it. Travelling around the world on the cheap doesn’t have to cost a bomb. Certain sacrifices may have to be made, but when you’re toes are in the sand, your hands are brushing past jungle greenery, or your mind can’t think past the hustle and bustle of the big city, it’ll all be worth it. From gap year travel to spontaneous explorations, now you know how to get your feet on foreign soil on a budget.