Travel for free? Come off it. That seems like a ludicrous idea to most. There have been a couple of desperate moments throughout our family gap year, where we’ve almost had to book a flight home because of financial strain. We’ve travelled a lot, more extensively than what we probably should have done. I guess I was going all guns blazing. We don’t know when we will have a year to travel again, so we made the most of it. We work hard and we play hard. Next year will be all about saving and working. Thats how we roll!
I consider myself an experienced traveller, with eleven years of adventure, to over eighty countries under my belt, forty with children, I’ve picked up some tricks. During those few hairy financial moments, I’ve been pulling on my experiences to work things out. Whilst there will always be some living costs, such as meals, it is possible to travel for free. One of my five reasons could be to set up a blog, but the truth is, although you may not have to pay in hard cash for a hotel, the blood, sweat and tears required to repay it is not free. Blogging is a job and definitely not a freebie. So with that in mind, let me tell you some real ‘free’ travel tips that have helped along the way.
FIVE WAYS TO TRAVEL FOR FREE
Get air mile savvy
My number one tip for any person who loves to travel, exploring unique and far flung destinations is to get an airline credit card. We have managed to travel to some lovely places because of our airmail stash. There are a variety of ways of collecting air miles, so research what is best for you. I personally use the British Airways American Express Card. I don’t think we could have visited Bermuda without our annual companion voucher ticket that covered much of the costs for our family.
We are also members with many airlines frequent flyer programmes. For every paid ticket, we can collect and get something free later. For example, I did a long haul business trip for work, and got a free return European flight with the air miles.
Become a house sitter
I am registered on a couple of websites as a house sitter. My favourite is trustedhousitters.com. This is a fantastic way of travelling for free, especially for families. We have looked after owners homes. In some cases we may have to look after their pet, and other times It may be to maintain the household. Our experience has been fantastic with house sits. Although we may have a little job to do, it hasn’t been labour intensive and we could still go and explore the area.
When I hear the word volunteer, I automatically assume charitable work for some reason. Whilst I would love to do some volunteering for a charity, it may not be that easy with two very young kids. We will do it one day soon but not when my little ones are still a baby and a toddler. There are other ways to offer up your skills and a helping hand.
Workaway.info is a fabulous online resource where you can search for opportunities by location and family friendliness. Whilst not all of the hosts can accept a family, many do! We found lots of options on the website, from living on a farm and teaching local kids some English in Colombia, to helping a lady paint the outside of her house. People are more than willing to trade experiences for help. We stayed at a beautiful hotel in Guatemala that always have at least one Workaway staff member. They have free board and meals in return for some help around the hotel. When they have a family staying, parents can take turns with the tasks.
FIVE WAYS TO TRAVEL FOR FREE
Not only is it a great way to get by, it also allows people to penetrate communities and live like a local. Those experiences are otherwise hard to come by. My husband is a builder and there were many suitable opportunities for that skills set. Equally there was some even easier things. For example, one lady wanted to have some English speaking people around her family so they could learn and practice the language.
Some people might be put off by having others in their home. As a travel enthusiast, I would give anything for an adventure. I value experiences over things. If it meant renting my house, so be it! What I like about house swapping, is, its reciprocal. Quite often both sides will meet and chat on Skype before agreeing. Once everyone is happy and agreed on dates, then it’s a fabulous opportunity to have a home away from home. There are many websites offering this service.
With more and more people renting cars and camper vans as part of their trip, there is a demand to relocate vehicles. There are many companies that are on the lookout for travellers with flexible dates to relocate camper vans. In some cases they will even pay the fuel. On Imoova, there are campers for as little as $1 a day. So for a 7 day trip, it would cost $7. It may as well be free at that price. Campervans are an amazing way to explore. Waking up in a different location every day is so exciting. Being in the great outdoors, seeing wildlife and landscapes you may not otherwise see. And how cool is it when the experience is pretty much free?
Have you tried any of these ways to travel for free? How did it go? Or maybe we’ve enlighten you in some way? Leave a comment, I love to hear from you.
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