Or at least at a seriously reduced rate. For totally free world travel, you’ll have to find an employer that does business abroad and will cover travel and lodging expenses. Or join the military. If neither of these options is for you, there are still a few ways to see some of the amazing places in the world for far, far less than you might think.
Get a job in a foreign country
Many foreign countries love having native English speakers teaching English to children and adults alike. You’ll likely have to pay to get yourself there and secure lodging, but once you start working, you’ll be getting paid to live abroad. A teaching job also gives you great access to locals, who can help you make the most of your time by helping you find restaurants, attractions, and other local gems that you won’t find in any travel guide.
You also can sometimes find short-term jobs in foreign countries (and parts of the US) working as a camp counselor. Room and board are usually included, so you can save your paychecks to fund future travel.
Find a house-swapping program or someone who needs a house sitter
There are an increasing number of programs that allow people from various countries to arrange temporary house swaps. You want to visit their country, they want to visit yours, so you just trade places for a predetermined amount of time. In addition to saving money on hotels, you’ll likely save money on food, since your free house comes with a kitchen.
House sitting is another way to save on a hotel. Homeowners who are going to be away for an extended amount of time will allow you to stay in their home free of charge in exchange for looking after the place while they’re gone. You save money on lodging and food; they have some extra peace of mind because their home isn’t sitting empty, a possible invitation to burglars.
Leverage your current travel
If you do a significant amount of travel now involving air travel or hotel stays, make sure you’re taking full advantage of available rewards programs. Some airlines and hotel chains offer free flights or free nights as loyalty rewards. Some credit cards offer airline miles for purchases of any kind. Other credit cards offer nice cash-back programs. Taking advantage of these types of incentive programs means that a few trips paid in full can get you a free getaway.
Join the Peace Corps
This one does involve a 27-month commitment, so it’s not for the casual traveler or globe trotter, but it can be a very rewarding experience. The Peace Corps has a stated mission of promoting understanding between Americans and residents of foreign countries and “To help the people of interested countries in meeting their need for trained men and women.” They offer a variety of programs for adult volunteers of all ages and backgrounds. While work with the Peace Corps is considered volunteer work, housing and a living stipend are provided. Additionally, the Peace Corps offers medical and dental benefits for active volunteers and an exit payment (currently $8000.00) to help with the transition back home.
Overall, there are a number of rewarding ways to see some of the world even if your bank account doesn’t afford you world-class luxury.