As awesome as traveling in and of itself is, it is also very expensive, depending on your earnings where you are from. People often try to book last-minute offers to popular holiday resorts or, if they are more affluent, have custom made traveling arrangements that include hotels, guides, restaurants, and theatres. But what can a person with low income do in order to see the world before they settle down, should they choose to do so? Is there any way to travel the world for free?
The biggest problem with traveling, generally speaking, is finding affordable accommodations. Youth hostels often seem like a good idea, until you realize that different youth hostels around the world have different ideas about what constitutes the word “affordable”. If only you could visit a friend that lives in that city you want to visit! Well, there is something similar.
Couchsurfing is a website where people offer their rooms or couches to international strangers for free. You are welcome to offer your couch for others, but there is no obligation to do so. You will not get the fancy breakfast, a wake-up call, or a place to do your laundry unless specified by your host’s profile. Couchsurfing is a social media platform that connects those that want to see the world and those that want to be the guides.
Here is something that a large population likes to do – learn English. Because of this, it is relatively easy to visit certain countries by teaching English as a second language.
Depending on the location, school, or organization, you may not even need a teaching certificate, though having one would certainly help.
These kinds of arrangements often come with a place to stay, some expenses paid, and perhaps even a salary. Of course, you are not likely going to get arrangements like that in North America or in Europe, but many Asian countries welcome foreigners that can teach them a thing or two about the English language.
If you can prove that your traveling experience is not that of a mere tourist trying to score a free trip, but a worthwhile academic and cultural endeavor, you can apply for a travel grant. Different organizations are in charge of this in different countries. The idea is that your traveling experience is going to add to the local culture while also enriching your own, or opening a sort of cooperation between universities. While this may sound a little vague, it is because you have to come up with your own persuasive idea. For the sake of having an example, you can create a martial arts class you are proficient in and that comes from your country.
Believe it or not, it is possible to make a switch like the one in The Prince and the Pauper. You are not the only person that wants to see the world. If you can find a person online that you can trust (yes, I know that’s a challenge), you can live in their house while they live in yours. There are a few websites that help connect these kinds of individuals, though some of them charge some money for it.
If you are not comfortable with house swapping and are sufficiently young, you can try house sitting, where you take care of a person’s home while they are away and do some simple housework while you are there. This type of arrangement is usually only for having a place to stay.