Traveling the way most people do it isn’t enough. Saving all year long at a job for just two weeks a year won’t let you see the world the way you want to see it.
So you find someone to take care of your stuff while you travel the world. You’re all set to see everything you ever wanted for as long as you want. Then you realize something: you don’t have enough money to do it. So what should you do? Here are six ways to see the world long term on the cheap.
1. Couchsurfing (Hospitality Exchange)
Couch surfers are a huge network of hospitable people who open up their home to fellow travelers and let them stay on their couches (or floor) for free. This saves people lots of money and gives many chances to meet local people who can tell you about things to do in the area.
In turn, the site lets you open up your home to travelers who want to use your couch.
Most programs take safety seriously. Referrals and references are encouraged and a system of verification is also available. However, a healthy amount of caution should be used.
2. House Sitting
All over the world there are amazing houses that people want you to take care of and live in for free. These sites connect you with them. By joining one of these services, you take care of general house sitting duties such as looking after the pets, the garden, keeping trespassers off the property and readdressing mail. Occasionally other opportunities ask for other duties, but in general it is just looking after the house. Both sites have a small annual fee, but it is a great opportunity to live anywhere in the world for a short period of time.
3. Wwoofing (Work Exchange)
WWOOF is short for World Wide Opportunities on Organic Farms. It is an international organization of gardens, ranches, farms where you can exchange work for food and shelter. It is a great way to save money on accommodations and food expenses. The work is generally manual labor such as gardening or farming. The duration of the work is several days to even years. The workday is generally about 5 hours long so there is plenty of time to see the area you are visiting. There are also plenty of opportunities to meet fellow WWOOFers from other countries.
WWOOF is the most well known work exchange program in the world, but there are plenty of other options available. All these places charge a small annual fee, but this fee makes up for all the money you save in the long run.
4. Elance (Freelance Work)
There is a community of businesses out there that need to hire people on a contractual basis. Elance helps you connect with these businesses. The beauty of this work is that it can be done anywhere in the world. This is ideal for anyone who wants to be location independent, but also maintain their career.
The variety of work is diverse from web programming, administrative support, sales and marketing, legal work and engineering. The flexibility and variety of work means that many people can find something. As long as you do the project that you are assigned, you are free to go anywhere and live anywhere you want. It is like having a full time job with the ability to travel as you do it.
Elance is the most popular site for people looking for freelance work while traveling, but there are many other freelance websites.
5. Teaching English
This is a popular way to travel if you want to get to know one place really well. This is something that almost every native English speaker can do. You don’t even need to know the language of the host country before you go. Your experience depends entirely on the program and location you go to so you should know what you should know what you are looking for before you look around. South Korea and Japan are popular destinations for Americans, but you probably can find something in any part of the world. Make sure you are ok with the destination since contracts are generally for about a year.
Make sure to get a licensing certificate in ELT/TEFL/EFL since most places will require this. The places that don’t often pay less and are questionable in reputation.
Tripping is similar to Couchsurfing. However, tripping doesn’t stop at providing a place to stay; it is a cultural exchange site. The focus is on meeting new people while you are traveling through the country. That person would introduce their city and culture to you so that you get a deeper and more meaningful insight into the place you’re visiting.
These friends that you make will give you many travel tips and introduce you to cool local places that you might never have found on your own. The best part about this is that you can do this all over a cup of coffee or in their home.
Their goal is to connect people all over the world. The more connections you make, the more people and places you’ll have access to. According to their site, it is “about creating an entirely new way of seeing and experiencing the world”
photo credit: Moyan Brenn