For real, guys - travel does not have to be expensive. You're rolling your eyes, but it truly doesn't! You don't need to spend thousands of dollars on hotels, flights and tourist attractions to have a crazy amazing time at your destination, and you don't need to limit yourself to remote locations in the middle of nowhere to be able to afford to travel. Below are various methods and resources for exploring the world on even the tightest budget, so if you've got a seriously perpetual case of wanderlust, you can't let money be the excuse that stops you from getting out there.
1. Bypass pricey hotel fees and stay at a local's place, free of charge.
The traditional hotel method is quickly becoming a thing of the past as more and more people are waking up to "the sharing economy" - AKA individuals around the world sharing their apartment/car/services directly with each other rather than with huge companies or chains. Sure, everybody knows about AirBnb, but you may often still be paying quite a bit over your desired budget in order to stay somewhere decent. If you'd like to live like a local and completely erase accommodation fees from your travel budget, try CouchSurfing or Be Welcome. Just don't forget to leave your host a small token of appreciation thanking them for their generosity!
2. Cover both accommodation and meals by volunteering at a local farm.
If you haven't heard about WWOOF (Worldwide Opportunities on Organic Farms) yet and you're the outdoorsy type, you need to check this one out! As the name suggests, you can choose to stay at family-owned farms in exchange for a couple hours' work per day. It's completely up to you how to plan your itinerary - maybe you want to spend a week at a honey farm near Vancouver, then move down the west coast stopping at an orchard in Oregon before experiencing life on a ranch in California. With 100+ countries around the world participating in WWOOF, there's always somewhere interesting to go.
3. Work at a hostel.
Since you're hostel-hopping around the globe anyway, why not stay there for a while and make enough money to cover your expenses while you're at it? It's not glamorous, but manning the front desk of the hostel you're staying at will definitely minimize your travel expenses, and hostels are pretty much always hiring since many of their employees travel this way.
4. Have the whole place to yourself by housesitting for others.
Yup, this is totally a thing - there are people out there who will let you live in their homes, many considered luxury properties, on the condition that you take care of the day-to-day housekeeping like mowing the lawn, vacuuming, perhaps taking care of their pet(s), etc. Check MindMyHouse, House Carers, and Luxury House Sitting for the opportunity to live in Florida to France or anywhere in between.
5. Get paid to drive someone else's car to a long-distance destination.
For whatever reason, be it a big move or perhaps the car being a purchase bought online, people will cover the cost of gas money for you to get their car from point A to point B. They give you the money, the car, and a date to get it to its destination - you can drastically cut down on the travel expense of a road trip adventure with companies like HitTheRoad and may get the chance to drive a pretty snazzy new vehicle along the way.
6. Take advantage of student discount cards!
Being a student usually means being strapped for cash - hey, it just comes with the territory. Companies like ISIC Canada know this and offer you discounts on hotels, hostels, tourist attractions, food, shopping, you name it. Many Ontario universities offer you the chance to get your International Student Identity Card on campus at the beginning of the school year - it's free, so why miss out?
7. Teach English abroad to second language learners.
If you're one of those people that shuns the word 'tourist' and prefers to take a slow, lived-in approach to travelling, then consider sharing your native tongue with ESL learners all over the world. Depending on which country you want to go to, requirements to teach may include acquiring your TEFL certification or just simply being a native English speaker with an open mind willing to share your language with students of all ages, from elementary children learning the basics to adults honing their conversational business skills. There are so many useful websites for teaching English abroad - Footprints TEFL and International TEFL Academy are just a few to start your research. Accommodation, flights, and holiday pay are often included depending on the country and program you choose, such as Canada's JET Programme in Japan.
8. Live that boat life by working on a luxury private yacht or cruise ship.
The great thing about this one is that any number of skills could prove useful on a yacht or cruise ship. Work as a server, bartender, electrician, kids' activities leader, diving instructor, entertainer, or a number of other things. Try Find A Crew, Crewseekers, and All Cruise Jobs to start your search.
9. Become an Au Pair.
An au pair is someone who helps with housework and child care in exchange for accommodation and meals, commonly known as a nanny. This option is great if you have experience with and enjoy spending time with kids - you might even be able to pick up on the local language by interacting with them and their family! Check the International Au Pair Association for opportunities across the globe.
10. Get a city tourism card.
If you've ever had a friend or family member come visit you in Toronto for the week and you wanted to show them around, then you'll likely know about Toronto's CityPASS that gets you admission to the city's top tourist attractions at a vastly reduced price. Pretty much all major cities have a tourism card that will generally save you about 50% off all the iconic tourist attractions, so if it's your first time in the city and you want to hit up all the landmarks, there's never a need to pay full price on those admission tickets!
11. Put your nursing experience to use while still exploring the world.
Physical therapist. Nurse practitioners. Speech language pathologist. These are just a few examples of skills that can get you out into the globe. Your assignments can be short- or long-term, housing is often provided for you, and the pay and benefits are pretty great, considering you've got a pretty employable skill there. Look into TravelNursing for more information and see if your area of expertise just might be your ticket to international travel.
12. Rideshare to your destination.
This last one's pretty self-explanatory. If you haven't hopped on the rideshare bandwagon yet, get on that! Find someone heading in the same direction as you on sites like BlaBlaCar or Kangaride to save on transportation and maybe make a new friend in the process. Pitching in a bit of cash is a small price to pay for a comfortable ride picking you up and dropping you off at your destination.
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