15 Ways to Travel For Free

15 Ways to Travel For Free - The Art of Cheap Travel

How many times have I heard someone say that travel is expensive? Countless. With a little bit of creativity you can even do it without spending money. It is probably impossible to travel completely for free for an extended period of time - some things will always cost money like visa fees or health insurance. There are however dozens of things you could do without emptying your bank account . You will save a lot of money if you follow some of  these ideas!

 

Transportation

Walking
This is so basic and natural that we don't even consider it an option. If you don't have the money for a bus then just walk. Anyone can fly or find cheap train tickets these days, so people who simply walk big distances are considered epic adventurers. Want to walk the Camino de Santiago? Hike around the entire county of Malta? Follow the Inca Trail? Hike thy Lycian way? Or maybe walk the full length of China? Nobody is stopping you - you can literally go wherever you want. 
Riding a bicycle
If you prefer faster means of transportation consider going on a bike trip. You only need to have a bike, how far you want to go depends on you. Go from Berlin to Copenhagen on the special bike route or come up with your own trip.

Hitchhiking
Especially in rich expensive countries like Norway, Switzerland and Germany hitchhiking is very safe and easy. Just think about where you want to go and look up the route on Google Maps. Find the nearest gas station to the highway, go there in the morning and ask everyone whether they can give you a lift. Voilá - you are on a roadtrip sooner than you think.
Frequent Flyer Miles
One of the most popular ways to travel long distances for free is using miles. For guides for Americans go to Travel is Free, to Head For points if you are from UK and check this guide if you live in Europe.

Accommodation

Housesitting
If you haven't heard about housesitting yet, you need to consider doing it. Sometimes people need to go away but want someone who will look after their house and their pet - this is your chance to stay in someone's house for free. Trusted housesitters is one of the best websites. Want to spend 3 weeks in a villa in Portugal? Or rather 6 months in a house on the beach in Australia? Fill out your account carefully and find an amazing place to stay without spending money on rent!

Couchsurfing
This is a popular option - sleep on the couch of locals, no matter where you go. You will find nice people who will let you sleep at their house for free all over the word, from Afghanistan to Latvia. Head over to the couchsurfing website to register, fill out your account and browse through potential hosts. make sure you read other people's profiles carefully to know whether you are a good match. Hosts in capital cities get a lot of requests every day, make sure you stand out!
 

Staying with friends
The more you travel, the more new friends you will have from all over the world. Be nice and talk to people on your travels, they will let you sleep on the couch (and you should do the same for others). Are any of your former classmates or college friends living in another country? Visit them!

Distant Relatives
You probably have relatives in other countries, why not visit them during your trip? Ask your parents and cousins whether you have some family in other cities and continents. Who knew you had an uncle you never met who lives on the other side of the planet?

Staying in hotels for free
Thanks to the Best Price Guarantee you can score free nights in top hotels. It takes a long time to research and find the hotels, but is is worth it. Here is a detailed guide from Travel Is Free.

Working in hostels
If you want to stayat a hostel but don't have enough money consider working there in exchange for a bed. Hostels and Surf Camps all over the world will give you free accommodation if you help them on the reception, making breakfast or cleaning. Sometimes it is advertised, but if not you simply need to ask at every hostel if they are looking for someone.

Volunteering 
You can do all kinds of work in exchange for accommodation - find jobs on workaway. Helping out at a ski resort in Switzerland? Painting and building a hotel in Spain? You will find all kinds of tasks you can help out with. If you want to volunteer at organic farms and gardens consider wwoofing - you don't even need a working visa for it.
 

Camping
Wild camping is free and legal in some countries. In Norway, Sweden, Finland and Iceland you can camp wherever you want (obviously don't destroy a garden or a field where something is growing and stay away from houses). In some areas of New Zealand you camp for free too.

Entertainment

In the city
A lot of fun activities in the city are free: Museums, parliaments, churches, viewing platforms, flea markets and free walking tours are everywhere. Places like famous libraries (The Trinity College Library in Dublin was used as the set of Jedi Archives in Star Wars) or famous bookstores (Livraria Lello & Irmão in Porto) are also fun to visit. Walk around in search of beautiful street art. Most of the things you do on your travels are free anyway if you think about it. For some ideas check my previous posts about free things to do in Lisbon, Madrid, Reykjavik and Bergen.

Volunteering on Festivals
You will find free parties and festivals everywhere. Take it one step further and go to expensive festivals for free - if you register for volunteering you won't need to pay for the entry. For summer festivals in Europe you need to take care of it during the spring. Visit Roskilde Festival in Denmark and MELT! festival in Germany,  volunteer at some of the major music  Festivals in UK or Outlook Festival. Most of the famous festivals give you an opportunity to listen to some nice music in exchange for help. In Germany and Switzerland Viva con Agua let's you go to a festival or a concert for free and in exchange you need to collect empty bottles. If you are more of a film festival type consider volunteering at Sundance Film Festival or Lisbon & Estoril Festival.

Nature
Climbing on a hill to see the city from above is an option in a hilly place. Same goes for hiking in the nature, climbing a mountain, exploring a forest, visiting a desert, going to the beach and swimming. Outdoors activities are a healthy, fun and free - just find one that suits you and is available in your planned destination.