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How to Travel for Free (Or Close to It!)

How to travel for free? It seems too good to be true! It may not be the easiest thing to accomplish, but there are ways to travel for cheap if you're willing to put in the effort. The key to free travel is to be open to new opportunities and be willing to put in a little research. But this is a small price to pay for those who have the travel bug. You may even be pleasantly surprised at where you end up if you look into some of these creative travel options. Here are 6 relatively common ways to travel for free, from local getaways to international adventures.

  1. Swap Houses for a Vacation

    Image of Neighborhood, Siding, Housing, If you've got a house to call your own, this option is easy enough, although a bit risky to some. It's a popular enough phenomenon that several websites have been created to help home swappers find each other. You can think of these websites as similar to classified ads—a popular ones is homeexchange.com. Most of these sites require a registration fee, but you can advertise your property for the whole year. The amount of time you swap houses depends on the wants and needs of both parties involved. Another perk is that you'll likely have everything from a kitchen to a television included in your stay!
  2. Work on a Cruise Ship

    [caption id="attachment_4016" align="alignright" width="300"] Image of Cruise Ship, Ship, Vehicle, Boat, Wish you were on this ship? You can be![/caption] If you're willing to work a less than glamorous job to travel the world by see, then working on a cruise ship could be the option for you. Although being a cruise ship staff member can mean long hours and little "free" time, there are very few ways to travel the world and make money doing it. Plus, there are always lots of listings for cruise ship jobs; you'll often find a list of available job opportunities on the cruise company's website.
  3. WWOOF Your Way Around

    [caption id="attachment_4017" align="alignright" width="300"] Image of Garden, Nature, Outdoors, Gardening, Adult, Female, Person, Woman, Gardener, A little labor has never looked so fun![/caption] WWOOF, or World-Wide Opportunities on Organic Farms, is an international network of organic farmers who sometimes offer opportunities for volunteers to help them out in exchange for free room and board. Although it costs a small feel to sign up, you'll get access to a list of member farms in whatever country you're interested in visiting. To get started, check out the WWOOF website.
  4. Become an Au Pair

    [caption id="attachment_4018" align="alignright" width="300"] Image of Female, Girl, Person, Teen, Child, Bench, Furniture, Bracelet, Face, Head, Photography, Portrait, People, Hey, this doesn't look too difficult.[/caption] Au pairs are not only a thing of the movies; there are plenty of opportunities for those looking to stay in a country for an extended period of time to pick-up an au pair job. In fact, you can even search for au pair opportunities on-line. When you've been in one place for a while, you can always move on. Although this may not be exactly traveling for free, working your way around the world is a good way to travel if you don't have any money saved.
  5. Volunteer with an Organization

    [caption id="attachment_4019" align="alignright" width="300"] Image of Person, Walking, Photography, Face, Head, Portrait, Child, Female, Girl, Boy, Male, Adult, Woman, Shoe, Bag, Handbag, People, Outdoors, Soccer Ball, Make friends along the way.[/caption] Kill two birds with one stone by volunteering your skills and time to a reputable organization in a place you've always wanted to go. If you're trying to volunteer with an organization that will pay for your room and board (like the Peace Corps), you'll most likely have to be willing to commit a significant amount of time to this organization. However, if you volunteer for a shorter-term project, you can always fundraise, and people will be more likely to give you money if you're working toward a good cause.
  6. Enter Contests (and win!)

    [caption id="attachment_4020" align="alignright" width="300"] Image of Someone's gotta win![/caption] Hey, someone has to win! And the more contests you enter, the better your chances are! Okay, it might be a long shot, but if you win even once in your life it'll be worth it. And there's really not much to lose. Start surfin' the web and you'll find that airlines, tourism boards, travel companies, travel magazines, resorts, and everyone else in the industry is offering you a chance to travel for free. So get started!
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