How to Travel the World for Free

How to Become a World Traveler for Next to Nothing

how to travel for free illustration

 TripSavvy / Jaime Knoth

Being able to travel the world for free might sound like an unreachable dream, but you can make it a reality if you know where to look.

These are practical ways on how to travel the world for free, or at least next to nothing. They include getting a job overseas, volunteering, and spending some time with the locals. Some require some education or experience but most opportunities are open to anyone who's looking for an adventure.

Some of these adventures will pay for travel, some for accommodations, and some that will pay for all your expenses. You may even find something that will pay you to make your way around the globe.

These opportunities exist all over the globe. Pick a country or several countries and you can usually find a way to get there for free. Flexibility does pay off though, you will get the best deals sometimes in interesting places that aren't on everyone's travel list yet. ‚Äč

Once you're ready to go, you can learn a new language to help you out on your travels with these free language learning websites and apps. You can even start getting to know the locals with a free language exchange program.

01 of 09

House-Sit or Pet-Sit to Stay for Free

Woman standing on balcony over swimming pool
Astro-O / Getty Images

You can get free accommodations for just about anywhere around the globe by house-sitting.

While the homeowner is away, you'll stay for an agreed amount of time during which you'll keep an eye on the house and take care of some light general maintenance around the house.

A lot of times the homeowner will also have a pet or two that they'll want for you to feed, walk, and just keep company while their owner is away.

Sometimes house-sitters will get paid on top of the free accommodations. This can help pay for your living expenses and possibly travel.

Here are some great house-sitting and pet-sitting websites to help you find a place to stay:

02 of 09

Sail Away While Working on a Cruise Ship

They love yachting!
yoh4nn / Getty Images

Get a job on a cruise ship and you'll get free accommodations, food, and travel all over the world. If you're hired as a full-time employee,  you'll get paid on top of it.

Cruise ships have lots of positions they hire for and you could find yourself working as an entertainer, fitness instructor, bartender, babysitter, waiter, cleaning crew, and more. 

Here are some cruise lines that let you apply online:

03 of 09

Teach English

Chinese students learning english
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Go overseas to teach English as a second language and you can get free housing, a travel stipend, and even a salary on top of it.

You often don't need a teaching degree, or even a college degree to teach overseas. Sometimes a certification is helpful but it depends on each country's requirements. 

Some of the most lucrative countries to teach in include South Korea, China, Japan, Taiwan, Gulf Arab States, and Vietnam. There are thousands of opportunities in almost every country.

Here's where you can apply for a teaching job:

04 of 09

Volunteer on a Farm

Girl in the terrace rice farm
Chaiyun Damkaew / Getty Images

Live and work on farms around the world through WWOOF, which links farmers and growers with volunteers who are eager to work on their farm for free room and board. 

You can travel just about anywhere doing this job including South America, Europe, and Asia.

Continue to 5 of 9 below.
05 of 09

Work as an Au Pair

Mother and child playing with toy cars
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If you love kids, you can get a job overseas as an Au Pair, or international nanny. This will get you free room and board, a paycheck, and on some occasions, extra money for travel.

You'll be placed with a host family, so you'll get to fit in with the locals right away. Some of the most popular countries to work as an Au Pair include Switzerland, Sweden, France, Australia, New Zealand, Italy, China, and Spain.

The most active website where you can view jobs and apply as an Au Pair is at GoOverseas

06 of 09

Find a Couch to Sleep On

Young woman lying on living room sofa wrapped in blanket
Stanton j Stephens / Getty Images

Meet new people and stay at a local's home through the website Couchsurfing. All around the world fellow travelers open up their homes and offer for you to sleep on their couch for free.

There are also Couchsurfing events around the world if you'd rather meet your host in person.

07 of 09

Use Miles and Points

Woman using credit card on a vacation
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Rack up those miles and points with frequent flyer miles and credit cards and you can get highly discounted and even free air travel.

Sign up for the frequent flyer program with the airline you travel with most and try to stick with that airline to let your miles stack up. You can then redeem these miles for your free flights.

There are some credit cards that will give you points for using their card that you can redeem for travel and dining. Choose a credit card with great travel perks that have a huge sign-up bonus. Use it regularly to keep reeling in those points. 

It also pays to stay loyal to one chain of hotels. Make sure you sign up for their rewards programs to earn free nights.

Here are some great tips on how to get free travel with your credit card.

08 of 09

Become a Flight Attendant

Three stewardesses walking on airport runway
Westend61 / Getty Images

Flight Attendants get to travel the world while getting paid for it. Besides the salary they get, they also get money to cover meals and expenses. Also as a bonus, they get great discounts on leisure travel.

No higher education is required, but you at least need to have a GED.

Here are some popular places to apply for flight attendant jobs:

Continue to 9 of 9 below.
09 of 09

House Swap

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Image Source / Getty Images

You can get your accommodations for free if you agree to a house swap. With a house swap, you agree with someone who lives overseas that they can stay in your home if they can stay in yours.

If it's both parties primary home the swap will probably be done at the same time. If it's a secondary home or vacation rental there may be more flexibility. 

HomeExchange is the most popular website for house swapping. It costs to use their service but you can browse for free.

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