The secret to travel the world for free (that no one tells you)
I've been travelling the world for free for over a year now Here, you will get an in-depth view of what I do, how I do it, and how you can do it too!
Ayla Life in Lala's Land (www.lifeinlalasland.com)
Oct 14, 2020
An Australian solo traveller who set out to find herself while discovering the world. My aim is to discover the untouched, make long lasting co...
Of course I have seen people all over Instagram and Facebook living these incredible lives. Where they just seem to spend their lives travelling and do nothing else. To me, I always thought this was fake and I actually wasn’t really interested in that life for a long time.
But since I came across the answers of how to travel the world for free (that no one told me) it completely transformed my life, and I don’t think I’ll ever look back. The purpose of this article is not to give you a list of the options you have to travel for free. You can find that on the internet anywhere.
I’m here to give you real life proof of how I already travel the world for free, since I’ve been travelling and living the nomadic life for 15 months now. I'm crazily excited to share this, knowing just how much of an impact it can make to a persons life.
Some people get a little sceptical on it before they really get what I do, which I completely understand. If someone I didn’t know told me I could travel the world for free, I would probably think they were trying to scam me or something. But I didn’t have anyone tell me about it. I researched and found it myself, and now I want to help others do the same.
I knew I wanted to travel and quit my job to do it. That would mean no money coming in - an exceptionally tight budget. So, I found a solution to the problem: free food and accommodation!
This article I’m going to walk you through how to do that, as well as doing activities you love and even how to travel the world for free AND get paid to do it!
Travelling for free: How it all Started
One day I woke up and realised just how much I hated my daily life. I was working a ludicrous number of hours to get a great paycheck each week, but I was still miserable. I decided that I had to take it into my own hands and create a life that I enjoyed living. And for me, that means new discoveries and environments.
In February of 2019 I handed in my resignation with 4 months’ notice. This was mainly for me to know I finally had a date I would be escaping the rat race. By July of that year, I was on a one-way flight to volunteer in India with a backpack and a suitcase with everything I owned in them.
I said goodbye to all my friends and family and they knew that I had no intentions of ever returning to Australia or the life I was so eager to leave behind. I had no idea of what I was going to do, how I would be making money travelling or being able to survive, but it didn’t matter. All that mattered was that I had left behind a life that I didn’t want, in search of one that I loved.
It was then that I happened to stumble across the greatest life hack known to mankind – how to travel the world for free! I have now been living abroad for 15 months, travelling the world for free and enjoying every moment of it.
I have the freedom to go anywhere I want (Covid aside!) in this world, and know that I am able to support myself and not feel any financial restrictions. With a combination of these two life hacks that I will be speaking about here, I get almost all my food and accommodation paid for.
I write for about two hours a day and am able to actually save a significant amount of money whilst I am travelling and experiencing the world.
The secret of Travelling the World for Free
The number one best life hack that has ever been introduced to this world, is Worldpackers, hands down. Is basically just a waaaay better version than WorkAway.
Worldpackers is a platform that connects volunteers with certain skills or abilities to hosts who are looking for help in these areas. The method behind it is work exchange, where volunteers give their time helping out around the place in exchange for accommodation and food.
It has provided me with numerous opportunities to travel through different countries on a tight budget, by not having to worry about accommodation and food. Not only that, but it has also given me an opportunity to build my name as an artist through both India and Sri Lanka.
As a girl who had a dream of travelling the world for free - with no idea of how to actually do it when I started - I am so lucky and grateful to have stumbled across Worldpackers!
Basically, you pay one fee of $49 USD which gives you access to all the hosts for a full year! To put that into perspective, $50 USD is likely A LOT less than you pay for one night of food and accommodation in most countries. And then you can do 12 months with free accomodation and food whenever you want to!
Seem’s crazy not to do it right? And what you give in exchange for the ability to travel the world for free, is often an experience you would be paying a hefty price for! So really, it’s wins all around! You’re saving sooo much money when you travel the world with Worldpackers.
Volunteer and Travel the World for Free
There are heaps of different options available when it comes to volunteer programs. So you’re sure to find something that calls to your heart. Some of them that I have chosen to work with are:
There are so many more options available, but these are the ones I have worked with so far. I typically look for art projects as I love painting. But other times I will apply for positions that pique my interest such as eco projects, because I am very much a save the world type of gal.
I have been very lucky to have had a range of volunteering experiences, mostly with painting. Mural painting is not something that I had ever even considered doing before.
I was so excited to do my first one and put my heart and soul into it, and surprisingly it was actually not that bad. From there I was able to apply for more Worldpackers positions as an artist where I received free accommodation and all my meals for free.
This is a dream come true for someone who had been travelling for two months. I had no idea how to make any money and was just trying to spend as little as possible to stretch the money I did have as far as it could go. I’ve built great connections throughout communities doing this, and I’ve been asked to come back to a number of places which is so heartwarming.
If you’re looking to volunteer and travel the world for free, making an impact and giving more value to your contribution in this world, this is the secret. There are volunteer options all over the world, that suit a range of different personality types and interests.
Travel the World for Free and Get Paid
Although using Worldpackers covers almost all my expenses that I need to survive, there are still other expenses that it doesn’t cover. This means that any flights, visas, sightseeing and going out with friends are all something that I will need to pay out of my own pocket.
There is someone that I met at my first volunteer position who I became quite close with who provided me with a solution. I was only about two months into my travels at this point, when I explained to her my position. She was blown away that I had no plan to balance woking and travelling. In hindsight, it is a pretty crazy thing to do. Quit your job, pack your stuff and leave your own country without any means of income.
So, she introduced me to the world that is freelancing. This is something I had never heard about before then. She explained to me that there are so many people that work remotely and get paid for it, which is what she does for a company she worked for back in Germany.
I told her that I wouldn’t be able to do it as I was absolutely terrible with technology and had no skills that would be of any value. She convinced me that I had everything I already needed, fluent English and a tablet I could write on.
She told me about some freelancing websites and I signed up to both Freelancer and Upwork. I then started applying for different positions but was not getting any luck. I had been trying for basic administration positions, which of course every other unskilled person was also applying for, so I was just getting lost in the masses.
Earlier in 2019 I had decided that I wanted to write a novel, which I am currently still working on, and this is something that I had shared with the girl who told me about freelancing. She saw me working on my novel all the time, writing a chapter a day most days as I was passionate about it and motivated me to apply for some content writing positions.
"The worst they could do is say no, and the best that can happen is you start getting paid to travel."
Eventually one company gave me a trial. Turns out they loved my writing style and offered me an ongoing position.
Becoming a Digital Nomad
The work I do could not be more perfect. It is incredibly flexible, I can ask for as much or as little work as I want, and it is work that I enjoy doing. I write content for businesses all over the world. Each might take me around 3 hours and will make me $50 USD. It’s not a lot, in fact, this job pays pretty terribly compared to the others I have now.
But I have such a different relationship with money than I did when working a ‘normal’ job. I am only interested in making enough money to cover my expenses from the previous month or to splurge on a vacation, such as a fancy resort somewhere.
Not only has securing a freelancing job been able to free me financially, it is such a different experience to be working on your own clock. Sometimes I might go a few days or a week without writing at all. Because I don’t have the need for money. But other times I might write for a full week and do nothing else. That is the beauty of freelancing.
Each week I decide how many projects I want, which generally is anywhere between two and 10. So that is a maximum of 30 hours a week if I really want to make some serious money, but I rarely have the need for that. So most times, it’s about 6 hours work I do each week.
Combining this small amount of income with travelling the world for free with Worldpackers, I am able to save money while I’m travelling! How crazy is that? I never would have thought that was possible.
An added benefit to freelancing is the amount you learn about the potential of online work. I went from a non-tech savvy girl 15 months ago, to now having my own digital marketing agency. I do this by outsourcing all the work to the talented freelancers I’ve met along my journey. So whether you’ve got that business mind, or just want to work 5 hours a week to live as a digital nomad, it works for everyone.
Balancing Freedom and Motivation
When I was in Australia, I was a businesswoman. Always in a suit rushing around from meeting to meeting and under immense stress. Now I wouldn’t be recognisable to any of the people from my old position, or the clients that I worked with so closely. I am able to completely and freely express myself, which I likely take to extremes.
I now have blue hair and am starting to gather a collection of tattoos, and do you know what? It makes me so happy that I am able to live a life that is true to my own personality. Not to be living life restricted by the confines of society. But that doesn’t mean that I don’t have responsibilities.
I have the freedom to now travel where I want, dress (country-specific of course) and later my appearance as I please. And all I need to do is work about 5 hours a week to make that happen. So on average, it would be 1 hour a day working and another 4 volunteering.
Although it can be tempting to run out with my friends as soon as the volunteering is done, I just give myself a reality check. It’s one hour per day. And if I schedule my time well, it makes little difference to my day, but a big difference to my life.
For me, I found setting out schedules works best for me. Mine looks something like yoga, breakfast, work, volunteer, lunch, write my novel, then free time. Sometimes I find myself creating stress out of nothing, but finding my balance with a schedule and yoga always helps me to keep motivated.
What in the World are you Waiting for?
Yes, there is a legitimate way to travel the world for free and get paid, if that is the kind of life you want to live. I do it myself, and I’m just your average everyday person. Sometimes I realize how lucky I am to live this life, and then remember that luck had nothing to do with it. I found this out through research and I took a leap of faith.
Seeing new countries and experiencing new cultures has been eye opening for me. And this is not something I would have been able to do for so long if I hadn’t stumbled across the world’s greatest life hacks so early into my trip.
But luckily for everyone reading this, I have found them so that you don’t have to go searching. So now that you know how to travel the world for free, what in the world are you waiting for?