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How to travel for free: the secret that no one tells you

Want to travel the world for free? I've been doing that for a long time. In this article, you'll get an in-depth view of what I do, how I do it, and how you can do it too!


how travel for free

Of course I have seen people all over Instagram and Facebook living these incredible lives, getting to see amazing places all over the world. I must confess I always thought this was fake or that they were all rich people. But since I came across the answers of how to travel for free (that no one told me) it completely transformed my life.

The purpose of this article is not to simply 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 since July 2019. I'm crazily excited to share this, knowing just how much of an impact it can make to a person's life.

how travel for free

Some people get a little sceptical 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 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!

In this article I’m going to walk you through how to do that. You can travel the world doing activities you love and get free accommodation - and even get paid to do it!

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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 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.

how to travel for free

When I said goodbye to all my friends and family, 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 doing this and enjoying every moment of it.

I have the freedom to go anywhere I want in this world, and know that I am able to support myself. 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 I'm able to actually save a significant amount of money whilst I am travelling and experiencing the world.

how to travel the world

How to travel for free: here's the secret

The number one best life hack that I have ever known is Worldpackers, hands down. 

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 other benefits like meals, classes and tours.

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 spend 12 months with free accomodation and food wherever you want!

Seem’s crazy not to do it right? And what you give in exchange for the ability to travel for free, is often an experience you would be paying a hefty price for. So really, it’s wins all around! You’re saving sooooo much money when you travel the world with Worldpackers.

how travel for free

Volunteer and travel 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 volunteered 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 wondering how to travel for free, making an impact and giving more value to your contribution in this world, this is the secret. There are volunteer options that suit a range of different personality types and interests.

volunteer and get free accommodation

How to travel for free and also get paid

Although using Worldpackers covers almost all my expenses that I need to survive, there are still other things I need to pay for as I travel. Any flights, visas, sightseeing and going out with friends are costs that come out of my own pocket.

But someone I met at my first volunteer position provided me with a solution. I was only about two months into my travels at this point, when I explained to her my situation. She was blown away that I had no plan to balance working and travelling. In hindsight, it's 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 of freelancing. This is something I had never heard about before then. She explained to me that there are 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 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.

how travel for free

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 something that I enjoy doing. 

I write content for businesses all over the world. Each piece 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 depending on which part of the world I am, it pays for a LOT more than it would be back home. 

And 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, I only work about 6 a 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 how much 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.

worldpackers helps you travel for free

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.

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 day to make that happen. So on average, I would spend 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. 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 this: 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.

volunteering with mural painting during my travels

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 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 this life hack 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 for free, what are you waiting for? Go see the world! 

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