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Tuesday, 05 March 2019

Seven Ways to Travel for Free Abroad

Written by Simon Zhen
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Become a WWOOFer

World Wide Opportunities on Organic Farms gives you the chance to volunteer on a farm in exchange for food, accommodation and learning opportunities. There are more than 120 countries that participate in WWOOF.

The only cost to consider is that there are membership fees per country, which allows you access the list of participating hosts in that country. There is no international membership, so you’ll have to buy membership in each country that interests you.

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Photo credit to Vertgen farm (

Accommodation Programs and Networks

Sites like GlobalFreeloaders or BeWelcome provide cultural exchange, free accommodation and an “inside” perspective on where you’re staying.

Participants can choose the level and amount they want to interact with their guests, so anything from serving a home-cooked meal to a tour of the area might be offered.

But, it could simply just be a place to crash during your trip. Due to popular demand, it could be tough to find accommodations.


House Swapping

If you’ve got a home that won’t be occupied when you’re traveling, you might consider offering it up for swap with another traveler who is coming to your area.

The best part about this option is that it cuts down on lodging costs significantly or eliminates them. However, swapping homes requires plenty of trust in the other person and some are concerned for their home and belongings, which could be damaged or stolen.

There are a bunch of websites that allow you to swap homes with someone else; Homelink, Love Home Swap, and are a few.

The sites may require a registration fee to advertise your home, but if you get to spend a summer in Italy, who’s complaining?

Apply for Scholarships and Fellowships

There are various scholarships and fellowships that cover travel to different countries for a long list of reasons.

For example, recent college grads can apply for a Marshall Scholarship. Students, scholars and journalists can apply to receive a Fulbright fellowship.

Applications are generally limited to those who study in a specific subject, develop career skills in a particular field, volunteer for a certain organization, and other reasons. These opportunities may also be limited to applicants of an ethnic or financial background.

Exchange or Volunteer Programs

Travel shouldn’t be your primary motivation for volunteering, but if you’re interested in giving time to a worthwhile cause, some organizations fund service trips abroad. Websites like Idealist or Workaway have several volunteer options listed online.

Other organizations like the Lions Club or Rotary Club may support community service work with a grant or offer cultural exchanges.

This is also a great way to improve your resume.

Crowd Fund a Passion Project

Maybe you have a passion project that would benefit locals in a developing nation or want to volunteer to help people, but can’t afford the travel costs.

If you need to raise funds try using a crowdfunding platform like Indiegogo and FundMyTravel.

Essentially, other people are donating money for your travel costs while you put time and effort to improve a community or volunteer during your travels. Donors may have a sense of pride from playing a role in sending you to help others.

Get Creative: Freelance or Barter

Your specialty can be worthwhile to others in a different country. You can consider it as working to pay for your trips without actually forking over the money.

If you have good bartering skills maybe you can pick up part-time or casual work in exchange for accommodation or to make a quick buck.

Perhaps you can carpool across a country or you can sell your work or freelance in exchange for accommodation or free travel.

However, just make sure that you learn the rules for working in another country because you may require a visa to work in that country.


(c) Simon Zhen

Simon works for 

Last modified on Tuesday, 09 April 2019