How to Travel without Money: Backpacker Guide
Have you ever thought that it might be not just a fairytale to discover the world and travel for free? For that, you don’t need to have rich parents or have a good job. The only thing you need is to check this Backpacker guide and find out the best ways to travel for free.
Work for bed and food
The main circumstance that stops people from trying to travel for free is: “But I need money for a hotel/hostel and food”. “No, you don’t need!”. How is it possible? Because you can get free accommodation and food in exchange for a few hours of your help. How does it work? There are lots of websites and communities where you can find lots of hosts that suggest work exchange, volunteer job and sometimes even paid work in farms, hostels, sailing boats. For a few hours per day of your help, they give you free accommodation, food and culture experience.
While traveling in Spain I worked for a few days on one olive farm. It was a really cool experience. First of all, because I learned how to pick the olives. Secondly, because I discovered deeply Spanish culture while communicating with the host and his family. Thirdly, got to know really nice people with whom I still keep in touch. And finally, get free bed and try delicious Spanish food was a nice bonus.
So don’t be afraid to try this great opportunity which can help you to travel for free. Check out the list of the websites where you can find work for bed and food around the world:
- Workaway. Suggest lots of work options: organic farms, hostels, surf camps, teaching, restoring projects. To become a member: 29€ or 38 for couple or two friends.
- HelpX. Work on farms, backpackers hostels, sailing boats and many other options. To become a member and check the list with job offers: for free, but to connect with hosts you’ll need to pay 20€ per two years.
- WWOOF. Provides jobs in organic farms worldwide. Membership: different conditions for each country.
- Worldpackers. Here you’ll find different kind of hosts from the hostels, B&B to farms, ecovillages, surf camps, and NGOs. Membership: to start for free, 49€ annually for full membership.
- HelpStay. Work in a hostel, surf camp, volunteer as a teacher in more than 100 countries. All the hosts are carefully screened and approved. Membership: 29€ annually per person or 49€ for couples.
Earn extra money on flea market
Not everyone knows that while traveling somewhere or staying in some city you can earn extra money without even having a permanent job. How? Check out if there is some flea market in the place you stay. For example, in many countries and cities of Europe, there are lots of flea markets on the weekends, where you can easily make some money selling different things. Usually to rent a place at flea market cost not so much and at some of the markets even free.
The main doubt that you can face is: “I don’t have with me the stuff to sell”. Of course, while traveling you pick with you just needed stuff. That’s why here are some ideas how to get the things you can sell later:
- Pick the things for free from the sellers. When the flea market is closing and sellers start packing their stuff back to the car, they usually leave a lot of different things like clothes, furniture. Here you can take whatever you want absolutely for free and later resell it. For example, when we were selling some old stuff with my boyfriend at Lanucia flea market in Spain, we picked later from the neighbor who was selling nearby one dartboard. He just left it on the street and we took it for free and later resold for 5€. So in this case, for example on Saturday you can come to some flea market 1 hour before closing (because some sellers leaving earlier), pick the things for free that they left, and on Sunday go to another flea market and sell there all this stuff.
- Another way to earn some extra money on flea market is selling the drinks. I personally did that several times and can say that people are always interested in buying this stuff. For example, you can buy in advance in some big supermarkets the cans of beer, Cock, juice or even the ice-cream if it’s hot summer. Like that you’ll buy for cheap and later you can sell it for 1€ or more for a jar. The only thing is that if it’s hot weather, you will need the cooler bag to keep the drinks cold.
- Ask people for old clothes or things they don’t need anymore. If you have some friends or simply know some people, ask them for the stuff they don’t use. All this you can also sell at the flea market.
- Besides all of the above, you can try as well to make some things by yourself, like bracelets, neckless or some decoration for home without spending so much money. Here you can find how to make bracelets by yourself.
Hitchhiking – Don’t be afraid
Hitchhiking can be a good option to save some money and travel for free between the cities and countries. Of course, besides such visible advantages, there are some disadvantages. For example, it can be not so comfortable than traveling by plane/train/bus. There is no timetable as with the public transport, so you never know when you’re going to catch a car if it goes exactly where you need, and what time you will arrive at your point. And the main reason why most of the people avoid hitchhiking is the fear. Of course, hitchhiking can’t provide you 100% of safety, especially when we are talking about solo female travel. But if you follow some rules and advises, you can make your trip safe:
- Trust your sensation! If you don’t feel so good about some driver, don’t be shy and politely decline his proposal.
- Think positive. Actually, it helped me a lot and I met really nice people during my travels.
- If you are a girl, don’t sit in the car with more than one man.
- Before to sit in the car, remember the vehicle’s registration number. You can later send it to your friend. Or you can even pretend that you are calling to your mom and saying the type of the car, its color, number.
- Sitting in the car check if your door opening from inside. Not to arouse suspicions you can pretend like you didn’t close well the door and now you’re reclosing it.
- Take a front seat in the car, if there is an opportunity.
- Don’t say from the beginning that you’re traveling alone. Better to say that you are going to visit your friend, relatives, boyfriend/girlfriend. Like that driver will know that someone is waiting for you.
- Besides that, you can also have some pepper spray in case. But remember, never use it when a wheelman is driving. And also check if it’s the spray is allowed in the country you are traveling in.
- If you’re traveling alone, you can find other hitchhikers in a CS Hitchhiker group and go together.
And finally, remember that all the rules are good to know and be awarded, but it doesn’t mean that the danger is waiting for you at the corner. While hitchhiking you can meet a lot of good people that sometimes help you and give you even more than just to get you from one place to another for free. As for me, hitchhiking is a great opportunity to get a cool life experience and become more sociable and open.
Have you ever imagined that while traveling you can stay not only in the hotel or hostel but also stay in the houses of locals? And you know what? Absolutely for free! This cool opportunity provides global network Couchsurfing which has more than 12 millions of people. Around 400.000 of all the community are the hosts who give for free the couch in their house. If you have a free couch at your place you can also be a host and get guests from different countries sharing with them your life. But if you don’t have an opportunity to host or simply don’t want, you can be just a Couchsurfer who are traveling and staying at the host’s place.
What you need is to register, create your profile and fill information about you. And after that, you can start to plan your trip! Here you can find a help how to create a profile on Couchsurfing and advises on how to get always positive answer from the hosts.
Couchsurfing is absolutely for free and has a lot of good options besides just a place to find/give a free couch. Find out how else you can use Couchsurfing and some other specific information that will help you to understand better how this global network works.
Eat free food
Not all the people know but you in some cities you can get free food. How can you do it? Here are a few ways for it:
- Eat at churches. There are lots of churches that give some meals and food for poor people or those who don’t have an opportunity to buy. Check it out before traveling. For example, in Spain and other Europeans countries, many churches and also such organizations like Red Cross also help needy with food.
- There are also a lot of restaurants (McDonald’s, BurgerKings, Dunkin’ Donuts and many others) where you can get a free food, meal or desserts just for downloading the app.
- Get free food from neighbors. For example, in free app OLIO, you can find people and local businesses that share surplus food and products they don’t need or that are going to expire. In the app, you can sort the results by distance, food from home or current location.
- Check the other platforms where people sharing the food. For example, if you are traveling in Germany and Austria, check out Foodsharing.de. There you can find individuals, producers and retailers provide food that would be anyway thrown away.
- Don’t forget also to check out the websites with free coupons that let you eat with a huge discount and sometimes almost for free.
- Also as I was writing above, you can get a free food for a help of working in farm or garden. Besides that, the hosts provide for free couch or place to sleep.
Another way to earn money while traveling beside selling at a flea market is a performance on the street. Most of the people think that you should have some talent for that or play perfectly on some instrument. But the truth is that it’s not actually like this. All of us have or know something to propose to another people. Think what can you do. Here are some ideas for street performance.
- Do you play some instrument? It’s a cool way to make some money. Or if you don’t play any instrument, then you can always learn something easy ones like harmonica, ukulele or drum.
- If you know how to paint, you can make the drawings in several ways: by oils on canvas, by sketching or caricaturing, painting graffiti or creating something right away on the asphalt.
- You can also learn some magic tricks and present them to an audience.
- Become a living statue. Dress up and makeup like some famous character from a movie or invent your image, posing and standing completely still.
- Make a street theatre, comedy, mime, clowning or dancing.
- You can also do a singing, acrobatic or fire skills performance.
- Nowadays it’s also popular to make the street actions like giving hugs or advises to the passersby for some symbolic tips.
It doesn’t matter if you choose something from this list or maybe invent something on your own. Street performance can give you much more than you expect. It will help you to connect with your inner side, to face with the fear of rejection and through this to become more open and brave. And for sure will bring money to your cup.
Since I was 7 years-old little girl I went for my first trip to abroad which made me fall in love with traveling and made it my passion for all my life. I like to discover different cultures, people, the way they look and behave according to their traditions, new places and incredible views, new food, and new flavors. And I want to share my discovers with you here in my blog. In addition to it, I'll give you the tips how to make your trip a "varied experience" and how to travel in a cheaper way.
Let's discover the world together 😉