I got a message from one of my friends who had been following my travels since we graduated from college. He wanted to know about my travels and how I was able to fund them. Could he do the same? And how could he get out of California and with very little money. I thought others may have similar questions so here are my views and ideas from my previous experience and research!
I've been funding most of my trips from working and saving, but there are ways to travel on a budget. There's even way to give back to the community, get free accommodation and receive stipends all while you travel!
Domestic travel (USA):
1) Take a road trip - I took a 10 day trip through Arizona, Utah, Colorado and it cost me about $250 in total! This is taking into account that we had all our camping equipment and I was traveling with two other people. We were able to split gas, food and accommodation. When we stayed at campgrounds, it was just $20-$40 a night split amongst three.
2) Sign up for email alerts from airlines for the destination of choice. They will send you emails once flights have dropped. One of my favorite airline aggregators is Skyscanner which shows all the cheapest flights to a certain destination.
3) Apply to AmeriCorps - you can have the ability to travel to a state that may need a little extra help. For example, I have a friend who was stationed in Louisiana and her project was to build houses. Not only do you get to give back to the community, but you also get to experience a different part of the country with all the logistics taken care of.
4) Teach for America - TFA is a two year program that send you to a low-income school within one of the states. Although getting into TFA is a lengthy process, teaching is an extremely rewarding job especially where it's needed the most. Through TFA you teach kids, expand your skill set plus receive housing and a stipend to cover living costs. This is also a great way to live somewhere away from home with minimal risk.
1) If you decide to go abroad and you have enough for a ticket (and possibly visa) you can usually work and live at a hostel, a lot of hostels are always looking for people to help out a couple hours a week in exchange for accommodation.
2) Find a place you can volunteer that gives you housing. The volunteering programs that make you pay to volunteer have great intentions, but it makes little sense to pay to help when you should be the one getting paid for your time and skills. This is just one place I learned about from a girl I met while in Peru, but there are many more if you do the research! (P.S. Proyecto Peru does ask for a $50 donation after 4 weeks of volunteering but that seems a lot more reasonable to me than paying $3,000 to volunteer for a week at some places.)
3) "Farm Stay" - this is a program where you work on a farm in exchange for housing. During the weekend and your time off, you are free to travel and experience the surrounding areas!
4) Nannying/au pair jobs - Many au pairing jobs are international, they provide you lodging and food plus a weekly stipend. It depends on the family you get, but I've met a lot of au pairs in Australia who have been taken in with open arms and treated as part of the family. Not only do you get to live in a different country, but your lodging is covered and you can travel on your days off.
5) Teaching English Abroad: what's better than teaching a language that you speak, read and dream in? These programs also usually provide a stipend and housing in exchange for your skills. North American Language and Culture Assistants is a great place to start.
6) Peace Corps: If you want to make a difference in the world and experience living in a different country, the Peace Corps may be a good option for you. Make sure you are dedicated to the mission, if not, you may be disappointed because most applicants get placed in places that need development (orphanages, agricultural projects, building schools or teaching children). Within the two years you will have breaks and opportunities to travel elsewhere if you so choose.
Nomadic Matt: This is one of my favorite travel blogs on getting started if you want to travel on a budget.
Free ways to travel: Ideas to spark your imagination!