Traveling is one of the most invaluable ways to learn more about yourself and the world. Unfortunately, it can be pricey AF. Luckily for us, the internet has changed travel. Whether you’re aware of it or not, the travel industry has shifted to a “sharing economy”. Also known as social lending, a sharing economy is where people save or earn money by sharing unused or underused items/services. Built on this structure, tech startups have reshaped travel to be more community centric and cost-efficient (think Airbnb or Uber). By cutting costs and connecting people on a more personal and immersive level, you no longer need to be made of money to travel.
This list of some of the most frugal and immersive travel alternatives will save you a fortune on your next adventure without you having to miss out on the experience.
While being one of the least luxurious modes of travel, it is also one of the cheapest and most rewarding. If you’re comfortable crashing on a stranger’s couch for a few nights then couchsurfing is perfect for you. The best thing about trusted couchsurfing sites is they allow you to get to know your host and guest before your visit and provide reviews and community support. Couchsurfing is ideal for the solo traveler who wants to have a self journey, but loves the comfort and experience of meeting some new friends.
Remember in “The Holiday” when Cameron Diaz and Kate Winslet needed to get the hell out of their homes (because of course guys are the worst) and they swapped pads for what turned out to be the best experience ever? Well, that too can be your life. House swapping is a unique and immersive way to experience something completely new in an unfamiliar place without having to worry about the expense of accommodation.
House sitting sites have made it possible for homeowners to leave their home and in some cases beloved pets behind while having someone house sit for completely free. In addition to being able to stay at a home for no cost at all, housesitters are able to experience what it feels like to really live in another place. It’s a win-win situation. The buzz around housesitting is definitely one to not ignore. Various established travel bloggers have heavily praised the experience of housesitting. Some have enjoyed housesitting so much that they have ditched their established home base and chosen to just live in various house sits throughout the year. Keep in mind that most house sitting sites have a membership fee. Also keep in mind that this fee is typically less than a single night at a hotel.
Work for accommodation
Have you ever wanted to give farming a try, work at a surf shop, help out at a popular hostel? Working or volunteering abroad offers endless exchange for room and board or pay. A lot of the opportunities do not require previous experience and are just looking for an adventurous and reliable person who loves trying new things.
If you love kids as much as you love traveling, au pairing is an excellent way to gain a completely immersive experience for little to no cost. Room and board, and in some cases airfare, are typically covered by your host family. While you are responsible for their little ones, your host parents know that you are also there for the travel experience. Through various days off and free time, you will be able to take advantage of the benefits of your new location and explore.
If you’re still unsure about if being an au pair is right for you, there are tons of awesome and candid blogs out there from fellow au pairs to give you insightful and informative accounts of the position. Rosin Grace’s blog is filled with interviews of au pairs who have worked in different countries so you get an idea of a lot of different experiences.
Due to the high demand for English teachers, teaching English is a guaranteed way to make money and a smart investment for your future. The typical requirement for being an English teacher is to be fluent in English. Depending on the region or school, some jobs require you have a TEFL degree as well.
For a more indepth look on specific locations, blogger Nomadic Matt has an awesome article on the best places to teach English.