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How to Travel Around the World for Free

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Authored by Samantha Herman in Travel
Published on 02-07-2009

Everyone knows the old adage that if it sounds to good to be true, it probably is not true. Traveling around the world for free is everyone’s dream, but currency isn’t the only means of paying. If you are willing to put in some elbow grease or flex your professional skills, you can travel on someone else’s dime. But it might not be the vacation you envisioned.

The first option is to find a job that requires international travel. Parlay your skills as a chef or a massage therapist into a job on a cruise liner. Not only will you get to travel for free, since companies that are sending you to another region for business pay for all food, travel, and lodging expenses, but you will get paid a salary as well. It’s a win-win for someone who loves to jet set.

You can become an air travel courier for a legitimate business (not for some random shady person you met on the street). The International Association of Air Travel Couriers has a website that further explains the logistics and benefits of becoming an air travel courier. Unfortunately, some of these jobs will not pay the full price of an airline ticket, nor will they pay any lodging expenses, so careful research will be necessary beforehand to get exactly what you want out of the arrangement.

Another option is to pair up with a volunteer agency. They will set you up in a place of their choice (again, this may not be the beautiful, tropical locale that you envisioned) and make arrangements for travel and lodging. Keep in mind that you will not find yourself in a five-star resort with room service. You might be in the middle of nowhere, sharing a room with two other people, toiling away at different projects all day. But you will get to go somewhere you have never been before and learn the nitty-gritty of the culture and economy.

Lastly, here are a few other ideas for free world travel opportunities. STA Travel offers internships to students and anyone ages 18-26 who wants to travel to overseas and compile blog postings, video footage, and podcasts of their experiences. It’s highly competitive, but you get to travel for free for an entire summer. Also, lots of places offer opportunities to teach English as a second language in another country. This may require some training or certification, but it’s a great experience and allows one to earn money while learning about a new culture.

The best suggestion for anyone wishing to travel the world without putting down any money is to be completely open and adventurous. If you have specific plans about where you want to be when, you will not succeed. But if you are willing to do some couch surfing, meet new people and request food and board, and have no qualms about asking for rides, you can always do a cross-country trip to explore all that your homeland has to offer. It may not be the overseas adventure you craved, but it will temporarily satisfy your desire for a free trip.

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