Travelling is something I enjoy the most. Over the years, my feet have landed on every continent in the world, except Antarctica. In fact, I would have explored Antarctica too, had not foul weather typical of that southernmost, ice-capped continent wrought havoc on our planned cruise.
The above statement would definitely impart an impression that my coffers are loaded with money and I am immune to visa regimes that exist around the world. Therefore, I will clarify that I earn decent pay from my work and for my citizenship, visas are needed to travel to almost every country on this planet.
There were several times when I simply couldn’t afford to travel anywhere- not even to the nearest suburb, because I didn’t have the necessary fare for a train or bus ride.
So how did I pull this off, you might wonder.
Actually, there are several hacks, or, we could call these as tips and tweaks that I deployed to travel free to various countries around the world. Smitten by the travel bug, I was willing to accept anything that would take me to the shores of distant and exotic lands, whose names I knew only from my school atlas.
If you’re also bitten by the travel bug and wish to explore the world, continue reading. In this article, I will provide some of my tips and tweaks on how to travel for free in 2024 and beyond.
Before I tell you these tips and tweaks, it’s important to know some basics of international travel. These can often depend on your nationality and the type of passport.
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Basics of International Travel
Anyone will tell you that travelling to international destinations or foreign countries often requires a passport and sometimes, a visa. Also, you will require airline tickets to travel to the destination and back.
The third most basic need for travel is some accommodation at the destination. Obviously, you can’t sleep on a sidewalk or in a park.
Other basics include sufficient money to cover your trip. Next comes medical insurance. As a matter of fact, several countries require you to carry your own medical plan while travelling to their country as a tourist, even if your stay is for a couple of days.
Finally, you will require some knowledge about the destination you’ve chosen to travel. That’s very important nowadays because a lot of countries are affected by domestic strife and cross-border conflicts that make it dangerous for tourists.
Then we have a high incidence of crime in certain countries or an unaffordable cost of living. Such countries are best avoided.
Now that you’re aware of some of the basic requirements to travel, I will explain in detail, how to travel for free in 2024 and beyond.
how to travel the world for free in 2024?
The first thing that travel anywhere requires is to find out what type of experience you want from any specific destination. Some travellers look for culinary experiences, meaning they’re interested in tasting local food.
Others wish to explore the culture and heritage of people in a foreign country. Then we have a large category of travellers of all ages that wish to visit a destination merely to unwind or rest and relax.
That’s not all, some tourists are interested in exploring the history of a place and visiting places of historical importance in the countries they visit. Next, we have folks who are interested in adventure tourism that involves activities such as deep-sea diving or mountaineering among others.
Regardless of what’s your interest, I encourage you to try these few tips and tweaks to travel free in 2024 and beyond.
1. Work as an Onboard Courier
An onboard courier is a woman or man who carries precious or important packets from one place to another. These packages could contain anything from live human organs for transplant to extremely pricey jewellery or gemstones, important documents or just about anything else that needs to be personally delivered at some foreign address.
There are several companies in the US and abroad that hire onboard couriers. This means you will shuttle between your place and a foreign city quickly to deliver the stuff.
However, in most cases, you will get a small stopover at the foreign or domestic destination due to flight schedules. This stopover allows you to do some sightseeing and other activities. You get paid for such trips too and stays are free.
2. Volunteering Opportunities
There are several organizations in the US and elsewhere that offer paid volunteering opportunities. However, these would largely depend on your age, education and skills. These volunteering opportunities are available worldwide. Some common types include English Teaching, Health and Hygiene, Agriculture, Caregiving and Animal Welfare.
Finding volunteer opportunities that pay can be a bit difficult since there’s always a heavy demand. I suggest that you register on some of the websites that pay you for volunteering. That way, these organizations could contact you whenever they have a suitable volunteering program. Then there are other volunteer programs where you have to pay but these can prove expensive.
3. Cruise Jobs
If you’re a musician, entertainer of any sort or even have bartending or other skills, apply for jobs with cruise companies. Cruise job is one of the best travel jobs where you get paid to travel and work. Americans are very fond of cruises and several cruise companies operate from various US ports.
While some have cruises that take people to various US cities renowned for beaches, others cover islands and countries in the Caribbean and South America.
There are certain strict criteria to work on cruise liners. These include background checks, health checks and lots more. Some cruise companies might also ask you for certain kinds of certifications that are fairly easy to get.
Explore part-time and full-time jobs on the various websites of cruise companies and apply for those you find interesting and are qualified for. This could be your chance to travel to several countries for free.
4. Missionary Work
For those of you with a religious and spiritual bent of mind, travelling abroad for free is possible by working as a missionary. Usually, missionaries work for large international organizations that proselytize in different parts of the world, especially Africa, Asia and South America, to name a few places.
However, to work as a missionary, you would have to be committed to furthering the religious ideology of these groups based on the tenets of their scriptures.
Let’s get one thing very clear. Missionaries don’t merely go around spreading the word of God or preaching their religion to the uninitiated.
They also take on board several other duties such as providing free medical check-ups, midwifery, babysitting, adult care, setting up hygiene and water supply infrastructure or even building low-cost housing. Some skilled missionaries help in setting up small plants to generate electricity from the sun and wind.
Did you know that hotels and resorts around the world look for musicians and music bands from the US to work with them for short periods? These terms range between three months and six months, depending on the location of the hotel and the type of music you play.
Pianists are in demand around the year. If you’re part of a music band, explore opportunities where you could get opportunities to play at hotels and resorts abroad.
Broadly speaking, there are agencies that provide solo musicians and music bands to hotels around the world. That’s because hotels and resorts need professional type musicians and agents select you after thorough vetting processes.
However, once you make your mark as a musician that’s played abroad, you can expect many such short and long-term assignments in future and also earn good money while travelling for free.
6. Student Exchange Programs
Not all student exchange programs come free. You might have to pay for basics such as airfare, food and accommodation while travelling on a student exchange program to some foreign country. However, there are quite a few student exchange programs that are sponsored by some educational foundation or other organizations.
In such cases, they pay for your air tickets, food and accommodations while paying a small amount of money for your expenses at the destination.
Enquire with your high school or college whether they’re aware of any such student exchange programs that are funded by various organizations. You can contact these organizations directly too.
To get selected, you will generally need a superb academic record, superb socializing skills, an ability to get along with persons from different nations and cultures and a broad understanding of foreign educational systems. These are superb programs and participating in one can work wonders for your future.
7. Travel Writer
Yes, travel writers usually go around the world free of cost. Their airfares, food and stay, sightseeing and shopping are all paid by their employers such as airlines, travel companies or travel magazines and websites.
This is a very specialized job and you will have to prove your travel writing skills. Additionally, you might also require advanced skills in photography and videography since some clients will not hire two persons to cover a destination.
While this is a highly specialized job, it’s worth remembering that travel writers also were fresher at one time. They started by writing about their own travel experiences and soon fine-tuned their skills to become superb travel writers.
Others are journalism graduates who enter the travel writing field. To become a professional travel writer, college degrees aren’t really needed. All you need is an eye for detail, a taste for the exotic and the courage to explore new places.
8. Sports Coach
Sports coaches are in high demand around the world. It depends on the sport you play and the level of knowledge in that particular field. Additionally, you will require superb coaching skills and a good track record of players or teams that are successful due to your coaching.
Educational institutions including high schools, colleges and universities around the world often hire sports coaches from foreign countries. That’s because they want to have winning teams and are willing to invest in the players by providing them with superior coaching.
As a sports coach of a high school, college or university team, you get to travel within that country too. That’s because such teams participate in tournaments with their counterparts in different locations in a country.
Having a sports coach certificate would generally prove very helpful. If you don’t have one, promote your skills through freelance platforms and say that you’re available to work in foreign countries or other places within the US.
Other Ways to Travel for Free
I’ve heard of some persons who’ve managed to travel for free simply by using their accumulated loyalty points from credit cards or frequent flyer programs. It is claimed, they had tens of thousands of such points that were enough to pay for their airfare and hotel accommodations. This could be true for some individuals who’ve done extensive paid travel earlier.
Another way to travel for free is to look for foreign scholarships. There are various cultural organizations worldwide that provide scholarships to foreign students who wish to learn the native language of their country or its native culture.
Such organizations sponsor students to come to their countries and learn. The main purpose of such sponsorships and scholarships is cultural exchange and promotion, which is an important part of global diplomacy.
The United Nations has several organizations that often require volunteers in the field of their work. These include volunteers in medicine, agriculture, education, scientific development, skills development and several other fields.
Similarly, organizations such as Medicines Sans Frontiers or Doctors without Borders and the International Committee of the Red Cross and Red Crescent also require volunteers to work in various places within the country and abroad.
While it’s possible to travel for free in 2024 and beyond, also remember that it has some flipsides. One of them is the rising number of global conflicts and hostility towards certain nationalities. Two, free travel such as volunteer duties could severely limit your freedom to explore a place.
Emily Morgan is a personal finance blogger dedicated to providing practical advice on managing personal finances, budgeting, and achieving financial goals. With a commitment to continuous learning, Emily empowers readers to take control of their money and make informed financial decisions. Through her relatable and friendly writing style, she has helped numerous individuals transform their financial lives. In her spare time, Emily explores investment opportunities, researches financial technologies, and enjoys discovering budget-friendly ways to travel and experience new destinations.