Tanner and I get at least 1 Facebook message per week telling us that our travels are inspirational, wanting to know how exactly we’ve been able to do it for so long. When I first started to receive these messages, I was really excited that people were getting into the traveling spirit! But over time, these messages have become a bit of a burden, with both of us sitting down to write out thoughtful responses and recommendations based on the person, often to never hear from that person again. It can be a bit disheartening! So, to combat this problem, we have created a list of how to travel. Mostly these are things we’ve done, or have looked into ourselves.
If you’re looking to travel longer than just a few months but are not sure how you will be able to save enough money to support yourself for that long, consider one of these long-term travel options.
Work and Holiday/ Working Holiday Visas
This type of visa allows you to gain access to a country for 1 year, work at a company there for 6 months and travel around. It’s a great way to experience a country! Most require you be under 30 years of age, so if you’re getting close then hurry up and apply! Here is a good link for a list of countries that offer this type of visa. http://global-goose.com/wingtips/working-holiday-visas-countries/
Teach English Abroad
Get TEFL/TESOL/CELTA/TRINITY certified (depends on what country you want to teach in as to which certification is best). This is the number one way to travel and get paid in another country. Seriously, I did my TEFL online in a hotel room over looking the beach, applied for a job in Saigon over the weekend, and was signing a contract with a company all within the same week. Not only that, most companies that hire English teachers in China will actually pay for your flight there and accommodation. Also most countries will apply for your work permit/visa for you and even pay the fees for it if you sign a 6 month or 1 year contract. The world has a massive appetite for the international language of English and native speakers should consider themselves lucky and extremely marketable.
There is plenty of volunteer opportunities abroad if you do the research. Be careful not to get roped into paying an exorbitant fee up front to join one of these projects though, but you can easily pay around $100 – $200 to a program and you can live in a community with a host family or other volunteers and help teach English, build clean water facilities and so on. I particularly like Dragonfly Thailand for English teaching. http://www.thai-dragonfly.com/
WOOFING or HelpEx
While Woofing and HelpEx doesn’t make you money, they do help you gain a significant cultural experience. WOOFING connects people who want to live and learn on organic farms with people who are looking for volunteer help. The hosts then offer food, accommodations and opportunities to learn about organic lifestyles in return for your volunteer service with them. You can woof your way around many countries with just a small travel budget saved up. HelpEx is much the same but offers a variety of projects and experiences.
If you want to travel and be immersed in a culture for a period of time, Peace Corps might be for you. But be fair warned, the application process can take a significant amount of time, so don’t give up your day job just yet. Peace Corps tackles challenges such as climate change, pandemic disease, food security, and gender equality and empowerment. If you want to influence real change in the world, seriously consider joining this organization. http://www.peacecorps.gov/today/
Still worried about money in the meantime? Consider traveling on a SERIOUS budget. There are plenty of ways to cut costs along the way.
Set up your www.couchsurfing.org profile and start surfing! Try to set up a couch in the city you’re heading at least 1 week in advance. This is a great way to learn about how other people live. Obviously be wary of strange profiles and any bad references that people may have, but if you have good street smarts then this is a viable option to get you a place to sleep for a few nights in almost any city. Often, CS hosts will offer to show you around their city and meet their friends as well, think about how cool it is to have a group of friends in cities all over the world!
There are multiple ride share websites, in Australia and the UK you can find a lot on www.gumtree.com (similar to Craigslist in the US but much better monitored) and you can split a ride in a vehicle with a few different people to cut costs on gas, plus you make friends along the way!
Share expenses with other travelers
Want to drive from Sydney to Alice Springs, Australia? Well, that is about a 2776 km drive that nobody wants to do by themselves, let alone pay for the gas! So, meet a small group of friends at a hostel and then book a campervan together! It’s easy to split the cost of the vehicle and gas, plus you can sleep in the van (comes with a bed and some companies offer the kitchen sink!) so you can save costs on accommodation as well.
Camping or Holiday Parks
This option is obviously not for everyone and some countries have different laws regarding it, but camping is a great and cheap option for accommodation in many countries. You can often camp for free or for less than $5 a night if you have a tent and for a bit more money you can have amenities like hot showers and a kitchen.
Work any and all odd jobs
Worried about how to pay for the hostel you’re staying at? Ask if you can clean the kitchen, change the linens, or work at reception. See someone pulling a heavy cart down the road? Offer them help for the day. There is always work to be done and money to be made if you go out and look for it!
I think the best advice here when it comes to how to travel is to pick one way you’re interested in, research it and then go for it. You learn so much along the way when you talk to other travelers and then you can alter your plan accordingly, just as we have. You will make plenty of mistakes along the way but you will make up for it by meeting so many people that help you. So, if you haven’t made your resolution for 2014, now is a good time to just GO for it!