Sometimes it seems like the deck is stacked against our generation when it comes to travel. Millennials are typically strapped for cash, low on vacation days and generally unable to take long luxurious vacations like older travelers.
One thing Millennials are rich in though, is opportunity. There are tons of ways that young people can travel for very little, or even free, if they just know where to look. Here are five ways you can see the world at little to no cost:
If you’re still in school, the easiest way to travel long-term is to take advantage of your school’s study abroad programs. Most universities in the U.S. offer semester-long programs around the globe that allow you to continue your studies, soak in a new culture and maybe even learn a new language, often for the same price as your usual tuition.
If you’re considering applying to grad school, you may want to look at international programs as well. Many are in English and give you the chance to live and study aboard—sometimes for a cheaper price tag than in the U.S.
If you really want to live abroad and spend time immersed in one culture, you may want to consider teaching English abroad post-graduation. What expenses companies will cover varies from country to country, ranging from simply a salary to salary plus accommodations and plane ticket. Countries like Korea, Japan, China and the Czech Republic all welcome qualified English teachers. Usually, having a degree is enough of a qualification.
There is an entire community of fellow travelers around the world totally willing to let like-minded souls crash on their sofa for free. If you don’t mind playing houseguest, Couchsurfing.org is a great resource for finding completely free accommodations almost anywhere.
If you want to take advantage of Couchsurfing’s network, fill out your profile completely, be friendly and act like a good guest. Only stay with people you feel comfortable with and read their past reviews.
House sitting is another option for those willing to put in a little effort for a free place to sleep. House sitters stay in a home while the family is on vacation. They perform routine maintenance, water plants and possibly watch the family pets while taking advantage of their new location. Sites like Mind My House and Trusted Housesitters will put you in touch with people around the world searching for sitters. Keep in mind that competition for prime locations can be stiff. You may want to build some references by housesitting for a friend first.
WWOOF stands for Willing Workers on Organic Farms. It’s a website (and general practice) that connects travelers willing to work with house and farm stays around the world. Can you imagine yourself tilling the soil in France or picking fruit in Australia? Most opportunities provide room and board last from a few days to a few weeks. This is a great way to extend your travels at no cost.