How To Travel Frugally: Easy Work & Travel Ideas

Rose Goldberg Save Money Leave a Comment

It’s so darn easy to vacation for free!

Alright…you might have to spend some money on your airfare, but that’s about it.

If you want to learn how to eliminate even that expense and get your plane tickets for zero cost, read this.

In this article, there are ways for teachers, nurses, and professionals of all skill levels to leverage their abilities in exchange for free stays in some of the most beautiful cities on the planet.

While doing so, you’ll find yourself culturally enriched beyond anything you could have ever imagined.

And, you’ll meet new and stimulating people who will expand your horizons.

You might be more of a lackadaisical type who doesn’t want to work for your room and board. If so, there’s a company called Couchsurfing that’ll help you do just that.

Work Your Way Around the Planet

There are TONS of companies offering ways to get free room and board just for doing a few hours of work a day. You’ll have what’s left of the day to sightsee, travel, and do whatever you want to do.


HelpX is short for Help Exchange.

It’s a cultural exchange where a vacationer can immerse herself in everyday life of another country by living with a host. These are organic farms, lodges, hostels, and even sailboats you can stay in while helping your host do a wide assortment of jobs.

All the listings are for short-term accommodations.

Some hosts listed on this site only need two hours of work done each day and ask that you provide your own meals. Others want you to work six hours a day instead of four. They throw in perks for doing extra chores.

These perks might be yoga or horse riding lessons, free Internet, or kayaking trips on scenic lakes and rivers. Sometimes, you’ll get every weekend off. You might be able to negotiate with a host so that you can work eight hours one and the next day, take the whole day off.

You’ll have to sign up for a membership before you can start working. There are two levels—Free and Premier.

To take full advantage of everything HelpX has to offer, you’ll need to sign up for the latter service. It costs 20 euros for two years, and with it, you’ll be able to contact all hosts and to read every host review.

Working Traveller

Working Traveller specializes in helping you acquire needed vocational skills as you work your way around the planet. This way, you can save heaps of money by not staying in hotels.

You’re really killing two birds with one stone because you’re not only getting a free vacation. You’re also readying yourself for the job market. This will help you pick up marketable skills you can use back in the States.

Use your Working Traveller experience and references to get the job of your dreams!

You can apply just before going abroad. Usually, you’ll find harvesting and cleaning jobs at the last minute. But if you want to get work in an area where you have skills, it pays to plan ahead.

So, post your resume on your profile months in advance. This way, you’ll get what you want when you want it.

Culture Go Go

At Culture Go Go, you get free accommodations in exchange for teaching English language skills. This is a superb way for you to mingle with the locals as you zoom around the planet.

Because you’re staying with somebody who is intimately acquainted with the area, you’ll probably get a chance to get off the beaten track. This allows you to learn all about the things the travel guides don’t tell you. You’ll also see drop-droppingly scenic vistas, brush up on your world history, and soak up the local color—all for free!

To earn your room and board, all you have to do is to give a couple of English lessons each day. You’ll do this through having stimulating conversations, doing exciting activities, and just plain having fun.

To use the site, simply go to the Go Go Community Board, exchange contact details, and arrange the stay. Stays vary from a single weekend to an entire year.

To be eligible, you need to be a native English speaker, at least 18 years old and have plenty of enthusiasm.


Workaway has opportunities that last for anywhere from a few days to a few months. Like other companies, you’ll have to do a few hours of work every day in exchange for comfortable accommodations, delicious food, and delightful conversation.

The company wants to promote understanding between different cultures, help those with limited financial resources experience foreign lifestyles, and assist others in their efforts to learn a new language.

Workaway has a vast database of organizations, families, and individuals looking to open up their homes for volunteers eager to offer a helping hand. There are 39,000 hosts in over 180 different countries.

With Workaway, you can use your existing skillset to help your host or acquire totally new ones. There are opportunities for language teachers, pet sitters, baby sitters, shoppers, and many other things.

There are also some paid opportunities.

This is your big chance to help make a positive difference in a local community, while at the same time, meet new people and have loads of fun.


Diverbo offers free vacations for English-speaking travelers who want to help people in Germany or Spain practice their English skills. Interestingly enough, Diverbo actually prefers that you don’t speak German or Spanish.

This way, all the conversations you have with your students are in English, which forces them to learn the language faster.

Apart from paying for the flight, the trip won’t cost you anything. But there’s not much free time.

You’ll spend most of your days working with your hosts perfecting their English language abilities. However, it’s not all drudgery.

The company sponsors week-long “talkathons” where the master of ceremonies are native English speakers like yourself. You’ll spend an incredibly delightful hour or two with non-natives as you help them grasp the tricky nuances of the English language.

You’ll do this through entertaining activities that often times verge on the pleasantly boisterous. There are one-to-conversation sessions, group sessions, dinners, parties, and theatrical performances.

Sounds like fun to me!

This is an excellent opportunity to spend a fun-filled week overseas. You’ll end up culturally enriched, enjoy stimulating conversations and maybe even acquire some new friends.

If you’re naturally gregarious, this might be right up your alley.


WWOOF is short for World Wide Opportunities on Organic Farms. Farm owners post help wanted ads on the site, and you can apply to any of them that strike your fancy.

Although you have to pay for your flight there, the farm pays for your food and your lodging. Volunteers work a couple of hours a day and get the rest of the day off to see the sights.

 Trips with Family and Friends

Some companies let you travel free if you put together a trip for friends or family. This is a great way to get a no-cost vacation AND spend quality time with those you love.

YMT Vacations

YMT Vacations will give you a free trip if you sign 12 other people up for one. And for every 11 paying guests where 9 of them pay for their airfare through YMT, you’ll get free airfare.

You really can’t beat that deal!

Grand Circle Cruise Line

When you refer travelers to Grand Circle, you’ll earn $100 per person in your choice of cash or credit. The more travelers you refer, the more rewards you’ll get.

You could even earn a free trip!

All Aboard Travel

All Aboard Travel rewards travelers who put together a cruise for their friends with all-expenses-paid travel. So, if you’ve ever wanted to head off to the Bahamas with 20 of your nearest and dearest buddies, here’s your chance.

Sometimes it really pays to step up to the plate.

Take Your Students on A Trip

If you want to take your students abroad to really make their classroom learning come alive, some companies will pay for your trip.

EF Educational Tours

With EF Educational Tours, you’ll have expert guides leading you on tours of whichever area of the world you choose to explore. Your personal tour director is always with you to answer questions, offer cultural insights, and smooth over problems.

They’ll take care of every logistical detail for you, so you can spend all of your time and energy helping your students enjoy the sights. Enroll just six students, and your tour is free.

Plus for every six additional students you enroll, you get to add a chaperone at no additional charge.


WorldStrides, based in Charlottesville, VA, helps your students go beyond the classroom and brings the world to life. Like most of the other companies offering educational travel, your trip is paid for if you enroll enough students.

This company knows that travel is a transformative experience that changes young lives for the better. So, whether it’s Germany, Costa Rica, or Washington, D.C., WorldStrides can help you plan an experiential adventure your students will never forget.

Fifty years from now, your students could still be talking about the influence you had on their lives. That’s pretty exciting!

Since 1967, over 7 million students have traveled on a WorldStrides trip. Each year, they have over 400,000 students and 10,000 teachers who participate in one of their company’s tours.

In 1996, WorldStrides became the first educational travel provider to be accredited as an actual school. Then, they were no longer a tour operator—they became a school teaching through travel.

Dive into Your Heritage

If you want to travel for free while reconnecting with your roots, some companies might pay you to do just that.

So, not only do you get a no-cost vacation, but you also strengthen your connection to your cultural and ethnic identity.

What’s not to love about that?

ReConnect Hungary

This program is for Hungarian-Americans between the ages of 18 and 28 to travel to Hungary for two weeks to learn all about their heritage through cultural immersion.

It covers air travel from New York to Budapest and most other trip expenses. When a traveler lands in Hungary, she’ll be greeted at the airport by a group of her peers.

And then, she’ll begin a two-week journey to strengthen her identity to the country of her ancestors by visiting historical sites and landmarks. She’ll continue her cultural education by meeting the people of this stunningly beautiful land.

Heritage Greece

Heritage Greece is a program offered by the National Hellenic Society of Alexandria, VA. It’s a way for academically gifted students of Greek heritage to immerse themselves in the culture of their ancestors.

Although you’ll have to pay for a small part of your airfare, most of your other expenses are covered. You’ll get modern, spacious accommodations at the gorgeous 65-acre campus of the American College of Greece in Athens.

There, you’ll spend two weeks with your peers while soaking up everything there is to know about Greek culture, history, tradition, and customs.

Your trip begins with visiting all the important archeological sites and museums like the Acropolis and Hadrian’s Gate. As you see the sights, you’ll work on mastering the subtleties of the Greek language.

This is a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity and not to be missed!

Birthright Israel

With the programs Birthright Israel offers, Jewish adults between the ages of 28 and 26 can get an all-expenses-paid vacation that includes guided tours of cultural and historical sites in Israel. The program ensures that people of Jewish heritage get the opportunity to visit the country of their forbears.

This helps to strengthen their Jewish identity. Since the program started 20 years ago, over 700,000 participants have made this extraordinary journey.

If you’re accepted, you’ll embark with your peers on a journey to explore the ancient wonders and modern day-revelations of this most interesting of countries. You’ll see such amazing sites such as the Old City of Jerusalem, including the Wailing Wall and the Old City Bazaar.

Birthright Armenia

Birthright Armenia provides the opportunity for adults 21-32 years old to travel to their ancestral homeland. Once there, you’ll participate in a cultural immersion program and volunteer with nonprofit groups whose mission it is to provide a better life for all Armenians.

In exchange for a free trip, you’ll be expected to volunteer at least 30 hours a week. You’ll work on your Armenian language skills by living with a host family, and you’ll mingle with other program participants from around the globe.

Become a House Sitter

If you want to do pet or house sitting in exchange for no-cost accommodations, think about signing on with a company that’ll help you do just that.


TrustedHousesitters has thousands of places in hundreds of different countries where you can earn free room and board just by watching a house or a pet while the owner is out-of-town.

Check out the latest listings at their website. Use the interactive map or the search bar to find opportunities in specific locations. You can also filter results for particular types of pets you want to babysit, how long you want the sit to be for, and dates you’re available.

You’ll need to buy a membership to apply for house sits. Once you become a member, the number of house sits you can do in one year is limitless.

Housesitting doesn’t require any specific qualifications. However, you should put any relevant experience you have in your profile.

This could include taking care of cats and dogs, housesitting you’ve done for friends and any gardening skills you have.

This could help you get more jobs.


HouseCarers gives you the chance to earn free room and board in exchange for sitting with a home or a pet. You might be asked to do other duties as well, like taking care of a garden or taking a dog out for a walk.

Homeowners benefit because they don’t have to hire a gardener or someone to take care of their pool. They don’t have to board their pet, making for a happier cat or dog.

And by maintaining a lived-in look, would-be burglars are deterred.

 Teach English as a Foreign Language

Another way to vacation for free is to teach English to people in other countries. One great thing about this is you don’t need to speak the native language.

However, the only opportunities available are long-term ones, so this’ll be a long-term commitment.  Nine months to one year is the usual period. has been around since 1997. This makes them positively ancient in the ESL Jobs field.

They boast a registered membership of 200,000 including 110,000 teachers and 21,000 employers.

Dave’s ESL Café

Dave’s ESL Café is a free resource for ESL (English as a Second Language) and EFL (English as a Foreign Language) that has a jobs section.

It was started in 1995 by Dave Sperling, a multimedia consultant from Los Angeles. Dave spent almost ten years teaching in Japan and Thailand, so he knows the overseas teaching job market well.

His mission is to connect students and teachers wherever they happen to be on earth. There are job boards for China, Korea, and lots of other opportunities to do work abroad. There are a lot of opportunities here, and they’re updated daily.

Teachers can post their resumes on the Job Wanted Resume Board.

Become a Traveling Nurse

Are you bored of the locations you’re working in now?

If you’re a registered nurse and want the freedom to travel the world, become a traveling nurse at When you do, you’ll be able to work in exotic and exciting locations all over the world, all while earning an above-average compensation.

Specialties in high demand include case management, critical care, and neonatal.

To find jobs, you’ll have to work with a travel nurse staffing agency. They’ll negotiate with the hospital hiring you to get you the best contract. Work with a staffing agency who understands your needs, so they can find you the opportunity that fits you best.

Check out their website to see all of the incredible opportunities there are in travel nursing. They’ve teamed up with top travel industry companies around the globe to provide you with the best hospitals, locations, and people to work with.

Couchsurfing: A “No Strings Attached” Way to Get Free Lodging

Some companies don’t require you to exchange room and board for work. Couchsurfing is one of those companies.

Couchsurfing is a website that will help you make your free vacation dreams come true. It’s a community of over 14 million people in more than 200,00 cities in every country on the planet.

The company began Couchsurfing when Casey Fenton, Daniel Hoffer, Sebastian Le Tuan, Leonardo Bassani da Silveira (the founders of the business) came up with the concept of connecting people all over the world. They thought the best way to do this was by getting people to open their homes up to each other.

To use the service, start by creating a profile. Add in things you like to do, and personal details about yourself. Make sure you include a photo.

Next, go to an event in your city to learn all about how Couchsurfing works. Most cities have get-togethers every week.

These are usually held at local coffee shops or bars. When you learn how it works, and are ready to travel, look at the site to find people with couches available.

Find several interesting possibilities, then, make a “Couchrequest” for the times you’ll be there.


You never have to shell out TONS of money to see the world. Just choose one strategy from this article, and you’ll soon find out how incredibly easy it is to be a frugal globe-trotter.

What are you going to do with all that extra cash that’s yours when you don’t have to spend an arm and a leg on travel expenses? Let me know in the comments!

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