So many people talk about traveling the world, yet so few actually do so. For most students a major concern when considering adventuring overseas is budgeting. Semester abroad program fees make wallets cry, foreign hotels break banks, and a single plane ticket alone can cost thousands.
However, as a fellow student who will be living in her eighth country next year, I say it is possible to be a poor, starving undergrad and still see the world.
I have a few suggestions that will not make the travel experience completely free, but I assure you they will help. First of all, there are helpful websites a student can use to make travelling more affordable.
Couchsurfing.com is a website that connects travelers with hosts willing to spare their couch for a weekend or longer for free. Two of my friends have used the site.
One couchsurfed her way across the islands of the Philippines. The other spent the weekend in Norway with 11 other couchsurfers from all over the world.
Workaway.info is a volunteer and culture exchange website. Hosts post job opportunities on the site for willing volunteers, such as managing a hostel in Antigua or working on a Bavarian horse farm. Some of these jobs even pay and offer meals, and housing is always guaranteed when using Workaway.
Helpx.net, also referred to as Help Exchange, is another volunteer site where hosts can post job opportunities. People can apply for work opportunities which include organic farms and non-organic farms, farmstays, homestays, ranches, lodges, bed and breakfasts, hostels, and sailing boats. Volunteers are invited to work in exchange for food and accommodation.
WWOOF.net is another site volunteers can use. The site, which has a self-explanatory acronym meaning Worldwide Opportunities on Organic Farms, allows volunteers to volunteer on organic farms. WWOOF has openings in countries ranging from Albania to Zimbabwe.
Worldpackers.com, similar to WWOOF, provides amenities in exchange for skills. The Worldpackers program offers opportunities for nature lovers, social justice warriors and people just looking for adventures under the city lights.
The site Hostelworld.com doesn’t offer free accommodation, but it does offer information on cheap boarding. Clink78, for example, is one of the site’s featured hostels in London, England. It not only provides free breakfast and wifi, but also is an historical site. It is the former courthouse where Charles Dickens worked and the Clash stood trial.
Hostelworld supplies an immense database of hostels where you can stay for incredibly reduced prices. One of my friends used Hostelworld to find a place to stay for two weeks in Rome.
Last but not least, AISEC.org. AISEC is a global platform for students and recent graduates who want to embark on either a professional or philanthropic trip. The site offers professional internships and volunteer work in other countries all around the globe. A friend from Finland used AISEC to teach English in Pakistan. It was an incredible, life-changing experience.