Everyone knows the best things in life are free, like looking at a rainbow or smelling a flower, but international travel? That sure isn't free, but it is a great experience in life. However, travelling around the world doesn't exactly mean you need thousands of dollars to stay in the best hotels and eat at the most expensive restaurants. If you have a job with little vacation time and a family that you need to lug around, this may not be a guide for you. This is a guide for those that plan to be abroad for at least a few weeks. Some of the option also may not be very comfortable for most kids. However, the below are ways for those who want to start travelling abroad to lodge for free or at least cheap. These are options for those that do not mind meeting new people and maybe doing a bit of work in return for a place to stay.
WWOOFing stands for World-Wide Opportunities on Organic Farms. This is a great opportunity for those that want to travel, but don't mind a bit of hard work. A lot of hard work, actually. People hire WWOOFers to help tend their organic farms, this means planting, harvesting and other odd chores. The harvesting in particular is no easy task and it is not recommended for anyone prone to sore backs. Even healthy travelers should stay away from harvesting watermelons though, trust me.
Hard work aside, WWOOFing is a nice way to see the country, you may even pick up some valuable skills form organic farmers. The website requires a fee to register, but as soon as that is out of the way, you could be picking grapes in the South of France or milking cows in Australia. These trips do not even have to be long either, they can be as short as three days. That is like a long weekend abroad in someplace new.
Work on a Cruise Ship
For those that might not be digging spending their vacation time in the dirt, why not spend it at sea? Unemployed and always wanted to travel, well if you do not have any strings attached apply to work on a cruise ship. Of course, like some of the other options here, this is again doing work in exchange for travelling. However, unlike WWOOFing, you actually get paid for the work. If you have experience in something like bartending, cooking, customer service, or pretty much anything in the hospitality field you are set. Cruise ships hire people for everything from dishwashing to IT and technical work.
Contracts range to four month stints to 12 month stints, however there are a few downsides to working a cruise ship. Cruise ship workers can work long hours and depending on the time you are at a port, land time may be short. On cruises the passengers come first, always. Though the crew at least has separate areas where they do not have to mingle with them all the time. However, if you do not mind sharing a room, like whatever job you are doing, and don't get seasick travelling on a cruise ship is a great way to spend the adventurous part of your life.
Trade Labor for a Hostel Room
Everyone knows that for a cheap place to stay abroad they should look for a hostel, however not everyone knows you could get a free room for a bit of work. You can apply to work at a hostel before you even leave, but you need a work visa before they can hire you. Many hostels, though, are a little apprehensive about hiring someone that way though.
To get around the work visa issue, as long as no money changes hands it is quite legal. The best way to get a free room at a hostel is to approach the manager and inquire about it. Sometimes they even spoil their workers with private rooms. I have had some friends that did this when hiking abroad in Europe, they got a free room in exchange for about 3 hours of cleaning and maintenance in the morning, the rest of the day was theirs to enjoy.
If they are not hiring labor, hostels are still extremely cheap in comparison to normal hotel rooms, but usually you have to share a room and showers with people so be prepared to be friendly. Though, to be fair, it is a great way to make some new friends.
Couch Surf Up, Dude!
Couchsurfing is just like it sounds. You find yourself a couchsurfing website, look for available hosts in a palace you want to go, stay at their place. It doesn't necessarily mean a couch either, they may have a nice spare bedroom if you are lucky. This is a great way to meet people, you can even offer yourself up to be a host as well. You never know, they may invite you back to their place abroad. Couchsurfing hosts are also expected to be knowledgable about their city, not shut ins. It is a well known fact that locals know the best restaurants, bars, hangouts and all around stuff to do.
With couchsufing, you will never be left wishing you knew someone in the area to tell you about a place.
Cheap Planes and Trains
You know what is great about Europe? they are a bunch of different countries with different cultures, foods and languages but they are all relatively close together. Because of this, they have beautiful budget airlines and trains passes. Planes are a great way to travel and you can find some very cheap flights abroad, the planes are even pretty nice, not the rickety death traps you would find on a budget airline in America. Planes are a great way to travel cheap, however if you buy yourself a Eurorail pass, you can hop on a train and go most places in Europe.
This may not be a place to stay like the other options on the list, but really finding discount lodging and ways to travel all you have to cover is what to eat. With all this money you are saving, you can experience all the wonderful foods and wines every country has to offer.