Hand-Crafted Series: Time to Get Off Your Butt and Travel the World For Free
Everyone’s looking to make that break and travel around the world.
Ok, maybe not everyone, but anyone with some form of sanity. I can’t tell you how many times before/during/after my travels that people have asked, “How can you afford to do that?” “How can you just pick up and go?” “Man, I wish I had the time/money/lack of obligations that allowed me to just take off and travel.”
I never quite know how to answer that. But in my mind I’m thinking, “well, it’s cause I make it a priority.” It’s important to me. I’ll spend hours researching flights, figuring out cheaper times of the year to go, hitting up friends who live in places I want to visit with slightly desperate and threatening emails (“if you wanna keep this friendship…”).
So I was pumped when I started reading my friend and fellow travel writer Shelley Seale’s e-book on traveling the world for free, because she lets you know up front: it’s either time or money. Gotta give up one or the other.
Yep, traveling for free (or pretty damn near it, as the rest of the title implies) is gonna take some time spent. On research. On contacting. On developing relationships with people. But that’s actually part of what makes this kind of travel more worthwhile – and memorable.
Shelley and her partner Keith Hajovsky, who co-wrote the book, talks about the idea of “slow travel” – yep, akin to the “slow food” “slow money” and “slow art” movements. Instead of getting in and out of a place in a week (if you’re lucky), take months (or years) to get to know a place or two. And they argue that the longer you travel, the less expensive it becomes.
They point out that international airfare is really the biggest expense (one you can work your way around with frequent flyer miles, signing up with cheap airline websites, or checking out air consolidators, which I had never heard of before), and once you’re in a place, there’s crazy amounts of ways to live on the cheap. The book covers the ins and outs of planes, trains, and automobiles – and the powerful free triumvirate of rideshares, walking, and hitchhiking – and where and when to do what. Yes, hitchhiking is not a good idea in certain parts of the world, as you can imagine.
Shelley and Keith also give tips on accommodations beyond the normal hotels, vacation rentals, and even hostels (did you know you can stay in convents and monasteries? Hmm, maybe not for your honeymoon…), such as couch surfing, working on farms, house sitting, or Shelley’s favorite, home exchange. She got me hooked on this possibility, except unfortunately, I don’t have a home to trade. Oh well.
With a section on creative ways to travel – such as bartering (or bartending) your way around the world, lots of great little worksheets, and tons of resources, I’m definitely referencing this book when I start to plan my next big adventure. Which knowing me, is probably soon.
And all you naysayers, remember there is always a way!