BY JULIA SUDOL
It’s the middle of June, the sun is shining, and, let me guess, you’re in your room scrolling through Instagram, drooling over the blue and white photos of Greece or the culture-rich landscapes of Thailand.
Okay, maybe you’re not that lazy. Maybe you are at the beach catching some waves, but, come on, wouldn’t you rather surf the crisp blue waves of Hawaii or the mountain-overlooking beach in South Africa?
The point is we all want to travel over the summer, but make excuses not to. I need to work… I need to save money… It’s too expensive… and before you know it, you’re 23 and the only places you’ve travelled are to your extended family’s ranch in Nebraska, the over-hyped city of Miami and—if you’re lucky—Canada. Don’t be that 23-year-old. How? Here are five tips for traveling on a budget.
I know, I know, it sounds funny, but, trust me, it’s legit. World Wide Opportunities on Organic Farms is an organization through which travelers stay with a host family with free room and board in exchange for working on their farm for four to five hours a day. Time spent, which is negotiated between the traveler and host family, is commonly around two weeks, although it may be as short as a few days or as long as a few months. Travelers have more than 120 countries to choose from and a correspondence with WWOOF organizations has found Australia, the source of almost 1,800 organic farms and 14,000 volunteers, to be the most popular. Happy traveling and happy farming!
Become an au pair
An au pair is someone who travels to a foreign country and stays with a family. It’s similar to WWOOFing, except the traveler is doing housework and childcare rather than farm work. Also, like WWOOFing, time stayed is negotiated between traveler and host family. There are many websites that help connect au pairs to host families, and according to AuPair World, the number of registered au pairs has more than doubled in the last decade.
Work overseas/teach English
If you’re looking for a relaxing vacation, one where you bask in the sun all day or spend hours reading, then this tip might not be for you. But if your intention is to experience different cultures and see other parts of the world, then working abroad might allow you to do so for longer. English teachers are always needed around the world, so even if you don’t have a teaching or college degree, spend a couple months getting an accredited Teaching English as a Foreign Language certificate. Then, choose from over a hundred countries to teach in and, voila, the money you’ll make will give you more time to stay where you are or buy a plane or train ticket to somewhere new.
Does staying at a house free of cost and having a pet sound too good to be true? Well, it’s not. Organizations such as Nomador, Trusted Housesitters and MindMyHouse allow people looking for a cheap place to stay to connect with others who are planning on travelling, but need someone to watch their house and pets. Now you’re in a new country and have a puppy for two weeks. You’re welcome.
If you’re on a budget, don’t expect to be staying at a five-star hotel or fine dining three times a day. Sometimes it takes buying an overnight train ticket to get from city to city while saving on a place to sleep or finding another solo traveler to split the cost of a hotel room in order to get by. The bottom line is be open to new ideas, but make sure to stay safe.