General Question

hTownDude's avatar

I want to travel. I have no money. To those who were in a similar situation, how did you end up traveling?

Asked by hTownDude (178points) December 28th, 2008

Are you a seasoned traveler who was once broke as a joke? How did you get on your feet and start traveling? Any suggestions for programs, websites, services etc that make the whole experience a lot easier?

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14 Answers

asmonet's avatar

Hostels, friends, couchsurfing.

You could also work and travel.

A little bit of luck, and a whole lot of effort.

bythebay's avatar

You can intern in all kinds of amazing places; you can be a counselor at camps all over the US; you can take all of the suggestions listed above by asmonet. Hotels & resorts are always searching for seasonal employees which would give you a chance to explore the locale during your off time. Depending on your skill set and level of education and/or professionalism there are a myriad of ways to see the world. I have a friend who has traveled extensively teaching English as a second language. Be creative.

srmorgan's avatar

as bythebay said, teaching English is one way to do it.
My neighbor’s son graduated from University in 2005, found no work experience that really excited him and signed up to teach English in a mid-sized town in China.
His fare was paid by the booking service.

He just committed for his third year in China, each year being spent in a different part of China.

There’s always the Navy…


bythebay's avatar

Here's a previous thread that has some other ideas and suggestions:

buster's avatar

You can buy a month long greyhound pass for the U.S. and Canada. You get on and off as you please. Get some camping gear and hit the road. Meet and talk to crust punks, squatter kids, and seasoned hobos. They can teach you effective panhandling, squatting, trainhopping, hitchhiking, and dumpster diving skills.

seekingwolf's avatar

Marry someone with the time/money to take you traveling.

Haha, just kidding, unless you’re a gold digger, which I doubt. :)

See if you can travel along with any friends you may have, or any siblings. Getting to travel through work is probably the best thing though. See if you can join a volunteer/missionary organization that travels to help others. You can do volunteer work and maybe get a discounted ticket/fares to some place different.

I think if one wanted to have a life in which he traveled a lot (I mean a LOT, not just one trip or so a year), it takes planning from the start. Travel is one of those things which costs a lot, takes time, you need to make sacrifices, but you may regret it if you didn’t do it. (sounds kind of like kids I guess…:p)

dalepetrie's avatar

Just an idea, and it may or may not work for you.

When I go on vacation, I’m the sort that likes to do things…I’ve never been on one of those lay on the beach for a week type people…I like to do things, see things…see the sites, check out the museums, shopping, restaurants, etc.

One year I realized that where I live is actually a very lively and bustling city, full of things that people would actually come to town to enjoy. I decided that rather than buy a plane ticket and spend money on a hotel, I could spend that same week visiting all the local tourist destinations that I just never seem to get to right in my home area, because usually I’m just too busy living.

I think no matter where you live, you tend to have your favorite stomping grounds…if you live in or near a big metro area like I do, there are probably particular restaurants you go to all the time, one or two museums you frequent, certain areas of town where you shop…and it’s just what is familiar to you. But if you look around, you’ll often find that there are all these other things out there…maybe you knew about them but just kept them on your some day list.

My point is, I love to travel, I love to get out of town and see a new town, but if you’re looking to get away but don’t have a lot of money, you can save probably 75% of what you’d spend on vacation if you don’t have to pay for airfare and hotels. Go to your local library (again assuming you live near a major metropolitan area, if not, this may not work for you), and get a travel guide for your home city. Think of yourself as someone who’s going to visit this city…see everything through the eyes of a tourist.

And you will be in a unique position to also know where the bargains are. For one thing, you can check, most museums have one free day a month, sometimes it’s one day a week. A lot of things are discounted on certain days of the month/week…you can look in the tour guide, or ask around to find out what people you know can tell you. And if your city has a Happenings book (particularly if you’re “traveling” with someone, for $20—$40 depending on the size of your city, you can get a coupon book chock full of 2 for 1 and other great discounts, particularly on dining.

But you can save even more money if you cook at home as well…if you can’t afford to check out new restaurants (new to you that is), maybe you can afford to check out a farmer’s market or some sort of ethnic grocer you may have overlooked.

Now if the at home tourist route is not for you, you don’t live anywhere near anything that could possibly be of interest to you, or you’ve exhausted everything there is to do locally, one way to save on travel is to go by bus or train. If you can be flexible about when you travel, the more you can save on it….do things in the off season for lower fares, or use Priceline and name a price you can afford, if you get that price, go for it and if not, try a different destination. Also, there are now two services I’ve heard of, one is Megabus which actually advertises bus fares from any number of cities to Chicago in my area (Minneapolis/St. Paul) as low as $1. How it works is, the longer in advance you can buy, the better shot at a deal you have. The first ticket or two they sell costs $1, then it goes up to $10, until it gets up to about what you’d pay on Greyhound as more and more tickets sell. They can do this because they can fill most of their buses, AND they have no in person service, it’s all done online. Another thing I’ll mention is that for about a year, a company called Skybus was operating kind of the same model where you could get airfare for $10. The catches were many…you had to fly between smaller airports, there were ads everywhere including on the outside of the plane, EVERY single thing you might get on another flight would cost extra, there were no connecting flights and flights only flew to and from Columbus, Ohio, so if you wanted to fly somewhere else, you’d have to buy 2 tickets, and shuttle your own bags from plane to plane, etc. It is now defunct…high gas prices killed it off, BUT it may be making a comeback.

As for accomodations, I might suggest that you'd be better off at times looking into renting a home from a private party, sites such as, or Craigslist, have listings by city of homes that people are renting out. If you travel with a lot of other people you could get a big house for the price of a hotel room, split it many ways, drive to your destination and split gas as well.

And if that doesn’t work, join the military…you’ll get sent to a LOT of exotic locations at no cost to you! Of course you might have to dodge some bullets or kill some brown people, but hey, nothing is completely free.

Mtl_zack's avatar

Internships! You can hitchhike. A for boating, go up to a guy at a harbor, give him drugs and he’ll probably give you a ride across a ocean. Oh, and don’t leave without a pair of boltcutters.

susanc's avatar

SERVAS. Google it. Might be exactly what you want.

AlfredaPrufrock's avatar

You might enjoy Chris Guillebeau’s blog The Art of Nonconformity. His goal is to visit every country, without having to spend much, if any, money.

Jack79's avatar

Couchsurfing is a pretty good option because you save the biggest cost, which is accomodation. Some peolpe might even be happy to buy you a meal (I know I was). You can hitch-hike in most places, or use buses. And of course if you’re really broke, you could always busk or something.

But if I were broke I’d just stay home for now and do what dalepetrie said.

democodex's avatar

Check out It’s like the craig’s list + yelp of travel, offering off-the-beaten-path accommodations and activities that are often far less expensive than conventional stuff you can find in travel guides or on other travel sites.

For example, I stayed with a sociology professor in Buenos Aires who taught me 3hrs of Spanish lessons per day, room, and one hot meal for $7USD / day. It was an amazing experience and it helped him make ends meet. There are alos tons of apartment rentals, from penthouses to studios for less than hotel rooms.

Likewise, when I was in Brazil I took Portuguese lessons from a Journalism student in Rio de Janeiro for R5/hr (2.5USD) on the beach, in cafes, wherever. I also rented my own small apartment on Copacabana for ~$20/day. You can also find things like kite surfing lessons, hiking guides, sailing, river rafting, paragliding, etc.

The cool thing also is that the site is devoted to helping local service providers as a way to help spread the wealth (rather than going big tour style). If you want to help someone out along the way, you can post an ad on their behalf to help bring them business.

Definitely a site for the adventurous travelers who want off the beaten path experiences and cultural immersion. Check it out!

HeartofHearts's avatar

If you don’t have any money but would like to see the country and experience it, I would look for employment maybe helping with tours, or working on a certain area where you can still experience travel but get paid to do it… Sometimes it is nicer to get a feel of the real culture of the area.

Gracemma's avatar

can you help
me to travel out of Africa or even work abroad maybe married there and settle down but i don have money

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