How to Travel the World Even If You're Broke

Stop whining! We know you’re broke. We know you’re choking on reg. fees. But you’re young and single and don’t have a 9-5 job, so now is the time in your life when you should be travelling the world, seeing sights, meeting people, shoring up memories.

It may be hard to imagine that the sun will ever shine and summer will be here again, when it is overcast and in the low 50s, but smart planners are already laying in their warm-weather vacation plans. If globetrotting is at the top of your list, but you don’t know how to swing it, read on for some great and out-of-the-box ideas.

Work Overseas – Not making enough money at your job? Why not get a job overseas? There are plenty of opportunities in the world as long as you aren’t picky — and after all, this isn’t a career you are starting, it’s just a way to earn money for travel. Here are some jobs you can get to pay the bills and fund your travels:

    • Au pair
    • Bartender
    • Hostel worker
    • Waitress/Waiter
    • Farm worker (Very popular in Australia and New Zealand)
    • Dive instructor (Some certification required)
    • Tour guide
    • Cruise ship worker
    • Casino worker
    • Seasonal worker at ski resorts

Working overseas often gets discounted as an option because it seems hard to do. It’s not. Just be open. These jobs don’t require advanced degrees or a lot of work experience either. Are you going to get some high-paying office job? No. Will you get a shitty, low-wage job that will pay all your travel bills? Yes! I’ve met people from all walks of life, both from Western and non-Western countries, funding their travels this way.

Here are three websites that can help you find work overseas:

Council on International Educational Exchange Work Abroad Program
Alliance Abroad

Online Degree Programs – ADDED MAY 14, 2013

Teach English Overseas – One of the best ways to make money for travel is to teach English overseas. You can make a lot of money teaching – I replenished my travel funds while working in Thailand, and I have had friends leave South Korea with tens of thousands of dollars in the bank.  All you need is the ability to speak English fluently and maybe a TEFL degree, depending on the country you work in. The world is yearning for teachers and this is a job in high demand- – many companies in Asia will even pay for your flight over.

Here is a basic guide to finding a job overseas and a more advanced in-depth guide for those ready to take the plunge.

Get Free Flights – There are so many ways to earn free flights I hate when people tell me they can’t afford to fly. Sign up for a few travel credit cards, collect miles, and then fly for free.  Most cards offer sign-up bonuses of 30,000 points — and if you sign up for both an airline card (think United airlines card) and a general rewards card like the Chase Sapphire or Amex card, you can combine the two point balances and get a cheap flight faster.

Credit card sign ups are the best way to collect miles. I’ve used these sign up bonuses to collect hundreds of thousands of miles.

Can’t sign up for credit cards? There are many ways to increase your mileage balance without credit cards. Three impact ways are:

  • Watch out for deals – I sign up for all the airline mailing lists. I always watch out for special 2 for 1 miles deal. Or when they have special card offers to get extra miles. United Airlines just gave me 1,000 miles for watching a demo on their new shopping toolbar. I once got triple miles by buying some clothes from Gap just by seeing it in their mailing list. That doesn’t even utilize all the special bonus offers airlines have on cars, restaurants, and hotels.
  • Shop at their member stores – All airlines have special offers with all the big stores- Amazon, Apple, Best Buy, Target, etc. Shopping at those preferred stores will earn you 2 to 4 miles per dollar spent- sometimes even more. If you spend 1,000 dollars a month, you can earn up to 3,000 miles just by going through their websites. The products don’t cost extra. I do all my shopping through the airline malls simply for the extra miles.
  • Put everything on the card – I pay nothing in cash. I put everything on my card- from Starbucks to phone bills. My total monthly spending is about $2,500 per month. That’s more miles for me. Everything I do is to benefit my mileage account.

This is just the tip of the iceberg. For more great suggestions on how to make your travel dreams come true read the rest of the article.

Bon voyage!