Ever wondered how famous YouTubers like Fun For Louis, Mr Ben Brown and Devin Super Tramp pay for their never-ending travels? Well the fact of the matter is, they often don’t.
By having such a large and engaged audience sponsors are lining up to work with them. Sponsorship can mean anything from a free hotel stay, activity or flight all the way up to a free press trip (everything included).
Our personal experience: Having only had a travel vlog for eight months, we're hardly at the point where we can say we travel for free through YouTube.
However, even in this short time, we've already had some free hotel stays and free products! So whilst we're no way near becoming official 'big YouTubers', we have had a small insight into their world and our ultimate goal is to travel the world full-time through our vlog.
AND, as a side note, out of all the ways we've travelled for free, travelling through a vlog has been the most rewarding, the most exciting and the most fun!
2. Have a travel blog
Our personal experience: Having had a travel blog for the past two years, we feel a lot more confident telling you about it. Yes it is true you can travel the world for free through a travel blog! Though it did take us a whole year of blogging to be able to say that. Blogs don't happen overnight, and there is sooo much competition nowadays!
Saying that, travel blogging is the best job we've ever had. No it's not all free hotel stays and lounging around on the beach (like some people think), but it's also not really, really, really hard work (like some bloggers say). It is hard work, sure, but there's such a difference between working hard at something you hate, and working hard at something you love...
TL;DR - if you love writing, taking photos and travelling so much you'd do them for free, then become a travel blogger. Right NOW!
Our personal experience: Our personal experience has taught us that, unfortunately, couchsurfing is hard to do nowadays, especially as a couple. We've met couple travellers who used to find a different bed every night through couchsurfing, but it was about five years ago. We've met solo travellers who still find a bed every night, mostly even without the offer of any 'extras'. But for us, for every 100 messages we'd send out, we'd only hear back from about ten and only one would say yes. Too much effort!
We've only managed to couchsurf three times. Two of those times stand out as some of the BEST travel memories we have, one stands out as one of the WORST - but could have been avoided by reading between the lines on reviews.... (50 reviews, all from young hot single German men, all very complimentary of the free 'massage'.)
Our personal experience: yea, we've never used Tinder because we started going out way before it was invented (member Myspace?!) but Mashable has some cool stories about it.
Our personal experience: we could write a book on this subject. Oh wait we already did and you can see it here: House Sitting in Australia, a Guide for First Time House Sitters. House Sitting was the only reason we were able to put a year of non-profit work into travel blogging, and the reason we can live off our travel blog today. In terms of numbers we've had nine months back-to-back free accommodation in Australia and just under two years of free accommodation across Western Europe (and Greece and Finland).
We enjoy house sitting for so many different reasons. Although free accommodation is what attracted us initially, other advantages like getting to know the locals, actually living in a country, being able to travel slowly and consciously, having a washing machine and more are the reasons we come back to house sitting again and again
Our personal experience: We love pets, we love travelling in style and comfort and so for us pet sitting is the best. The only downside is the tie of having a dog (just like it is when you own them). Pet owners almost always say we're welcome to leave the dogs alone and go out and explore the country, but because we always fall in love with the dogs, we feel mean leaving them alone and don't enjoy exploring that much whilst house/pet sitting.
What we've decided is house and pet sitting is perfect for us, as long as we mix it up and work with hotels/ stay in an Airbnb for other months of the year.
We also love returning to houses that we've really enjoyed, and got along well with the owners.
Our personal experience: We've never volunteered in exchange for food and accommodation. Partly because we have too many commitments of our own; partly because it's a lot more work for far fewer benefits than it is to just house sit; but mostly because we are really bad at doing manual labour (and we hate it). Personally, we've never seen a wwoofing/workaway advert where we think the exchange is a fair one.
We have friends who've done it though and liked it a lot. Most say if you combine it with a skill you'd like to learn anyway (like bee-keeping, organic farming etc), then in exchange for manual labour you're not just getting food and accommodation, you're also gaining a skill too.
Our personal experience: Like volunteering, this isn't something we've ever done personally. Partly because it's hard (actually, as far as we can tell, impossible) to get an au-pairing job as a couple; and partly because I don't really like children (they always have snotty noses, it's gross).
Home-swapping pretty much does what it says on the tin, those who own their own home can swap with others around the world who also own a home.
Perhaps it will be a neat swap, the people in house A head over to house B, whilst house B stays in house A. Or perhaps, like couch surfing, it will be arranged for the future - people A head to house B right now, whilst the owners of house B go on holiday to dream destination 1. Then later in the year, or perhaps a few years down the line, the people of house B get to finally have a holiday at house A.
Our personal experience: having not had a house since 2013 (and that was a rented one at any rate, and a flat not a house) we've never home swapped. Our friends did though and did the second 'don't swap straight away' trick, in order to line themselves up a whole load of houses which they could visit. Seemed to work.
So there you have it, lots of different ways to travel the world for free, four of which are working out well for us.
Have you tried any of these? Which would you like to try? Let us know in the comments below :)
We're Laura and Tanbay, a British/German couple who have successfully weaselled our way out of the rat-race and want you to do the same! We also want to make it clear that we sometimes use “affiliate links.” This means if you click on the link and purchase the item, we will receive an affiliate commission. Regardless, we only recommend products or services we use personally and believe will add value to our readers.