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How to Travel for Free

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Travel doesn’t have to be expensive. By using a few easy tricks, you can travel for free.  And even make money traveling.

How to Travel for Free

Here are 8 ways to travel for free and 2 ways to get paid to travel.

Traveling for free is easy with these 8 simple tricks. Traveling Well For Less

1.  Credit Card Sign-up Bonuses

 

american airlines 737 plane

You can earn free flights from credit card sign-up bonuses. Signing up for one new credit card with a large sign-up bonus, like the Chase Sapphire Preferred card, can mean a free round-trip flight to Hawaii, Europe, Asia, or some other place on your bucket list.

You could also earn free airfare without flying or without leaving home. The fastest way to free flights is by applying for credit cards with big sign-up bonuses.

Maximize your points by going out on an AYCE (All You Can Earn) airline miles and credit card points binge.

Plus you can earn extra miles when you shop, eat out, and buy flowers. You can even earn miles when you take a cruise!

2.  Airline Companion Passes

With the Southwest Companion Pass, your companion can fly free for up to 2 years, Traveling Well For Less

Airlines companion passes mean your partner flies for free

Some airlines help you to travel for free by offering companion passes.

With the Southwest Companion Pass your travel companion can fly with you for free for up to 2 years. Yep, two years of free flights on Southwest Airlines! Think Las Vegas, Florida, Costa Rica, and Belize, just to name a few of the cities that you can fly to on Southwest.  Never been to Belize? Here are 5 Reasons Why You Should Visit Belize.

Other airlines like Alaska Airlines, Delta Airlines, Hawaiian Airlines, British Airways, and Lufthansa offer one-time use companion passes. Even with a single-use companion pass, that’s one free flight.

3.  Free Hotel Stays

Save on travel costs with free hotel stays, Traveling Well For Less

Get free hotel stays for two nights at the Park Hyatt Sydney

Getting free flights can save you money and so does free hotel stays.

Just like airlines, the hotels offer credit card sign-up bonuses where you can get free hotel nights.

Hotel credit cards give you 25,000 to 125,000 points which can get you 1 to 10 free nights.

4.  House Swap

Want to travel for free? Consider a House swap. Traveling Well For Less

Free stays for homeowners when you swap houses

If you own your home house swapping lets you stay for free. You can sign-up through services like HomeExchange and Love Home Swap.

5.  Housesit

Check out resources like Mind My House and Housesit to save on accommodations and make money while traveling for free, Traveling Well For Less

Watch someone’s home and enjoy a free stay when you housesit.

Not a homeowner? You can get free accommodations when you housesit with Mind My House and Trusted House Sitters.

6.  Couchsurfing

Couchsurfing means no expenses for lodging, Traveling Well For Less

Free digs and new friends when you couchsurf

Feeling adventurous? Try couchsurfing or globalfreeloading. It’s a great way to get to know locals and it’s free.

You won’t always have to sleep on a couch. Sometimes you’re sleeping on a couch, floor, or even a spare bed. It depends on your host.

I had a great experience couch surfing in Bend, Oregon.

7.  WWOOF

WWOOF, travel volunteer, Traveling Well For Less

Organic farmers get free travel

If the idea of meeting locals appeal to you and you’re willing to work in exchange for free room and board, consider WWOOFing.

WWOOF connects you with a local organic farm where you can volunteer to help for as long or as little as you and your host farm agree.

Helpx and Workaway offer similar arrangements.

8. Free Car Rides

Blablacar, ridesharing, Traveling Well For Less

Go where you want for free with Blablacar

Instead of renting a car, you can get free car rides using BlaBlaCar.

You can get free road trip if you’re willing to drive from Florida to Washington, or from California to New York.  That’s because car rental companies need to move their fleet to other locations.

9. Teach English

TEFL, Traveling Well For Less

Get paid to teach English in other countries while you travel

Traveling for free is great, but getting paid to travel is even better.

If you’re a fluent English speaker and have a TEFL degree, you can make a lot of money teaching English in other countries.  Some countries will even pay for your flights.

10. Tour Guide

Viator tour guide, make money traveling, Traveling Well For Less

Freelance as a tour guide for extra money through companies like Viator

If you’re an extrovert and like meeting new people consider becoming a tour guide

You can pick up extra cash by hiring yourself out as a tour guide while you’re traveling. Contact tour companies like Viator for their freelance tour guide requirements.

Conclusion

You can travel for free (or close to it) and even get paid to travel if you know these eight tricks.

Big sign-up bonuses on credit cards can score you free flights without flying. And you can get up to 10 free hotel nights when you sign-up for hotel credit cards.  Some credit cards have no minimum spending requirement. This means you get the miles immediately after you apply.  How’s that for instant gratification!

Your partner can fly free with you thanks to companion passes from Southwest, Alaska Airlines, Hawaiian Airlines, British Airways, and Lufthansa.

Get free accommodations through home swaps, housesitting, couchsurfing, and WWOOFing.

And if you need a little spending money while traveling, you can teach English or work as a tour guide.

These tips a little too tame for you? Try your hand at extreme mile and point collecting.

Which of these eight tricks have you used (or plan to use) to travel for free?

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Traveling Well For Less has partnered with CardRatings for our coverage of credit card products. Traveling Well For Less and CardRatings may receive a commission from card issuers.


Chase Sapphire Preferred

The Chase Sapphire Preferred is the best card for beginning travel hackers. It is the first card you should get to start traveling for free because the welcome offer is 100,000 points after spending $4,000 in the first three months.
 
My favorite perks about this card are earning 5X points on travel when booked through the Chase portal (2X if direct purchase), 3X points on dining , $50 yearly credit on hotels booked through the Chase portal, no foreign transaction fees, and transferring points to 13 airline and hotel partners like Hyatt, United, and Southwest.
 


Chase Freedom Unlimited

The Chase Freedom Unlimited is one of my favorite cards for earning cash back card and travel rewards. It offers a welcome offer of $200 after spending $500 in the first three months.
 
My favorite perks about this card are earning 5% cash back at grocery stores the first 12 months (up to $12k), unlimited 1.5% cash back on all purchases and no annual fee. When paired with cards like the Chase Sapphire Reserve, you can use your points to travel for free.
 
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Fashiondra

Monday 18th of January 2016

A lot of great info learnt for my next travel ^^

Anne Marie

Thursday 1st of October 2015

Being an introvert, something like couch-surfing scares me to death! But the car thing, I'll have to look into that one. Thanks for the info!!

Debra Schroeder

Sunday 18th of October 2015

Hi Anne Marie,

I'm totally introverted too. So I was nervous to do couch-surfing, but had a great experience.

Camesha | Mama Motivator

Wednesday 30th of September 2015

Great info. I didn't know about the companion pass. That's a new one for me. Good stuff.

Debra Schroeder

Sunday 18th of October 2015

Hi Camesha,

Thanks so much. :)

aaronica (the crunchy mommy)

Wednesday 30th of September 2015

thank you so much for sharing this!!! this is some invaluable information and i've saved this for when we get ready to travel!

Debra Schroeder

Sunday 18th of October 2015

Hi aaronica,

Thanks! Glad you liked the tips. Hope you can start traveling soon.

LizZ H.

Wednesday 30th of September 2015

These are all very good tips...flying for free isn't as easy for Canadians I don't think...Our flights are always hundreds of dollars.

Debra Schroeder

Sunday 18th of October 2015

Hi Lizz,

It's a little harder for other countries. But the AMEX card and several others offer great options to earn lots of points that you can transfer to Aeroplan and travel for free.

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