How to Garden, Dance, or Couch Surf Your Way to an Inexpensive Vacation

Summer is just around the corner. If you’re anything like me, you’re probably thinking about your next relaxing week away or adventure to a new place on the globe. I also know from experience that some years are leaner than others, making it hard to find space in the budget for travel. Living expenses, student loans, and setting aside an emergency fund are certainly high priorities, but they don’t have to hold you back from seeing the world. There is no need to push your wanderlust aside, we’ve found six creative ways to finance your summer travel.

Get free room and board for speaking English

Spend time in Spain or Germany helping English students strengthen their language skills by being available for conversation as part of Diverbo’s unique language immersion program. In exchange for participation in weeklong “talkathons” hosted by Diverbo, room and board is provided to native English-speaking volunteers. Although you are still responsible for airfare, having your accommodations paid for can greatly reduce your summer travel expenses. This affordable week away is the perfect fit for extroverts.

Assist an organic farmer

Spend your summer participating in sustainable agriculture and learning the ins and outs of organic farming as a volunteer for WWOOF, or World Wide Opportunities on Organic Farms. In exchange for room and board (and delicious organic fruit and vegetables), give your time helping farmers take care of their land and animals.

Get a seasonal job through Work Away

For longer trips, it simply makes sense to find at least part-time work to fund your travel and to avoid getting into debt. With options like helping a surf school in Colombia with their social media and website to assisting on a ranch in Croatia, the website Work Away connects travelers with seasonal work around the globe. These jobs are specifically open to non-residents and a available on a short-term basis.

Crash on a stranger’s couch

Experience a new culture like a local by staying with a local. Through Couch Surfing, a website that connects travelers with hosts, you can find a free place to stay for the night in the destination of your choice. Does this idea raise a few red flags? Your safety concerns are valid, so Couch Surfing puts a lot of effort into verifying hosts’ information and providing reviews from travelers who have crashed with them before. You may also be able to find someone who shares your interests or who is interested in showing your around their city.

Get work a hostel

Hostels provide affordable lodging and food to travelers. In many cases, hostels are only available to travelers who fit a specific criteria, such as students or those who live a minimum distance from the destination. Hostels are often looking for volunteers to help with cleaning or preparing food and will offer free room and board in exchange for help. If this sounds like something you are interested in, you can find positions available by location on HelpX.

Put your talents to use as cruise ship entertainment

If you have a knack for singing, dancing, or comedy, you may able to find a way to put your talents to good use. Backstage connects talented travelers with jobs on cruise ships or in cities throughout the United States. Just log on, share a little about who you are and what you do, and browse job listings in your preferred destination.