Guest Post by Bridget Sandorford
Many of us dream of traveling to exotic lands, filling our passports with stamps from countries around the world. Some of us even dream of living in some of these countries, becoming immersed in the local culture and learning everything we can about the people and their customs.
Yet few of us actually follow through on these dreams for travel. We tell ourselves that we don’t have the time for it, or we don’t have the money. We keep making plans for “one day”–and then keep pushing back that day.
Living courageously means going after your dreams and doing all those things you want to do.
Most of the “obstacles” we see for our plans to travel more can easily be overcome. We just have to readjust our priorities and our perceptions. Here are just a few ways that you can travel more no matter what your circumstances:
Perhaps the easiest way to see the world without impacting your finances or your everyday routine is to find opportunities to work abroad. If you have a college degree, you can find opportunities to teach English in dozens of countries around the world. However, if you don’t want to teach, there are many other jobs that may allow you to travel, including:
- Sales representative
- Customer service professional
- Cruise ship worker
Even if you don’t have training in one of these fields, you may still find opportunities to travel with your current company. Talk with your boss about what may be possible. At the very least, you may be able to create a work-from-home arrangement that will allow you to travel and work abroad.
Not surprisingly, you may find more opportunities to work for free than to get paid for your work. There are organizations located all around the world that would be happy to have you as a volunteer — sometimes in exchange for lodging and other amenities. For instance, the group Worldwide Opportunities on Organic Farms (WWOOF) helps place you on organic farms, where you can work for a few days or a few months in exchange for room and board.
There are many other opportunities, which you can research based on your interests. Some organizations may require you to pay a fee to get involved, but the money goes toward supporting the organization. Find what works best for your circumstances and your interests.
Get Free Lodging
There are many ways that you can get free lodging when you travel, cutting down the cost of any trip significantly. Couchsurfing.org helps you to find people who have a spare couch or an extra room that they are willing to let you stay on for a few days or longer. Etiquette suggests that you leave a small gift or offer to cook dinner one night, but nothing is required.
House swapping is another option. You can connect with homeowners in other countries and arrange to swap your houses at the same time. They come stay in your house while you go stay in theirs. Websites that offer the service help to screen participants and offer some level of protection.
Budget and Plan
Of course, the easiest way to make travel possible is to budget and plan. There are dozens of ways to save money on travel, including:
- Comparison shopping for airfare
- Booking your airfare, hotel and rental car together
- Traveling in the off season
- Staying at hostels and discount hotels
- Packing your own food
- Shopping at local markets instead of eating at restaurants
- Buying advanced combination passes for attractions
- Using credit cards to get frequent flyer miles for free or reduced airfare
There are dozens of sites online that offer tips for “travel hacks” that can give you even more ideas for how to save money on travel. With enough planning and some smart choices, you can make any trip possible.
Don’t keep dreaming of traveling “one day.” Live courageously and make the choices you need to make travel possible. There are so many options — it just requires that you adjust your perception.
Bridget Sandorford is a freelance food and culinary writer, where recently she’s been researching the best cooking school in the world. In her spare time, she enjoys biking, painting and working on her first cookbook.