9 Ways to Travel When You're Close to Broke

How to travel when you don't have a lot of money

I finally moved to Chiang Mai, Thailand - it was scary, exciting and everything in between because I'm never sure how anything will work out but I always have to remind myself to trust the process.

Now that I'm here, I'm glad I came and am thinking of staying here for a year or longer. In fact I'm hunting for a place to live (sigh). Although I will admit

I'm still finding my feet around the city and getting lost on my scooter. Yep! I'm scootering all over the city.

Thailand on a scooter.jpg

I receive many emails from people telling me they dream of traveling and living in different countries, but they can’t afford it or it’s too expensive.

There are different ways to travel and/or live in different countries if you have little or no money to budget.

I’ve been known to travel and move countries with close to zero dollars in my bank account, so I thought it’d be fun to share ways I’ve done this.


1. Work on a cruise ship


I'd just graduated from varsity with my finance degree when I decided to work as a waitress on a cruise line (clearly adventure has always topped career building in my world).

I was totally clueless on the insane amount of work that one needs to do on a cruise ship.

You basically work 24/7 but if you have the stamina you can do one contract and save enough money to start traveling to other countries (that’s what I did).

Note: another cool option is to work on a yatch. I hear the workload is better on a yatch. 


2. Work and travel or work exchange


Many countries around the world have work and travel options, you just have to search.

You can waitress, bartend, work at a ski resort or even learn to farm.

After the cruise ship job, I held down all sorts of jobs as I travelled.

When I was in Goa, India I met many people who swapped their skills for a place to live and food.

Yoga teachers around the world do the same.

If you're interested in farming, check out World-Wide Opportunities on Organic Farm and see what opportunities are available.


3. Volunteer


Same as work exchange, you can volunteer with NGOs and be offered room and board.

I have some friends heading off to Thailand in a few months to look after elephants and take care for them.

I haven't done this but it really seems like a nice way to give back and see the world.


4. Teach English


I did this in South Korea and I loved being a high school teacher.

I didn’t get an ESL or TEFL certificate but it's a necessity in most countries.

Most countries also require you to have a degree.


5. Do an artist residency


If you're an artist or writer you can look into doing residencies in different parts of the world.

They’ll pay for accommodation and food and give you a stipend to live on. You can also use your stipend to tour whatever country you live in as you finish your book or perfect your art.


6. Be a nomad


Basically join me on the journey.

Start saving a year or so in advance and choose countries you want to explore.

Focus on countries with weaker exchange rates. Live light!

Put your home up for rent, sell your furniture and start thinking of ways to earn extra income as you travel.


7. House sit


Accommodation and flights is where most of your money goes as a traveller.

When you house sit you get free accommodation so you cut down on costs and all you have to worry about is flights.

I’ve always wanted to house sit for 3 to 6 months in a foreign country.

I’m officially asking the universe for a house sitting opportunity in Thailand to fall into my lap.


8. Study abroad


Most universities will fund Masters or PhD students to study abroad.

Take advantage of those opportunities.

Look at certificate programs.

Personally, I think this is a good option if you want to study and explore another country.


9. Use public transport to get around


Honestly, cabs and uber can cost quite a bit.

If you have an option to use public transportation to get around, take it!!

If you can safely cross borders using busses, ferries or trains - do it and have fun.


What are some other ways you can travel with very little money?

Let me know your thoughts in the comments section below.