Traveling is an amazing experience regardless of where you’re planning to go. Travel brings happiness whether you’re looking to see the world, learn about a new culture, or simply, have some fun, relax, and create memories with your family and friends. But the main drawback many people have with travel is that it can be expensive. With transportation, lodging, food, and hidden travel fees, the cost of a trip can be overwhelming. If you plan ahead, you can find helpful ways to save money on your vacation like finding deals, using coupons, and packing the right items to keep costs low. But what’s even better than saving money, is traveling for free. Here are five ways you can travel for free:

1. House Sit

If you’re looking for totally free accommodations, house sit. Many people that are taking an extended vacation or even a season away want to have someone in their home. They may want you to look after their pets, plants, and do some light housework. You can start by asking friends and family to put the word out for you. There are many websites, like House Sitters America, where home owners are searching for someone to come watch their house while they’re away. This sometimes includes access to their car as well.

2. Work-trade/Volunteer

Besides improving your resume and getting a great learning experience, working and volunteering while on the road can get you a free trip. The website HelpX, connects volunteers with farms, ranches, lodges, bed and breakfasts, or even boats that are looking for help in exchange for accommodations and possibly food. Both WWOOF and Grow Food connect those interested in farming with farmers who want to share their knowledge and teach them about growing food. As a bonus, they also offer a place to stay. Look into specific organization to see if they offer a program where you can stay for free in exchange for help.

 3. PeaceCorps

The Peace Corps is a program sponsored by the government where you apply and if accepted, go work in a designated country for a specified amount of time. In return for accommodations, you can also get a portion of your student loans paid off.

4. Stay with a local.

Staying with a local resident is a great way not only to eliminate costs, but also to get an inside guide to the area. Hospitality Exchange connects you with people all over the world who are willing to host your visit. In this program, you then agree to host them while they travel to your area. If you’re just looking for a place to crash with no strings attached, try Couch Surfing, where you can sleep somewhere for a night.

5. Earn reward points.

When you do have to spend money, make sure you’re at least getting rewards for it so it can eventually give you something free in return. If you have a credit card, make it one that gives you airline miles that lead to free flights. Join hotel reward programs that give you points that eventually will allow to to stay for free. The MBNA Best Western Rewards can be used to collect points and earn free stay. You can also use cash back credit cards to earn cash on your purchases and use that towards a trip.

Have you ever traveled for free? How did it go?

Kristen Kuchar

Kristen Kuchar

Kristen Kuchar is a freelance writer and editor who has learned how to save money without giving up a passion for travel, food, and living a fun life. She has written about personal finance for several years and graduated with a degree in Journalism. Follow her on Twitter @KristenKuchar.