Does your wanderlust run deeper than your pockets? Travel is a fulfilling adventure for your soul, but it can be downright rough on your bank account. But don’t let that stop you.
There are plenty of ways to travel the world while having some or all of your costs covered. You may even be able to make a living out of the process – as long as you’re willing to reside outside of your comfort zone for a while.
Consider one of these seven unconventional ways to see the world:
1. Volunteer at a yoga retreat
Many people travel for relaxation, and there’s no better way to relax than at a tranquil yoga retreat. If you volunteer at one of these retreats, you will have to work, but your elbow grease will cover room, board and yoga classes.
The Yoga Farm of Costa Rica is just one retreat of many around the world that offer reduced rates for volunteers. In this particular program, you only have to put in 10-15 hours of work each week to qualify.
Don’t worry if yoga isn’t exactly your way of life. You can volunteer to cook meals, clean or help serve. And if you’re a yogi yourself, you may volunteer to teach a yoga class or run a guided meditation.
How to get started: Do a simple Google search for the city you’d like to visit along with the term “volunteer yoga retreat.” From here, you can review opportunities and decide which is right for you.
2. Participate in adventure races
If your budget is slightly higher and you want to really get your heart thumping, consider an adventure race. With travel and adventure, you can check off two bucket list items with one big permanent marker. And it’s still likely to be cheaper than any traditional travel plans.
You’ll be responsible for your travel, room, board and entrance fees, but most events partner with hotels to provide affordable rates. And you can save further by rooming with other participants or camping out nearby. Go as exotic as you’d like with events like the Rickshaw Run adventure races in Jaisalmer or Expedition Africa in Cape St. Francis.
How to get started: If you don’t already know of an adventure race you’d like to enter, have a look at NatGeo’s list of Great Races in Amazing Places.
3. Travel nursing
Have you ever been envious of people who live and work in your favorite vacation spot? The accountant in Hawaii can take lunch breaks to surf. A waitress in Boulder can spend her days off gliding down a mountain of fresh powder. Well, if you’re interested in a nursing career, there’s no need to be envious. This can be your life.
As a travel nurse, your assignments can be wherever you want to go. The best part is that the travel won’t cost you a dime. In fact, you’ll be well compensated for your work.
How to get started: To become a travel nurse, you will need a nursing degree, so this isn’t something to enter into lightly. If you already have your degree and at least a year of RN experience, all you’ll need is a good travel nurse company.
4. Drive a semi-truck
If the idea of hitting the open road gets your pulse racing, you may enjoy driving a truck for a living. You can choose the duration of your time away, but you should know that you’ll get paid more for longer stints.
Much like travel nursing, driving a semi-truck for a living isn’t something you decide on the fly. To become a CDL driver, you must get your license, and this requires schooling. Many drivers also own their own trucks, so there is an investment.
How to get started: Find a reputable school to train for your CDL licensing exam. If you’re lucky, you may be able to find an apprenticeship where you can get paid while training. Next, you must decide whether you want to own your truck or work for someone else. People decide to buy trucks as a long-term investment and to maintain some control over their careers.
5. Teach an English class in South Korea
Have you ever wanted to immerse yourself in a completely different culture? Teaching English to students in South Korea can give you the life experience you’ve always wanted, and you can get paid a modest sum in the process.
If you are a native English speaker with a Bachelor’s degree and no criminal record, you may be able to spend a year in South Korea teaching your native tongue.
How to get started: With every great opportunity, you may also find grandiose scams. This is why it’s so important to find a reputable recruiter. Check reviews and references. And be sure to interview with the school before you hop on a plane.
6. Become a WWOOFer
The WWOOF (World Wide Opportunities on Organic Farms) movement is growing around the world. And this means there are opportunities everywhere. You will be responsible for travel costs to your host’s farm, but then you will work for room and board. With six to eight hours of farm work daily, this isn’t a walk in the park, but it is a great opportunity to see the world on a budget.
You get to choose the WWOOF host country and farm, so you can be sure the people and expectations are the right fit.
How to get started: Check out the WWOOF website and select the country you would like to visit. Through each country’s website, you should find opportunities.
7. Join the Peace Corps
The Peace Corps offers amazing opportunities for people of all ages to make a difference in the world. You can choose to work in a sector that you’re passionate about, including agriculture, education, health and environment, and it may eventually help further your career. If the experience doesn’t sound fulfilling enough, you can bet that a stint with the Peace Corps will look great on your resume.
How to get started: If you are a U.S. citizen and are 18 or older, the application process is easy. Simply visit the Peace Corps website to apply.
These unconventional ways to see the world can give you a whole new perspective on travel. Not only do you stand to save money, but you will also gain life experience that you wouldn’t have otherwise had.
Featured photo credit: rawpixel.com via shutterstock.com