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Last Updated on January 3, 2018

15 Free Ways (Or Even Get-Paid) To Travel That Will Enrich Your Life

15 Free Ways (Or Even Get-Paid) To Travel That Will Enrich Your Life

Traveling can be any experience you make it and whether or not you’re looking for a way to travel for less (or free) there are in fact ways to help you do just that. Not only can working abroad be a great experience, but it’s possible to cover parts of your trip or even make money while traveling. To say the least quite a few the options can lead to some of the most enriching travel experiences and adventures.

Get Paid to Ski

Get paid to ski by taking part in seasonal work at mountain ski resorts. You don’t even have to know how to ski, which is great because if you ever wanted to learn, this is your chance to do it and get a free mountain pass.

Ski resorts hire nationals from all over the world to fill positions from ski lift operators, hotel and restaurant staff as long as a temporary work visa can be obtained. Popular spots for seasonal work at ski resorts are New Zealand, Mammoth, California or Vail, Colorado. Even if you want to work domestically, it’s a great chance to live in some of the most beautiful places in the world and get away from city hustle-and-bustle. There are many resort options, but make sure to apply early to ensure a spot before the season starts. To find these positions you can start with a Google search or check out NZSki.com for vacancies in New Zealand.

Volunteer to Speak English for Free Room and Board

If you speak English fluently, you can sign up for a work exchange experience that requires you to have conversations with students in English who want to improve their language skills. Usually companies will send their employees to these programs so they can hone their conversation skills to better communicate with their clients. Though some people sign up as students just to improve their English in general. Throughout the week you’re engaging in conversations and getting to familiarize yourself with people of different cultural backgrounds.

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In return for speaking with the students in English, you can receive free room and board for the entire time you are volunteering. Diverbo is a program that does just that and accepts English speaking volunteers for their sites in Germany and Spain and provides volunteers with full room and board as well as transportation to the site.

Credit Card Sign Up Bonuses

Earning airline miles from generous credit card offers is quickly becoming more popular and one of the easiest ways to travel in luxury for pennies on the dollar. Banks often offer sign-up bonuses to lure customers to using their cards in hopes of gaining a loyal customer. With just one 50,000 mile sign-up bonus you could be on your way for free to Europe, making it an incredible way to save money on travel. Some credit card offers require you to meet a minimum spending amount, while with others such as the 40,000 mile US Airways credit card offer it’s as simple as buying a cup of coffee.

On top of that there are many ways to to maximize your miles like adding free stopovers in cities along the way, so you can visit more than one destination or even continent on the same ticket.

WWOOF -Work exchange on organic and sustainable properties

Can you picture yourself working on a vineyard in Tuscany? Or a pineapple farm in Costa Rica? WWOOF is an opportunity to work on organic farms around the world in exchange for free housing and food. As a participant, you’re expected to put in around four to six hours of work per day for at least two days with anything that needs to be done. Once your shift is over you are free to explore the village, trails or nearby cities as you please.

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CouchSurfing

CouchSurfing is a website that allows you to connect with local hosts while you’re traveling to stay in their home for free, likely with someone who has a few things in common with you. For a night, two or even three you could stay on a couch, your own room or even a yurt out back for free. One aspect of CouchSurfing that people find appealing is that you are able to get to experience an area with a local. Another aspect of CouchSurfing that people find appealing is that hosts and couch surfers have profiles and reviews from past guests and their hosts so you can get a general feel for the person before contacting them.

Teach English Abroad

There are opportunities for fluent English speakers to teach English abroad in elementary and high schools even if you do not have teaching credentials. Most opportunities require that instructors are TEFL certified which is earned after a series of coursework is completed to become an affective English Second Language instructor. Salary for teaching abroad is based on the living standards of where you are teaching, but depending on the program you go through, some of your living expenses like free housing. In countries like the Middle East such as Jordan, and the United Arab Emirates as well as Japan and South Korea, the salary rate for TEFL teachers is known to offer the best paid TEFL Instructor salaries.

Join a Family and become an Au Pair

For travelers who love working with young children, there are families who are looking for Au Pairs to help take care of their children. Families may look for an English speaking nanny so that their children can improve their English-skills. As an Au Pair you should expect to receive free room and board as well as some payment. The company Au Pair World helps connect host families with potential Au Pairs through profiles which you can browse through by country and gets you in touch with a potential match. What you would get out of it is essentially an opportunity to immerse yourself within the culture and community and learn the customs and traditions.

Hitchhike the Globe

In some parts of the world, even in some areas within the US hitchhiking is common, accepted and generally safe. In Armenia, for example, it’s common for locals to hitch a ride so it would not be odd. To flag down a ride the universal sign of hitchhiking is to stand on the side of the road in the direction that you want to go and stick out your thumb. Always use good judgement when accepting a ride. If the vehicle or its occupants give you a bad vibe, then do not accept the ride. To get a feel for which countries hitchhiking is acceptable in and considered safe you can refer to Hitchwiki which is user-compiled and breaks down the unofficial rules and tips of hitchhiking by country.

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Diaspora Youth Programs

Birthright programs are usually synonymous with the young Jewish community through Birthright Israel in which for 10 days 18-26 year olds from all over the world get an all expense paid trip to Israel to connect with the Israel. However, for those who are not of the Jewish faith, there are programs geared towards other cultures such as Birthright Armenia which reimburses travel expenses to Armenia as long as they commit to a minimum of two months to intern or volunteer in various sectors such as news agencies, hospitals, government offices and environments NGOs in Armenia. Through these internships you get valuable experience that you can take back with you for your work resume. Other similar programs include Heritage Greece, ReConnect Hungary, or the Love Boat Study Program for youth of Chinese or Taiwanese descent.

Volunteer at a Hostel or Homestay

If you’re backpacking or traveling for an extended period of time, stumbling across a hostel that you love while traveling is likely to happen more than once. It never hurts to ask if they have any volunteer opportunities for free room and board. This can be a great way to extend a stay while traveling abroad. To find some volunteer experiences that vary from working at a hostel teaching yoga, to helping build a house, check out HelpX which lets users post help wanted ads.

Got skills? Become an instructor

If you are well versed in a sporting activity—surfing, rock climbing, skiing, mountain biking—you may be able to land a job abroad teaching other people the ropes. If you speak several languages it may also be a huge plus since most tourism agencies rely on their instructors to communicate with many international customers. Adventure Work is a great place to start looking for potential instructor jobs around the world.

See the World for Less through House Sitting

Believe it or not, homeowners around the world are looking for house sitters, and you’d be surprised as to how many opportunities are out there. You would also be surprised as to how many people are doing it and with multiple established websites it’s easy to get started. The options are varied, but for pet sitting or gardening, you can be staying for free. A benefit of house sitting, is that not only are you living rent free, but you get to spend time in one place for a longer than you may have if you had to pay for accommodations and get to know community.

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Free Walking Tours

If you are traveling to a country you know a lot about, especially the significance of monuments within a particular area, historical moments and are well versed in the culture, why not take a dabble at being a walking tour guide. Many of the guided tours are free, but basically you work for tips. While the tips may not be very much money, it can very well cover the cost of your meals for an entire week.

Show Off Your Talent with Resort Entertainment

If you have the talent to entertain, whether your forte is dancing, singing or even magic tricks, you may find positions available with cruise ships around the world. Working with a cruise line comes with a salary, free accommodation and the chance to travel along.  You of course have to audition, but if you have a special talent that you would like to let shine and you get the position, you will get to paid to do what you love, travel and perform. Backstage.com which offers a list of casting calls for various cruise lines is a great way to get started.

Teach in the US with AmeriCorps

While you may not be able to travel outside the US with AmeriCorps, you will be placed in a new city to work as an educator and role model under one of its programs. AmeriCorps members depending on the program usually serve in low-income communities, working with children in different aspects like homework help and tutoring. Some programs go as far as doing environmental field research like surveying salmon counts and analyzing watersheds. In addition to helping out communities who may be in need, members can have their university loans deferred, receive a monthly stipend, and a grant to help pay for grad school.

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Published on October 8, 2018

13 Incredibly Useful Tactics to Help You to Stick to Your Family Budget

13 Incredibly Useful Tactics to Help You to Stick to Your Family Budget

Are you having trouble sticking to a family budget? You aren’t alone.

Budgeting is difficult. Creating one is hard enough, but actually sticking to it is a whole other issue. Things come up. Desires and cravings happen. And the next thing you know, budgets break.

So how can you stick to a family budget? Here are 13 tips to make it easier.

1. Choose a major category each month to attack

As the saying goes, “Rome wasn’t built in a day.” With that in mind, one approach to help you get into the habit of sticking to a budget is simply starting slow.

Spend too much on Starbucks runs, eat out too often, and have an out-of-this-world grocery bill? Choose one bad habit and attack.

By choosing one behavior to focus on, you’ll prevent yourself from being overwhelmed. You’ll also experience small victories, which help you gain positive momentum. This momentum can then carry over into your overall budget.

2. Only make major purchases in the morning

If you’re making large purchases in the evening, there’s a good chance you’re doing so after a long day and you’re probably tired.

Why does this matter? Because our judgement tends to be off when tired – our willpower is compromised.

Instead, only make major purchasing decisions in the morning when you’re energized and refreshed. Your brain will be firing on all cylinders and your resolve will be high. You’re less likely to give in and settle at this point.

3. Don’t go to the grocery store hungry

Have trouble with impulse buys at the grocery store? If so, there’s a good chance you’re going grocery shopping while hungry.

The problem here is that when you’re hungry, everything looks good. So you’re more likely to make split decisions on things that aren’t on your grocery list.

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Instead, make sure you eat prior to your grocery store trip. Then take your list, along with your full stomach, and go shopping. Notice how food doesn’t look quite so good when you’re not fighting cravings.

4. Read one-star reviews for products

Is there a product you just have to have (but maybe not really)? Check out the one-star reviews.

By reading all the horrible reviews, you may be able to basically trick yourself into deciding that the product isn’t worth your time and money.

Next thing you know, you didn’t make the purchase, you saved the money, and you feel good about the decision.

5. Never buy anything you put in an online shopping cart until the next day

If you are making a purchase online, it’s typically a two-step process. First, you click “Add to Cart” and then you go in to review your cart and pay.

The problem is that there not typically much reviewing during step two. It’s generally click pay and there you go. However, this is the perfect point to stop for reflection.

Once you add to your cart, your best bet is to step away until the next day. Let the item sit there and grow cold, so to speak.

This gives you a night to “sleep on it” and decide if you really want and need to spend that money. If you wake up the next day and still find the purchase viable, then perhaps it’s time to go for it.

6. Don’t save your credit card info on any site you shop on

One of the other pitfalls of shopping online is that fact that most sites ask you to save your credit card information.

While the sites will frame it as a method of convenience, the truth is they know you’ll spend more money in the long run if your credit card information is saved.

The “convenience” takes away one last decision-making point in the purchasing process. True, it’s a pain to get out your credit card and enter the information every time. But guess what? That’s the point. If that inconvenience helps you stay on budget, then it’s worth it. Which leads into the next tip.

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7. Tape an “impulse buy” reminder to your credit card

Credit cards make spending much easier than cash. When you spend cash, you can literally see your wallet emptying. A credit card comes out, then goes back in. No harm, no foul.

That’s why it’s a good idea to tape a reminder to your credit card. Customize a message that is something along the lines of “do you really need this?” or “does it fit the budget?”

That way when you pull out the card, you get one last reminder to help you question your decision and stick to your budget.

8. Only use gift cards to shop on Amazon

Amazon is probably the easiest place online to blow money. It’s just so easy to click and buy. However, one way you can slow the process down is buy only using gift cards. Here’s how it works.

If you plan on making a purchase on Amazon, go to the grocery store and purchase a pre-loaded Amazon gift card of the proper amount. There’s no convenience fee, so you literally pay for the money you’ll spend.

Now take that gift card home and load it to your Amazon account. There’s your money to spend.

Why does this help? It makes you have to purposely go to the score and purchase the card in order to purchase the item. That’s a pretty deliberate thing that takes some time, commitment, and thought.

This process will effectively kill the impulse buy.

9. Budget using cash and envelopes

As mentioned earlier, it’s a lot harder to spend cash than swipe a credit card. You can take this even farther by using only cash, and separating that cash by budget category.

Create an envelope for each category and stick the cash in there at the beginning of each month. When the envelope is empty, no more spending on that category, unless you borrow from another (be careful of that approach).

This can be pretty helpful for people that have a hard time following transactions in their checking account, or keeping a budgeting spreadsheet.

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The envelopes simplify the tracking process, leaving no room for error. Nothing hides from you because it’s tangible in the envelopes in front of you.

10. Join a like-minded group

Making the decision to stick to something like budgeting is difficult. It takes long-term commitment.

You’re going to feel weak sometimes. And sometimes you may fail. That said, support from others can help strengthen resolve.

Support can come from a spouse or a friend, but they won’t always have the exact same goal in mind. That’s why it’s a good idea to join a support group that’s likeminded.

No need to pay here, as there are tons of free communities that fit the bill online.

For example, reddit has multiple subreddits that deal with budgeting and frugal living. You can follow, subscribe, and get active in those communities.

This will open your eyes to new tips and strategies, keep your goal fresh on your mind, and help you realize there are others dealing with the same struggles and being successful.

11. Reward Yourself

When you set a budget, it’s usually with a large goal in mind. Maybe you want to be debt free, or perhaps you want to see $10,000 in your savings account.

Whatever the case, the end goal is great, but the end is often far away, making it hard to see the end of the tunnel.

With that in mind, it’s a good idea to set mini-goals along the way. This helps you still look at the big picture but have something that’s attainable in the short-term to help with momentum.

But don’t stop there – set rewards for yourself when you reach that small goal. Maybe it’s an extra meal out. Or a new pair of shoes.

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Whatever the case, this gives you something in the near future to look forward to, which can help with the fatigue that can result in pursuing long-term goals.

12. Take the Buddhist approach

You don’t have to be a Buddhist to recognize some of the wisdom in the teachings. One of the tenets of the philosophy involves accepting that we can’t have everything we want. And that’s okay.

Sometimes you won’t feel good. Sometimes you’ll have cravings. You can’t deny them. But you can recognize them, accept them, and let them pass by. Then you move on.

Apply this to the times you want to do things that will break your budget. You’re going to have the desire to eat out when you shouldn’t. You might want to stay out and spend too much at happy hour with your work friends.

The feelings will come. Recognize them, accept them, but let them go.

13. Set up automatic drafts to savings

If you wait until you’ve spent all your budgeted money to deposit money into savings, guess what? You probably aren’t going to put any money into savings.

It’s too easy to see that as extra money and end up using it to treat yourself.

Instead, set up automatic savings withdrawals. That way, the money is marked and gone before you can even think about it. It becomes a non-issue. It’s no longer “extra.” It’s just savings.

Conclusion

Sticking to a budget can be difficult. No one is denying that.

However, if you can do a few things to set yourself up for success, and put some practices in place to curb impulse buys, then you can (and will!) be successful sticking to your family budget.

Featured photo credit: rawpixel via unsplash.com

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