In the wise words of my bidness partna, Damon Dominique, “If you can’t travel, bring travel to you.”
Let’s keep it one-hunen…you want to travel but you’re still broke no matter how many times you watch our videos. We’ve had to get crafty to find cheap or free ways to quench our thirst for travel for those times that we absolutely needed to stay put and save money. The point is that you don’t need to spend your savings on a bus, plane, or train ticket to consider yourself a traveler. Ready to get your mind blown?
Work or Volunteer in a Hostel
Two years ago, right after I studied abroad in Paris and had the most transformative four-month experience to date, my spiritual energy was thrown off balance by having to return to New York City induced stress. I was trying to find happiness despite being overwhelmed about going back into a real college, searching for my sixth internship (ya girl is a hustla), and looking for a part-time job to pay the bills. As a business major, it had always been natural for me to apply for the “cut-throat HBIC” type internships. However, after coming back from traveling abroad and actually finding myself and my passions, I knew I couldn’t settle for less than international everything, all the time.
I was flustered trying to find a solution of having to rebuild my funds after studying abroad, while trying to be in the international ambiance that I can’t live without. And that’s exactly when the universe brought me to work at Hostelling International in Manhattan as a “Guest Agent”. Damon had been walking around looking for a job and accidentally stumbled upon the largest hostel in North America, HI-NY. He walked in, got hired, and hooked me up with the job a few weeks later. I was finally working in a hip and global environment, speaking my four languages every single day and meeting the hottest travelers of all time. Australians, I see you baby.
Stay in a Hostel in a Town Nearby
Sometimes you just need a “next-town-over-cation” to get the thrill of staying in a hostel with complete strangers. If you’re in New York, you can book a MegaBus for as little as one frickin’ dollar to go all the way to Washington D.C. There are other deals all over the States, so don’t be shy, go on with your bad self! The cool part about staying in a hostel, regardless if they’re in the USA or abroad, is that they usually host bar crawls, free dinners (pasta), and other community type of events to make sure you’re getting out of your comfort zone and meeting new people. Odds are, if you book a hostel for your stay, there will be hot Australians crashing for the night that you can make friends with. Trust me, they’re everywhere.
Read Up on Matador Network
Back when we first started working at the hostel, we came across this group of phenomenal traveling geniuses who created the largest privately owned digital travel magazine in the world. It gets better than this though, Matador Network isn’t just a place for you to read up on your daily fix of travel tales, it’s also an online travel university as well. If you’re all about turning your travel passions into a career, then you should create an account and invest in some travel videography, photography, or writing. Ya welcome.
Take a Google Earth Vacation
When I absolutely can’t book a ticket to leave the city, I use the interwebs to take me to new places. Looking up foreign countries and cities on Google Maps is a reminder to myself of how massive the world is, and how many places I have yet to discover. You can take my Google Maps technique to the next level by downloading Google Earth for free and seeing the world a little bit clearer
Volunteer as a Language Partner
If you’re concerned that just because you can’t speak a foreign language that you may be less of a traveler, you got anotha thang comin’ for you with this next tip. Take it from the former ESL girl, students learning English would kill to have a buddy with whom they can actually make relevant day-to-day conversations with. Just do a quick Google search “language partner volunteer in (insert your hood),” and contact the person in charge of the program to get started.
You, as an English speaker, are already equipped with the greatest gift for traveling – the universal converter for communication. As a language partner, you’ll be able to use your English-speaking gift to help someone who really needs it, all while simultaneously building a relationship with an interesting new person who can teach you a thing or two about their culture and language in return. The concept is brilliant and completely underrated. At the end of the day, despite the language we speak, or don’t speak, the most important thing is that we all speak the language of human *cue snaps.*
Buy Groupons/Living Social All-Inclusive Day Trips
Just because you only get 10 days of vacation for the entire year doesn’t mean that you can’t travel on short day trips. With that said, you should shut up and go check the travel deals in Groupon or Living Social to see what you can score. There are plenty of tours, hikes, and other adventure filled activities that you can book for less than $100. Be sure that transportation and lodging are included so you don’t have to worry about the nitty gritty. Even if you’re only going 30 minutes away, putting yourself out of the daily routine will still give you that feeling of journeying to keep you refreshed and motivated, promise.
Travel Massive Events
Wouldn’t it be nice to put all of the passionate travelers in the world together in one snazzy location with a bunch of cheap drinks? That’s where Travel Massive comes through. These Meetups are the real deal of the travel industry, with thousands of fellow nomads just looking to meet likeminded travelers. If you’re all about making some friends who will actually get your obsession for travel, you should get on the Travel Massive band wagon.
Sign up for a CouchSurfing.com Account
Last but not least, we want to share one of our favorite websites, CouchSurfing.com, which is an online social network for people who want to either couchsurf with strangers, or host strangers. Sounds crazy? Yea, and that’s why we love it. It’s a fully reputable platform where couchsurfers leave a review on the profile of the host, and the host leaves a review on the profile of the couchsurfer. The more positive reviews, the higher your chances are of being able to crash on someone’s couch fo’ free. It’s a little bit intimidating at first, but even if you’re with a friend you can find a couch to crash. FYI: Couch surfing isn’t just about staying in someone’s apartment or house for free, it’s about building relationships with people that are just as passionate about traveling and who want to spread the cheer around with strangers.
Damon and I recently went to Washington D.C. and didn’t feel like spending $30 for one night at a hostel, so we relied on the Couch Surfing network to avoid sleeping on a bench… again. The experience was amazing to say the least. Our host, Alex, took us into his beautiful AND clean apartment, showed us a night out on the town at local bars and clubs. The next morning he even drove us around town to give us a tour on what the locals of D.C. really do. Here’s the video of how it all went down: Couchsurfing in D.C.