Travel for free? Are you kidding? No, I am not. Travelling need not be insanely expensive and here are some useful tips to travel for free, or almost free. This is not an ad.
This Ultimate Guide is a 6-part series of how to travel for free or almost free. Click any specific aspect to learn more. Each category shares more in-depth details about the topic.
- General Travel Tips
- Get Around: Free Transport
- Stay: Free Accommodation
- Eat: Free Food & Drinks
- Do: Free Activities
- Get Money: A Job
Travel For Free: General Travel Tips
These are proven, trialled and tested tips by me or other frequent travellers that I know. Check out the 100% Useful Travel Hacks At the Airport if you have not read it yet. Let’s begin!
Book in Advance
This is a cliché travel tip, but it can save you a lot of money. We wanted to travel to Cuba and by the time we wanted to book it (2 weeks before), the price doubled! We decided to postpone the trip.
Note: Although there is no “cheapest day” to buy your tickets, as mentioned by an Airline Revenue Staff, do keep a lookout for deals and discount routes. Look out for weekly airline promotions when booking. Sign up for their email newsletters to get the latest updates on their promotions. (Read 4 other travel hacks to buy the cheapest air tickets.)
Book Direct with the Airlines
- Google Flights, Skyscanner, Kayak, Momondo and all these online travel aggregators are useful to get information of your specific flight. You should use them to compare across important details like aircraft type, flight timing, stopovers, etc.
- Things to check: Specific flight information (date, time, flight number, arrival & departure airports) and cross-reference it to ITA Matrix.
- Book it on the specific airline’s website directly.
This means that the ticket belongs to you and not the online travel agent. Also, you reduce the middleman fee by booking directly. Orbitz and eDreams are examples of middleman with extortionate fees.
Note: If and only if you can’t get a cheaper price with the direct website, you book it with whatever website that is cheaper. Do note that some of the online travel agents charge a “service fee” for using your credit card, so it might end up being more expensive.
Note: If you can’t find your specific flight online, call the airline company. They can book that specific flight for you, instead of booking it online.
This happens more in the US than Asia, to be honest. They oversell their seats and would pay people to get bumped off that flight. Sometimes you get a cash voucher for the flight, sometimes you get an upgrade. For instance, Elliott was bumped off his flight from New York to London with United and they gave him US$2000 and an upgrade to take the next flight. They also provide accommodation and some dining voucher if your flight is the next day. You have to volunteer for this.
Skip Last Flight for Cheaper Flights
It might not sound sane, but book your flight journey with favourable stopovers and skip the last flight only. Listen to the example first:
I am flying from London to Los Angeles. Flying directly from London is very expensive, so I will fly from Oslo instead. I will find the following flight: Oslo – Los Angeles – London (as a stopover) – Oslo (£347). It is cheaper than a direct London – LAX – London flight (£609). And what do I do? I buy a cheap London-Oslo flight (£29 from STN or £90 from LHR). Take that flight to Los Angeles (regardless the stopovers). Coming home, I take the flight from Los Angeles (no check-in) to London. In London, I will skip the last flight back to Oslo. This way, my air ticket is a lot cheaper!
This only works by ditching the last and final flight. Ditching any flight means that the booking is invalid, so you should only ditch the last flight.
Always be sure to check if your accommodation has free internet. In countries where internet is generally poor (like the Philippines), it might be challenging. The good news is that more and more places provide free WiFi around. For example, you have cafés with WiFi, metro station with WiFi, trains with WiFi, fast food chains with WiFi and other public places like parks.
- Wifi in the airports is generally free. Check the WiFi password for your airport.
- Best WiFi in El Nido, Palawan
- WiFi in Switzerland
- “freegovwifi”: Free WiFi in all public areas in Hong Kong, including library, parks and metro.
- WiFi on the plane: Free WiFi for 15 minutes on Qatar Airways flight
- Most trains in Europe has WiFi
- Onboard Deutsche Banh ICE trains (German trains)
- Trenitalia (Italy’s trains)
- NS (Netherlands trains)
- Free WiFi in all underground stations in London
- Other places with free WiFi: H&M, McDonald’s, Starbucks, TopShop, Forever21, museums
- Resource: this website has a map detailing all the wifi hotspots in the world
- A mobile WiFi is also very useful if you are constantly travelling and require internet.
Do share more general travel tips to travel for free! I will be updating when I get new tips and new information. Subscribe to get updated with quality information!
Other Travel Resources
- Travel hacks at the Airport by Frequent Travellers
- How to choose a good backpack for travel
- Headsets for Travel
- Travel Gadgets: Headsets | Camera | Phone | Drone | GoPro | Laptop (Capturing these memories are everything and they help in the jobs section)
Trevellers is my way to change the world. Through my stories, tips and lessons learnt, I truly hope to inspire you to get out of your comfort zone, see the world and see who you truly are. Travel is more than just taking a selfie. Travel is an adventure, where you can truly become who you are, give you the time to reflect and grow to become the person you’ve always wanted to be.