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: Food & Drinks
Food can get really expensive if you are travelling in Europe or USA. But there are always ways to get food at a cheaper price or free!
- At weekend farmer’s markets
- In supermarkets
- Companies promoting their products. In Liverpool Station in London, you usually find people giving out free samples of their items. I have gotten free protein balls, fresh organic kale, chocolates and other sweets. They are literally giving these high-quality products for free.
Closing time is a great way to get free food or extra food for free. Some items are perishable and shops are not allowed to sell them. Hence, the sell them for really cheap or give them away for free at night. Many bakeries sell their bread at half price at night and other give things away free. Learn how to get free bagels in New York!
Another way is to visit supermarkets before they are closing. They have discounts before they are closing. For instance, Tesco Supermarket in London reduce their items and you can almost get them for free. We bought a pound cake for 20 pence!
As silly as it sounds, it works. Food competitions are a way to get free meals. Finish your meal under a certain time and get that meal for free! You can visit many restaurants that offer them.
Restaurant with eating competitions in Singapore:
- Base Mega Tower Challenge in Ang Mo Kio. Finish the disk in 10 minutes.
- Lau Pa Sat satay challenge. If you can eat more than 150 satay sticks under 20 minutes, it is free.
- Southwest Tavern Suicide wings challenge. Finish the meal in 15 minutes.
- The beast burger challenge. Finish a 3.2kg burger.
You can get free drinks in 3 ways:
- Either you apply to be a bartender or make friends with one. They can give you free drinks.
- Free drinks night! Ladies night is really common in Asia. Basically, ladies drink for free and enter the bar/clubs for free. Learn how to drink for free in Singapore and free alcohol on Thursdays in Hong Kong. Alternatively, go to a bar or club, flirt a little and see what you get!
- Some people use tinder to get free drinks and free food. You can do that if you have the guts. Tinder connects you with people and usually, you meet up for drinks or meals. Sometimes, you get more than just free drinks or free meals.
Fresh Wild Food
Growing On Trees
This might not fill you up, but it is free. Many countries grow edible produce in public. You can pick them and eat it. We went wild berries picking in Scotland and it was delicious! If you love lemons, lemons grow everywhere in Southern Cape (Africa) and the Mediterranean (Europe). Alternatively, if you are driving through farms, stop to ask the owners if you can pick a few of the fresh produce. If it is the harvesting season, they give fresh produce away if you ask nicely.
Living in the Sea
By the sea? Pick mussels, oysters and shells up to eat them! Adrien and I went to Tharon beach (France) to eat fresh oysters. If you are into fishing, my family went fishing in Fiji and had fresh fish for dinner. In New Zealand, you can find abalone too.
When we were in South Africa, we met a local who dives. We asked him if he could catch some lobster and abalone for us and he could! We had fresh seafood for dinner that day.
Another way is to pick your own food. In Hong Kong, you have a strawberry farm where you pick them and buy them. You are given a basket and allowed to roam around the field to get strawberries. Of course, we ate tons of strawberries while picking them! You have strawberry farms in places like Oregon, USA and Dusseldorf, Germany too.
When we were in Dalat, Vietnam, we stayed on a farm. They had so many fresh organic produce! We could also roam around the farm to pick the fresh cherry tomatoes. We bought 4kg of cherry tomatoes in total because it was so delicious!
Supermarkets throw out lots of food just because they are unable to sell them anymore. It is common in the USA and some parts of Europe. The food is still good and edible, but it is close to expiry and by law, they are not allowed to sell it. Hence, they throw the good food away.
So when it is late at night, people will go to the dumpster to dig for food. It is legal (except for trespassing property) and pretty clean. In Austria, we followed some friends to dumpster dive and found lots of food. There was fresh grapes, bread, chips, juices and more.
Some hotels allow you to take food away for free. Hotel Jen in Singapore allows you to bring food back to your room. You can bring some bread and snacks to keep you fill during the day. After all, you paid for the food in your accommodation price. I usually grab an apple and a banana because they have high energy and healthy too.
Is it your birthday? Oh boy, do I have a surprise for you! Check where you are during your birthday and do the following at least 2 weeks before your birthday:
- Google “free birthday meals [THE CITY]”
- Find out what the city has to offer
- You usually have to sign up for their newsletters and they will give you a free gift for your birthday.
- 2 days before your birthday, you should have received the notifications of all the free items.
- Plan your day so that you get as much free food as possible!
Note: Birthday deals also extend to free services, free cosmetics and lots of random things. You have to find them.
Food at the airport is both disgusting and expensive. If you do not have lounge access, you should pack food for your trip. When I take a long trip on blablacar, I usually pack a sandwich for my journey.
Drink water. It is very important to be hydrated. Instead of buying bottled water everywhere I go, I just bring a water bottle and refill it when I travel. Airport tip: bring an empty water bottle to pass through security!
Tap water in various countries is also drinkable. Refill water in the toilet so you don’t have to be buying water.
In restaurants, if they as you for still or sparkling water, ask for tap water instead. It is usually free.
One Dish, Two Meals
This is especially applicable for travel in the USA. Meal portions in the USA are huge, really huge. Either I split it with someone or I keep the other half for my next meal. For example in New York City, we really love Sylvia’s fried chicken and waffles. But the portion was too huge so we shared one portion between two of us. It was just the right amount!
Other Travel Resources
- Free Things To Do in Japan
- 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)
- 15 Things Under $100 You Need