Traveling is an awesome activity and hobby but the experience can vary depending on your age. Nowadays travel and exploration aren’t just seen as something you do when you retire, and young people are encouraged to get out and travel before they reach their 30s and start having more responsibilities.
Traveling is not only fulfilling, but it can open your eyes to many opportunities and allow you to learn more about yourself and the world around you. Simply put, travel is amazing at any age but it can be very groundbreaking in your 20s.
There’s just one major problem. The cost of travel can seem expensive for 20-somethings who are in college or have graduated and are still in the process of getting on their feet financially and launching their careers.
Travel doesn’t have to cost a fortune though. There are plenty of ways to significantly lower the cost of travel in your 20s and here are some of the best options to start with.
Use Websites to Find Cheap Flights
Airfare is probably one of the largest expenses for any traveler who needs to fly to their destination. You can cut the cost of airfare by comparing tickets for flights before you book one.
You can use a wide variety of helpful websites to do this like SkyScanner (which is great for European destinations but locates cheap flights all around the world), Kayak, and Hopper just to name a few.
You’ll want to start looking at flights weeks before you expect to book your ticket and you can even use some of these resources to set up alerts so you’ll be notified during days that prices drop.
If you’re a student, you may want to consider studying abroad to help lower the cost of travel. You’ll have to take classes of course, but you can earn college credits and explore different countries which is a win-win.
I studied abroad during college and stayed in Ireland for a month. It was an amazing experience that I’ll never forget. Plus, it was a cheaper way to travel. It’s no secret that Europe is expensive and I stayed for an entire month.
The program I was in provided me with room and board, plus lunch during the weekdays. There were also many activities and outings that were already included in the program so I didn’t have to spend extra money. I also earned a scholarship which helped lower the costs of the trip even more.
We attended class for a few hours Monday through Friday then we usually went exploring around Ireland. During the weekends, the students and I had free to do our own exploring or whatever we wanted.
If you’re interested in studying abroad to lower travel costs, review some of the programs your college offers and ask about scholarships.Travel is an awesome way to learn and experience the world. Don't let the cost hold you back. Click To Tweet
Volunteering can be a great way to help others while seeing the world. Generally, when you volunteer to lower the cost of travel, you should make sure you’re earning something in return like a free place to stay.
There are quite a few programs that need volunteers and will provide travel and lodging accommodations in return. Keep in mind that you still need to have some money of your own, but by eliminating the two biggest travel expenses, you can save a ton.
If you join the Peace Corps, you can take advantage of two-year travel opportunities to Asia, South America, and other areas.
You can also become a UN volunteer and travel to other countries for free.
You can also earn free lodging and food in exchange for working on different farms through the WOOF organization. Basically, you choose where you want to travel to and see if the organization has any farms in their community that you can work at while you’re there.
Another option would be to find work in the country you’re traveling to. Some travelers are able to land full time and part time positions that provide them with the income needed to meet their basic needs and fund travel.
You could teach English in other countries, freelance, work on a cruise ship, become an au pair or a nanny, or pick up other jobs to earn money. This option would be best for 20-year-olds without any kids who wish to travel long-term or frequently.
If you pick up a traditional job, you may have to stay in the area you’re visiting for a few months to a year.
Backpack and Stay in Hostels
Backpacking is a type of traveling that involves carrying all your personal items in a backpack and exploring different areas in a nomadic way. It’s safe to say that backpackers don’t have a lot of ‘baggage’ which makes travel much cheaper.
It’s a minimalistic way to get around and it’s great for 20-somethings who want to travel the world on a budget. You can stay in affordable hostels or Airbnbs and use public transportation to get around.
You can also participate in free activities like hiking, swimming, free tours and more.
House Sit or Couch Surf
Yes, you can earn money for travel or even free lodging by house sitting and couch surfing. MindMyHouse connects homeowners with housesitters who can look after their homes and pets when they’re away. You don’t need to be a professional either. For this site, you pay $20 annually to gain access to the house sitting jobs available internationally, then you can score free housing accommodations for a few nights, weeks or even months.
If you don’t mind meeting new people and staying with them, CouchSurfing.com puts a whole new spin on the idea of couch surfing. This site connects travelers with people who are willing to share their homes for no charge. As a couch surfer, you can always return the favor and host when travelers come to your town. For added safety, everyone who uses this site needs to be verified and hosts need to have completed profiles and references.
RV Around the States
Finally, if you don’t wish to travel abroad, you can still make travel affordable in the states by renting an RV and driving to different destinations. You can round up a few friends, and head off for a super long road trip during the summer.
RV rentals are not particularly cheap. But, with a group or even 1-2 other people, you can split the costs of the rental and gas. You can also stay at campgrounds overnight for cheap or even park overnight in some Walmart parking lots for free.
With an RV, you can also cook most of your food and enjoy cheap recreational activities that will significantly lower the cost of traveling.
Have you ever tried any of these hacks to lower the cost of travel? Which destinations are on your travel bucket list?