Traveling With Zero in the Bank - Taste & Curiosity

Traveling With Zero in the Bank

by David Wang January 20, 2017

Traveling With Zero in the Bank

Many of us want to see different cities around the world, but don’t have the funds to do so. Luckily, if you don’t mind doing a little work abroad, you can get away with going to your desired destinations for months on end and coming back with just as much money as you started with, maybe even more!

The Flight

With airlines giving away free points all the time, you don’t need to wait to secure airline miles for your next free flight! You can sign up for cobranded credit cards and receive at least 30,000 miles just for signing up. Other cards such as Chase Sapphire Preferred allows you to earn miles on every dollar spent. There are plenty of other cool ways to rack up miles day to day, check out this article for an awesome guide on how to do so:


Flying Over Argentina by Margo Brodowicz

The other way to make flying more affordable is to take advantage of discount airlines. A friend of mine was able to travel from Boston to London for $160 one way via WOW air. The catch is add-ons are relatively more expensive for these airlines so travel light. With a 46 Liter backpack you can stay within the baggage limit and optimize the amount of stuff you can bring with you. Backpacks also can persist through rough conditions in other countries that would otherwise wear down rollers and traditional suitcases (ex. Cobblestone paths in Italy).

Cobblestone Path in Italy by Ivanna Salgado

Once you are in another continent, namely Europe or Asia, there are plenty of cheap flying options to consider. The reason flying domestically in the US is so expensive is because of high airport taxes imposed on airlines. Good ways to catch discounts and deals for flights are by using apps like Skyscanner and Google flights.

The Housing

You have a lot of options for housing. This one really depends on how comfortable you are with sharing spaces with strangers. These options are generally pretty safe but like anything unknown you can always run into difficulties.

If you enjoy meeting people / don’t mind sharing spaces:

  • Couchsurfing – You can use to find other people willing to let you crash at their place; this is free but you would have to be comfortable with staying at a stranger’s place. Couch surfing is a great way to meet people and learn about the community from locals themselves.
  • Hostels – Common option for budget travelers where you can rent a bed in a shared space, usually a dormitory environment or private room if you are willing to fork over a little more money. This option is great for meeting other travelers and participating in group events that the hostel usually hosts for free.
  • Workaway – Website where you can find hosts to provide you with room and board for volunteer work a few hours a day. Workaway allows you to find an arrangement that best fits your skillset and needs.
  • WWOOF – Stands for World Wide Opportunities on Organic Farms. Work on someone’s organic farm while you are abroad and you get free housing out of it. Great way to learn about sustainability while seeing the world!
  • Au Pair – If you like kids you can help with childcare and chores for free housing and earn some spending money as well.

Hostel in Taiwan by

If you would rather keep to yourself / stay with your group:

  • Airbnb – You pay to rent someone’s place out. Sometimes they are there sometimes they aren’t, depending on the listing.
  • House Sitting – You can volunteer to look after someone’s house while they are away for an extended period of time. Chores include watering the plants and walking the dog. Pretty awesome deal!
  • Private Hostels – This is really luck of the draw. Some hostels are actually pretty private. A friend of mine who visited Malaysia was able to rent out a hostel that was really the equivalent of a junior suite inside a hotel in America.

The Transportation

Getting around can add up, whether it be taking the subway and bus or Ubering to your desired destination. Here are some tips to reduce the money you spend:

  • Buy subway passes and bus passes in advance at discounted rates
  • Rent a bike or participate in a bike sharing service
  • Free walking tours – Most foreign countries have them for visitors to promote their other services
  • Walk! – Why not explore on your own two feet? No schedule, no tour guides, just complete freedom to see everything from the local market to popular landmarks.

For going from country to country in Europe, you can partake in long distance ride sharing using a service called BlaBlaCar. It’s like Uber, but for long distances!

 Bla Bla Car Promotion in Paris by David McSpadden

Daily Spending

Finally, there will always be random expenditures here and there, no matter how frugal you are. You can of course save money by cooking whenever you can, but how do you make some spending money? Here are a list of jobs you could do, that many global travelers have done in the past to sustain their lifestyle:

  • Teach English – High demand in foreign countries.
  • Be a camp counselor
  • Do freelance work
  • Photography
  • Au Pair
  • Street Performing
  • Poker

These jobs are obviously based on individual skill sets, but the point is that there are a plethora of options to choose from when it comes to making some side cash.

Now Go See the World 

Hope you learned something that you can take with you on your travels! Now you know there is really no excuse to not travel if you really want to. You can see the world no matter how much money is in your bank account.

David Wang
David Wang


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