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Choosing to leave London in April 2016 in favour of a year of work and travel around the globe was so far, the best adult life decision I’ve ever made. What started out as a journey of escapism evolved into a series of trips that each allowed me to build on my career as a writer in different ways – and which led to plenty of free travel opportunities. So can everyone do it?

It is actually possible to travel the world for free as a writer, marketer or blogger?

Well in short, yes.  But it takes a lot of hustle, planning and persistence.

Travel writing sounds dreamy so it’s no wonder everyone wants to travel the world for free in this way.
Most people reckon it’s just centred around jetting off to exotic climes where your only task is sitting in a hammock/hotel lobby to complete a few assignments before spending the rest of the day exploring and socialising with your new friends on a beach.

Well OK, *sometimes* it is actually kind of like that…but there’s also a whole load of non-glamorous work attached to it as well. Oh, and you need savings to fall back on too because it’s not a reliable or consistent lifestyle.

I now get a lot of people asking me for tips, so I thought I’d share the knowledge I’ve accumulated in a blog post below, detailing THREE of the most successful ways in which I travel the world for free using my skills in online marketing, blogging and writing. Happy hustling!

1. I BLOGGED FOR A HOSTEL

travel the world for free
One hostel I blogged for in Nicaragua

What I recieved:

Free accommodation, free food, free trips

Skills used:

Blogging, SEO, social media, writing, hustling.

How it worked:

Hostels rely heavily on volunteers and it’s not all bar and reception jobs that are out there – many need assistance with their websites and social media so it’s an easy way to travel the world for free by offsetting accommodation costs. I found my role at a surf hostel in Tamarindo, Costa Rica (they’re called Blue Trailz – deffs stay there) after seeing an advert on Work Away. I had a Skype interview from NYC and then I jetted off to Costa Rica for three weeks to re-write and SEO-optimise the hostel website, teach them how to use social media and assist with their blogging efforts. In exchange I received free accommodation (a bed in a 6-person dorm – sleeping was but a distant memory), some free food, and two free excursions (surf lessons and horse-riding on a white beach!)

How to do the same:

Contact hostels in your chosen location before you book any flights, or alternatively wait until you arrive somewhere and ask around. Be sure to have examples of previous  work as proof that you’re up to the job.

2. I COLLABORATED WITH TRAVEL COMPANIES

travel the world for free
Working hard on a trip to Vietnam

What I received:

Free flights, free accommodation, a stipend for activities (a totally free trip every time, basically).

Skills used:

HUSTLE (in abundance), research, writing, blogging, organisation, general persuasion/coercion/begging abilities

How it worked:

Ok so I’ve gone on some *amazing* free/partially funded trips (Morocco, Cuba, Africa, Vietnam) and I got them by simply asking the travel companies to pay for me. Why did they say yes? Well my pitches were good and my writing is excellent – if one of those two components wasn’t up to scratch, I wouldn’t have secured the opportunities. It basically all works by contacting various people and keeping everyone happy.

I first found travel companies which suited the audience that I write for (young, adventurous millennials). I introduced myself via email as a professional writer and proved that I had written for some big travel sites and publications in the past before offering the travel companies the chance to be mentioned in some of the outlets I write for, as well as on my Instagram/blog. In exchange I asked for a totally comped trip so I was never out of pocket. I’d then tell my editors that I had some exciting pitches for them and once they were accepted, the travel companies would send me on the trip and I’d come back and write everything for the sites. I get to travel the world for free, the travel companies receive the exposure and the publications get the content. Everyone wins!

How to do the same:

Honestly, this will only work if you have either; a KILLER Instagram following (like 200k+) and you’re just a great Instablogger, or you’re a professional writer. I fall into the second category and obviously I’ve been writing all my life but the hardest part was still getting the pitches accepted. Editors and travel bosses probably won’t commission you/pay for you to travel the world for free if you’re not already somewhat established either on Instagram or in journalism. (I’m trying for both right now) This blog didn’t come until much, much later and was just a way to showcase some more of my travels and interlink everything, but I don’t reallyyy make much money from this site. If you want to get into travel writing but you don’t have any contacts/experience, my advice would be to start writing for smaller sites first (cold pitching sometimes works), or write for free to get your name out there. I interned at various publications many moons ago (OK. like last year) but those contacts are still invaluable today.

3. I SHAMELESSLY SELF PROMOTED MYSELF ON SOCIAL MEDIA MORE THAN IS ACTUALLY HEALTHY

travel the world for free
Writing for travel site Liligo

What I received:

More writing/marketing opportunities, a very small, practically non-existent level of social media sub-fame.

Skills used:

I mastered the art of giving no fucks, semi-consistently.

How it worked:

When it comes to social media, yes content is king, but it’s also simply a question of who is truly able to shout the loudest into the online abyss otherwise known as the internet.  I created a blog, I started posting edited travel photos to Instagram, I tagged brands, I made a Facebook page, I over-shared, I interlinked all my social media pages, I probably embarrassed myself. I then began making money from content marketing, which pays *far* better than travel articles. It’s basically writing for the content section of travel companies and I did this for Liligo, Intrepid and Topdeck.

How to do the same:

Stop worrying about whether your writing is good enough and just buy that domain and start blogging if you want to get into writing. Research how to SEO optimise your posts, dive into other people’s blogs for tips, ask questions, be consistent, stay organised and aim as high as you can with ALL your travel and writing goals. You’ll be surprised at much success you get once you actually start backing yourself first.


Do you have any tips on how to travel the world for free? Or simply more questions? Comment below or email me and I’ll try to reply!

 

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