When most people think of travel, they think of packing a suitcase, hopping on an airplane, checking into a hotel, and either sitting on the beach with umbrella drink in hand or checking tourist attractions off the to-do list. Travel is amazing no matter how you go about it, but some types of travel take it up a notch and add a bit more adventure to your journey. These types of travel may not include five-star (or even three-star) hotels, traditional transportation, or pristine resort beaches, but they offer those willing to take the plunge with a thrilling, authentic, and often, less expensive trip abroad.
1. Book an around the world flight
Who says you have to book a standard round trip ticket, spend a week traveling, and then head home? Why not book multiple one-way tickets and check all those to-dos off your bucket list. A round-trip ticket from providers like Indie or the Star Alliance allows you to visit multiple countries and control how long you spend in each spot. To top it off, depending on your route, these tickets may cost less than some round-trip tickets overseas.
2. Learn to farm
If you have the travel bug, but don’t have any extra cash, Worldwide Opportunities on Organic Farms (also known as WWOOFing), may be your best bet. With an impressive worldwide network, this organization works by connecting traveler with organic farms around the globe. You’ll score a free place to stay and three meals a day in exchange for four to six hours daily work. Not only will you eat well, but you will meet plenty of locals and other WWOOFers along the way.
3. Camper van
You can do more than check out the tourist attractions near your hotel or hop the Eurail from one major city to the next. Renting a camper van allows you to go where you want, when you want. You can get away from the tourist traps, see lesser-known sites, and sleep anywhere in your truly “mobile” home. To try out #vanlife for yourself you can zoom around Europe, the Americas, Australia, Africa, and more with Wicked Campers. Interested in Japan’s whacky culture or their renowned winter snowfall? Get deep in all things Japan with a camper van rental from Japan Campers.
4. Peace Corps
If you’re serious about getting out and discovering a different culture, there is no better way than the Peace Corps. Not only will you have the chance to make an actual difference in the world, but you’ll also join the ranks of over 210,000 alumni who have impacted (and been impacted by) people from all around the globe. By the time you’re done with your 27-month commitment you’ll be fully immersed in a country’s ins and outs and have some impressive language skills to boot.
5. Teach abroad
If you want to truly immerse yourself in a culture and make money while doing it, check out teaching English abroad. With opportunities everywhere from El Salvador to South Korea, you make a living, learn a language, and can travel every chance you get. Some programs pay for your flights and accommodations. Start by searching sites like Travel Away or get some tips on how to make it happen from Transitions Abroad.
6. House swap
You may have a house and a mortgage but don’t let that get in the way of seeing the world. Sites like Home Exchange help make the connection between homeowners so you can literally swap houses with someone else. Step into the life of your French counterpart or experience a Guatemalan neighborhood. Not only will house swapping give you an authentic taste of another culture, but with ample space, a full kitchen, and in some cases, some awesome amenities, you can bring along the entire family (or a crew of your closest friends).
7. House sitting
If you want to stay in one place for a bit longer or don’t want to splurge for that fancy hotel (or endure the grime of a low price hostel), it may pay off to do some research on house sitting. Sites like Mind My House connect homeowners with travelers so you can get a free place to stay in exchange for some basic house sitting with some possible chores thrown in. Bonus points if you love animals or have gardening skills. If you want to really feel like a local check out postings for long-term house sitters.