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How to travel the world for free

Friends sojourning Europe

Backpacking and bargains… a match made in heaven, no? The less you spend, the more incredible destinations become possible. But the year is 2022 and we want more. How do you travel the world for free? 

Nope, you don’t need to be an influencer (or even an international spy…) All it takes is planning and maybe a little help along the way. Here are some tried-and-tested tips for free travel, from competitions and volunteering, to the best summer job in the world (probably…)

Travel the world for free with Contiki 


1. Enter competitions – lots of them

You can often find travel companies running competitions, offering the grand prize of a trip, flight, or accommodation for free. Yes, competitions are… competitive. Thousands will probably apply. The chances are ever so slim. But, what if? 

You might as well put your name down a few times for good luck! Contiki regularly run quizzes and competitions on social media, so the first thing to do would be to make sure you’re following their official accounts.

A few months back, some folks won a free trip to Hawaii for two people. Throughout the pandemic, more incredible humans won Contiki travel, after being nominated by their friends and co-workers. 

So, one thing is clear – Contiki are really not messing around when you hear the words, ‘free travel!’ Literally. Sign up as many times as you can handle.

Travel flat lay - Diary, passport and sunglasses

2. Become a Contiki Trip Manager

If you’ve ever done a Contiki, you’ll probably know being a Trip Manager is the coolest job ever. And you don’t even need experience. Yes, really! 

Formal experience, that is. Contiki Trip Managers need to have awesome leadership skills, plus a love for travel and meeting new people. After all, if your application is successful, you’ll be guiding a group of 18-35 year old travellers around the world (and making sure everyone has a great time!) 

But seriously, life experience and a beaming personality will get you far when it comes to being a Contiki Trip Manager. Training is provided! At the same time, certifications in first aid or experience in leading a tour will help you stand out, too. New roles are released all the time, usually focused in a particular region, like Europe, Asia, or New Zealand

Check out the main things we look for in our open roles:

If you’re interested, hit the link to find out more about being a Contiki Trip Manager.

Contiki bus with group in Norway

3. Become a travel ambassador

Do you love making TikTok videos? Or is Insta more your thing? Maybe you’ve had a travel blog charting your adventures for a while and want to start making money from it. These will all help you get your foot in the door when it comes to being a travel ambassador with Contiki!

How it works:

It’s really not that difficult to get involved. You could write an article about your past travels. You could post a video review on your social platform. Or maybe you’ve got other creative ideas?

The door is always open. For more info on how to make money travelling with Contiki, check out our affiliates program now.

A man is taking a selfie with a group of huskies.

More ways to travel the world for free

Home swapping

Nope, home swapping isn’t reserved to the likes of Kate Winslet and Cameron Diaz – but if you ever watched The Holiday (2006), you’ll know it’s a great way to see the world for free. The concept is simple: swap your home with a friend or pen pal for a holiday. That way, you both get to experience a new destination. The best bit is, every time you go travelling, you’ll likely meet more people you can trust to water your plants for a while! You could also check out sites like MindMyHouse for house or pet sitting gigs. You’ll usually get paid a fee and free accommodation while the homeowner is away.


You’ve hit the beaches, explored the old town, and bought your fill of ice-cream and souvenirs… now what? For many travellers, organising a volunteering gig for part of their trip helps make it financially viable and gives you something new to do. It could be anything from gardening to helping out a hostel or school. Best yet, the perks usually include discount off your flights or accommodation.

Work or study abroad

You’ve probably met fellow travellers who have taken trips as part of their college or university course (Erasmus is one example). It could involve spending a term or two in another country. Or even taking some classes there. With sites like Workaway, you can pay a one-time fee (around $30)  to sign up for a year of daily job and volunteering postings across the world. Flights will still be a cost here, but discounted or free accommodation is usually offered.

Okay, so you’ve decided to travel the world for free… shall we get deciding on destinations? From Egyptian adventures to island hopping in Turkey, check out Contiki trips now ?

Skydiving in new zealand mountains

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