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20 Ways to Save Money and Staying Free While Living Abroad

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If you have been thinking about living abroad but hesitating to finally take the plunge because of the expense.

Don’t worry, we’ve been there too!

Luckily, we’ve come to realize that there are a lot of ways to staying free and moving does not have to break the bank.

You could find cheap accommodation by using couch-surfing, staying with friends and family members who live locally, and using public transportation instead of taxis or Uber.

There are many ways that you can cut down the cost of living abroad without sacrificing too much comfort or convenience.

To help you get started, we’ve put together 20 tips that we hope will help make your time overseas more affordable!

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Disclosure: Some of the links below are affiliate links, meaning at no additional cost to you, I will make a commission if you click through and make a purchase.

20 Ways to Save Money and Staying Free While Living Abroad

If you’re ready to make your move and start living abroad, it’s easy to get overwhelmed by the costs involved.

When you consider flights, visas, insurance, transport costs, and accommodation it can get pretty expensive.

And many people also forget about the cost of food while living in another country.

Luckily, if you want to save money then there are several options available to help make your transition overseas more manageable.

Here are some great ways that will save you both time and money:

Work exchanges to find free accommodation.

You may be able to stay for free for a week or even longer if you’re willing to volunteer in return for your room and board.

There are plenty of opportunities available throughout the world, including homestays, B&Bs, eco-hostels, and cabins.

You could also find work as a volunteer on organic farms, or working in an animal refuge.

A few sites you can use to find free accommodation as a traveler are WWOOF, HelpX, and WorkAway.

This is a great way to enjoy a unique travel experience and save money at the same time.

Stay with local hosts through sites like Couchsurfing and Global Freeloaders.

These organizations allow you to stay with hosts who want to meet and help travelers from all over the world.

Couchsurfing is a great way to meet new friends and stay with locals without paying a single cent.

Find fun activities going on in the area, have dinner together, and enjoy a free place to stay for as long as you’re traveling.

Just be aware that some Couchsurfing hosts will require you to organize your own transportation to and from their home, cook for yourself or clean up after yourself.

This is a great way to investigate the country’s culture, meet new people and save money!


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Staying with friends and family members.

If you’re already friends with someone living in the country where you’re planning to travel, this might be an obvious choice for staying free while abroad.

There’s no easier way to cut the costs of travel than to stay with friends and family members who will welcome you in their homes and give you a free place to sleep.

You may be able to get Wi-Fi, laundry facilities, some home cooking, or use of a vehicle while staying with friends or family.

This is a good option if you’re already friends with people in the country where you want to move.

But it might be hard to find an opportunity if you just arrived there and don’t know anyone.

Use public transportation to save money.

Public transportation is generally cheaper than taking taxis, Uber, or other private cars while you’re abroad.

Local buses, trains, and subways are the best choice for staying on a budget while traveling, so be sure to check what’s available in your area before opting for another form of transportation.

This is also a great way to meet locals and get familiar with the city, as well as make travel plans for other areas you might visit during your stay.

Volunteering can be an excellent way to reduce your expenses when staying abroad.

There are plenty of opportunities you could take advantage of, including working at orphanages, or with children who need extra help at school.

You could even volunteer in cafes and restaurants to get free food while you’re living abroad.

There is a lot of demand for volunteers in the community, so have a look on sites like GoVolunteer and Idealist to find projects you might be interested in.

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Find deals on activities

If you want to reduce the cost of your time abroad, but don’t have much free time, there are still opportunities to staying free while traveling.

Look for deals and discounts on activities, opt for free or less expensive museums, visit the library instead of a movie theater, and participate in events going on at local cafes.

You could even consider passing up paid attractions like zoos and amusement parks in favor of wandering around national parks and gardens to find fun things to do for free!

House sitting has become a popular way for people to save money while living abroad.

You could find homeowners looking to take a vacation who are willing to let you tend the house in return for free accommodation.

This is an excellent option if you’re planning on staying in one place for several weeks or months, as it will give you time to relax and explore the area without having to worry about accommodation costs.

There are several websites where you can find house sitting opportunities, including Mind My House and TrustedHousesitters.

Check out this comprehensive guide to help you find legit house-sitting jobs and staying free while abroad.

Use your credit card rewards points to save money while traveling.

If you’re staying abroad and paying for all your travel expenses with a credit card, that means you’ll also be accruing points and getting discounts on your credit card bill.

This can be helpful if you know you’ll be spending a lot of money on transport, groceries, and entertainment while abroad.

Be sure to check your credit card’s terms of service before taking advantage of this offer to find out what kind of purchases the points can be used for and how long they take to accumulate.

Homestays are a great way to staying free while abroad.

By spending the night in someone else’s home and sharing their daily routines, you can cut costs while getting a sense of how locals live and what it might be like if you decided to stay longer in that area.

There are many locals who would be willing to have a short-term “live-in guest” in return for free or reduced rent.

This is a great way to save money while traveling abroad and get a more personal perspective on the city where you’re living.

Homestays are also an excellent way for you to get comfortable with your surroundings before deciding whether you want to stay longer.

Teach English Abroad to save money.

There are plenty of opportunities to teach English overseas by doing TEFL (Teaching English as a Foreign Language).

You could even do this from the comfort of your current home, as it may be possible to teach students online.

This is an excellent way for you to have some spare cash on hand while you’re traveling, and can often be a great opportunity for you to network and establish contacts that could be useful for jobs in the future.

It might also lead to a possible teaching position if you decide to stay longer, as many schools prefer international teachers who have experience teaching English as a second language.

Here is an article that will help you find online teaching jobs to earn extra income.

Becoming an Au Pair is an excellent way for you to staying free and saving.

Au pairs spend time with local children in exchange for room and board, saving the family cost of purchasing childcare.

You can also spend your spare time exploring the area when your host family is not using your services.

This is a great way to explore, as you’ll be living with a local family and can ask them for recommendations of things to do in their area.

Swapping Houses is a great way to staying free while living abroad.

You could do a house swap with someone in a different area or country, staying in their home while having them stay in yours.

This is good if you’re only going to be staying for a week-long holiday and don’t want to commit long term, but it can also be a good way to stay longer and experience what it’s like living in a new country.

You can find sites for people looking to swap houses such as Home Exchange and Love Home Swap.

Make sure to check out our comprehensive guide to house swapping to help you stay abroad for free.

Stay at hostels and guesthouses for cheap accommodation.

These places are great options if you want to meet other travelers and share travel stories or local knowledge with them.

You can often find dormitory rooms, private rooms with multiple beds, and shared apartments depending on how much money you plan to spend each night.

You may also find discounts for staying at hostels and guest houses if you’re traveling during the off-season or on a weekday.

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Get yourself a Student Travel Card to stay free while traveling.

This is an excellent way for students to save money while they travel and explore the country or city they are living in.

These cards can help you get discounts on your transport and admission into local attractions, such as museums or other points of interest.

Keep in mind that these cards may only be available to full-time students and may require you to prove your status.

Check out this article to find the best online jobs for students to earn extra income from anywhere.

Shop at local supermarkets to meet your needs.

If you want to save money with your food, make sure that you go to the local supermarket and purchase ingredients that you can cook at home.

This is an excellent way to save money on your food, while also meeting any dietary needs you may have.

You can also get fresh produce from local street markets or stores for a lower price than the cost of eating out every day.

Find local events to get free or cheap tickets.

Many cities have free weekend events, such as festivals or street performances that are worth attending.

You can also look online to find other people who are organizing their own ‘house party’ events to get cheap access to exclusive shows, comedy nights, and other fun activities.

This is a good way to discover new things while staying free in a new location.

Get a bike for cheap to save on transport.

If you’re living in a city and don’t plan to travel too far to explore, then get yourself a bike.

This will help you get around for cheap while staying in shape in the process.

You can find affordable bikes on sites like Craigslist or Facebook Marketplace depending on where you’re living.

This will not only help you save on gas, but it will also give you a chance to explore the area without having to pay for parking.

Get a low-cost cell phone plan to stay connected.

When you’re abroad, it’s important to keep in touch with your friends and family back home so that they know you’re okay.

This can be especially hard if you don’t have a credit history in your new country.

However, if you’re staying abroad for a short period of time, then it’s easy to get an affordable pay-as-you-go phone plan that will allow you to call friends and family back home.

You may even be able to find better deals on your cell phone bill by looking online.

Get your travel gear at a thrift store to save money.

There are hundreds of items that you can purchase second-hand for low prices.

Look up these stores online before starting your trip, so that you know where to go to get the most value from your money.

You’ll likely find clothing, sunglasses, bags, and other accessories at a cheaper price than you would at a brand-name store.

These places are also great for getting travel gear, including tents and sleeping bags.

Thrift stores are also a great place to find unique souvenirs that you won’t find anywhere else.

Find a local guide to save on tours.

If you’re looking for an inexpensive way to explore the city, then get in touch with a local guide who can take you around and show you all of the finest attractions that your new home has to offer.

This is perfect if you don’t know where to start when it comes to exploring certain countries or cities.

You can get in touch with these guides through online listings or by asking around at your accommodation.

They will likely be more than happy to take you around for free, as long as you pay it forward and offer to do the same for other travelers when they come through town.

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Saving and Staying Free Abroad: Key Takeaways

It may seem difficult to save money when you’re living abroad.

However, there are many ways to make your stay affordable and free if you look online for events or use the tips above.

Staying free can help make your trip last longer and allow you to spend more time exploring the area without having to worry about spending all of your money.

Also, remember that there are always options for earning extra income while you’re abroad to help you save more money.

Here are several articles that you may find helpful to help you find a job while on the road:

40 Easy Ways to Start Getting Paid to Work From Home

25 Trusted Online Money Making Sites to Start Working From Home

Ultimate Guide to Finding Craigslist Gigs and Start Working From Home

With so many options available, it’s easy to see why living abroad can be such an appealing option for many people.

It might seem like there’s a lot to do and learn about the area you’re visiting, but it’s easy if you know what you’re doing ahead of time!

If you follow these tips and suggestions, you’ll have no problem staying afloat while enjoying your stay in a new country.

So what are you waiting for? It’s time to save and live free!


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