OPPORTUNITIES FOR EXPLORING
Nowadays there’s so many opportunities to travel on a budget and meet like-minded Earth stewards. Check out some valuable steps for getting going and resources to look into:
Sublet Your Room
You’re not going to use the space, but somebody will! Why leave your room sitting there when there are thousands of people who need a roof over their head? If you’re going to leave for an extended period of time, subletting your room will save you the monthly cost of rent, as well as the gas and resources used to shuffle all of your belongings into a storage unit. Allowing someone else to stay there utilizes the resource. Enlist trustworthy friends to keep an eye on things if it helps you feel more comfortable.
Bring a tent, or bring a hammock that you can throw up in a pinch! If you’re travelling by car, it should be easy to stop over and camp in many different locations. Check out Reserve America for a directory camp sites and travel tips throughout the US. Have tips on camping in other countries? Please comment below!
Hostels are inexpensive and full of energetic, diverse travellers. They usually offer amenities such as internet, computers, hot showers, a shared common area, and breakfast. (Kendall notes: Free breakfast is a major selling point for me!) Some hostels offer nightly activities such as karaoke, game night, and community meals. Hostels with kitchens are a plus. Portland Hostel even has a living roof overflowing with food! Check out Hostel World and Hostel Bookers to start.
Energy exchange/work trade
Pay for your stay, give back, and learn something new through an energy exchange program. Check out NuMundo, HelpX, Worldpackers, WWOOF, Permies.com, Poosh, for opportunities to work trade at sustainable travel lodges, permaculture farms, and sustainability projects.
Another form of energy exchange travel! Open up your couch for cool folks, and/or go crash with folks all over the world. Create a profile on the website….And start browsing! You can look through the reviews of fellow couch surfers before choosing to host or stay with someone.
Have an extra seat in your car or need one? Check out Ridester to offer or find a ride. Simply type in where you are leaving from and destination, choose “offer” or “find” a ride, and you’re well on your way! Fill the needs of the many using the same amount of resources. You can even join local Facebook community groups to find more resources for ridesharing.
Kick back, take off your shoes, and take the scenic route. If you’ve got the time, the train or bus uses up much less fossil fuels than flying and usually costs a fraction of the price. Most trains have a cafe you can hang out in, charging portals, and even WiFi. Kendall’s favorite journey? “The train through the Columbia Gorge from Portland, Oregon to Spokane, WA, where my family lives.”
Travel on Foot, or Bicycle!
Eager for some real adventure? There’s a growing movement of people foregoing transportation that use fossil fuels and supplying all the power themselves by doing cross-country bicycling or hiking treks. Try asking local camping stores about possible local treks, or consider getting involved in bicycle meet-up groups to source information. For walking, consider the Appalachian Trail, Pacific Crest Trail, or go Forrest Gump style and just start going!
Work with Kids
If you have childcare experience, research jobs as an Au Pair worldwide. You might also find jobs teaching English, such as the Italian summer immersion program ACLE (ACLE.org)–innovative teaching skills welcome! For more, look over Transitions Abroad online.
If you are a student or know a student, consider these alternative educational opportunities that go beyond a basic study abroad:
Semester at Sea: Mission: “To educate students with the global understanding necessary to address the challenges of our interdependent world. With the world as our classroom, our unique shipboard program integrates multiple-country study, interdisciplinary coursework, and hands-on field experiences for meaningful engagement in the global community.”
Up with People: About: “Up with People is a global education organization which aims to bring the world together through service and music. The unique combination of international travel, service learning, leadership development and performing arts offers students an unparalleled experience and a pathway to make a difference in the world, one community at a time.”