If “travel more” is one of your New Year’s goals, but you never got around to checking off “win the lottery” from this year’s resolution list, there’s no need to freak out. Even if Instagram makes it seem like you need to be a millionaire to jet around, there are plenty of ways to book flights and find a place to stay for free — or almost for free. Travel insiders swear by these seven tips:
1. Get a travel rewards credit card.
If you’re not accumulating points on a travel rewards credit card, you’re basically throwing away free flights. Although you may prefer to stockpile miles on one airline’s card to get the perks from being a preferred customer, the Chase Sapphire Preferred allows a little more freedom with where you book. You can redeem your points on basically any airline through Chase’s own . Just remember to spend responsibly and to pay off your balance in full each month so you don't accumulate debt.
2. Ask for travel gift cards.
The next time your birthday, Christmas, graduation — or, really, any holiday — comes up, ask your family for gift cards to travel websites instead of more stuff. Most major airlines sell their own, but you can also gift “flight hours” from that can be used on 350 carriers. also offers gift certificates, as well as the boutique hotel site . This way, you’ll have fewer unwanted things cluttering up your home and more money to put toward your next vacation.
3. Drive someone else's car across the country.
If you don’t own a car or have the funds to rent one, you can still go on that American road trip of your dreams by offering to drive someone else’s vehicle from point A to point B. To drive for , the largest vehicle-relocation company in the U.S., you need to be at least 23 years old and have a valid license. After putting down a $350 security deposit (returned upon delivery), you'll be paid a negotiable rate — either flat or per mile — and gas will be charged back to the owner.
4. Teach English.
If you have anywhere between nine months to two years to spare, you can get paid to teach English abroad. Being TEFL certified isn't required in many countries to teach, but it's highly recommended to prepare you for the job. Ready to look for opportunities? is one of the most trusted resources for online postings.
For people with less time on their hands, sends groups of 15-25 English-speaking volunteers to villages around Spain and Germany for weeklong programs to help locals practice their language skills. Although Diverbo doesn’t cover your flights, it does provide during the program.
5. Find your roots.
Although young Jewish adults have been traveling to Israel with since 1999, a few organizations offer similar trips to certain countries. People of , , , , and descent can travel to those nations on a free trip to reconnect with their heritage.
6. Volunteer with WWOOF.
In exchange for working on an organic farm, (Willing Workers on Organic Farms) will offer you free accommodation, food, and the opportunity to learn a few new skills and about a new culture in the destination of your choosing. Although you won’t have to budget for room and board, keep in mind you’ll be responsible for covering your travel costs, plus a small subscription fee (usually less than $75). If farm work isn't for you, explore more volunteer opportunities at .
7. House swap or house sit.
If you don't mind welcoming strangers into your home, a house swap guarantees you a free place to stay. Although some sites like and charge an annual membership fee, is free as long as you’re willing to host guests at your home.
If you'd rather not have strangers in your home, offer to house-sit for your friends and family the next time they go out of town. Once you have a few references, try signing up for a house-sitting website to expand your travel options. Although they all have membership fees, , , and are all good options to explore.