Five ways to travel for free… almost

Travel doesn’t have to cost the earth. In some cases it doesn’t have to cost anything at all. Discover Rachel’s top five ways to travel for free, then why not add your own ideas to the list?

Win a competition
Who would say no if a travel company just handed them a free holiday? Thousands of competitions are run in Australia every year, through magazines, television programs, travel companies… the list is endless. And not that many people enter them, so the odds of you winning a holiday in a competition are much higher than winning the lottery. But you’ve got to be in it to win it. Competition Guide is a free website which gathers together all the best competitions in Australia in one place, to make it easy for you to enter as many as possible. And the more the better – if you win a fridge you can always sell it and use the money towards a plane ticket.

Be flexible
Skyscanner is a budget travel website with a difference. It allows you to search for the cheapest tickets available, regardless of destination. You can also search for flights leaving over the span of a single month, or even an entire year. So if you don’t have anywhere specific in mind, and your time is relatively flexible, head to, type “everywhere” into the destination, choose flexible dates and then find out what are the most cost-effective destinations in the world at the moment.

Right time, right place offers last-minute reservations for hotels, flights and travel packages at a fraction of the original cost. If you can be out the door tomorrow then you could save a fortune – because it’s better for a hotel to sell you a half-price room than to leave it empty for the night.

Kip on a couch
Staying with friends can be a great way to travel on a budget, but not everybody has friends with a château in the south of France. is a website which allows travellers to link up with hosts – people who have a spare-room, or couch, and who are happy to have short-term visitors in their home. The website does as much as possible to ensure that its members are who they say they are and you can read feedback left by previous travellers who stayed at your potential destination.

Explore all your options
Have you considered working on an organic farm (WOOFing) in exchange for a bed and food? How about swapping houses with someone from another country for a few weeks? You could become a house-sitter, or travel overseas and volunteer your services in exchange for accommodation in a local community. The low-cost and free travel alternatives are endless. You just have to get a little creative.

Do you have any other free or low-cost travel suggestions? Comment and tell us about your best budget travel idea or success story.