How to travel with no money?

weary warrior wandering westward - by elidelaney
Tibet - Trek 1 - 23 snowed in campsite - by mckaysavage
The Backpacker Express leaves town - by dachalan
Beach Trekking. - by NeilsPhotography
Homeless - by Orangeadnan
Peru Travel: The View of Cusco from Saqsaywaman - by Latin America For Less
Tokyo - 東京 - by Metro Centric
Into the Airport Light - by cogdogblog
Barracks Hammocks - by thievingjoker

From Jesus to Jack Kerouac, people have been traveling with no money since the beginning. It involves hitchhiking, sleeping outside, charming bakeries to give you yesterday’s bread and a lot of trust in humanity – while keeping both eyes wide open.

What are your best tips for hitting the road without a penny?

  • August 3, 2012 2:51 PM

    “The Sunhitcher – On the road without money” is a free ebook that might be of interest to you. Available in:

  • Peter Parkorr says:
    March 10, 2012 3:35 AM

    Wwoofing is great for longer trips, and can show you a lot more of a country’s culture than you would get from sleeping in a hostel, but it needs some planning in advance. Similar to wwoofing, a lot of countries have communes where you pitch in with the workload and get a bed and food in return. There are also other organisations like WorkAway, HelpEx, and StayDu that facilitate finding you a place where you can do this. But for complete freedom, wild camping has to be the most amazing way to travel, finding rivers to wash in and stocking up on food and essentials when you can.

    If you do decide to travel slowly and really get under the skin of a new place, beware of 3 things;
    1)You may start to love your temporary home, and miss it when you move on
    2)You may fall in love in your temporary home, and then…
    3)You may never leave!

    Happy Travelling    ;)

    • tomroadjunky says:
      March 10, 2012 7:20 PM

      It’s almost as if hardly anyone does this any more because they don’t know anyone who does it. There’s no example for them to follow. I think that’s why Into the Wild was so loved by so many. It gave them a role model of sorts.

  • Tommy says:
    March 9, 2012 3:12 PM

    Sleep in a park, under a tree in the summer time no problem. While in the park I suggest looking for protein insects…

    • tomroadjunky says:
      March 10, 2012 7:18 PM

      except for dunk teenagers stumbling across you in the middle of the night. That happened to me more than once!

    • Phil Walker says:
      July 29, 2012 3:05 AM

      And watch out for pirates…

  • March 9, 2012 3:32 AM

    I just blogged about this the other day in this post I mention hitching, free camping, and even dumpster diving!

  • Robbie Scalzo says:
    March 1, 2012 4:00 AM

    One can always try WWOOFing, which entails half a days work (usually on an organic farm) for free food and lodgings. Providing a service in exchange for free food and lodgings is also a possibility. Teaching english to at an orphanage would be a great thing to do, again in exchange for free food and lodging. I am about to head off and do such a thing!

    • tomroadjunky says:
      March 4, 2012 12:29 AM

      It’s a great way to move around if you’re not in a hurry – and why be in a hurry?

      It’s a bit hit and miss as to what kind of opportunity you find – some farms are just saving on labour costs but teaching in an orphanage sounds like a great experience.

  • Pascal Dumont says:
    January 15, 2012 5:41 AM

    There is plenty of organization giving free food. Mother Teresa, the Krhisna, food banks, etc …
    Dumpster diving is the BEST !!!
    Going to a bakery before they close to ask for food to be put later on into the garbage. 

  • Jeremie Rodger says:
    January 14, 2012 11:04 PM

    Busk, couchsurf, hitchhike, dumpsterdive, beg, smile, luck. 

    There’s websites dedicated to all these things. You should be able to find them. 

  • AramMcLean says:
    January 14, 2012 7:05 PM

    I’ve personally hitchhiked approx 100,000 kilometres in my life, including in such places as Africa, where they do want a few bucks, and across the outback of Australia in the height of summer, where the poisonous snakes and spiders didn’t kill me but the ever present sun almost did. Woke up in a hospital in a town called Molong, on my birthday, with no recollection of my own name. But it was free travel, is what I’m getting at. I still hitch from time to time, though these days, what with the price of petrol, and also being now in my mid-thirties, I usually offer a few bucks if an especially long ride together.
    Oddly enough, the only place I’ve ever had a problem hitchhiking (and this list includes the Middle East and Central America as well as the afore-mentioned Africa), was on a journey from Miami up to Quebec City. Seemed the majority of men in the States stopping to offer a ride were the same majority of men who thought that a twenty-year-old vagabond traveller was just the thing to make their cold nights that much warmer. I literally had to jump out of one car, to save my innocence as it were, when said driver slowed for a red light.
    But when you take this into context of the thousands of rides I’ve had, and only maybe four being suspect and/or downright wrong, the odds ain’t so bad.
    I now pick up any hitcher I see, whenever I happen to have a vehicle. And with that in mind I can only say, please fellow hitchers, your job is to be interesting and not just a boring dude who hasn’t showered in a month with nothing to say. Seriously. That is the price of your ride. You’re ruining it for the rest of us.Another great way to save cash on the road (getting back to the point) is to always carry a tent and sleeping bag in your gear, as I have for fifteen years. Others’ may insist that just a sleeping bag or hammock is all you need, but in my case, having been caught out in plenty a hard rain shower, having a tent in these moments is always worth the perhaps six months you’ve been carrying all three kilos of it without using it. Very worth it. 

    • Phil Walker says:
      July 29, 2012 3:08 AM

      Same thing happened to me, I had to stab a guy to get his hands off me. At which point I jumped out of his truck and watched him drive away with all my gear! Always a good idea to carry a good knife.

  • tom thumb says:
    January 12, 2012 1:03 AM

    Most open markets will give away food at the end of the day, as will many shops and restaurants – just ask with a smile as they’re closing down and you might get a free dinner.