Have you ever wondered how people can travel the world with next to no money? I’m here to provide you with some answers to this question. Anybody can implement these methods and they don’t require you to be a travel blogger or have a following on social media. This series is about how anybody can travel the world for free.
This week we are looking at food. One of our basic human needs. Food is essential when travelling and here are some ways of getting it for free!
This involves getting food that companies, usually supermarkets, or individuals have thrown away. Basically, you’re recycling food so you’re saving the environment too! This is becoming a popular activity even amongst locals in cities and towns. Some of the food can be great to eat but make sure you don’t eat anything really gone off. I haven’t tried this myself but will be trying it on my world trip. Here is a breakdown of dumpster diving. http://www.travel-the-world-for-free.com/how-to-dumpster-dive/
Ask for food
This is the most obvious way to get free food. Just ask people. Go into restaurants or supermarkets, tell your story and ask whether they could give you some food. I have done this before whilst I was travelling from Dublin to Rome without spending any money. It takes a lot of courage to ask someone and you will be rejected A LOT. Become comfortable with rejection. Here is Edouard Jacqmin’s TED Talk about his experiences travelling for free for 21 days (food at 3:05min mark)
Skill exchange programmes
There are so many skill exchange programmes out there now. In October I took part in an English language course called Angloville. This entailed spending 5 nights at a hotel in the Polish countryside spending each day chatting to Polish business people in English. In return for just chatting, we got 3 free meals a day, free accommodation and return transport from the city to the hotel.
There are also many other volunteering programmes which can provide some sort of meal plan for you in return for some daily/weekly hours of work. Some examples are Workaways, WWOOFing, Find a Crew, and working in hostels.
Couchsurfing is my most used travel app (other than Google Maps). Couchsurfing involves travellers sleeping in a host’s home for free – no strings attached. I love this community spirit and have started hosting people in my apartment in Chengdu. Sometimes the host will even offer some food to the guest. Doesn’t happen all the time but can be a way to get some free food.
Find a homeless shelter in a city and you could bank yourself a free dinner. I haven’t tried this before and I don’t really know if I would feel comfortable doing this but hey, it’s a way of getting free food.I’ve also been told that there is a Golden Palace in Amritsar, India where they give out 100,000 free meals a day to ANYBODY (coeliacs be cautious – 7,000kg of wheat flour is used a day). The free kitchen is referred to as the ‘langar’ and was started by the first Sikh Guru, Guru Nanak, over 500 years ago. Find out more here
Hostels free food
If you’ve ever stayed in a hostel you may have noticed that there was a ‘Free Food’ area in the kitchen. This is a common area for guests to leave any food that they wish to share with others. Also, many hostels have a policy of writing your name and departure date on your food. Therefore, if the date you wrote on the food has passed, the food is up for grabs. Hostels can be a great place to source some free food on the road, especially when you arrive in the early morning and all the shops are closed!
Trying samples of foods can help you rid your hunger. There are usually samples given in supermarkets, by street sellers, at markets or at promotional events. If you see people with a snack you think might is a sample, follow their trail until you find the source. Bon appétit!
Pick fresh produce
If you’re in an area where there is fresh produce growing, take advantage of this. When I was in the Balkans there were fig trees everywhere. There were also some pomegranate trees and grape vines. Berries, apples, oranges, bananas, coconuts, the list goes on of potential scrumptious foods you might find growing where you’re travelling. Be discreet, especially if you don’t have permission from the owner. Don’t overindulge! You don’t want to be on the toilet for the following days!
One thing I hadn’t thought about, until reading this article, was taking condiments from restaurants and cafes. It’s a great way to make some food taste edible if you don’t particularly like it. Whack on some salt, mayo or ketchup and you have yourself a scrumptious meal. Take from the big chains, McDonalds and Starbucks etc. They won’t miss them as much as the small local businesses.
Those are some of my tips for keeping your stomach and wallet full whilst travelling.
Come back next week if you want to find out how you can get free accommodation all over the world.