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How would you advise a person who would like to explore the world, yet has no money at all?

Apart from trying to obtain some cash, what would you tell these sort of people who would like to learn new cultures and meet people of various backgrounds yet has no financial means to do so? Would love some creative answers. =)

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    Feb 6 2013: Well as ive been to china at age 16 coming from germany i guess i am one of those teens who travel around :D
    But yeah thats not the "conventional" way we do travel i was on an foreign exchange program then (10 months) and it cost about all the money my parents had saved up for me at this point :P

    We usually travel within Europe... europe might have quite alot of countrys but its really dense, so i can say ive been to italy, france, the netherlands, uk, spain, poland ans so on and yeah those are all diffrent cultures with diffrent languages so we are blessed here in europe. But why we can do that is partially because:
    a)europe is rich compared to the rest of the world and
    b) europe is small i mean you can cross france in like 10 hours from where i live its 2 hours to paris by train. Thats not huge distances.
    We also have a ticket which is called "interrail" which costs about 180 € for 5 days of "take any train you want" so we buy that ticket and pack a backpack and off we are, we sleep at the trainstation if we cant find a cheap hotel and only have to worry for food.
    Combining interrail with couchsurfing is the cheapest way to visit many diffrent places. Couchsurfing is a website on which you can lend a place to sleep to a complete stranger, receiving nothing then the joy of having helped someone out and meeting new people from diffrent cultures.

    So a great way to start for you (if you have a place to sleep e.g. a couch) would be to invite foreigners to your home and who knows probably you will make friends and they will invite you over in return that way youve safed the hotel costs.

    Edit: and dont "sit and imagine" as someone else suggested ;o) Go out take a risk, if traveling across the world means risking not having a place to sleep inside thats it. Id advise traveling during summer though :D
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      Feb 8 2013: Couch-surfing sounds awesome but am always afraid to try.Is it risky?
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        Feb 12 2013: Well i dont think its highly risky, the couchsurfing community consists of normal people for the greatest part and some weirdos looking for a one night stand, or offering those in addition to the couch.

        As there are reviews on every user profile you can always check someones reputation in the couchsurfing network, ofcourse this can be faked, but its in most cases quite easy to see those (5 people commending each other but having nothing to do with anyone else would make me sceptical for instance)
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    Jan 27 2013: READ! READ! READ! Reading is the most wonderful, cheapest and effective way of traveling...
  • Feb 15 2013: There are new things to explore on your doorstep everyday. When you have explored everything around then there may be more of a reason to travel, but opening your mind to everything in your current circumstance may take a life time as it is. People are fundamentally the same where ever you go, it just depends on how deeply you are willing to empathise with them. People do however, have different personalities. Unless you have met everyone who lives near you, there are still plenty of different people to explore on your doorstep! x So happy travelling whether you go to a different country or stay right where you are. x
  • Feb 1 2013: Get magazines like National Geographic and Smithsonian, and others. They are great for "armchair"exploring and learning about cultures, history, current situations, natural environments, etc, etc. Then you will know about many places and be able to zero in on where you would like to actually travel when you have some money. If you don't have money for subscriptions to magazines, maybe you can come upon them in libraries or second hand stores, etc.

    As well, since you are on the Internet - look at their sites. Another one is Globe Trekker, a program that I love to watch on public television, but they also have a website. The more information you have about the world, the more you understand.
  • Jan 25 2013: Watch TED videos and add some comments.
    Read others' comments and express your take on.
    Share your ideas with TEDdies and give them your own feed-back with thumbs-up.
    Enjoy what others disagree with you about as well as their sincere encouragements.
    Make friends in this TED community and exchange some emails with them—so much more fun than texting or using FB.

    That's what I've been doing lol
    Believe me, it's so adventurous, yet free of charge.

    Much more useful and meaningful than you would've ever expected.
    TED is a new world for everyone.
    • Jan 29 2013: hey I feel the exact same way about TED. I love the experiences I get here, and best of all its free of charge. :)
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    Jan 22 2013: You could begin by becoming engaged in international communities where you live and exploring the varied cultures close to home.
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    Feb 13 2013: be cautious but embrace chance...
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    Jan 28 2013: 1. Learn languages for free on . Chat with native speakers there. The website also has a page to share one's culture.
    2. Become a UN online volunteer or apply for a job in any of the International organizations.
    3. Volunteer for Peace keeping organizations. Serve them.
    4. Subscribe to online channels of education esp. related to Art appreciation, History and culture, Geography and learning new languages.(eg MIT open course ware)
    5. Join the country's foreign service
    6. Join the country's secret service
    7. Learn a musical instrument. Play it in public and sing at the top of your voice to earn money.
    8. Learn Survival skills. Use videos and books on the internet as reference.
    9. Marry a person who has similar interests.
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    Jan 24 2013: Well, I also wanted to travel but I don't have the means.

    The easiest way I guess is to attend a fair in your community showcasing the different places and cultures of other countries. You can also visit international museums in your place, if there are any.

    To meet people with other cultures, try finding groups of people from other countries based on your community.

    Be sure to always appreciate other cultures when you encounter one. :)
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    Jan 23 2013: The earth becoming more and more global at no cost one can learn about cultures and people of other countries sitting in her/his own city ....

    Moreover going virtual to meet and know people is inexpensive compared to real travel expense.
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      Jan 23 2013: It's really nice to "see" you again Salim!

      I totally understand your advice (that's why I'm here) but I'm looking for a way to meet new people in physical form without even losing a penny .do you have any ideas? maybe links to any particular websites? ;)
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        Jan 23 2013: Thanks Muhammad for your note. Good to "see" you as well :)

        Well I am not sure about Shah Alam , but if you just go to Kota Kina Balu, Lankawi or Even KL at your convenience then you will be able to physically meet at least 10 countries at anytime point.... Compared to traveling to those 10 countries to meet that's also inexpensive....

        Well with website not sure how can meet people physically ? hmm that can be next development of technology ....:)
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    Jan 22 2013: Muhammad, Apply to work on cruise liners as a porter, cook, mate, etc ... based on your talents and travel at their expense while they pay you to do so.

    Bon Voyage

  • Feb 1 2013: Universal Principle No.1. You can have/achieve anything you want in life, anything you can imagine. You just have to help enough people obtain their desires. The key is understanding exactly what it is you and 'they' want, then 100% being the possibility for it. The world is yours...
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    Feb 1 2013: In the old days I guess you became a trader or a sailor. Now perhaps an interpretor or translator, how about becoming a local tour guide for the tourists then moving on to becoming a holiday rep. Working in bars and hospitality is a bit limiting because you only get to meet people trying to have a good time. People who develop a very deep knowledge of their local culture's spiritual traditions seem to do very well. Generally (again) living on the coast near a trading port might be an option. You can explore the world virtually, not sure if it is correct to name the way to do it but a certain well known search engine, has a very well known ?application called Earth. It's not the same as feeling the sun on your face or the wind in your hair though. You are so right in saying a lack of financial resources limits mobility, getting a passport can cost a fortune in some countries and you just try travelling anywhere without one. One way of learning about cultures and people is to read about them at the local library, thousands of 'voices' just in book form. Diffferent times in history, different circumstances etc. Actually I have found one of the best ways to meet some really interesting people is to talk to people (safely please) on the local public transport network. Volunteering to record 'lived memories' with the oldest generation is also a brilliant way to meet different cultures and backgrounds though it is second hand and has to be filtered through the other person's lived experience. :D.
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      Feb 2 2013: Exactly what I'm currently going through.Getting a passport is one thing, a flight ticket another.What boggles my mind is that I often see teens and young adults from Western countries having the means to travel while it remains as something impossible for people like me who live in the far east.

      How do these teens who hail from western countries manage to acquire the means to travel?
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        Feb 2 2013: In Europe it is in the interests of the dominant political and cultural structures to have a highly mobile labour force. Whilst Europe still consists of several distinct sovereign states, it is also now a highly 'emeshed' continent in that all the nations are subject to the rulings of the European Union. It is a constant debate in the media of our country about how E.U. 'rules and regulations' seem to take precedence over our own, to the detriment of what is actually a very geographically small area. I understand in the 'good old days' of the British Empire, the U.K. land mass was actually drawn in a way that still makes it look larger than it is on maps. So yes, step 1 get your travel documents and keep them updated once got. In many countries you will be forced to queue for days to get the appropriate forms to apply for 'permission to enter' another country now. Even then once a 'request' is submitted, it can be declined so despite the cost, if you can at all, get your documents asap. In the meantime the ease of mobility for a younger generation is a 'mixed blessing' because it does mean huge geographical dislocation between families is possible, which really starts to impact when you have children of your own, become ill or age in general. Teens and young adults are really only following an idea from their grandparents times (ie that cohort who grew up in the 1940s and 1950s that 'anything is possible'. So grateful to have the opportunity to speak to you through TED and hear about you. Essentially I understand it is so much about an individual's motivation to travel AND the available infrastructure. Someone who has to move to feed themselves and their children is always going to be more determined and yonng people have the assets of hopes and dreams and physical health that older people don't. The sheer cost of aircraft fuel will possibly curtail long distance travel. Still encourage you to keep 'going for it', just be aware of the cost to yourself.
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    Jan 27 2013: attend Global villages in your locality
  • Jan 23 2013: Read books. The depth in the characters, their emotions, their ways of living, and their culture manages to create a whole new world inside your head that you've never experienced before.

    It's like a virtual vacation!

    Also, a yacht and a plane can't take you into the past or future like a book can. Unless it has a flux capacitor of course.
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      Jan 25 2013: Any recommendations? :)
      • Jan 25 2013: I personally tend to lean towards books that have settings that take place in the past. The Book Thief, Life of Pi (wonderful adventure/journey story), The Alchemist, The Kite Runner (simple but it grabs your emotions by the collar!).

        Those are just a few off the top. I know how you feel. I dream of one day traveling as well when I'm older and exploring places that not even my dreams form up in my sleep! But for now, this has been the second best thing for me! :]
    • Jan 29 2013: I totally agree with you on this. A man/women who does not read, lives only one life. But a man/women who reads can live hundreds of lives.
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    Feb 18 2013: Do some research on careers and jobs that involve travel, working on cruise ships, tourism, sales or locally at various destinations are all great ways to see the world and receive compensation to pay for expenses.
    Good luck, cheers!
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    Feb 6 2013: Hitchhiking, go to a road and wait patiently. Not all parts are good for stop and not all people will stop.
    All people that will stop are good people, some will invite you to their home, some will share food and drinks with you.
    Some will be friends for the rest of your life.
    I have traveled over all Europe, i'm from country with very high poverty.
    Search web for "couchsurfing".
    We met one guy who traveled from UK, to India like this.
    I have spent 20$ to travel 1500km, well on food only.
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    Jan 31 2013: Language Exchange: Find places that will pay (or not pay) you teach for short periods of time and are willing to bring you there to do so. While you're there, volunteer to teach language in order to learn a language. It's a wonderful way to meet people and to appreciate the importance of gesture-speak. There is so much we can learn about ourselves and each other when pointing and miming is the mode of communication :)!
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    Jan 29 2013: thats nice..All the best Muhammad !
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    Jan 29 2013: If you are a student/youth, then you might take this stage of your life as the beginning, beginning perhaps of the very act of exploring the world. There are some international conferences, seminars, workshops, events. etc that allow student and youth voices. Some of them even provide free air tickets, if you one of the few selected to participate a particular event. Consider, for instance, the World Congress. It calls for student and youth ambassadors. Here is the link: But you have initially to commit yourself to carrying out the ambassadors role in your country.

    Related to the above, you might wanna join student/youth movements. They are very powerful in this age, especially when it comes to making some change to happen. Being a member of a student or youth movement, you might have the opportunity to explore other parts of the world.

    Lastly, make good friends from different countries :-) they might not directly help you to visit their countries, but you will learn a lot about their cultures. all the best!
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        Feb 2 2013: Thank you very much Kate :-) It means a lot :-)
  • Jan 26 2013: much as i'd advise someone who wanted to own a ferrari yet has no money at all - be realistic.

    personally i settle for vicarious experiences, there's quite a lot of media available on the web, or you could hang around your country's sightseeing hotspots and offer free tours hoping to find people willing to share their tales.

    i see you've been helping out as a translator, that's already a good start towards your goals. yes they're 2nd-hand, but they're realistic.
    • Feb 1 2013: You can travel for nearly free if you are willing to live freely and take responsibility for all of your needs. Camp, walk and bike, cook your own food, learn to gather from nature in the local plant life.
  • Jan 25 2013: 1. Get some foreign pen pals! Lots of people are looking to converse with people across the world, especially if you want to learn their languages. (Understanding how a language works is key in understanding the culture, of course!) Lots of websites exist that bring people across the world together ( - I used this to find some really amazing people, but there's many of them out there)

    2. Try couch surfing. Got some free time? As long as you bring some interesting stories, people will take you in anywhere and you usually can find adventures and rides to new places, new contacts, the possibilities are endless! Other people really are the greatest resource we have

    3. Get a job at a travel agency, or as a Flight Attendant. Ok, this only seems to work in movies. Not something I would personally be interested in, but maybe it could work for you!

    4. Join the Peace Corps. Wanna make a real difference in the world, see amazing things, and cultivate friendships all over the world? Requires usually a minimum 2 year commitment, but what's 2 years for a lifetime of transformative experiences?
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    Jan 24 2013: Tour guide was always a good one.

    Best was - Buy a good used camera or get the folks below to buy it for you.

    Talk to some local advertising / marketing companies. Tell em your plan and ask them what they want to have for promo shots.

    Hop on a steamer. Read the camera book. Go there and get them the best darn pictures you can.

    Wait for payment.

    Go to the next place.

    It's quite bit easier if you have a bit of money beforehand for upfront expenses.

    These days I expect there are probably websites you can sell the pictures through and I imagine the photos don't have to be professional quality what with photo shop and all.

    You won't make a lot but you'll be comfortable and have a hell of a trip going to places you never even imagined of..
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    Jan 23 2013: As long as you can acquire a decent array of entry visas...begin trading. In every country there are things, LEGAL things of course, that will make you a small profit if you trade them across the border. The great Gurdieff financed his travells this way, and in fact became quite wealthy after a time. I also met several people during my own wages-sponsored travels, who travelled all around the globe doing exactly that. How did they acquire their information? Not sure, but I guess the internet would be a good place to start.
  • Jan 23 2013: You might want to combine working on a cruise line somewhere, as someone mentioned, with joining a courier club, whereby you can fly almost for nothing around the world.
    I cannot remember the details for the different kinds of clubs that exist, but they do and you can google them and begin checking them out.

    A friend of mine did this and went all over the world. After delivering whatever the courier company had, he then had two weeks to explore the new city/country he was in.
    You can always do background checks to make sure they are legitimate, and most are.

    I joined one but didn't find the right flight traveling to where I wanted to go.
    If you are not trying to "make your own itinerary", then you can find flights and get booked on them, and off you go.
    I know, it sounds easier than it is but it is very possible.
    If you can secure jobs in different spots, or on a ship, then it might work out.
    An acquaintance was a musician on a famous tour boat (forgot the name), and absolutely loved it.
    Played music (he didn't like), but saw the world, which he loved.

    good luck
    bon voyage
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    Feb 21 2013: start exploring your own backyard and all that surrounds you. I guarantee that you would need several lifetimes before you made it out of your own country. This suggestion might not take you to the rest of the world but, it might keep you busy enough that one day you might not have the need to look elsewhere. .... aren't we smart today?? lol
  • Feb 20 2013: How about becoming a wwoof-er? There are opportunities in Canada.
  • Feb 18 2013: One of these days i heart: dream big then do it!, and i think that it is what we all should do, fight for what we want. If it's travelling ,we must travel. If it is eating, we must eat, but one advice : make a good plan first!
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      Feb 20 2013: I agree with you.Winning does not come easily.Thanks for the advise! ;)
      • Feb 20 2013: You said almost everything saying that winning does not come easily, but we all must try and have a goal because they make our life move!
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    Feb 12 2013: If you have friends at different places, you might be able to travel to those destinations first and explore them with their help. Your friends could help you with accommodation and food at least briefly during your stay.

    You might also in turn get acquainted with other people through your friends and then travel further in the same way. In your own country, you can take up local jobs in different provinces an stay there for a while. This would give you some cash and allow you to explore those places.

    In addition to all of this, couch surfing sounds helpful and I would love to experiment with such a thing !
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    Feb 12 2013: There you go :o)
  • Feb 5 2013: sit and imagine the place as u like
    i bet it would be great
    more fantastic than the real thing :)
  • Feb 1 2013: Learn to bar-tend and then just travel from major city to major city in Europe and the Caribbean.
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    Jan 31 2013: It's focus is on world peace.
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      Jan 31 2013: So is it open for non-US citizens to apply?
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        Jan 31 2013: Muhammad, do you have access to Google? If you can't look this information up on the internet I will be happy to assist you via email.
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    Jan 31 2013: Join the peace corp.
  • Jan 29 2013: You have asked a question I have been thinking of a lot recently.

    I am a Malaysia and a recent medical graduate from a local university, and I understand your eagerness to learn more about the world yet be restrained due to financial limitations.

    I believe that the best way to experience other cultures and not spend too much money would be via volunteering with any of the multinational non-governmental agencies (NGO’s). Do a google search and pick an NGO that is championing a cause that appeals to you and then write to them and ask if they are willing to accommodate your living expenses in exchange for work in the area of your expertise.

    My own self, after completing my government service with the ministry of health, I plan to volunteer to Africa or central Asia with in the capacity as a doctor.

    I hope this helps and wish you good luck in your endeavors.
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      Jan 29 2013: Hi Mahabalraj, it's good to see another Malaysian here (what a rare species we are !).haha

      Would you care to elaborate more on your plan? I am studying actuarial science at a local university just like you.I'll be graduating next year.It would be certainly nice for us to meet up.

      Where do you live? If it's within the Klang Valley then there wouldn't be any problem on my side.As you can see, I live in Shah Alam.

      Oh yes before I forget, I've applied to join the UN online volunteer service.It's practically the cheapest solution for me as of now.Perhaps you should join too if you are interested.Would you like me to pass to you the website link?
      • Jan 31 2013: right now its just a plan, if all goes correctly, I plan to complete my compulsory service with government, then apply for non pay leave to join a volunteer organization like Mercy malaysia or doctors with out borders. I would like to this for 2 to 3 years (if possible) then return back.

        Yes please pass me the link for the UN site, would be good to check it out, the more options are always better.

        You are right about the rare species part man, as i hardly seen malaysians here. I am from the klang valley too, PJ to be more precise. Sure lets meet up for a cofee at subang perhaps?. I am free for the next 2 weeks, been told that my job will start after chinese new year holidays.
  • Jan 28 2013: The question said if you had no money.
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    Jan 27 2013: The cruise ships are an interesting idea. I have also looked a little into the idea of getting on smaller boats. You can google "sailing the world". apparently some people get together to man a boat that takes 5 or 10 people to man. The idea being that the owner will give you free passage if you work the boat. Its kind of win-win.
  • Jan 25 2013: Buy a TV and have cable.
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    Jan 25 2013: Thanks for replying below. Let's see, actuaries work for insurance companies compiling statistics on different calamities that might occur, right? I don't see any specific connection between this field and Canada, aren't there insurance companies in every country? Do the insurance companies in Canada work differently?
  • Jan 24 2013: good idea
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    Jan 24 2013: .
    Pursue VALID happiness only!
    Don’t pursue INVALID happiness!
    You will feel happy and look down on the stupid rich.
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    Jan 23 2013: Sorry, what is the connection between actuarial science and Canada? By the way, who is "both of us"?
  • Jan 23 2013: These are all good I haven't been able to travel widely since the Marines I haven't spent time with those from other cultures much since school.
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      Jan 23 2013: Well that's great! Maybe we could be partners in finding ideas to this question. I've been doing some "Googling" and if I find anything worth telling then I'll e-mail you immediately.It would be lovely if you could do the same for me. ;)

      Have a nice day!
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    Jan 22 2013: Well, one way might be to become good enough at something that your services are in demand in many places. For this you need some education.

    Another way might be to specify exactly where you want to go, and why you want to go there. Put together a productive reason for going there, like if I visit China I will explore Chinese food and come back and open a restaurant. Then ask your family for the money to go to China.

    Where do you want to go, and why do you want to go there?
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      Jan 23 2013: Both of us are studying Actuarial science and we would love to go to Canada.Any suggestions? Website links would be great.Thank you.
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        Jan 23 2013: I would suggest starting with (Canadian Institute of Actuaries), also if you Google “Canada Actuarial” you should find Canadian universities offering actuarial studies and job listings.
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    Jan 22 2013: Google and Skype if all you want is to learn about them!

    That is IF it only a like, but IF it is part of goal or helpful in a career path then I say I need more information.

    Personally my nephew in-law got his degree in international business three years ago, and with the job market in the shape it was in he decided that joining the Peace Corps was his best option. This June he will be finished with three years and can put his time teaching in the Ukraine and the Middle East on his resume.

    So my advice would depend on the person and their desired career, taking an foreign apprenticeship could be a good way to go for some careers.