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“Don't think you have the budget to satisfy your wanderlust? Think again. Travel after college is possible if you just do your research.”

What are your plans for after graduation? It’s a question I’m sure you’re tired of hearing. But, it’s one that you’re probably pondering yourself.

What are you going to do?

If the idea of traveling abroad has crossed your mind, you’re not alone. Graduation is the perfect time to satisfy your wanderlust. After all, what is there stopping you?

Oh, yeah…maybe the mounds of student loans you’ve racked up. Or, the lackluster college wages you’ve been living off of.

Whatever your struggle, don’t let it get you down. There are still ways you can manage to travel after college. It just takes a little research and a lot of motivation. Get started by checking out the following ways to travel abroad for cheap.

WWOOFer plants veggies at an organic farm in exchange for a free room and food


If you’ve never heard of WWOOFing before, you’re probably wondering what the heck cute little puppy noises have to do with cheap travel. Well, you’re barking up the wrong tree.

WWOOF actually stands for World Wide Opportunities on Organic Farms. It’s a network that pairs volunteers with organic farmers and growers.

The hosts provide free accommodations and food to WWOOFers in return for a day’s work. That means you’ll spend next to nothing while you’re abroad.

The low cost isn’t the only benefit. WWOOFing is a great way to become immersed in a culture while helping to build a sustainable, global community.


Since all your accommodations and food is provided for free by the WWOOF host, there are very little costs associated outside of the normal up-front travel costs.

There is a membership fee that depends on the country you’re registering with, but you can expect to spend less than $100.


  • You must register through each individual country’s WWOOFing program.
  • A work visa is required in most countries; however, some may allow a work holiday visa or tourist visa.
  • You’ll need to provide your own working clothes and foot-ware.
  • It’s necessary to be physically capable of doing manual labor.


Once you’ve decided which country you want to WWOOF in, make sure to fully research the farms before committing to one. Email the hosts and look for reviews to find out more information in order to find the best match for you. Check out Sophie’s story to learn more.

college graduate backpacks in the mountains


Backpacking may be the cliché way to “find yourself” after college, but it has its merits. Those being mainly how cheap and flexible it is.

As the name suggests, backpacking is a form of travel in which you carry everything you need in one backpack. This way you aren’t restricted by luggage. So, you can “go with the flow” while you travel.

The lack of planning and structure of “going with the flow” is enough to drive some people into a panic attack. But, it’s that lack of structure that really lets you experience what makes a place unique.

When you aren’t bound by tour dates and schedules, you’re more inclined to make new friends and explore where the locals go.

Where do you stay when backpacking?

The idea of backpacking is to keep things as fluid and cheap as possible. There are a few ways you can achieve this while not spending a ton on accommodations. One of the most popular ways is to stay at hostels.

Hostels are dorm-style housing arrangements that are much cheaper than staying at a hotel. While you’ll be sharing your space, hostels offer many benefits. They provide a safe environment and are usually equipped with full kitchens and living areas. Since you’re sharing the space with other travelers, it’s a great way to make new friends.

Looking for a free place to stay? Try campgrounds, WWOOFing or even couchsurfing.


There are very little up-front costs to backpacking, aside from the normal travel costs like airfare and visa fees.

Since it’s up to you to determine where you’ll stay it’s hard to put an exact price on what you’ll spend once you make it to your destination. If you do it right, you can backpack for free, but in most cases, you’ll spend somewhere around $20-50 a day.


While backpacking is all about lack of structure, it’s a good idea to prepare for your trip by creating a loose schedule. Do some research on places to stay and things to see so you can properly budget and spend wisely. Check out this article about the basics of backpacking for more tips.

young Asain girl raises her hand in a classroom


Teaching English as a Foreign Language (TEFL) is another option that makes you money while you travel. TEFL is one of the most popular paths working travelers choose. GoOverseas estimates that about 250,000 English speakers teach English abroad every year.

Why is TEFL such a popular choice?

There are TONS of jobs available. With 1 billion people in the world taking English classes there is a large demand for English teachers. The demand is so large, that in most cases you can be hired without experience or an education degree.

More than 50 countries offer English teaching jobs and each has its own hiring requirements. While most of them do not require a degree in English or education, most will require a TEFL certification.


Depending on whether you complete it online or on-site, the TEFL certification can cost you anywhere from $900 to $2,500. You’ll also want enough money saved up to last you through the first month until you get your first paycheck.

This is a small price to pay considering how much you can make teaching English abroad. In some countries, like Japan, Vietnam, Taiwan, Dubai and Korea, you can expect to make between $2,000 and $5,000 a month.


While each country has its own hiring requirements, there are some common stipulations to teaching English abroad:

  • You might not need a college degree, but you will most likely need a TEFL certification.
  • Most countries in Asia and the Middle East will require a criminal background check.
  • You will most likely need a visa. The type will depend on the country.
  • Most countries prefer native English speakers.


Every country will offer its own unique blend of benefits and disadvantages. When deciding where to teach, do your research on salary, livability, time commitments and program requirements. Check out this article for more tips on teaching English abroad.

young woman holds menus at the restaurant she works at while she's on a work holiday visa


A working holiday visa is a permit that allows a traveler to reside and work in a country in order to fund his or her travels.

It’s a great option for you if you have the travel bug, but don’t have enough money or you’re worried about paying your bills at home.

Working holiday visas are offered in Singapore, New Zealand, Australia, South Korea and Ireland. Each country has its own regulations, but they generally allow you to live and work in the country for 6-12 months.


The factors listed below, plus the cost of airfare, put this option at the higher end of the price scale as far as up-front costs; however, your living costs should be covered by the wages you make while abroad.


  • Visa Application: $322 USD
  • Proof of Funds: $3,824 USD
  • Low-End Daily Budget: $62
  • Requirements: U.S. citizen, aged 18-30
  • Work: As an English-speaking country, Australia offers up a lot of job opportunities, most of which are in hospitality. You’ll have the best luck finding a job during its peak tourist season: December through February.

New Zealand

  • Visa Application: $165 USD
  • Proof of Funds: $2,992 USD
  • Low-End Daily Budget: $44
  • Requirements: U.S. citizen aged 18-30
  • Work: As an English-speaking country, New Zealand offers up a lot of job opportunities, most of which are in hospitality. You’ll have the best luck finding a job during its peak tourist season: December through February.


  • Visa Application: $45 USD
  • Proof of Funds: $10,000 USD
  • Low-End Daily Budget: $44
  • Requirements: U.S. citizen; enrolled in postsecondary education or graduated within last 12 months
  • Work: As an English-speaking country, Ireland offers up a lot of job opportunities, most of which are in hospitality. You’ll have the best luck finding a job during its peak tourist season: July and August.


  • Visa Application: $150 USD
  • Proof of Funds: N/A
  • Low-End Daily Budget: $39
  • Requirements: U.S. citizen aged 18-35; currently enrolled in a university or graduated within the last 12 months; university must be ranked among the top 200.
  • Work: While most people speak English in Singapore, most of their jobs are in banking, law, marketing, IT and construction.

South Korea

  • Visa Application: $45 USD
  • Proof of Funds: $10,000 USD
  • Low-End Daily Budget: $44
  • Requirements: U.S. citizen aged 18-30; currently enrolled in school
  • Work: As a non-national, it’ll be hard to find a job in South Korea that isn’t teaching English – that’s unless you speak Korean. While teaching English is a great way to make money abroad, it can’t be done on a work holiday visa.


A working holiday visa is much easier to obtain than a work visa. They’re easily approved and don’t require sponsorship. However, there are still some stipulations. For example, you must have medical insurance and you cannot have any dependents.

While some programs say they require proof of funds, it’s uncommon for the countries to check once you get there.


In order to be approved for a work holiday visa, you must have medical insurance. The specific requirements vary according to the type of visa, so make sure to do your homework before enrolling in a plan. There are many companies that offer short term health insurance for travel abroad.

Young man sits with African children in a village where he is volunteering


Volunteering abroad is a great way to gain professional experience while contributing positively to the global community.

For those who are worried that taking a gap year off will hinder your ability to start a career when you return, volunteering is a good option. That’s because it looks great on your resume.

Volunteering requires some of the top qualities employers are looking for: an open mind, the ability to adapt and a willingness to work with others.


There are a ton of volunteering programs out there that cost money. Some of which include your airfare, housing and/or meals. You can expect to spend anywhere from a couple hundred dollars to a couple thousand on these programs.

There are also free programs, but these won’t cover any of your accommodations. So, it’s important to take into consideration your living costs when deciding on a program.


Since volunteering is such an admirable act, it’s usually easy to fundraise money to cover your travel costs and any program costs, as well as make a donation to the cause. Check out these ways to fundraise your volunteer travel.


Traveling helps you gain a new perspective on the world, learn more about yourself and become more independent. With so many cheap travel options available, there’s no excuse not to travel after college. Just make sure to do the necessary research and planning to determine which option is best for you.

Have you traveled the world for cheap through WWOOFing, backpacking, TEFL, volunteerism or a work holiday visa? Share your stories with us on Facebook or Twitter and let us know how you #TravelOptimized.

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