Tag Archives: Network Travel

We got this question a while back. We do get many questions and we love them so do keep them coming. Send them to Info@extendedworldtravel.com or post them in the comments below. It sure helps us to know what’s on your mind and in what way we might be able to assist you.

Anyway, the whole question was:

“I was just curious as to how possible and realistic it would be to travel for 10 years or more with little initial savings, no education past high school, and no other source of income?”

The answer to that is very simple: it is absolutely possible! But, and this is important to remember, it all depends on any specific desires you may have regarding your travels and what you want them to be like.
It’s a very common misconception that long term traveling has to be expensive. Maybe it’s because a lot of people see it as an extended one week holiday in high season, when you stay in hotels, eat in restaurants, hang out in bars every night and spend money on tourist attractions. Multiply that by 52 and you will of course get an astronomical figure for a one year journey. And if this is the way you want to travel you will need lots of money in the bank or a big steady income. For most long term travelers , this is not the way they do it though, usually because that are not their circumstances.

A lot of people who want to travel long term don’t have the money for an extravagant journey. So they have to plan accordingly and find solutions that match their situation and their desires. Even without any money saved up it is still possible to go on a long journey.

The truth is, traveling long term can often be much cheaper than staying at home! We have met many and talked to many travelers who confirm this. For instance, when you’re on the road, you don’t have all the fixed costs that come with keeping a home and staying in one place. No rent, no home insurance, no car (if you are not traveling by car that is), no electric bills, no expenses for commuting , no day care costs…

All you got is basically the expenses for food, lodging and transportation. And there are also many things you can do to keep even these at a minimum. It just takes some creativity and a willingness to find solutions.

One idea is network travel which we have written about earlier here. If you choose this way you can basically eat and sleep for free. That would mean that the only expense that remains is the actual transport. Furthermore, you can always choose to ride a bike or walk. Maybe it won’t take you around the world, although that is possible too, but will definitely keep the expenses close to zero :-) .

And this is possible to do for a year or longer. To have plenty of time absolutely makes it easier to be able to travel inexpensively. We have some friends who did just that. They used WWOOF for their network travel, and spent 5 years traveling around Europe (and this is not the cheapest part of the world). They just kept going and even became parents along the way, and then continued to be “WWOOFers” with their child.

Of course this may not be everyone’s choice. But neither are first class tickets and 5 star hotels. You just have to find whatever suites you and your circumstances.

And yes, just to be clear: Education has nothing to do with this being possible or not…

Don’t forget to write your own question in the comments :-)

We are members of a couple of network travel organizations that allow us to both welcome visitors from all over the world to our home as well as travel ourselves and stay for free at other members homes.

Los Arenalejos

Los Arenalejos

There are some different forms for these organizations. Some of them require that you help out with things a few hours a day in exchange for free food and a place to sleep. It can be all kinds of work, farm work, garden work, building, cooking, baby sitting, helping children with homework, you name it. These places usually allow you, and want you to stay for a bit longer – weeks or even months. A couple of examples of these organizations are WWOOF and Helpx.

Other Organized Network Travel groups only allow you to stay a few days but you are not required to do any special work in exchange. Some examples of these are Servas and Coachsurfing.

We have mostly traveled through WWOOF – World Wide Opportunities on Organic Farms – in Europe and especially Spain. We have many great memories from these visits but one special place comes to our minds, Los Arenalejos in the mountains above Marbella, Southern Spain. The family who has this huge farm is now dear friends to us and we have been staying there several times, helping out with various things. Since they grow absolutely everything on their land, there’s always something to do. Some of the things that grow there are olives (lots and lots of old trees), avocados (almost as much), oranges, mandarins, lemons, grapefruits, apricots, peaches, apples, pears, pecans, almonds to name a few.

If you’re interested in horses you might want to stay on a farm.

If you’re interested in horses you might want to stay on a farm.

We have also had visitors come to us through WWOOF. We remember the man who came on his bike (!) from England. He didn’t take the quickest way though but made a small detour around France and Italy first. He was a great help with repairing things around the house.

Another time we had a young man from New York coming to spend time with our kids and to “teach” them English. It did very much turn out the other way around though, they taught him things like harvesting honey and chopping wood.

We’ve also had a family staying at our home for a winter when we were traveling ourselves. They were a Finnish-English couple with a son. They had actually been WWOOFing themselves around the world for 5 years as a family!

Travel with the help of an organization like this really helps you to learn a lot about the people and the customs and the culture of the country. You feel much more like a local than like a tourist and also you don’t have any costs for accommodation and usually not even for food.

We really think you should have a look here to get some more ideas about this great way to travel!

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We love Network Travel!  We’d also love to see more people use this way of traveling and build relationships around the world. Here’s how Network Travel can work.

We are a homeschooling family. So, homeschooling is one area we know of and that we sometimes seek contacts within when we travel. When we have been traveling to the USA, New Zealand and Australia for example (or around Europe and even in Sweden where we usually live for that sake) we have got in contact with some different home school networks on the internet. We then write about us and tell people we are going to their country (or area). We ask if they would like to have some fellow homeschoolers come to visit or if someone wants help out with a place to stay or maybe just would want to meet for a cup of tea. We usually get quite a lot of people who answer and want to connect in some way. They invite us to come and stay in their house or to camp in their garden or to show us around when we arrive in their area. To help us find contacts in a place we want to go and where we don’t know anyone.

People around the world are usually very open to and interested in meeting with people whom they share a common interest with. We have traveled, and also stayed for free, for months like this, visiting new friends.

We are also open to helping people who contact us in the same way. We have had visitors from all over the world come to stay. Or we have found somewhere for them to stay in another part of Sweden (it’s actually a big country, but almost empty of people). Or we have met and guided them around in our beautiful capital or just connected in some other way.

Just now we are having a young man from Brazil staying for a while. So, even though we’re at home in Sweden at the moment, we haven’t lost contact with the rest of the world.

Our new friend Tilo, visiting from Brazil, meeting our friendly Hedgehog

Our new friend Tilo, visiting from Brazil, meeting our friendly Hedgehog

We have learned so much from him about his country. We’re all very grateful for not having to worry about Cayman crocodiles when we go swimming in our lake, for example. He has made us all very curious about Brazil and we’ve noticed that we have already started looking in to it in different travel books. It may very well be that South America is a place we’ll be going to in a not too distant future:grin:

So, this way of traveling is both to give and to get. When you travel, you get support in different ways. You also give friendship as well as share of yourself and teach people about your part of the world. You can also give in the form of being open to letting people contact you when they are away from their home.

Network Travel makes the world shrink. It helps you feel at home wherever you go and if you don’t go but stay at home, you can be connected to the rest of the world by having people contact you or coming to visit. It also makes you feel safer – you learn that you have friends everywhere!

Want to learn more about how you can use your networks to travel? Go to our Network Travel section.

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We’re homeschoolers. The world is our children’s school. And homeschooling families is a travel network we’ve used several times. But we also have other networks of course.

One time we were traveling to New Zealand and since it was the first time, we didn’t know anyone there. The first thing we did, when starting to plan the trip, was joining some different New Zealand Home Schooling groups on the internet. We told them we were a Swedish family planning to go to NZ and that we were looking for people to meet with and places to stay.

Soon, we had several invitations from these friendly Kiwis to come and visit. They lived all over both islands. From the furthest north to the most southern parts (whatever is north and south down there).

Some people invited us to come and visit for a day, others to stay for a longer time. Since we felt we wanted some “privacy”, as well as a way to transport ourselves around to all these places, we decided to rent a campervan. With our rolling home, we then went from family to family staying on their land, in their garden or yard and we didn’t spend one New Zealand Dollar on campsites or hotels or any other kind of accommodation.

Except having places to stay for free, we got many new friends and play mates, and also the opportunity to learn about both the local area we visited as well as the country in general.

We visited families living in many different surroundings and circumstances. One family had a vineyard where we could learn about the process of making wine (and do some tasting!). Another one lived in a place almost impossible to go to, but with the most amazing nature around. Check out this for example…

On our way to visit some friends through a travel network

On our way to visit some friends through a travel network

Suddenly the road just ended (well, almost)

Suddenly the road just ended (well, almost)

This was not the first, nor the last, time we used a travel network on our journeys. For us, it’s the most fantastic way to travel. It provides you with very cheap places to stay, often totally free. But it also gives you new friends who also can introduce you to this new place and the local customs. Read more about Network Travel here

Also, it’s not uncommon that people we have visited get inspired to travel and decide to come and visit us in return. So, now and then, we get a call or an e-mail saying something like: “We’re planning to go to Sweden, would it be possible to come and visit?” And this gives us the opportunity to give back what they once gave to us: a place to stay (with us or someone we know) and friendship in a foreign country.

So, what’s your travel network?

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