How to travel the world by sea for free
Imagine for a moment you are on the deck of an Ocean liner cruising to Puerto Rico for the holidays.
The smell of chill air that filters through your nose feels soothing to your lungs. Beyond the horizon, what you see is a large expanse of crystal clear, glasslike body of water, and you are pleased with what you see.
On board, there is a swimming pool where you can chill out when the heat of the sun gets unbearable. There is also a bar where you can always go grab a cold bottle of beer. And the sweetest part: you aren’t paying a dime.
Sounds too good to be true? Well, it probably is. Traveling the world in style by sea for free is very possible, and anybody with the right mind set can do it.
Here are what you can do to turn this imagination to reality
Leverage Volunteer Crewing
A ship, just like an airplane, needs a crew to man it. As the name implies, volunteer crewing involves putting in your effort to manning a boat, yacht or ship without any form of monetary compensation. In return, the owner of the vessel will compensate you by offering a sleeping space aboard the boat.
You might be wondering why boat owners let in strangers that are completely inexperienced to help man their boats. Well, the reason is simple; sailing the oceans alone can quickly become an adventure turned sour. To avoid this – and also avoid paying huge fees to experienced hands – yacht owners look for fledglings like you who are lusting after adventure.
So, if you are open to learning new things, have no issues taking instructions from someone, and not worried by seasickness, this might be it.
If you are looking for a truly unique experience you might want to check out www.fairtransport.eu and board a sailing ship on its way back to home port.
Travel aboard a Cargo Ship
Cargo ships, unknown to many, oftentimes take along with them budget travellers looking to explore the world. So, basically, they don’t only carry cargos but travellers, too.
However, sailing aboard a cargo ship, more often than not, costs money, as most ocean liners charge travellers huge sums in travel tickets. But that shouldn’t scare you. Be it as it may, sailing aboard cargo ships for free or fractions of the original cost is quite possible.
All it will take you is some underground research work, and a little bit of luck. The best way to get started is by sending out dozens of emails to freighters. In the mail, ask them if you could sail with them for free in exchange for work. You might be surprised how effective this strategy would be.
Try boarding a fishing boat
If a cargo ship looks like it is beyond your reach, give a shot at fishing boats. True, getting accepted won’t equally be easy, but trying won’t hurt.
To increase your chances of succeeding, consider making friends with the captain of the boat or a crew member. Of course, your social skills has to be top-notch for this to work.
Find work with a cruise liner
The tourist industry has been growing over the years, and this growth means more hands will be needed in the industry, making it somewhat easy for you to secure a job with cruise liners.
Though some liners make it mandatory for job seekers to have some experience sailing on boats or ships, some others don’t.
Additionally, you don’t have to possess any technical skill or a sea farer’s certificate to land a job; a little bit of experience working in the hotel industry is enough. A cruise ship needs bar tenders, casino dealers, nannies, cooks, cleaners, musicians, performers; the list is endless. So there is always a place for you.
5. Budget cruise ships
There is a growing number of cruise ship companies, selling their return routes at amazingly cheap prices. You will have to do a little bit of thinking and waiting here. Usually these ships leave at the end of the summer, so for a route over the atlantic you will have to be boarding around September/October. There are not many ressources online right now, but we will keep updating this page as soon as we know more. Feel free to share your advice in the comments.
If you have ever travelled on a boat or ship for free, share with us, how you did it.