I’d like to thank and personally recommend the following sites for getting me started on my travel journeys. These are some of the best sites out there that I’ve found and they’ve certainly started me in the right direction. Utilize these resources to get yourself started!
1. Matador Network: Become a Travel Writer or Photographer
Want to be a travel journalist or travel photographer? I personally can vouch for MatadorU’s travel and photography school for helping me become the well-rounded travel journalist I am today. With 2 courses in each travel writing and travel photography, staff and key editors work hand in hand with you so that you can get published and start living your dream of traveling and getting paid for it.
Yes, it’s a real website. It’s a safe, secure way to hook up with other travelers, learn about a place from a local’s perspective and really live and breathe a certain area! I’ve couchsurfed in Australia and around the United States, making some lifelong friends along the way. Get started and fill out a profile! Connect with people, put some pictures up and plan a trip! You can also host people from all over the world, enriching your life and expanding your realm of knowledge about other cultures around the world.
This is a great website to search for alternative places to stay while on vacation. Just because you’re taking a trip doesn’t mean you have to stay in a resort! Save some money and make it more personal by staying in a person’s home! You can even list your place for other people to stay in. A great way to make a little extra money and meet some new people!
4. Caretaker Jobs
Doesn’t living an alternative lifestyle away from the rat race sound enticing? Caretaker Jobs allows you to search for opportunities to stay on different properties all over the world, rent-free, in exchange for upkeep/maintenence. Perfect for those who work for themselves or remotely. This could be a great opportunity to practice being a ranch hand, help upkeep a hostel or live a quiet, rural lifestyle away from the hustle and bustle for a month, or a year!
I used to care-take at an ec0-retreat in the rain forest of Hawaii’s Big Island. In exchange for 15 hours a week, I got to live rent free in one of the most pristine, unspoiled areas of the world. Score!
This is my favorite website and has given me the most success. It costs about $30 for a 2-year subscription, but it’s worth it. Postings for different work exchanges are categorized by country and there are photos, descriptions, reviews, etc. I highly recommend it if you want to get to know locals, live locally and save money. Many places/farms/families are very open-minded, progressive and happy to meet travelers from all over the world. I even get emails from people who catch wind of my travels offering me free room/board at their rainforest retreat, banana farm, ashram, etc. all the time and I have to turn them down! Imagine that!
Because I prefer travel websites that publish more than “Top 10 All Inclusive Resort” pieces, I recommend checking out GoNOMAD and the thought-provoking, unique travel articles. I’m a fan of “off the beaten path” travel and the the stories and recommendations GoNOMAD publishes work from writers who go places no one else has gone, reporting on experiences no one else has had. Check out their submissions page and give them a shout!
7. Travel Blogs
There’s a host of different travel blogs that I follow pretty religiously and find a lot of inspiration in, as well as practical tips and observations. Have a visit to these and see if you find anything good 🙂
The Morning Fresh: An adventure blog about traveling, climbing and food.
Free Candie: A 20-something fiery redhead who chronicles her intense and often humorous relationship with “place.”
Twenty-Something Travel: A humorous and honest account of what it’s really like to travel.
Bacon is Magic: A 30-something who left behind the creature comforts of her old life to travel, write and have fun!
C’est Christine: Yet another solo female traveler whose explored the French Riveria, lived in Australia and laid on beaches in Thailand! Stunning photography.