How to Travel the World for Free: 6 Tried and True Strategies for Getting Companies to Pay you to Travel – HuffPost

Im always being asked how its possible to travel for free. Surely this is one of the biggest perks of cultivating a large social media presence. And most would assume that this is a privilege given only to those with hundreds of thousands of followers, but its actually possible to do even if you have a smaller following. Read on for the tried-and-true strategies that have worked for me and for other influencers, and get to seeing the world!

I recently met an Instagram influencer all the way from Panama, and I was surprised to find out that even before he had an online presence at all, he had started putting various projects together around different missions. His first goal had been to promote a waterfall near Panama, inspiring people to visit local sights. He sold the project to local tour companies and thanks to his relentless enthusiasm, the tour companies managed to pick up six car loads of people who wanted to see that waterfall. The brands paid for all travel-related expenses, and Andres reached his goal. And to top it off, more companies started approaching him, wanting to know if he had any more ideas like this one.

No matter how big of a community is behind you, its crucial to target a niche thats truly unique; this will set you apart from everyone else, even if with all your profiles combined you still have less than 10-20 thousand followers. If youre a lifestyle influencer, you could plan a 2-hour, elaborate program and offer it to a resorts guests on a chosen weekend. As a photographer, you could put together a portfolio and send it to hotels whose online profiles appear to use a lot of visuals, and perhaps like to work with bloggers. Contact them and offer a number of high-resolution photographs they can use freely in exchange for a nights accommodation. This is how one of my students got invited to a hotel in Cyprus for four nights.

As you can see, Ive given several examples of the give me a night and Ill post in return type of collaborations. Most of the above are about considering what works for the hotel, whats in their best interest, and how you can help them without having a massive follower base.

If you dont have the money to travel abroad, start exploring locally. Let people see that youre always on the road, that this is important to you, and show them the quality of content you can create and the narrative that this fits into. When you go on vacation, prepare in advance: look up local hashtags and familiarize yourself with places so that by the time you get there you waste less time trying to figure out where to take pictures. Youll discover lots of locations on your own anyway, but its worth preparing a few things in advance so that you have more time to enjoy yourself too. Post about these trips on your blog and publish them on all your channels.

You could also research all the sites and locations you want to see on your journey and collaborate with local businesses by posting about them and offering special discounts to your followers. If you can arrange a free welcome drink at a rooftop bar, you can tell your followers that youll treat them to your favorite cocktail. And those who go somewhere to grab a drink will surely stay for round two.

This platform will show you the hotels that are open to collaboration. After you register, youll see all the accommodations you can work with, based on the number of your followers. Its worth checking the places profiles to see what they ask for and what they can provide, as well as contacting them a month or two prior to your travels to make sure you get an answer. I definitely recommend this site, especially for shorter trips.

If you have at least 20-30 thousand followers backing you up, I suggest Googling various tourism boards and contacting them at random. Work out a thematic project concept, have a narrative supporting your trip, and pitch it to them.

Try these ideas and let me know which one works for you!

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How to Travel the World for Free: 6 Tried and True Strategies for Getting Companies to Pay you to Travel – HuffPost

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