Month: July 2019 (page 1 of 2)

Using Student Loans to Travel: What You Need to Know

Can you use student loans for anything? Say…traveling? We’ve got the inside scoop for you on using student loans for travel! ☆ Travel abroad is an experience like no other, especially when you travel meaningfully. There is nothing like setting foot in a faraway land, learning a new language, discovering a new culture, and becoming a part of a community through work, study, volunteering, or insightful travel. It can be eye-opening, life-altering, and—who are we kidding—expensive.

man with backpack staring up at the sky

Hey man, don’t worry! If you’re determined to go abroad, you CAN make it happen. 

Recent trends have shown that students have been testing a loophole to make overseas travel possible, despite the expense. That’s right, they’re using student loans to travel! Now you may be thinking, can you use student loans for anything? Well, the answer is no. The student loan process can be tricky, with a lot of fine print involved on how to use your financial aid. But the good news is that there are ways to travel the world, even if your education has put you in debt (hey, join the club!).

Here you’ll find everything you need to know about using student loans for travel abroad!

Using student loans for travel FAQ

While it’s possible to use student loans for travel (we know you’re thinking of ways to fund spring break in Cancun!), it’s not always the smartest option. Unless your travel is directly linked to your education, using student loans to travel could have a negative impact on your future. 

Keep reading for the pros, cons, and popular questions about using student loans for travel abroad.

1. How do student loans work?

If you’ve ever taken out student loans for university, the tuition and fees are normally paid directly to your school. Students then receive a loan refund to cover living costs. Think food, clothes, possibly even a car to commute to classes. Now you can spend as much or as little as you want on your living expenses, and this is where students often find a loophole.

Instead of spending money on basic living needs, students are skimping on modern comforts and using the money to travel instead. Is this allowed? Can you use student loans for anything? Is it possible for travel to take precedence over the comfort of living and use student loans for travel abroad?

girl with backpack smiling in front of art structure

Having a million questions (and then some) about using student loans to travel is normal.

2. Am I allowed to use student loans for travel?

Let’s get down to it: legally, student loans must be used for education expenses, including tuition, education fees, books, supplies, and general costs of living while studying. While it’s possible to face prosecution for illegal borrowing, financial aid offices don’t typically track how students spend their money. Students are finding if they misuse their student loans, there are usually no consequences in the immediate future, and more students are using student loans to travel than ever before.

The question is: Do you really want to enter this gray area and put yourself into further debt just to party with your friends on a tropical island? Why not travel in an educational way?

[Need Money to Study Abroad? Ask Your Network]

3. Can I use student loans to study abroad?

Yes! If you want to use your student loans ethically to travel, study abroad is the way to go. While the process can be complicated and intimidating, it is a solution that allows students all over the US to study abroad. Using student loans to travel abroad for your studies makes it possible to see more of the world without cheating the system. 

In order to receive a study abroad financial loan, you have to be enrolled in and able to receive credit at an approved university. Generally, this comes in the form of a federally-funded loan for Americans studying abroad. Don’t forget to double check if your school accepts these loans! If they do, not only will this allow you to use student loans for travel abroad, but you’ll likely save money with the lower cost of international schools.

4. What will study abroad loans cover?

Study abroad loans cover the same costs that a normal student loan covers: tuition, fees, course supplies, and living expenses. While you can spend your loan freely while abroad, the main goal is not to use student loans for travel splurges. In reality, you want to use them only for what you absolutely cannot afford, as you’ll be paying off high interest rates when you return home.

Instead, come up with a game plan to reduce your spending, and try to find a part-time job before you leave or while abroad to cover non-educational expenses. You don’t want to travel thousands of miles away from home just to sit in a classroom—you need some spending money to explore!

5. Is it a good idea to use student loans for travel abroad?

While using student loans for travel abroad is possible, there are many factors to consider before taking out student loans for travel abroad. Whose name is on your loans? If your parents co-sign a loan, you could be putting them further into debt by taking out a student loan for travel. Even if it’s just in your name, high interest rates mean you’ll be paying off debt for years to come.

What are your travel intentions? Most financial aid is handed out on a first-come first-serve basis, so if you use student loans for travel abroad, it means another student may not receive the financial aid they need to study. So are you using that loan for fun, or for educational purposes? While you may not get caught using student loans for an epic trip to Mexico, it’s not always the best idea.

girl with backpack throwing up a peace sign

If you don’t want to use student loans for travel, then it’s time to get creative and consider other options.

Other ideas for funding your travel

Using student loans to travel may be your route if you intend to study abroad, but this is not the only option to fund overseas travel. There are plenty of other ways to fund your travel that won’t set you back in debt.

1. Create a FundMyTravel campaign

Are you planning to travel meaningfully? Do you want to travel abroad in order to learn, invest in your future, further your career, or make a difference in a community abroad? Create a FundMyTravel campaign to fundraise for your travel, instead of using student loans to travel.

Whether it’s family, friends, or strangers, most people are happy to donate to a good cause. Create your campaign and tell a compelling story. Inspire those around you. If you reach out to those who can resonate, you are bound to raise funds to jumpstart your travels abroad.

[How to Write a Fundraising Story + 7 Compelling Examples]

2. Apply for scholarships

Scholarships are available for all kinds of meaningful travel abroad, from studying to interning abroad. This is another great way to fund your trip instead of using student loans to travel. Scholarships are a different source of financial aid, offering full or partial funds to cover your tuition fees for travel abroad programs. Scholarships are much better to use than student loans for travel, as you won’t have to worry about paying back loads of debt when you return home.

3. Work while abroad

Yes, traveling abroad is expensive, but if you can find a way to travel and make some money, you’ll hit the jackpot. Instead of using student loans to travel abroad, consider waiting until you graduate to embark on a working holiday in Australia or New Zealand, or teach your way through Asia. You’ll see more of the world while making money to cover your travel expenses and pay off your outstanding debt at home. Simply make a budget that includes monthly loan costs, and you could come home debt-free!

Plus, you don’t even have to wait until your debt is paid off to travel. Student loans can often be deferred for meaningful travel abroad programs, so you aren’t tied to home to pay off your loans. Worst case scenario: work on the road and seize every opportunity for side gigs!

Using student loans to travel isn’t your only option!

woman staring at computer screen biting pencil

We get it—student loans are STRESSFUL. The good news is that they’re not your only option for going abroad.

Still wondering, can you use student loans for anything? There are gray areas, of course, but you should be using your student loans wisely.

There are so many ways to see the world without going into debt. Of course, while it’s always an option using student loans to travel for study abroad, it’s not always the best option. Consider every factor, and if you can find a way to travel debt-free, take that opportunity instead.

Bottom line: you can always travel abroad—you just need to get creative!

[Create a Campaign on FundMyTravel and Get Going on Your Meaningful Trip!]

liz gorgaThis article was written by Liz Gorga. Liz is an international traveler, writer, and educator with two home bases: the USA and Australia. She has worked, studied, interned, volunteered, and traveled through more than twenty countries (and counting), and currently resides in sunny Brisbane, Australia. Her life goal is to experience the magic that exists in every inch of the earth, whether she’s hiking in the Himalayan foothills, jumping out of the sky over coral reefs, or devouring a heaping bowl of homemade pasta.

How to Find Cheap Flights: FundMyTravel’s Inside Scoop

We ALL want to know how to get the cheapest flight possible. The good news is that we’ve rounded up some of the best tricks to booking cheap flights! Check ‘em out. ☆ There’s no question about it. Finding cheapest airfare options for your next meaningful travel adventure is stressful! It seems like the further you want to go, the more it costs, but that doesn’t stop your wanderlust. You’ve got places to be, experiences to…experience. And it’s not just about how to find cheap airfares for this trip. You’ve got to know all the tricks to booking cheap flights now because every dollar you save on this flight is another dollar towards your next big move. Oh, the skies you could fly!

how to find cheap airfare

Strap in and put your seat into its upright position—we’re about to take you on a whirlwind tour of the best tricks to booking cheap flights.

Of course, if you want to know how to find cheap airfare, you’ll have to have a little bit of patience. Not only do you need to familiarize yourself with the following tricks to booking cheap flights. You also need to carve out enough time to do your homework and make sure you’re ready to book the right flight when the moment strikes. But first things first: set yourself some limits. Calculate the maximum you’re willing and able to spend. Then figure out what price will be low enough to trigger you to buy immediately. Once you’ve got your budget parameters worked out, you’ll be ready to find cheap airfare to anywhere.

Follow these 9 tricks to get cheap flights

1. Buy your tickets on Tuesday afternoons.

People book their vacation plans when they’re not working, and during evenings and weekends. Airlines seem to have caught on to this, so flight prices usually drop a little bit in the middle of the work week when there are fewer customers in the market to book travel. If you want to know how to get cheap flights, be ready to buy your tickets on Tuesday afternoons. This will help you get the most bang for your buck.

2. The early bird knows how to find cheap flights.

Timing is important when it comes to your travel times, too. No one likes to wake up early, right? So if you’re willing to fly out on early morning flights you can probably find a better deal. Bonus: flight early means you arrive early. Use those extra hours to familiarize yourself with your new destination or use the cash you saved with these tricks for booking cheap flights to treat yourself to a little bit of luxury when you de-plane!

3. Be flexible.

Business travelers usually travel at the beginning and end of the work week, while leisure travelers like to maximize their weekends. If you’re willing to fly on Tuesday, Wednesday, or Saturday, you can put yourself in a position to save lots of cash-money.

how to find cheap airfare

These views will be even more incredible after you find cheap airfare to anywhere! (But maybe spring for the window seat.)

4. Leave enough lead time.

Plan your trip at least a few weeks ahead to maximize your savings. Minimally, you should be booking your flight about 30 days before your travel date, but some statistics would say you should plan at least 7 weeks ahead. Sometimes you can find great last-minute deals, but if you’re looking for tips on how to find cheap airfare for a specific travel destination or experience, don’t leave it to chance. Plans often sell out and then there’s no last-minute discount—just missed opportunities. 💔

5. Sign up for price alerts.

Many travel search engines and flight information consolidators have functions that can save your search parameters and alert you when prices drop. Use them! Just be realistic while you’re at it. It would certainly be ideal to pay just $5 for your trans-Atlantic flight to your next destination, but is that realistic? Setting your target price too low won’t turn up any options, while setting too generous a price might waste your time by flooding your inbox with information about flights you can’t really afford.

6. Read the fine print.

If it sounds too good to be true, it probably is. Is there one particular flight listed on your search results that costs way less than the rest? Before you book, make sure your tricks to get cheap flights don’t backfire. Does the itinerary include a very long layover? Or a stopover in some far-flung airport that requires you to take a major detour? Are the costs of checked bags included or will you have to pay to bring anything with you besides the clothes on your back? Any of these options may be fine by you and that’s okay! We’re just recommending you double check before you book so you don’t end up in an awkward situation.

7. Where’s your sense of adventure?

Are you sure you’re already settled on your destination of choice? What if it were cheaper to redirect your travel somewhere else instead? You can find really affordable rates if you’re willing to go where the airfare-algorithm-gods lead you. Being open to smaller airports or secondary cities can turn up some really great deals.

8. Points points points points points points points.

Building brand loyalty by flying with the same airline as often as you can will help you accumulate “points” or “miles” that you’ll be able to apply towards more affordable future travel. Alternatively (or in addition), inform yourself about the benefits of your credit card and consider switching to a card that rewards you with airfare. Even if it doesn’t help you find cheap airfare this time around, if you play the long-game, it can pay-off in the end.

9. When all else fails, FundMyTravel

Still no luck? Consider crowdsourcing or fundraising. FundMyTravel can help you raise money with the help of your friends and family so that you can fundraise what you need to make your next meaningful travel adventure a reality. Make an account and start campaigning for that sweet, sweet moolah that will help fund your airfare to wherever you’re headed. It’s super easy and super convenient (you don’t even have to change out of your sweatpants!).

You’re ready to find cheap airfare to anywhere!

how to find cheap airfare

If you know how to find cheap flights, you’ll be in all of your favorite destinations sooner…and more affordably!

There you have it. We’ve shared a few tricks to find cheap flights we had up our sleeves! Hopefully all that effort to find the cheapest airfare possible hasn’t robbed you of your enthusiasm for meaningful travel, because your adventure is just beginning. Grab your face mask and your neck pillow, and slip into your coziest yoga pants, my friend. It’s time to fly the friendly skies!

[Join Our Email List to Learn More About How to Use FundMyTravel for Your Next Trip]

The Definitive Ranking of Fundraising Websites

When you’re looking to make money and raise funds, it helps to remember that all crowdfunding resources are not created equal! While all of them allow you to crowdsource funds, some have posting fees, some take a percentage of your earnings, some charge your donors a donation fee, while others only let you keep the money you earn if you reach the full one-hundred percent of your fundraising goal. So how do you know which is the best fundraising website for you? Well, let’s take a look and examine our list so that you can make an educated choice!

best fundraising website

What is the best fundraising website? The answer will have a lot to do with what you’re trying to fund!

Keep in mind that some of the best crowdsourcing websites are quite specific in terms of allowable projects and causes, while others are much more open in form and format. If you’re hoping to raise enough money to launch your oh-so-amazing taco sauce, the best fundraising websites for you will be quite different than if you’re trying to earn funds to cover the costs of traveling to Singapore to teach English. However, all crowdfunding sites have some elements in common, so we’ll start there to help you decide what’s best for you.

15 of the best fundraising websites

1. FundMyTravel

Why? The features of FundMyTravel are super straightforwardand include everything you need to do in order to start your fundraising campaign, spread the word, and get funded! With free set-up, a comprehensive tool-kit to get you started, and a flat fee of 5% from all donations made, there are no hidden fees or surprises. Payment processors might collect their own fees—but FundMyTravel makes it easy to get your meaningful travel project off the ground! 

What? This crowdsourcing site is among the very best fundraising websites for individuals who want to raise money for meaningful travel abroad programs, ranging from adventure travel to volunteerism and interning abroad. If your goal is to raise money to experience travel-related opportunities, you don’t want your campaign to get lost in the shuffle with all kinds of other projects and causes. Plus, you get to share your campaign widely (and for free!) with all kinds of other like-minded folks. What could be better than that?

Where to find it? https://www.fundmytravel.com/

2. Kickstarter

Why? Kickstarter just celebrated its tenth year in business, and claims to have helped tens of thousands of creative people find funding for their projects. They now operate as a benefit corporation with a charter to do “good” works. They report that over 16 million people have backed a project, and that over 4.4 billion dollars have been pledged to date. They have an extensive handbook, and while fees from processors vary, the projects are all-or-nothing (meaning you only get the money pledged if you reach one-hundred percent of your goal)—less the 5% fee that they will take off the top.

What? Kickstarter is among the best fundraising websites focused on specific fields: art, comics, crafts, dance, design, fashion, film and video, food, games, journalism, music, photography, publishing, technology, and theater. They have rules for creators focused on their charter as a benefit corporation.

Where to find it? https://www.kickstarter.com/

3. Indiegogo

Why? If you have a product you’re trying to take to market, this is one of the best crowdsourcing websites you can choose to get a high-profile reach. Primarily focused on three categories (tech and innovation, creative works, and community projects), this is a good crowdsourcing option for those in need of some support for their campaign. The fee structure is based on the overall value of the launch (there are no fees pre-launch), and the total amount Indiegogo takes is 5%, while the credit card fee is 2.9% (plus a percentage of the total fund). However, if you started your campaign on a different platform, your fee is 8% plus fees.

What? The focus for this crowdsourcing site is to support entrepreneurs and new technology from the earliest stages of development, from concept to prototype to production to shipment. The backers on these projects are expecting to receive the items they back, but there are no guarantees. The quality team at Indiegogo will get involved if they observe poor business practices on the part of the entrepreneur. 

Where to find it? https://www.indiegogo.com/

4. Patreon

Why? Patreon is among the best fundraising websites for individuals doing creative work and content production, and is ideally suited for podcasters, video creators, musicians, visual artists, writers / journalists, and creators of all kinds. Patreon takes most of the fees from the donors (taking it off the top of their pledges), but they do have different tiers of membership for creators that offer different levels of support in exchange for increased fee percentages. For example, a basic membership takes 5% of overall funds, while a premium membership will cost you 12%.

What? Funders can pledge any available amount per content element, or per month, and provide the creators with funding based on the volume of content that gets produced. Patreon provides a great way for your social media followers to contribute to your cause (whether personal or professional), or just show appreciation for your talents! Based on that social media focus, Patreon is also one of the most app-friendly, with integrations for everything from BackerKit to Zapierhelping you expand the reach of your campaign.

Where to find it? https://www.patreon.com/

5. GoFundMe

Why? GoFundMe offers free fundraising for people and causes. By free, they mean that there is no platform fee; however, the payment processing companies that work with the platform do charge fees, typically 2.9% plus $0.30 per dollar received. They also advertise having the first and only donor protection program in the industry, which should help your donors feel more secure about their ability to make a sizable pledge. The lack of a platform fee makes this one of the best fundraising websites available…but don’t forget to factor in those processing fees!  

What? In terms of what GoFundMe is best for, they have a series of featured categories, including medical fees, memorials, emergency needs, nonprofits, education, and animal causes, but they’ve also opened up individual funding options for everything from faith to newlywed costs to competitions and even a category they call “wishes.”

Where to find it? https://www.gofundme.com/

6. Crowdrise

Why? Crowdrise was established almost ten years ago, but was recently acquired by GoFundMe. Thus, you can expect to see some possible changes ahead integrating Crowdrise with other GoFundMe campaigns, even though the platform is quite different. Meaning, while this is not the kind of site you would think of as one of the best fundraising websites for individuals, if you’re trying to raise money for a non-profit or a cause, this is a great option for you! The fees range from free (plus processing fees) for basic membership, to 5% (plus processing fees) for a more full-service option. 

What? For right now, the audience is specifically geared toward online social fundraising (from campaigns to events) that support non-profit groups, with options for campaigns ranging from peer-to-peer fundraising to runs, walks, cycles, and other kinds of “thon” type events (yogathons, danceathons, etc.)—and even car washes and bake sales. If you want to host a fundraiser for a known non-profit (or raise funds for a non-profit you start yourself!) this would be one of the best websites for fundraising you can use.

Where to find it? https://www.crowdrise.com

7. Chuffed

Why? Chuffed is a new kind of crowdsourcing platform in that it offers its users an “academy” experiencetaking them through the basics of crowdfunding from concept to thank you notes after the campaign. What makes this one of the best fundraising websites for individuals is that the entire process is free for the person / cause soliciting funds as all fees are paid directly by the donor. This means that the donor selects the amount they are comfortable giving, and then pays a fee on top of that amount to process the payment. So, if they pledge $25, you will get the full amount, and the donor would pay closer to $30 to cover the fees.

What? The Chuffed Academy program is itself funded by individual donors, philanthropic organizations, and government grants, allowing the donor fees to defray processing costs so that the savings gets passed on to the user. However, not every user is eligible to use the platform. Fundraisers need to complete the academy and provide answers to questions that determine eligibility. Want to know if you or your cause is eligible? Start here and find out.

Where to find it? https://chuffed.org/us

8. RocketHub

Why? Rockethub has been providing fundraising options since 2009. Voted one of the best crowdsourcing websites due to its ties with emerging nations, it has a partnership with the US Department of State and has the endorsement of people like Bill Gates. The platform offers two primary platform models (with their own fee structures) for fundraisers to use. The campaigns are created in RocketHub and then shared on social media platforms like Facebook and Twitter. If the project is fully-funded, you keep all of the funds, less a 4% platform fee and a 4% processing fee. If the project is partially funded, you keep the funds—but in this case, less an 8% platform fee and 4% processing fees.

What? Known for its partnerships with other agencies, governments, and corporations (including car companies and network television), RocketHub has created a model for direct-to-fan social media networking and fundraising. If you’re looking to launch a start-up, this could be a great fit for you, as the ELEQUITY community within the platform offers feedback from other successful entrepreneurs about your campaign in addition to support from donors.

Where to find it? http://rockethub.com/

9. CircleUp

Why? CircleUp is one of the best fundraising websites available to start-ups and entrepreneurs…if your business makes the cut. Technically, they are a technology company, providing funding to start-ups, entrepreneurs, and organizations that are attempting to bring a product to market or launch a company. Primarily, they help individuals and organizations raise money (through funding and credit) to get from idea to launch. 

What? They work with fundraisers and donors to crunch big data, providing interested investors with analytics about how likely your company is to succeed. If your numbers look good (including analysis of market share and the competition), they will help promote you, and share their enthusiasm for your company with their network. They’ve worked with some pretty impressive start-ups; for example, if you’ve eaten HaloTop ice cream or Miyokos vegan cheese, you’ve experienced one (of many!) of their supported brands!

Where to find it? https://circleup.com/

10. LendingClub

Why? LendingClub is a way to crowdsource a loan for anything you want, from travel to personal loans—even credit card consolidation. While not technically one of the best fundraising websites, it often it appears in lists of the best best crowdsourcing websites because of the option to post a need, consider offers from lenders, and accept as many (or as few) as you would like. The rates and fees vary, depending on the offers and amounts, but for many people, crowdsourcing a loan can be a more flexible and more appealing method of getting funds than going through a traditional bank or credit company. 

What? While LendingClub is geared toward loan funding, if you’re in the business of trying to raise money in the long-term and have some funds to spare in the short-term, you can even sign up to be an investor and cash in on someone else’s need to raise income for your own. Just make sure you read all of the getting-started materials before you make a commitment, as the terms are typically pretty strict.

Where to find it? https://www.lendingclub.com/

11. MightyCause

Why? MightyCause appeals to people and organizations attempting to raise funds for established nonprofits. Positioning themselves as an alternative to PayPal donations, they provide two tiers of fundraising support: a starter plan for free, and an advanced plan for $99 per month that includes data integration and a CRM (customer relationship manager) program included, making it easier to follow up with donors after the campaign.

What? As with other fundraising platforms geared toward nonprofits, MightyCause may not be the best website for fundraising, but they do allow for individuals and organizations to run high-impact campaigns without the overhead that fundraising projects can sometimes require when it comes to brand management, payment processing, advertising, and general outreach.

Where to find it? https://www.mightycause.com/

12. EquityEats / InKind

Why? EquityEats has recently rebranded itself as InKind. Focused on start-ups for restaurants and food projects, if you’re launching a food project, the idea is to provide credit to guests and patrons who support your venture while the InKind team offers you all kinds of support, and (this is why they are always on the best website for fundraising lists) even provide up to one million dollars of interest-free financing to businesses they believe in. That’s a lot of lettuce!

What? Again, it’s not really for everyone, but definitely for foodies and restaurateurs. This crowdfunding platform works with you to give you credits (in the form of bonuses) for dining from their list of funded projects, while also providing incentives for food business owners. They also put their money where their mouths are and provide a series of case studies to help you better understand how they help food start-ups succeed.

Where to find it? https://www.inkind.com

13. Ulule

Why? Ulule calls itself one of the best crowdsourcing websites for makers. They focus on direct funding to individuals and are among the all-or-nothing funding sites. This means if you set a fundraising goal and don’t reach it, Ulule will return all of the money your backers pledged to you, and will charge you nothing based on their commission model. However, if your campaign is successful, they will charge you 6% of the total raised, plus processing fees; and, since they are a global community, you will also have to pay any currency conversion fees and VAT (Value Added Tax) for the funds coming from countries that require it.  

What? Focusing on creatives and appealing to the maker community, Ulule tries to position itself as one of the best fundraising websites for individuals. This is particularly true if you’re in one of their hot categories, which range from music, film, writing, and art, to heritage studies, education, and charities, plus technology, game development, and personal projects—which could be anything!

Where to find it? https://www.ulule.com/

14. Facebook Fundraising

Why? Odds are that if you’re on Facebook, you’ve already been invited to donate to someone’s birthday fundraiser for a charitable cause. As you likely know, you can support political actions, social justice causes, animal welfare, and so much more, just by checking your newsfeed and making a couple of clicks. Set-up is fairly simple and you can customize your fundraiser according to your needs. There are no fees for monies raised for established nonprofits, but fees for personal causes vary according to where the fundraiser lives. If you’re in the United States, that means you will pay 2.6% plus a fee of $0.30 per dollar raised.

What? If you’re interested in raising money for your own projects, just remember the goal is to find a way to make your campaign stand out. With over 2.3 billion users, it might be tempting to think of this as one of the best crowdsourcing website options available…but remember, your reach is only as far as your actual contact list. 

Where to find it? https://www.facebook.com/fundraisers/

15. Fundly

Why? For individuals (using a Facebook account to sign up) or for established nonprofits, Fundly ranks among the best crowdsourcing websites due to its multi-tiered approach to supporting its fundraisers and members of its fundraising community. Using a blog and video-heavy approach, Fundly offers options for quick, easy fundraising with a simple set-up process and no start-up fees. There is no minimum raise, and you can keep whatever you make, but there is a 4.9% fee on all donations, plus a 2.9% processing fee, along with a $0.30 charge on every dollar per transaction. 

What? Fundly prides itself on being mobile-friendly and media-rich, so if you’re a person who enjoys blogging, Instagram, videos, and multimedia messaging, this could be the perfect platform for you to explore. They also include tips about how to get news coverage for your fundraising campaign, and a separate bit of resource-guiding on designing and selling swag to maximize your funding potential, as well.

Where to find it? https://fundly.com

A checklist for the best fundraising websites

best fundraising website

What exactly makes the best website for fundraising the BEST? There are a few key factors to pay attention to.

So how can you tell what the best website for fundraising might be for your particular cause? While there are many (many!) more options than those listed here, we’ve identified fifteen good choices for you among the best crowdsourcing websites out there. So what should you do next if you’re trying to figure out what is the best fundraising website? We suggest that you review this next checklist of six questions to help you narrow down the best match for you so that you can get started on your fundraising goals!

1. Does the platform have low fees?

The fundraising options we mentioned show a wide range of funding fees (from 0% up to 12%, not including processing charges), but there are some platforms that will keep up to 30% of your overall fundraising total, once you factor in fees. The best way to prepare yourself? Read the fine print—all of it—and if you do have the option to use a donor-pays cost option, make sure your donors are aware of how (through clear communication on your part) that extra amount they pay will help you get to your goals!

2. Is it easy to sign up?

Some platforms let you sign up with something you’re already using (like a Facebook profile or other social media connection), while others will ask you to provide all kinds of up-front information prior to letting you join their site. Keep in mind that you should act according to your comfort level (and use common sense about providing personal or financial information!), but the best fundraising websites will make it easy for you to get started because they want to provide you with the support you seek.

3. Are there successful campaigns you can view for reference?

On some of the very best crowdsourcing websites, like FundMyTravel.com, you can see examples of successful campaigns and read testimonials from users. This is an important feature to look for. While campaign platforms are likely to sing their own praises (and not to say that’s not legit when it is!), the users, donors, and campaigners are the ones most likely to give you the straight story on the experience. And yes, there will always be those big stories and crazy outliers (like the guy with the $55,000 potato salad on Kickstarter!), but the true test of a platform’s success is in its every day ability to help people like you raise the funds you need.

4. Does it meet all of your needs for totals, fees, and timelines?

Make sure you add it all up. When you factor in the platform fees, processing fees, opportunity to keep whatever you make (or not!), and the total number of days / weeks required to create a campaign, post it, run it, and collect on it, are you within a reasonable overall timeline for your project goals? If you’re hoping to raise enough money to take a winter volunteer expedition to Egypt and it’s now June, is the window of set-up and operations (and funding!) going to work? And if not, what’s the next best website for fundraising you should consider instead?

5. Is it a proven option for raising funds?

Testimonials and success stories are super-important, but so is the platform’s track record. If over 10,000 people have posted campaigns and you find that 10 of them have amazing things to say, but the other 9,990 campaigns were not funded or ended up falling short, you will want to consider how significant a reach this platform might afford you. Make sure you look at the overall percentage of funded projects when making your decision, and keep in mind that any reputable example of the best crowdsourcing website choices on these lists will post that information right up front!

6. Is it backed by anyone / anything you wouldn’t otherwise support?

Now we’re getting personal (and possibly political), but with crowdsourcing being a great way for founders and investors to make money, it’s become a lucrative business to get into. Some of the more popular sites are very up-front about where they get their money from (and what they do with it), but for others, you might have to do a bit of digging.

For example, if you want to go and save endangered wildlife and volunteer for animal welfare abroad, you’re likely not going to accept funding from sources that are at odds with your passions or your ethics. The best fundraising website options will be transparent about where their money comes from, so that you can make sure you’re comfortable with it, too!

In short, make sure that you view all angles of your fundraising goals so that when you look at your comparison charts and notes, if you were asked “what is the best fundraising website for you?” the answer would be simple, well researched, and clear.

Now you know the best website for fundraising…go use it!

best fundraising website

You’ve got your cause and you’ve got your goals. Now get out there and fundraise!

As you can see, some of these crowdsourcing sites function primarily as lenders, while some serve as bonus-providers. Many of the best fundraising websites offer rewards to the participants while others are pure donation sites, focused mainly on raising funds for your cause. Whatever type of platform is best for you, there are countless options for you to choose from, so remember (we can’t stress this enough!) to do your research and look at the big picture!

But if your goal is to raise funds to travel abroad—whether for study, volunteering, adventure, interning, teaching, or even taking a gap year—we think the best fundraising website you could pick would be FundMyTravel.com. The set-up is easy, the resources are comprehensive, and the fees are super-reasonable. Plus, you can share your campaign with the world in any way you choose, and you’re not limited to specific platforms or social media types. Even better, your travel goals will not get lost in a sea of gadgets and food trucks…and you can even learn from others about the tips and tricks that worked best for them. Pretty sweet deal, right?

[Make Your FundMyTravel Account—and Get Started Today!]

andi sciaccaThis article was written by Andi Sciacca. Andi is based in Milwaukee, Wisconsin, where she lives with her husband and their four-legged family. She works with inspired professionals who are expert practitioners, experienced educators, and well-known contributors to their field. Andi helps them take ideas and put them into practice. When not working or writing, she loves to experience music, see the world, and learn new things. Andi’s favorite places to travel include anywhere she can eat good food—and swim.

How to Write a Fundraising Story + 6 Compelling Examples

Looking for examples of compelling fundraising letters? We’ve got ‘em for ya—plus the 411 on why fundraising stories matter. ☆ Let’s just put this out in the open: it’s hard to ask people for money, especially when it’s a hefty chunk of change. Luckily, FundMyTravel distributes contributions among tons of people (#crowdsourcingFTW). This makes reaching fundraising goals more attainable.

Thank goodness we don’t live in a world where we rely on a single patron to fund all of our hopes and dreams! Crowdsourcing makes it more attainable, but how do you actually go about asking people for money without making things awkward? Enter: fundraising stories.

woman writing on tabletop near globe

Get comfortable and get a cup of coffee. It’s time to find out how to write a fundraising story.

Great fundraising stories may be unicorns in a herd of horses, but they don’t live in an unattainable mythical realm. That being said, you may need to do some soul searching to find your perfect ivory stallion.

The best examples of compelling fundraising stories are the ones that come from the heart and connect with potential donors’ emotional sides without making them feel sorry for you. If you want to have a successful FundMyTravel campaign, you need to know how to write a fundraising story that will knock people’s socks off…and we have just the tips for you!

Why are compelling stories important to your fundraiser?

Connecting to emotions leaves a lasting impression, and stories are the easiest way to do that. Fundraising stories are more than a quick “hello, I need money and this is why, thanks bye”. They have a narrative. They draw people in and give them a reason to learn about you and your travel goals. 

Stories live beyond your initial fundraiser. They are an opportunity to extend your journey beyond reaching the monetary goal. Crowdsourcing is cool because it turns an individual’s goal into the goal of an entire community.

Every person who chips in becomes more than an investor—they become part of your story. They want to know what happens next on your journey. This is the perfect opportunity for you to incentivize donors with special newsletter updates, blog posts, or even a snapchat story feed.

Tips for how to write a fundraising story

1. Be authentic (aka…be yourself!)

We know you’re already pumped about your next meaningful travel experience, but how are you going to get others on board? Your story is the ticket to ride into the beautiful sunset of travel bliss. The best fundraising stories tap into raw emotion and authenticity. We’re only human, after all; we adore a good story.

Make a list of your goals and dreams for this trip and sprinkle that magic fundraising dust all over your story. Share your history! How did you learn about this project? Why does it resonate with you? Don’t just copy + paste why X organization is good for the world; why does their mission drive your travel?

Connect to your reader’s humanity by sharing personal details and experiences, but don’t turn it into a sob story. You want to travel to do some good somehow, right? Lean into that aspect. You may want to volunteer with orphans or sick elephants, which is devastating, but talk about the great work you’ll be doing in that arena rather than dwell on the sad parts. Positivity will get you places. You need a plane ticket, not a sympathy card.

You don’t need to look far to know how to write a fundraising story, because the story is inside you. Yes, we know how cheesy that sounds, but it doesn’t make it less true. It’s easier to read a book that’s already open. 

2. Be honest about why you’re fundraising

Don’t be slim shady; let people know why you’re asking (nicely) for money. State the obvious, then elaborate on the details. Obviously, you need a little help with the cash situation. But what else? 

Maybe you’re a student who is trying to keep on top of loans, but has a dream to do medical research abroad. Maybe you just quit your job to find yourself, and you are drawn to humanitarian work abroad. Or maybe you just don’t have enough saved to cover the cost of your ticket to Thailand, but you’ve been planning on studying abroad for a semester and just need help to go the extra step.

Fundraising stories that outline specifics of what the money will cover are going to be more successful.  Why? It feels good to help others. If people see that their $30 donation paid for your visa, they get a tangible, warm, fuzzy feeling that they made a difference. Be straight about why you need the cash, and what the money is going towards. Transparency is key.

3. Be short and sweet

Writing a fundraising letter doesn’t have to be a full time job. Yes, you should take time and be intentional, but please don’t send out a novel. Fundraising stories should be short and sweet. Like Lil’ Sebastian. Or a corgi. You’re writing for the internet now, and believe us when we say your audience is a sea of skimmers.

Get to the point (#minimalism, yo). Yes, you need to include your beautiful soul-story and dirty details, but don’t bury the lead. State the facts early! 

Use simple yet powerful language. Keeping it approachable and skimmable will draw a wider audience, so don’t use ridiculously big words that make people stop reading and pull out a dictionary. 

Some formatting tips:

  • Call attention to details with bold words
  • Try a bulleted list to break up text
  • Keep paragraphs under 7 sentences
  • Pad your key info with white space

4. Be assertive with your ask

This is one of the hardest parts of writing a fundraising letter, but one of the most important. You need to actually ask for money. 

It’s important to be assertive with your ask, but that doesn’t mean aggressive. You need to be clear in your fundraising letter that you’re asking for money so people know how to help out. Right off the bat, the reader should know you’re asking for money. Then, weave in your story and goals. Finally, tell them how to contribute:

“By donating $25 dollars you can help me reach my goal of planting 300 trees in Tanzania. Follow the link to my profile on FundMyTravel and click donate”. 

This fundraising writing sample makes it clear that you’re asking for money, and explains exactly how to do it.

We get it, it’s awkward. But if you go about it graciously, stay humble, and be honest about why, people won’t judge you for it. Trust us…we’re in the business of asking people (nicely) for money. 😉

5. Be gracious—add gracias 

Saying thank you goes a long way. Fundraising stories that end with gratitude are more likely to win people over because it shows that you really appreciate the extra help. You get to prove that you’re not a greedy little goblin just trying to cash in on a sweet vacay.

We already know you’re a good person since you crave meaningful travel experiences, so your heart is already in the right place! We bet saying “thanks” will come very naturally to you, so this should be easy peasy.

5 examples of compelling fundraising letters

1. Help Sana get to Japan

Hello. My name is Sana Erskine although I hope most of you already know that.

I’m raising money to go on an educational trip with Midtown International School to Japan for a fresh new cultural experience. This will be my first international trip without a parent. While I’m doing all I can to raise money for this trip, I just can’t do it without you.

Why do I want to go to Japan?

To start with, I’ve wanted to go to Japan since I was 10 years old and hope to live there one day. In preparation, over the last 2 years I even started teaching myself Japanese using foreign language apps on my cell phone. My interest started out for superficial reasons like my admiration for anime and vocaloid. However, as I learned more about Japanese history and culture, my fascination for the island grew.

For example, did you know Japan was until recently (relatively speaking) completely isolated from the world by a government policy called Sakoku (country in chains)? Sakoku didn’t let anyone leave or enter Japan under penalty of death.  When the country opened to the world an interesting culture was revealed.

There are a few things that are unique to Japan that I hope to experience should I receive the required donations:

  • Delicious rice cakes called Mochi, that are mostly eaten on the Japanese New Year but are available year-round.
  • Shintoism are three different sets of characters used in writing.                       
  • Ikebana (the art of arranging flowers inspired by Shintoism)               
  • Waka (a form of poetry)                                                                         
  • Nanga (painting with less color)
  • Hopefully, while I’m there I can learn some art tips and get a better grasp on drawing human and animal anatomy.
  • Language immersion, including slang, so I can have regular conversations with my Japanese peers.

To show my appreciation, I will send each person who donates a piece of my original artwork. I assume you know that art is my passion and I want to share a little bit of me with all of you.

All the art is digital so you can save it to your favorite device or print and hang it.

Thank you again for your support.

Sana

Why we like it

  • Makes the “ask” straightforward and gracious
  • Short and sweet
  • Bold text to draw your eye to the call to action
  • Bullets help break up the text (#skimmable) 
  • Creates personal connection: why Japan is so meaningful to her
  • Invites people to be a part of her story by sending them original artwork

2. Reiza’s Pursuit in Greece

Hello my name is Reiza and thank you for taking the time to visit my fundraising page 🙂

I am travelling to Europe for the second time for a whole month and this time through Greece (my dream destination). My original flight date, April 24 was rescheduled which led to me being able to rebook my flight within the 7 day mark for no charges.

I have decided back in 2018 that after I complete Uni I will save up, pack up, and contribute to a disadvantaged community. How timely that this just presented itself out of nowhere and I knew right away that I wanted and will do it. Rather than adding more countries to my trip I’ve decided that I wanted to volunteer instead. I turned my dream holiday into an opportunity of a lifetime. Hit 2 birds with 1 stone, right?

I have chosen to volunteer in Athens, with an organisation called Our House. I spent a month researching and finding the right community I wanted to be part of and I believe this is the right fit. The organisation is very well rounded and as much as possible, they focus on all the things needed by the refugees.

They host feeding programs every night in 2 locations, they deliver supplies to refugee camps, accompany refugees to the hospitals, give them haircuts, regular home visits, and the most important of all…they find shelter for the refugees that are left on the streets of beautiful Athens. They’re very hands on and present and I resonate well with that.

At the age of 22 I’ve travelled to 25 countries. I realized I have been really fortunate. I’ve seen so much of the world, have a place I call home, food in my belly, an education. Many of the displaced people in Athens do not have this. My primary goal is to help anyone in need and ensure their well being, comfort and safety.

I want to make use of my knowledge and passion for the world and life in the best way possible. In the past year me together with my brother and cousins have organized a few feeding programs for children here in the Philippines and being from a third world country myself, I know and see how it is with my own two eyes.

This will be my first time on a long haul trip alone, and this experience will be both challenging and hopefully incredibly rewarding for me. My parents are worried, yes but they see how passionate I am about it and understand. I also asked Scoot airlines if they could help me out and waive the 7 day mark so I can stay longer and help more and they gladly moved it with no charges.

I am here because I want to do this solely on my own without the help of my parents, for once. I am 22 and it’s about time. I also believe it will be more meaningful this way. My expenses for the holiday part of the trip I’ve already dealt with (visa, plane tickets, insurance, whatnot) so the funds will go towards my accommodation, vaccinations, local travel expenses, and most importantly the housing and supply needs of the refugees. Since I only have 20 kilos at the moment an extra 20 kilo luggage for clothes that I was hoping to bring and donate would also be substantial.

To raise funds for my volunteer trip I will be:

  • Selling my old clothes bags and shoes on Carousell
  • Using the money I earned from Youtube
  • Taking on sideline jobs from my Mom  

Thank you for any donation that you can make, big or small. Your contribution will help me make a difference to those in need and I promise to keep you posted about my fundraising and the trip itself. 

Thank you!

Why we like this fundraising writing sample

  • Talks about how she’s raising funds in other ways
  • Her story connects to your emotional side; draws you in 
  • Her history with travel + interest in volunteer work = clearly thought out, worth your financial support
  • Talks about what she already has funds for and outlines what your contribution will be going towards 
  • Ends with a thank you

3. Child Care Project – Uganda

This fundraising story was written in German and English.

Hey there!

In case you know me personally, you probably already got a snap from an over-excited me talking about my Uganda trip. In case you don’t know me, I’m glad you somehow made it here. For everyone that is not just interested in the project, but also wants to know who I am, I wrote a little introduction.

I’m 16 (17 by the time I leave in August), talk a little too much, laugh a lot and would love to drop out of school right now to go and save the world. I usually spend my summer holidays traveling with my mum (and my brother), go out with my friends, swim in public pools, try to get a tan and end up gaining around 5 pounds, from all the ice cream I eat.

As much as I love my summers, I really wanted to change up 2019’s.

Actually do something meaningful. “Be the change I wanna see in the world.”

So I decided I wanna go overseas and volunteer in a project. Looking for volunteer options is almost a little like scrolling through tinder, there are so many options at some point I just hoped for that “this is it / “I’ll marry him” kinda moment.

That’s when I stumbled over the Child Care Project – Uganda. It was love at first sight!

The Child Care Project offers children of all age groups, ranging from the really little ones to those that are almost my age, a safe place to be. Around 30-50 kids come here from Mondays to Fridays to laugh, learn, play and eat. They really get to be a child, free of all worries.

The daycare is open all day and provides a meal for every child. For many of the children this is the only meal they get a day.The daycare is not only important for the children, but their parents, especially their mothers. Knowing their kids are safe allows many women to go to work (KALiARE Frauen-Projekt) and earn money to provide food for their families. 

Karmalaya has many other projects in Central Uganda that all tie together so if you want to know a little more about the project or organization here is the link to the website, or my email in case you want to ask me directly: smiszori@gmail.com.

I am grateful for every dollar you decide to donate, in order to allow me to help out in the Child Care Centre in Uganda for four weeks in the summer (August) and who knows – maybe it is your dollar that provides a hot meal for one of the kids.

Why we like this fundraising writing sample

  • She writes in a very approachable/relatable tone
  • Talks about why she’s passionate about this travel experience 
  • Breaks up text: skimmable 
  • It’s short and sweet
  • She expresses gratitude “for every dollar you decide to donate”

4. OCEAN 2 OCEAN, Running Across America

Our oceans are dying and time is running out. Every second breath comes from the ocean and we can no longer stand by and watch as we destroy our most precious resource. Especially when 80% of all plastic in the ocean comes from us on land.

That’s why this summer I’m setting out on my biggest expedition yet, a five month-long journey to become the first person to run across America on recycled shoes.  

The Journey:

On July 26th, I will begin my Ocean2Ocean run, covering 3,000 miles and 13 U.S. states, from N.Y.C to L.A., from the Atlantic Ocean to the Pacific Ocean.

Beyond the physical demands of running such a long distance, the goal is to engage with as many communities as possible, to create awareness about the ocean plastic pollution crisis and ignite a national conversation of what each one of us can do to make a change.

The Problem:

Plastic has become one of the most produced man-made materials and it is everywhere. Plastic waste is quickly accumulating around the globe in cities, in landfills, on some of our most pristine shorelines, in the open sea and even in the deep sea.

If we don’t stop our consumption habits, by 2050, there will be more plastic in the ocean than fish. And as of today there are already more micro plastics in our ocean than stars in our galaxy. It’s affecting our water, our corals and our marine life. Studies have found that close to 95% of seabirds are ingesting this ocean plastic and researchers have found plastic in rain samples and in the air that we breathe around the world.

These are just a few statistics that highlight the urgency of acting now.

Outreach:

Along our journey, I’ll be hosting educational presentations at schools and universities, organizing events such as zero-waste workshops, documentary screenings, street and city cleanups and run-alongs (plogging) with running clubs and athlete organizations.

During this expedition, we will also be producing a series of videos to document this journey and the people we will meet along the way. By producing weekly videos, we will include portraits of sustainable initiatives  as well as updates on my running adventures.

By running 20 miles a day, 6 days a week for 5 months, I want to show that anyone can make a difference if they take the first step. Whether that step be to run across America, to reduce plastic consumption, or to make a single donation.

How You Can Help:

In order to make this expedition happen, we need YOUR help. Along with our sponsors, we need to raise an additional 30,000 USD in order to make this project a reality.

Other ways you can help, include forwarding this campaign to friends and groups concerned about plastic pollution, which would be a HUGE help. THANK YOU FOR SHARING!

Join us in our fight against ocean plastic pollution.

Together we can make our oceans great again!

Why we like this fundraising writing sample 

  • Clearly outlines PURPOSE of travel 
  • Explains in details what your contribution will do
  • Breaks up the story with images, headers, and graphs, making a longer fundraising story easier to digest
  • Includes a call to action
  • Ends on positive even though the subject is kinda a bummer (oceans dying and whatnot)

5. Study abroad to Germany, Holland, and Denmark!

Hello Everyone!

This campaign will help provide funding for my Study Abroad trip this coming May to Germany, Holland and Denmark. While there, I will be traveling to study Architecture and Landscape Architecture. This experience will expand my views on different techniques and styles of Architecture as well as an opportunity to study historical sites and their design techniques. It will also give me a chance to study Landscape Architecture by providing an opportunity to visit numerous famous gardens. 

On this trip, I will have the opportunity to complete a required credit for graduation from University of Tennessee, Knoxville’s College of Art and Architecture. I will travel with 19 of my peers as well as two faculty of UTK. I will be given a few “free-time” opportunities to experience the different cultures and lifestyles in Germany, Holland and Denmark. This trip is quite costly, however, and I would greatly appreciate any help people are able to provide. I am so excited for this once in a lifetime chance and to be able to grow as an architect and share my experience with all of you!

Why we like it

  • Sometimes less is more: short, sweet, simple
  • States her purpose for travel, her goals for the trip, and the reason she’s asking for help
  • She includes a way to extend the narrative (“share my experience with all of you”)

6. Changing Lives in Thailand

Hello, 

To those who know me well, it’s no surprise that I am going to Thailand this summer to volunteer in an elementary school. I am thrilled to have found a program that combines my passion for teaching and my love of Thai culture. This trip means so much to me because I believe that education can change people’s lives, and the sad reality is that not everyone has easy access to quality education. While I can’t change the world, I can make a difference in one community by contributing my time, energy, and knowledge to students in Thailand. But I need your help to get there. 

Beyond just exploring a new place and having fun, I chose to go to Thailand because I studied abroad there during my undergrad. Before going to Thailand, I never thought much about the country. I ended up going because it was affordable and totally different from any place I’d ever been. Spoilers: it stole my heart. The people are so caring and welcoming, the language is beautiful, and the countryside is stunning. 

My passion for providing education to communities in need made me interested in this program. While abroad I will be:

 

  • Teaching English
  • Supporting teachers 
  • Learning about education systems in Thailand
  • Connecting to more volunteer opportunities
  • Spreading the word on realities of underfunded schools around the world on my blog

On this trip I expect to grow, be challenged, and learn so much about myself. But I can’t do it alone! Every little thing helps. Here are some of the ways you’ll be supporting me:

  • $25 will get me to the airport
  • $50 will pay for the visa
  • $60 will help me pay rent
  • Sharing my FundMyTravel link will help spread the word! 🙂

While I’m abroad I’ll be sharing my story at EducationMakesMeThaiSmile.blog and sending special video updates to donors.

This trip is the best real-world experience I could ask for. It is a way for me to gain new perspective, push myself to try something new, and make an impact on a community in need. I know I’ve made it to where I am today because of the amazing people in my life such as yourself, and I hope you will join me in this next step.  

With gratitude,

April Ludgate

Why we like it

  • Connects her story to her passion for travel
  • Includes an ask right off the bat
  • Breaks up paragraphs and includes bullets
  • Outlines details and specifics on what money could go towards
  • Extends the narrative on blog, includes ways for donors to get special perks 
  • Asks nicely; says thanks

Writing compelling fundraising stories will get you more donations!

open notebook with pen next to green plant and cup of coffee

These examples of compelling fundraising letters will prepare you to write your own fundraising stories!

Now that you know how to write a fundraising story, you know how easy it is! Sure, it’s intimidating at first, but that’s life, right? You don’t have to look far, because the story is you. Your hopes, dreams, and goals. All you need to do is format that in a way that encourages people to support you and your journey. 

Travel is a beautiful thing, and money should never come between you and a life changing adventure. FundMyTravel is here to get the word out and make your journey go smoothly. Don’t miss out on more tips and tricks to get your dream trip off the ground.

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Cheap Adventure Travel: What You Need to Know

Are you looking for your next travel thrill? Eager to see the world and do big things—without having to spend big money? Well, you’re in luck! Inexpensive adventure travel awaits! Whether you want to paraglide or skydive in Cape Town or spend some time perfecting your culinary skills while also dancing your nights away in Uganda, with a little bit of planning, cheap adventure travel can be right around the corner. So how should you get started? For starters, grab your notebook (paper or virtual) and get ready to take some notes!

person sliding on zipline

Some of the coolest experiences can also be the most affordable.

It’s not enough to just know where to go or what you want to do when you’re trying to pack in some amazing fun as part of your budget adventure travel experience. You’ll also want to make sure you consider when to go and how to keep yourself safe. We’ve got all that covered in this overview as we share the benefit of our research and experience with you! We also want to share some great tips about how to make that cheap adventure travel opportunity even easier to pay for so that you can concentrate on everything else that will make it memorable.

So where to begin when planning for budget adventure trips to keep the costs down? Well, you will want to raise money while you save money, for starters! Even if you have the benefit of supportive family, friends, or outside funding from school or a community group to help you, did you know that you can also post your cheap travel adventure plans on crowdfunding sites? Before we go any further, make a quick detour and check out FundMyTravel to download the resources tool-kit right now! Don’t worry…we’ll wait. And then come right back to talk details!

What you need to know about cheap adventure travel

Now that you’re signed up for that free account, let’s talk about the nitty-gritty of the inexpensive adventure travel experience. We’re going to look at the where, the what, and the when, so that we can help you determine the how a little bit easier as you prepare to pack your bags (and your skis, boots, tents, paddles, or whatever else!) and get on your way.

The cheapest places

Let’s start with the “where” and take a look at seven great places for you to consider when planning the budget travel adventure trips of your dreams!

Finding cheap adventure travel is often determined by where you choose to go.

1. India

Not just for the yoga enthusiasts (although, it’s definitely a great place for budget adventure trips with a focus on the namaste!), India offers incredible adventures ranging from parasailing to safari to hot-air ballooning! Known as one of the most budget-friendly places for inexpensive adventure travel, be sure to check out all the great activities you can pursue in India today!

2. Australia

You’ve probably seen that iconic view of the Sydney Opera House, all lit up, taken from the water. Well, if you’re into surf and swim-related activities, it might be time to plan for some budget adventure travel in Oz. Once you manage to get there (more tips on that as you read on!), your experiences here will be sure to keep your heart pumping and bring some magic to your senses.

3. Costa Rica

The land of pura vida (the simple life) awaits with budget travel adventure trips that include hiking, zip-lining, horseback-riding on the beach, and kayaking, just to name a few options! Whether you already appreciate the pure life Costa Rica offers, or you’re looking to add some much-needed natural beauty to your routine, this beautiful Central American country can help!

4. New Zealand

Once you look into this beautiful country, you’ll see why so many fantasy films are shot here—the landscape is almost other-worldly! And when it comes to cheap adventure trips, you really can’t go wrong with this amazing country, especially when so many of the available programs include food, lodging, and other value-added benefits that quickly add up as separate costs.

5. Spain

It is hard to find a more diverse collection of budget travel adventure trips than the ones available to you in Spain! You can hike, camp, backpack, and explore the countryside. Learn cooking in the cities and take up surfing on the coast. Better still, thanks to the incredibly efficient Spanish rail-system, you can do as many activities as your schedule (and budget) permits!

6. South Africa

There’s much more in South Africa than just Cape Town, but to give you a sense of the options available for inexpensive adventure travel, a night out in Cape Town ranks as one of the ten least expensive in the world (coming in at number seven). Be sure to check out wildlife adventures in Johannesburg and the sports scene in Port Elizabeth for even more big fun.

7. Thailand

You’ve likely heard of some of the most well-known cities in Thailand (like Bangkok or Chiang Mai) but there are plenty of other places for you to explore cheap adventure travel, as well! You can go scuba diving along the coral reefs or hike along (and underneath!) the waterfalls. You can even explore caves, rafting, or eco-adventures among the rural areas, too!

The cheapest activities

We’ve already outlined quite a few mentions as we looked at the locations. Now here’s a short list of six specific activities you might find to be a good fit for your budget adventure travel planning!

two people wearing wetsuits walking towards ocean with surfboards

You can hang ten and save hundreds during budget travel adventure trips!

1. Backpacking

Backpacking is great for budget adventure trips because you can maintain pretty much everything you need, well, on your back! From Europe to Asia, or destinations far and wide, backpacking is a great way to see the world without breaking the bank. One particularly cost-effective option is to consider some of the conservation-related backpack treks in Peru. Not only will you get to explore the countryside, but you’ll also be provided with meals and support!

2. Surfing

While this might sound like the ultimate indulgence, many of the best eco-tourism adventure travel packages include surfing (either as recreation or education) as part of their budget adventure travel programming. As just one example, check out all of the incredible options for you to explore surfing in Indonesia alone! From Bali to all of the other beaches (like Uluwatu, Canggu, Kuta, and Nusa Dua) you can find all kinds of options to hang ten on the cheap.

3. Hiking

Just like backpacking, hiking provides budget travel adventure trips that allow you to power yourself from one beautiful place to another. Conservation programs (far and wide!) not only provide you with opportunities for adventure hiking, they also provide you with food and supplies. They sometimes even include funding and payment stipends when it comes to helping them track things like growth patterns, species sightings, and other eco-focused initiatives while adventuring. It’s a win-win!

5. Photography

Whether you want to see places like Nepal, Argentina, or Iceland, photography adventure travel has gone from one of the most expensive options (think back to when people had to lug all kinds of film and equipment!) to one of the most inexpensive adventure travel options, thanks to digital technology and cloud computing! While adventure means different things to different people, if gorgeous sunsets and sweeping vistas light your fire, then this is a great option for you.

6. Safari

At one point, years ago, a safari adventure was likely to involve a hunting expedition, but we are (fortunately!) in much more wildlife-friendly times. Meaningful adventure travel safaris (especially those found on cheap adventure trips) are focused on seeing the plant and animal kingdom rather than capturing or killing it. So whether you’re packing up for Africa or the Brazilian Amazon, all kinds of budget-friendly opportunities for safari adventures await!

The cheapest time of year

You likely see the words “off season” or “off peak” on just about every travel and lodging booking site. But what does it really mean when you’re looking for budget adventure trips that keep costs super-low? Check out these five easy tips for making your money go the furthest distance.

backpacks sitting on wet rocks

If you’re not one to mind inclement weather, planning trips during shoulder seasons will score you budget adventure travel for sure.

1. Explore those off-season frequent flyer deals.

Do you have a frequent flyer credit card? Or, do you know someone who does who might gift you some of their miles—perhaps even for a small fee? Our friends over at Club Thrifty are quick to remind us that off-peak, round-trip November to March flights to Europe using frequent flyer miles are often the same cost as domestic travel flights during the peak season. Airfare is often a big piece of the puzzle, so if you can get that covered, you’ve got more money for other things.

2. Check out cash sales on travel.

While those frequent flyer miles are a quick go-to for many travelers, if you’re really trying to save, you might also look into off-season travel options for cash sales on airfare, train tickets, and other transport costs. Most of us are so used to using plastic or e-commerce, but if you take the time to call ahead, speak to a booking agent, and let them know you’re looking for a cash discount, you could save big on cheap adventure trips (and avoid those credit card fees!).

3. Don’t forget to comparison-shop for your lodging.

Many of our favorite cheap adventure travel programs include housing and homestays as part of the deal. For those that don’t, you will get the best deal by doing a little bit of comparison-shopping and emailing or calling for the best possible rate. Going to Croatia? If you go in the fall (rather than the summer), a hotel that costs $500 per night normally may be going for just under $100 for an off-season booking. You can sometimes do even better with a student rate!

4. Be sure to take into account all the weather-related trade-offs.

Travel might be cheaper, and hotel rates might be better, but make sure you’re doing your research on weather-related issues. You can still grab deals as long as you plan ahead. For example, islands like Aruba, Bonaire, and Curacao remain safe bets in the Caribbean, even during hurricane season. Cheap adventure trips are available anywhere if you get creative! Check out this resource from The Travel Channel for more examples of cheap (and safe!) fun.

5. Check the blogosphere for inspo and information!

We’ve already sent you over to Fund My Travel so that you could download the resource tool-kit and create an account, but make sure you also check out the super-helpful blog there–and make sure you also do some good, solid searches on GoAbroad.com as well! These are our faves, but there are so many great blogs and social media channels out there to help you learn from the experiences and expertise of others. Be sure to use the power of the people for good!

FYI: Don’t skimp on safety!

While it’s great to be budget-minded, and it feels really good to get a great deal, just remember that it’s never smart to take risks with your health, safety, or security. Even if the hotel is offering super-cheap rates, if it puts you in a dangerous place, or jeopardizes your peace of mind, it’s not worth it. Stay in reputable places. Read the reviews for programs and providers on sites like GoAbroad.com, and make sure that you’re using free resources (like the GoAbroad Online Advisor) to help you find the right program for you, before you start mapping out the details.

Inexpensive adventure travel is real!

blue tent under the Milky Way

Carrying your accommodation on your back is a surefire way to finding cheap adventure trips!

So what should you do next, before you pack up and head out on the next budget adventure travel trip of your dreams? Explore virtually and do your research, of course! Will you backpack in the Canadian wilderness? Will you go on photo safari in the Amazon? Will you practice your asanas in the Indian countryside? Whatever you dream, you can do—it just takes preparation and some solid research skills.

When you’ve plotted out the activity, the location, the time of year, and the resources you need, you can get down to the business side, and make your travel list and your budget. And while that might be the least glamorous part (especially if you’re dreaming of riding horses on the beach in Australia), it will give you a clear sense of where to start. Remember, once you have the details and the budget, you can ask around for financial support, do all kinds of things to get creative and save money, and create a campaign to post to a crowdfunding site like FundMyTravel. So go ahead, and get started—and you’ll be on your way in no time!

[Make Your Fund My Travel Account—and Get Started Today!]

andi sciaccaThis article was written by Andi Sciacca. Andi is based in Milwaukee, Wisconsin, where she lives with her husband and their four-legged family. She works with inspired professionals who are expert practitioners, experienced educators, and well-known contributors to their field. Andi helps them take ideas and put them into practice. When not working or writing, she loves to experience music, see the world, and learn new things. Andi’s favorite places to travel include anywhere she can eat good food—and swim.

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