How to travel the world by bike for free (almost)

Information, advice and knowledge about cycling long distance. With or without a Touring bike.

How to ´Cyclo-travel´ all the world by bicycle with the smallest effort, in a minimalist way.

CYCLING: HANDY OR NOT?

I was afraid that traveling by bicycle would limit my traveling possibilities–for example to take a train or a plane–thus I decided to not start with the bicycle from home.

Later, I have noticed that is quite easy to get a bicycle in any city I traveled to.
What I did was just getting a bicycle (recycled) customize it a bit: side bags, basket and phone holder; and use it for all kind of traveling, or daily transportation.

Whenever it gets damaged, stolen or I want to do some part of the trip with other transportation mean–for example if I need to take a plane ticket to get a visa– I would just sell, or give away, the bike and get a new one as soon as I can.

I started enjoying cycling so much that I have decided to do the slowest tour of the world by bike.

I am not pro-flights, because airplanes pollute a lot, but if you really need to take one, try SkyScanner.net to find the cheapest tickets.

WHEN TO TRAVEL

Choose the right month, remember that even small factors can contribute a lot:

  • Altitude for exemple; you can be in a ´hot country´, but if you are high on a mountain it will be cold.
  • Sunrise Orientation (east), Think that if there are mountains on the east side you may get no sun in the morning.
  • Wind, if you are cycling it is VERY important.

SLEEPING PLACES

My first suggestion is to get a small tent. It gives you a lot of independence and you can even use it as a discreet way to sleep at people places: “hallo, could I pitch my tent here?”—you ask—“you are welcome at home”—the hospitable local will often reply—.

Any place can be a sleeping place:

In case of troubles:

  • Firefighting stations;
  • Churches;
  • Hospitals;

In extreme situation:

  • Public Toilets;
  • ‘Squattable’ buildings;

NightSwapping

  • HomeExchange – An unique concept that gives you both benefits of Airbnb and Couchsurfing. Hosting/surfing community, where you can also have an entire place independently, based on night credits instead of money.

Hospitality communities:

  • WarmShowers – Cyclist Oriented (many information’s and feature for Bicycle Travelers)
  • BeWelcome – Open, non profit hospitality community
  • CouchSurfing – For profit hospitality exchange
  • TrustRoots – Hitchhikers Hospitality Community
  • Rainbow Gathering – More than a hospitality community, a worldwide family

Volunteering Work/Accommodation exchange (20hrs of work/week = food + accomodation):

  • WorkAway – The most well organized and structured website for work/accommodation
  • HelpEx – Many volunteering opportunities, just the site interface is not too cleaned up
  • Wwoofing – Organic Farm Volunteering, the first travel work/accommodation exchange community
  • HelpStay.com – New platform where volunteers and hosts can match, the staff of the website will manually add your listing once you send it to them.

Renting an affordable place:

  • Google Vacation Rentals – Private accommodation on different platforms
  • Airbnb.com – Rent from locals, biggest online community; mostly for few days, but often you can negotiate longer stays and prices and get great deals!
  • HousingAnywhere.com – Sublets, 50% of the first month costs is paid as fee (Officialy for students)
  • Roomorama.com – Similar to Airbnb, but smaller community, site with less features
  • EasyRoommate.com – House sharing and renting ad; mostly for few months at least
  • HostelBookers.com – Cheapest Hostels Worldwide
  • HostelWorld.com – Biggest Hostel website

GETTING FOOD

WHAT TO TAKE WITH YOU

Take as little as possible, you can always take more, remember: less is more—in Theater, but also in Traves & in Life—.
A small list of what to put in your bag:

HEALTH

Unfortunately health care is not always free, if you are a EU citizen you have to be considered as a local in all EU states, there is an Android App that gives you all info.

  • A travel insurance can be useful, Revolut is an online bank with one of the most affordable insurances for travelers.
  • Ada,  Artificial Intelligence doctor, always with you. It will make diagnoses and symptoms check any time, extremely accurately. On Android app.
  • Google Maps is a good tool to find health services around, but make sure they have several positive reviews. Remember to leave reviews after your experience.
  • WhatClinic is a great portal to find good doctors.
  • Orthodontics on the go? You can use this code for a discount: 70ca74554d
  • Teeth Whitening kit , one of the best.

NAVIGATION AND ROUTING

  • Basic ‘Natural Navion’ skills can help a lot in case of emergency (for example finding the north).
  • naturalnavigator.com is a really good website featuring all informations about the topic.

COMMUNICATING

  • Internet Sim Card – It’s vital -or really practical- for you to have data internet connection if you are traveling light-weight, to have easy access to: maps, accommodation website, getting information in real time about where you are…
  • WiFI Hotspot apps
    WiFi Map Pro – Maps with location of hotspots (and passwords) – For download offline you have to pay
    Search for a Free Wifi App, maybe a local app in the place that you are heading to

GET INFORMED AND SHARE KNOWLEDGE

  • WikiTravel (Alternative ‘touristic’ information’s)
  • NomadWiki (Knowledge about traveling nomadism)
  • Google Travel is a great resource to know about places where you are going to, remember to leave reviews on google maps!

LANGUAGES AND LEARNING

MONEY & GETTING ITEMS
Cash wiki (information about how to earn some money)

Online banks such as Wise, Paysera and Revolut can help you pay and receive money abroad, or pay at local shops anywhere in the world.

Flea Markets – Search ‘flea market’ on Google maps (often you get items almost for free)

LEGAL MATTERS – CLAIMS AGAINST PUBLIC OFFICES, AUTHORITIES, OR POLICE

Here below the hierarchy of whom to present your clam if the police/institution didn’t take care properly of it (or of you).
In case you are not satisfied with the outcome of your first complaint, you can escalate it to the higher-ranking institution in this list:

  • Chief of the Police Office (where you presented the first complain)
  • Regional Police Office
  • Federal (or National) Police office
  • Police Ombudsman
  • City Ombudsman
  • National Ombudsman
  • European Ombudsman, or any similar
  • United Nations Ombudsman
  • Contact local and global Mass Medias

Even if some of the mentioned offices do not provide you support directly, they may guide you to the right door.

Legal aid in Europe – Detailed information about your rights in the EU.

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