3. Use Sweat Equity
Voluntouring (donating a portion of your travel time to a local cause) will land you cheap room and board, plus an insider’s look at a faraway place. Biosphere Expeditions sends wannabe scientists on conservation adventures around the world, including a two-week trip to Peru’s Amazon rain forest to survey jaguars (about $1,700; biosphere-expeditions.org). For the culturally curious, i-to-i mixes local community projects like working in a Kenyan orphanage with adventurous activities like gorilla trekking (14 days, $2,095; i-to-i.com). And then there’s Sierra Club Outings, which offers unbeatable deals for outdoor purists. For less than $600 you can spend a week exploring stunning areas like California’s Marble Mountain Wilderness—clearing some trails along the way, of course (sierraclub.org/outings).