Shanghaiing yourself—Crewing a boat
If you love sailing, or just have an unquenchable taste for adventure and new experiences, you can sign on to help crew a boat just about anywhere in the world
In the interests of full disclosure: those swabbies in the photograph aren't actually bumming a free ride; they're guys from my scout troop, and we're sailing the Florida Keys, not the Med.
Of course, this means work, so it's not totally "free" in that sense, but what an opportunity. Resources like the Float Plan (a.k.a. The Cruisers' Companion; see below) helps you find skippers seeking crews and mates to serve on board or just join in a trip for companionship.
(The site is also used by folks looking for others to sail with them as equals, not employees, and therefore share the expense.)
Usually we're talking small sailing vessels, sometimes motorboats or even yachts. You may sign on as a cook, mate, swabbie, or all-around helper doing all the odd jobs. Sailing or boating experience is sometimes required, often not.
But don't worry; if it only took us a day to teach a group of 14 year old Boy Scouts how to sail in a bay off Miami (see the photo above), you can learn it, too. Sometimes you even get a small stipend; usually you just get free room (er, berth) and board. Occasionally, there is a small fee to cover your meals—but, hey: it's a chance to sail the Mediterranean on the cheap.
Sleeping for Free
Work for your room
Overnight trains in Europe
Sleeping in Airports
Crewing a Boat
Free Camping in the U.S.
'Course, since you're not the captain, you go where the boat owner wants to go. But if the actual itinerary isn't all that important to you and you just to travel and see the world, this can be quite an adventure.
Recent postings on the site included a boat looking for crew to help spend two months sailing from Turkey to France (you'd pay $30 per day food), a 66-foot luxury yacht seeking deckhands and caterers to sail from Crete around the Greek Islands (room and board free), and 90-foot luxury motor yacht also looking for deckhands and caterers to help crew its leisurely trip out from Genova around the islands of Italy (room and board provided).
Resources for Crewing as Boat
The Float Plan (www.floatplan.com) - The Cruisers' Companion will hook up crew-needy skippers with swabbies to help them sail the seven seas (or at least the Mediterranean).
Free Sleeps Sections