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“To travel cheap, you need to be looking for opportunities and be willing to take them. You have to be somewhat proactive and not be afraid to ask for advice, help, guidance. Ask for what you want—it’s amazing what people are willing to give. I discovered that most people are very willing and are looking to give to the right person. You miss 100 percent of the opportunities you don’t take…”
We’ve all heard the old adage that the best things in life are always free. But most people assume this rule only applies to life’s little pleasures like smelling flowers or laughing with friends. And sure, those are nice, but what about those bigger pleasures, like jetting off across the world? Can you do that for free too?
Are you already ready to purchase some cheap flights to some exotic destination? Then you should check our list of top exotic destinations you can afford!
Well, if not for free, then very cheap. If you’re looking for an international experience but don’t have the cash to splurge on it, this article is for you. You don’t need thousands of dollars to get yourself on the road. In fact, all you need is a little originality, some guts and enthusiasm, and some ideas to get you started. Some of the ideas below are sensible ones that Granny would approve of. Others are a little more risqué —it’s amazing what some people will do to save a buck—but hey, since when do you take Granny’s advice anyway?
So don’t let your empty wallet stop you from taking the trip of a lifetime. Just remember: with the right attitude, the best things in life—even travelling—can come pretty cheap.
1. House-swap or rent out your home
In a nutshell: Made famous by the recent movie The Holiday, this option, of course, requires you to have a house. If you do have a house to offer up, there are various websites that provide online classifieds for owners to advertise (homeexchange.com, homexchangevacation.com or homebase-hols.com). Most require a registration fee, but then you can advertise your property for the entire year. The length of time for exchanges depends on the needs of the two parties swapping houses. Another alternative for those travellers lucky enough to be property owners is to rent out your home.
In a nutshell: If you’re kipping in your parents’ spare room, sleeping in a college dorm, or surfing on your friends’ sofas then you’re out of luck on the house-swapping front (or, more accurately, you may already be travelling for free). But a house-sitting gig may be an option for you. If you are looking to house-sit, there are online boards where you can advertise your services. Check out: www.housecarers.com, www.mindmyhouse.com for postings in several different countries, or national boards such as Australia’s housesitworld.com.au, happyhousesitters.com.au, or aussiehousesitters.com.au. You can also put the word out and look for homes in need through university communities (on general message boards, in residences, in university newspapers), church communities or community centres. Social networking sites like craigslist.org and facebook.com are also worth a try.
3. Volunteer and fundraise
In a nutshell: Ever considered volunteering on a development project? One of the great things about devoting your time to help a worthy cause overseas is that it may allow you an opportunity to fundraise to support your work. Some volunteer organizations may help you out with room and board, and occasionally flights. Most organizations that do this require a significant commitment of time (one to two years) as well as specialized skills and experience. An alternative is to join a shorter-term project and fundraise. Schools, employers, community organizations, family and friends are all great sources of moral support for most volunteers, and most are happy to help out with a good cause. Some local organizations that support this kind of work include your local Lions Club (www.lionsclubs.org), Optimist Club (www.optimist.org) or Rotary Club (www.rotary.org).
4. Carpool or hitchhike
In a nutshell: You can get on board with someone going in the same direction, or if you have a car, you can look for people to join you —thereby offsetting fuel costs and travel cheap together. Carpooling usually requires some advance planning, as travellers will look to fill their car way in advance of their departure. Some travellers advertise on travel forums, and there are websites specifically dedicated to this kind of ride sharing.And have you heard about error fare flights? How do they appear and is it safe to book such a fare? Rides can also be advertised at hostels and other venues where travellers congregate. While it requires slightly more planning than hitchhiking, carpooling is likely a safer option. You can meet the person in advance of the trip (preferably in a public place), as well as check their references, photo ID and phone numbers. Though of course, in some parts of the world, such as Cuba, hitchhiking is just part of the way of life.
5. Crew a yacht
In a nutshell: You don’t need to know your port from your starboard in order to help crew a boat. Knowledge of seamanship might make you a shoo-in, but culinary, mechanical or navigational abilities could score you a paid position on board, and often an extra set of hands is enough to earn you working passage on a yacht. If you want to get a feel for the kinds of options available, check out UK-based Crewseekers International: www.crewseekers.net (Note: A membership fee applies). Are you going with your baby? Then check our tips how to travel with baby on a plane! Crewseekers lists many opportunities, including paid positions, shared contribution voyages and working passage trips.
If you are up for a bit of adventure—or happen to find yourself in a port town—then just get yourself down to the marina and start asking questions. Check out the bars and restaurants, check bulletin boards for ads and consider posting your own. At different times of the year “repositioning crossings” take place—boat owners have a limited weather window during which time they must move their vessel (hurricane season, anyone?) Get yourself to the right place at the right time, with the right attitude, and you’re almost sure to find a vessel to take you on.
6. Crew a cruise ship
In a nutshell: A much less adventurous way to travel at sea, in some respects but indeed you may also travel cheap and still in “luxury”. But there are about a zillion different jobs available on cruise ships. The best option for short-term contracts is to offer an area of expertise for the education or entertainment of the passengers. There are many websites that offer listings of cruise ship jobs—some of which are fraudulent—but most cruise companies list available job opportunities directly on their websites. Get started at New York.
7. Transport other people’s vehicles
In a nutshell: When people move from one place to another, they often have their car sent—and that’s where you come in. Start by inquiring directly with car rental or relocation companies, some of whom need drivers to move vehicles from one city to another in a limited number of days. Checking for ads or advertising your own services in city, community, or university newspaper classified sections could also bring you in contact with a car owner in need of a driver. Try advertising and looking in both the city where you are and in the city that you want to travel to. Australia-based rental companies including Britz (www.britz.com.au), and Maui (www.maui.com.au) require occasional relocations throughout the year. And at season’s end, they often need to move a number of vehicles en-masse to a specific location due to seasonal demand. Keep in mind that many companies require you to be at least 21 years of age.
8. WWOOF it up
In a nutshell: World-Wide Opportunities on Organic Farms is an international network of organic farmers who from time to time offer opportunities for volunteers to join them. Contact the WWOOF office in the country you wish to visit (at last count, in November 2007, there were opportunities in 83 different countries). A small membership fee gives you access to lists of member farms in that country. For further information about national branches and membership see www.wwoof.org.
9. Get a travel scholarship
In a nutshell: “Internationalization” is the buzzword on campus these days, and more and more funding is becoming available for Canadian students who want to study abroad. For a sample of the kinds of funds available, check out www.scholarships.gc.ca, which lists awards for Canadians wanting to study in 50 countries. For graduate study and fieldwork in international development, check out the International Development Research Centre (www.idrc.ca/awards). For a listing of higher-education study opportunities and scholarships in 129 countries, see the UNESCO Study Abroad Guide at www.unesco.org/education/studyingabroad/networking/studyabroad.shtml.
10. Fly smart
In a nutshell: Budget airlines allowing budget travel and booking cheap flights are virtually a religion in Europe, where few people pay full price for airline tickets. In fact, some airlines–especially those in the United Kingdom–offer international fares for little more than the taxes. You’ll be blown away by some of the sales on offer, check out www.ryanair.com, www.easyjet.com or www.flymonarch.com. Similarly, domestic fares within Australia are worth checking out, like www.virginaustralia.com that offers happy hour rates for one hour a day and www.jetstar.com.
11. Trade labour at a hostel
In a nutshell: Once you’ve arrived at your destination, consider approaching a hostel manager and negotiating a deal to exchange some work for your room—if they’re short of staff, you can barter your labour for a free place to stay. An alternative is to apply for a hostel job before you even leave home, especially if you’ve had experience in the hospitality industry. A number of websites list hostel jobs, like www.hostelworld.com which has a message board. Other sites offer listings on a country-by-country basis—see, for example, www.backpack.co.nz, which displays job postings within New Zealand. Some hostels may be apprehensive about hiring someone from abroad; depending on the place, some may require you to hold a working visa before your arrival.
12. Pick up some casual work
In a nutshell: If you’re looking to stay a little longer, then consider picking up some short-term work overseas. The options are plentiful: you can be an au pair (www.greataupair.com or www.aupair.com) or you can do something outdoors like fruit picking or trailmaintenance (www.anyworkanywhere.com offers listings for fruit picking, but many smaller farmers will only advertise locally). Many countries also offer Canadian youth working holiday visas, where you can travel and pick up any kind of casual work (legally). Check out SWAP (swap.ca) who will help you to arrange a working visa in many different countries, or companies like Go Workabout (goworkabout.com) who will pre-arrange a seasonal job in Australia for you.
13. Organize a group tour
Most travel companies will offer a discount—or free travel—to people who organize a group tour for several people. They commonly refer to them as “group leaders”. No, this does not mean that you are responsible for guiding your group of friends around Rome, but rather that you organize who will be going, where they will be going, and when. This one is a no-brainer for teachers and professors (ever wondered why your teacher in high school was happy to accompany 20 teenagers on a trip to Paris?) But it can work for other people too. Check out adventuresincorporated.com or adventures-abroad.com for examples, or enquire with any organization of interest to you.
14. Take a hard-core challenge
If you are the sort of person who would welcome the challenge of climbing to Everest Base Camp to raise money for a charity, this one could be for you. One of the newest trends in travel has seen companies springing up that will help you organize the challenge of your choice—or join an existing expedition—all in the name of charity. You do the climb (or other adventure), and raise the sponsors, they take care of the rest. Check out Global Adventure Challenges (globaladventurechallenges.com), Across the Divide (acrossthedivide.com) or Charity Treks (charitytreks.ca).
15. Enter contests
OK, this may sound like a long shot, but if you’re short on cash and long on time you’ll be absolutely amazed at how many travel contests are there for the wining. Just Google “travel contests” and you’ll get hundreds of pages of results. Travel writing or photography may win you cash or a trip. Airlines, cruise lines, resorts, tourism boards and adventure travel companies all offer up prize trips every so often. If you’re not picky about where you go, a little time and energy invested might get you out of here sooner than you think.
Another tips concerning cheap travelling and air tickets can be found here.
In more realistic way you may find another travel cheap tips from another author here below.
Furloughs, lost jobs and an overall lousy economy have travel cheap enthusiasts second-guessing whether to take a vacation this year. Indeed, travel gurus say the industry is having a tough time.
But a short sojourn might still be possible: A sluggish economy could mean better deals for penny-pinching travelers. Experts give some tips for travelers on a budget.
1. Do The Research to Travel cheap
We post plenty of opportunities to save in the air. but there are still some easy steps to save great money when on the ground. Check our latest post about airlines offering free hotel during layover! Amanda Sund of iExplore.com, a Web site for adventure travelers, says being prepared is the key to a great trip.
“You’d be surprised how many people pick trips and don’t even know what’s in their destination,” she says. Read up about the vacation spot online and go through travel books. Find out if there are city passes that offer discounts on attractions and transportation.
Sund advises travelers to contact local bloggers, like expatriates, for information about where to eat and what to see. “You can get off the beaten track and live like a local,” she says.
2. Overestimate Costs And Control Spending
Arnie Weissmann, editor-in-chief of the trade publication Travel Weekly, says when it comes to being prepared, there’s an adage in the field: Take half as many things as you packed and twice as much money.
No one wants to run out of money on a trip. So travelers should make sure to have access to more money than they think they’ll need and keep tabs on spending by recording expenditures in a notebook, he says. It allows travelers to hold themselves accountable for what they spend.
3. Consider The Travel Window
“The only thing worse than finding out the price has gone up when you waited too long is when the price goes down when you bought too early,” Weissmann says.
Anne Banas, executive editor at the consumer Web site smartertravel.com, suggests that people start looking at prices two months out, checking every few days for fluctuations. When the price drops to a reasonable amount, make the reservation.
“You can’t always get the best price, but you can get a price you feel comfortable paying,” Banas says.
4. Hit The Road and travel cheap
For help figuring out whether it is cheaper to fly or drive, check out Costtodrive.com, which compares the cost of flying to the cost of driving to a given destination. Users can select the make and model of their car to get a more precise estimation. For example, it would cost $69.40 to drive a 1995 Buick Regal from Washington, D.C., to Chicago, according to the site. It would cost $40.47 for a Toyota Prius to make the same trip.
If you opt for the open road, make it part of the destination. Weissmann suggests looking at hotels and attractions along the route you’re traveling. He says road trips are a great way to get a taste of the local culture.
5. Be Flexible With Dates And Locations
Even travelers who have their hearts set on skiing in Colorado this winter should keep an open mind. Follow the deals, Banas says. Going to a favorite location during the off-season or even during the beginning or end of peak season can be cheaper and less crowded.
“If you’re going skiing at Christmas, it’s going to be expensive,” Sundt says. She recommends going earlier in the season.
Certain destinations offer special deals. For the fall, Caribbean Islands offer deals during their hurricane season. Banas says that the so-called ABC islands of Aruba, Bonaire and Curacao offer deals even though they’re outside the hurricane zone.
Several experts also say it’s never been a better time to visit Ireland. “This recession is hitting Ireland much harder than the United States,” Weissmann says.
As a result, prices for hotels and airfare are falling. Weissmann says he’s seen hotel-and-airfare packages for $699. And the hotels, he said, were high end: four- and five-star.
“That’s going to go away when the recession goes away,” he says.
6. Beyond Cheap Plane Tickets: Look At Hotels
While checking on hotel prices, it’s important to look beyond the nightly room rate, says Banas. Check travel sites for deals like “buy two nights and get one free,” or “free spa services with room purchase.”
“If you spend the same amount on a vacation this year as you did last, you’ll be taking a much nicer vacation,” Weissmann says.
A cheap hotel rate might be reason enough to go to a destination. Travelers wanting to stay within the U.S. might consider Las Vegas. Thousands of new hotel rooms were added in 2008 and Weissmann says hotels need people to fill them.
“Overall, be as flexible as possible,” says Meridith O’Toole, a travel agent for MSP Travel Group, Inc.
7. Be Wary Of Incredible Deals
O’Toole says it’s important to look at the whole picture when evaluating a deal. For example, there are some really good values on cruse lines, she says. But she says it might be so expensive to fly to the port city of departure that the deal ends up looking like less of a steal.
She also says that sometimes people choose to stay in hotels 20 or 30 minutes from their destination in order to save money. But it may be more hassle than it is worth. That travel time, O’Toole says, takes away from your vacation.
Banas suggests that travelers who find great hotel deals make sure to look at reviews online.
“You don’t want to stay in a roach motel,” Banas says.
8. Avoid Spending Money If You Don’t Have To
One traveling basic: Travelers should investigate the best way to get from the airport to their hotel for cheap. Weissmann says that’s a prime situation in which travelers get ripped off.
“I would say what people overpay for is transportation, because they don’t know where they’re going,” Sundt says.
She also says people who don’t do research on where to eat end up going to the first place that looks OK the moment hungry strikes. So they might be overpaying for food that isn’t very good. Check city magazines or local Zagat guides for restaurant suggestions.
Banas says most people don’t have much brand loyalty toward rental-car companies. So travelers can save money by booking rental cars through sites like Hotwire or Priceline, which don’t tell travelers who they’re renting from until after a reservation is placed.
There are other ways to save as well. “People don’t realize they can waive collision damage coverage,” Banas says. She recommends that travelers call their car insurer or credit-card company and ask about existing coverage.
9. Don’t Be Too Cheap
“You can go through a lifetime of regret for being too cheap,” Weissmann says.
He knows from experience. He says he was backpacking in Egypt when he found himself in Luxor, near the Valley of the Kings. The admission price was $20, which was his entire budget for the day.
Another tips concerning cheap travelling and air tickets can be found here.
Travel cheap – current cheap air tickets and flights are available at www.flynous.com