Many people have a touch of the traveling bone, but with hotel rates and plane fares soaring, few think they can afford to take a journey. One good thing about the sharing economy is the ability to find inexpensive lodging and transportation all over the globe. Those unfamiliar with traveling without a wad of cash may find themselves surprised by how easy it can be to wander on a budget.
Granted, it’s difficult to stay at the Four Seasons and go out to top-rated restaurants every evening when money is tight. However, it’s way more fun to explore the local hot spots anyway. Here are eight great ideas for summer vacation or any time of year when wanderlust strikes.
1. Gather the Squad for a Road Trip
Getting together with the girls proves way more fun than heading off solo. Plus, traveling with a large group equates to splitting up costs such as lodging, fuel and snacks.
Additionally, many airlines and hotels offer group discounts, but they don’t always advertise this. When booking reservations, be certain to ask about this option. After all, hotel chains don’t want people heading to the competition for a better deal.
2. Care for People’s Homes and Pets
If someone has a clean criminal record, a professional demeanor and is handy with a mop, they can sign up with a professional house-sitting service. Many Europeans take extended vacations due to different labor laws, and they loathe returning home to dust.
Those who prefer working with four-legged creatures can look into becoming a professional pet-sitter with traveling tendencies. TrustedHousesitters is one site that connects owners in need of a sitter with potential globetrotting pet-sitters. Many people consider pets their children and don’t fancy the thought of dropping them at a kennel while they go on holiday. Travelers can slake their wanderlust by taking care of furry friends.
3. Participate in House-Sharing
Sites like AirBnB, HotelTonight and Vrbo help people find great, low-priced lodging, and those really low on dough can use other sites such as Couchsurfer to stay with other vetted individuals for free. Most home-swap websites do require a small initial investment, but one in the double digits, not quadruple. This way, they can run a background check to protect traveler safety during their journey.
4. Explore Cheap Lodging Alternatives
Hostels are relatively rare in the U.S, but those in Europe often hire travelers who exchange performing odd jobs for a dorm-like place to crash. Tourists in Latin or South America likewise can find free or cheap lodging at hostels if they speak Spanish and can swing a hammer.
If someone has friends who live overseas, they can give them a call and ask to crash at their pad. Many welcome meeting new friends even if they only knew each other previously through social media.
5. Play All Hands on Deck
Cruise ships need the help of everyone from fitness instructors to chefs to guest experience professionals. It’s worthwhile to look into taking on a job with a favorite line.
If someone dreams of going to Asia or Australia, they should consider getting trained as a flight attendant. Once hired by an airline, prospective attendants must undergo FAA training, but once they earn their certification, the world is their oyster — as long as they don’t mind working some long, odd hours at first.
6. Investigate Alternate Travel Options
Unless flying across the ocean, travelers can reach their destinations via more methods than flight. Train and light rail passes allow people to utilize public transportation to explore cities of their choosing. Hopping aboard a Greyhound bus lets travelers relax and read or surf the net while they reach their destination. Some people even rent out their RVs to road-trippers so those journeying with a group can take turns driving and relaxing.
7. Chaperone an Overseas Field Trip
Many top schools offer senior trip excursions overseas, but not all staff attend. Therefore, additional chaperones are needed. Even though such travelers may have to pay a nominal fee, the discounts make such trips significantly less costly. Plus, those with a child of their own can enjoy exploring locations such as Paris with them.
8. Enter Every Travel Sweepstakes
Multiple travel sweepstakes abound on the internet. Cable TV’s “Travel Channel” hosts regular sweepstakes, that provide the lucky winners with up to $10,000 to fund excursions to various cities. Many local radio stations also host periodic lotteries to win tickets to popular events in the area, and those who enter and win can at least squeeze in a long weekend or a day-trip excursion.
Getting Out of Dodge on Thin Dimes
Traveling need not be expensive. Many with wanderlust journey the majority of their lives without spending much money at all. By applying a bit of ingenuity, everyone can afford to get away.