In today’s economy, it is hard to take a day trip to your local state park, let alone do any major sightseeing. Most people can only take one big trip a year, and that’s only after penny-pinching the year prior. What’s a person to do if they’re suddenly bitten by the travel bug? I’ve got 5 ways to travel more in 2017 right here for you!
1. Save Money
Yes, I just mentioned that some vacations take years of collecting coins from your couch before you’re able to experience them, but there are ways to save money (and even earn extra money) fast.
- Obviously, the easiest way to save is to cut down on your spending. For example, you can shop at resale stores or eat out less.
- However, you can make money by spending money. Many credit cards offer cash back rewards. Luke Landes from Consumerism Commentary recommends finding a card that will pay 1-2% cash back on all purchases. You can check out his list of the best companies here.
- There are even apps that will give you money with little effort on your part. Two favorites from Peter C.’s HTLITUS list are Slidejoy–which pays you just to open your phone–and Receipt Hog–which gives you money back for each grocery receipt you snap a picture of.
2. Find Cheaper Modes of Transportation
Once you’re ready to start booking flights, be sure to spend a little extra time figuring out the best (and cheapest!) ways to travel.
- Frequent Flyer Miles are always a popular option, but what do you do if you pick flights based on their price and not by the company? You sign up for one loyalty plan within each major airline alliance. Anil Polat does a great job of explaining which companies will allow you to share your mileage in his post “How to Accumulate All of Your Frequent Flyer Miles in One Place.”
- Speaking of finding cheap flights, a special site for you students and just-out-of-college-poor-folk: StudentUniverse. This site gets students and young adults discounts with many of the major airlines out there, so you can see the world even if you don’t have a full-time job.
- Another option besides planes are trains and buses. These modes of transportation are typically used once you’ve reached your destination, but unless you’ve got a large body of water standing in your way, these alternative options often times are cheaper than the one-hour flight. And although it will take you a bit longer to get where you’re going, you’ll get to see beautiful country and pass through other cities along the way.
3. Find Cheaper Living Arrangements
Cheap transportation’s not the only thing you find if you do a little extra digging.
- If hotels are too expensive and hostels creep you out, you might consider Airb&b. This site allows you to rent rooms or entire houses (plus, it pays the people renting out their property!).
- For a completely free option, you can always try CouchSurfing. Unlike the old days when you’d be hitting up friends of friends for a night or two on their couch, CouchSurfing connects you with complete strangers who will open their homes to you. It’s a great way to meet knew people and have authentic experiences in the cities you’re visiting.
- The most important thing you can do to lower your rooming bill is not to travel during the holidays. If you go to Ireland around St. Patrick’s Day, even the worst hostels are going to raise their prices, and you’re going to get stuck in a room with eight other drunken Americans who come in at 3 in the morning and still aren’t ready for bed.
4. Work or Volunteer
Want a completely (or nearly completely) free trip? Then strap on your working boots!
- Forbes has a list of 23 companies that will send you around the world if you agree to help out the community while you’re on vacation. Some of these gigs will even pay you for your services.
- For something a little more long-term, you can always apply to work on a cruise ship. It should be noted, though, that you will be working every day with little time to actually explore the ports you land in. If you’re more interested in the journey rather than the destination, this could be a good option for you.
- There’s also seasonal employment. Many national and state parks will hire extra people for the summer months, as do winter resorts when the snow starts falling. While you won’t hit as many locations as you would on a ship, you will have plenty of time to get to know the area you choose to work in.
5. Ask for Help
Now, I’m not saying to start-up a Go Fund Me Page just so you can take your dream trip around Europe (although, you can certainly give it a try), but everyone who’s traveled has their own secret tips on finding the best deals and how to save money.
- Lonely Planet’s Thorn Tree forum is a great place to ask questions of people who’ve already traveled to or are living in a location you’re interested in. You can also go there to share your own advice.
- For all you women out there–Wanderful is an excellent organization to go to for help. Not only do they provide workshops and summits, but they also have a wonderful community of fellow travelers who respond to questions on their Facebook page.
- And of course, always be sure to ask your friends and family for their advice!
Do you have any ways you save when traveling? Share them in the comments below!