In a tight economy, those wishing to travel are busier than ever searching for ideas to reduce expenses and come away with almost free vacations. Is it still possible in this day and age to find ways to pare down expenses to make a trip almost free? Enter the Internet and in no time flat you can begin packing your bags for an unforgettable vacation to almost anywhere in the world.
Almost Free Vacations: Re-Thinking Your Accommodations
It turns out the easiest way to save a significant portion of your upfront costs of traveling is to rethink your places to stay on your trip. If you can live without five star rated hotel rooms, and overpriced meals, you can enhance your travel experience while staying in or with local residents.
Couchsurfing.com is a great website for those looking to travel on the cheap and immerse themselves in the real life of people who call whatever place you are going to home.
Couchsurfing.com works as part social network and part accommodation booking agency. Members build profiles and agree to open their homes and guest beds to travelers. One does not have to accept every request to shelter a traveler but is honor bound to accept enough to build up one's profile and recommendations as a safe place to stay. The site works hard to provide only the best in referring members and places to stay. Testimonials on the site seem genuine. The opportunity to meet new friends and get the inside track as to enjoying a country makes this site a hand's down winner for those wanting an almost free vacation.
Caretaker.org is a paid membership site costing about $30 a year. It is a terrific place giving one access to people looking for caretakers in situations ranging from house sitting, to ranch hands, or serving as companions for the elderly. Some of these sets up offer more than a simple trade room for service and actually offer a small salary or stipend.
More Ideas for Saving on Your Vacation
- WWOOF.org stands for World Wide Opportunities on Organic Farms. This popular and highly praised not-for-profit organization is global in scope (more than 70 countries). You literally volunteer to work on an organic farm, garden, business, or ranch in exchange for meals, housing, and training. A full membership in WWOOF costs about $45 annually.
- Sabbatical Homes.com is free to join if you want to be a house sitter. Teachers and academicians going away on sabbaticals post their homes as available.
- Global Freeloaders.com offers free registration. One must be willing to start hosting immediately - usually within four to six months of registering. As a traveler, one will be reciprocated with access of a large membership around the world who will open their homes to you.
- Servas.org is acknowledged by the United Nations and has been in existence for over fifty years. People stay with hosts in countries for two or more nights (the host's discretion). They also work as volunteers on peace and relief campaigns.
Applicants to Servas undergo a rigorous screening process designed to shake out the most qualified candidates.
Club Membership = Free Travel Perks
If you are looking for almost free vacation travel and accommodation perks, than look no further than your alumni association or membership organization. Clubs and other groups can help you enjoy an almost free member by creating networks across the country and globe of members opening their homes to other members.
- Educators Travel.com is a site started by and for teachers around the world. Using the site's B&B Travel Network, one can travel the world and stay in other member's homes for only $40 per night for up to two guests and two children under 18 years of age agreeing to share a room. The club is open to current and retired teachers and their immediate families. Annual membership is $36.
- Lesbian and Gay Hospitality Exchange International.org has an annual membership fee of $40 annually and has over 500 members in thirty countries. Again, the system works on a trade of accommodations for free by agreeing to host at your place of residence after you are hosted by a member in a different region. Hosting is limited to a two nights stay.
Road Trip to an Almost Free Vacation
Drive your way across the United States by volunteering to deliver someone else's car to a destination. One is going to need a clean driver's license and motor vehicle operation history. Outside of the car and free first tank of gas, all other travel expenses are on you. You have between seven to ten days to get a car to its destination and there are limits on mileage. By carefully planning your route, however, you can hit major points of interest with very little trouble. Check it out at Auto Drive Away.com.With an open mind and heart, as well as a wish for frugality, you can still experience the destination of your dreams for a fraction of the cost.