Researched and Written by Kelli Klaus (originally written as an article pitch for Foxnews.com, but as it wasn’t used, I figured I should still get the advice out.)
Americans are shaking out their numb, cubicle-trapped legs, packing their bags, and hitting the road -or the air- this summer. Warmer months are certainly the time to travel; an estimated $100 billion is going to be spent by Americans on their 2014 summer vacations according to the 2014 Allianz Travel Insurance Vacation Confidence Index. The thing is, you don’t have to break the bank for a little adventure. Here are a few “Travel Hacks” that will save you money and give you the experience of a lifetime.
http://www.workaway.info/ is a site that connects you with people nationally and internationally who will provide free room (sometimes board) in exchange for work. You can give your preference for type of work and travel destination, then the site connects you with profile matches. Many will accept singles, couples, even families. This is my favorite option because I had the opportunity to workaway last year. I stayed with an amazing family in Senlis, France, where I cooked dinner, taught the kids English, and of course saw the sights of Paris.
This is a rising trend, evident by the blogs and books dedicated to narrating adventures done spontaneously; i.e. “A Year without Makeup”, “Wanderlust”, and http://gobackpacking.com/. The travel tales are diverse, from roughing it for a couple of weeks to becoming a paid traveler and blogger for months on end. Essentially, backpackers load up the bare necessities, book a flight, and hostel-hop around. Which brings me to the next greatest travel hack.
3) Hostels & Airbnb
Travel agencies can be helpful for certain vacations, but there’s so much you can do on your own to book that dream trip that will tailor more specifically to what you want and be a much smaller number on your credit card bill. If you’re willing to sacrifice conventionality for your pocketbook, look no further than the growing world of hostels, http://www.hostels.com/. They provide budget-friendly living in a sociable environment. Also, the newest trendy way of finding a temporary home for the transient is https://www.airbnb.com/. Find a secure place to stay in a home or apartment wherever you’re going for unbelievably low prices.
4) Teach English as a Foreign Language
TEFL! The title says it all, because sites like http://www.footprintsrecruiting.com/ will connect you with schools and organizations that will pay you to teach English. This is for a longer-term trip, so it’s not for everyone, but my cousin was able to spend an entire year in Russia where he simultaneously took Russian courses, taught English, and explored the country and surrounding area.
5) Nanny/Child care
Love kids? Love travel? Love to be paid to travel and hang out with kids? There are websites galore including http://www.aupair.com/ that connect you with families in need of a nanny. You’re paid and have free room (sometimes board), available in hundreds of cities around the globe.
6) Home Caretaker
Ever seen “The Holiday” with Cameron Diaz, Kate Winslet, Jude Law, and Jack Black? Well, I’m glad to report that home caretaking is not a Hollywood invention; you can be paid (quite a lot, too) to live in and take care of another person’s home while they’re away. Check out www.caretaker.org.
7) Short-term Jobs
If money’s especially tight while traveling, why not pick up a short-term gig? http://www.backdoorjobs.com/ can connect you with numerous types of jobs in the states and abroad. Explore the area, meet locals, and keep the inflow of money moving while you travel.
8) Cruisin’ Around
A creative way to cross that expensive cruise off the bucket list is to sign up to be part of the crew for a season. How about tapping into a lesser known opportunity and signing up as crew for a private yacht cruise? Be paid to travel to exotic places; I know I’m planning on using http://sailingpoint.com/ for a couple weeks to get away from the harsh Iowa winter.
9) Peace Corps/Human Service
Joining the Peace Corps is a great option to combine travel and human service interests, although it is a two-year commitment. http://www.idealist.org/ can hook you up with shorter-term volunteer human service projects, along with internships and jobs stateside and abroad.
This travel hack doesn’t necessarily involve pups, but working at an organic farm with World Wide Opportunities on Organic Farms http://www.wwoof.net/ just might include some canines. You give your time to help work on a farm with plants and/or animals in exchange for room and board and of course an awesome experience.
For your summer travels, think outside the box. Save, or even make, money on the move, which will give you more resources to enjoy the sights and culture wherever you may be. Good luck planning your ‘out of the box’ vacation and bon voyage!
the tall girl