Thursday, March 26, 2009
Free Travel Ideas
Want to score a free trip? Sure...who doesn't? Take a look at these tips. Just a warning...they're not for everybody. Research, timing, patience, luck, and sometimes sweat are required. But you can't beat the price.
Sister City Exchanges:
Sister Cities International is a nonprofit network that partners hundreds of US cities with international "sister" cities having similar climates, industries or populations (sister-cities.org). The local governments of sister cities might exchange ideas about health care, traffic, playgrounds, etc.
Participants are expected to be active in sister city projects and host counterparts when they come to town. Travelers should expect to run fundraisers for trips as most cities don't' foot the entire bill.
Hiking trail volunteers get the chance for reduced or even free cabins, bedding, food, or campsites. In return you are asked to clear debris, build rock steps, or reconfigure switchbacks, depending upon the trail.
The Continental Divide Trail Alliance runs two to seven day trips with catered meals at national parks such as Rocky Mountain, Yellowstone, and Glacier (303-838-3760 or cdtril.org).
The Pacific Northwest Trail Association focuses on a path leading from Washington's Olympic Mountains into Montana (877-854-9415 or pnt.org)
From Maine to Georgia volunteers can join one or two week trips organized by the Appalachian Trail Conservancy (304-535-6331 or appalachiantrail.org).
Don't have a rich aunt in Tuscany who wants you to house-sit for six months? Look into a service that lists house sitting opportunities and chill out at a Caribbean villa, care for cats and chickens at a French farmhouse, or keep the moat clean at a castle.
Before signing up on any assignment, ask questions. Who pays the bills? How many pets? Any special needs? What attention does the garden or lawn or moat require? Ask for previous house sitters numbers and contact them about their experience.
Caretaker.org posts more than 1,000 house-sitting openings per year, most in the US. It will cost you $30 per year to see online listings.
Housecarers.com costs $45 and had a list of 298 openings, including 117 in Australia.
Sabbaticalhomes.com is a site where the houses are all left behind by academics on teaching assignments.
Stay tuned...more to come tomorrow.