With summer starting to heat temperatures up, many of our thoughts turn to vacation. Still, a large percentage of Americans won’t be booking hotel rooms or making flight reservations. The number one reason people cite for foregoing getting out of town? Lack of money.
Sadly, this means many Americans miss out on the valuable rest and relaxation time they desperately need. And if they dream of city lights for their vacation, those dreams may seem even harder to chase given how expensive big-city life tends to be.
But travelers need not break the bank to afford a getaway. Here are eight tips for how to travel to your favorite cities and destinations on the cheap!
Eat Up Free Travel Miles
Those who are savvy and have financial discipline can fund their wanderlust by signing up for a credit card offering travel miles, using it for everyday purchases and paying it off monthly. This allows miles to add up quickly so they can be redeemed for a getaway.
Hotels often reward frequent visitors, so try finding an inexpensive chain and signing up for a membership. Doing so online is quick and costs nothing. Some larger chains offer their own credit cards, and rewards including free stays add up quickly.
Crash on a Stranger’s Couch
Why stay in a pricey hotel at all when crashing on a strangers’ couch costs far less? Sites such as Couchsurfer allow people to meet others willing to open their homes all around the globe, often for free.
Sites such as AirBNB also offer similar bargains. No, crashing on someone’s old college futon may not feel particularly like being pampered. But if it’s free and it allows for that dream trip, then why not?
Look Into Hostels for Lodging
When frequent fliers think of hostels, they imagine college kids backpacking through Europe on their summer break. But while they’re not as common as they are in France or Germany, hostels do exist in major cities such as New York and San Francisco. Those getting away want to spend their time exploring the town when they travel to cities. Staying at hostels is a great way to do so on the cheap.
Get a Travel-Related Job
Does you feel like taking a few days off may not be possible until after retirement? Why not investigate jobs in the tourism industry?
Flight attendants work long and grueling hours, but they do get to see the world for free. Cruise lines need hospitality staff as well as fitness instructors to lead on-board classes. Have one particular destination in mind? Consider taking a job teaching English overseas while trekking around Asia.
Seize Last-Minute Deals
Hotels hate leaving rooms sit vacant, so they often offer killer last-minute specials for those needing to get away cheaply. Sites like HotelTonight can help you find those deals all in one place. You can also sign up to various hotels’ websites to receive email and text notifications when deals become available. As signing up is typically free, why not stay on the leading edge of the best bargains?
Do the World Some Good
Many people get away on the cheap by signing up for opportunities to volunteer abroad. Most companies do require some financial commitments, but lodging typically costs less than standard stays. People of faith can accompany their church on missions. See the world while helping other people — it’s a true win-win!
Investigate Local Festivals and Events
Who says seeing fabulous cities has to cost a small fortune? When traveling, make like the locals do and check out festivals, fairs and even farmers markets.
Many local art festivals and flea markets charge nothing for admittance, so anyone can window-shop to their hearts’ content. Many cities offer walking tours of certain landmarks for relatively little dough.
Investigate museums in the area as well. The price of most admittance is relatively low. And the beautifully manicured grounds surrounding many museums invite people to stroll through them for free.
Connect with Others Through Social Media
Many people have friends on their social media lists who live all around the globe. Why not get at least some of the gang together by arranging visits? Unlike surfing on a strangers’ couch, this method of dirt-cheap travel allows wanderers to connect with others with whom they already have things in common.
Obviously, exercising a degree of caution when using social media like this is key, especially for solo female travelers who travel to cities. But those who have corresponded with their friend and host for years probably are safe. And traveling with a local friend remains an option, too — the more the merrier!
Getting Away without Spending a Bundle
There’s no need for financial woes to hold you back from taking a fun trip this summer. All you have to do is get a little creative and do your research and you’ll be able to travel to exciting destinations and fun cities without maxing out your credit cards!
This is a guest post by the wonderful Kate Harverston, who runs the fantastic blog So Well So Woman. Check out Kate’s blog for lots of great posts on mental health, healthy living, healthy relationships and reproductive health.