5 Cheap Ways to Travel
By Eric Hammer
With airlines raising prices all the time, not to mention
tacking on fees for everything from checking in luggage to getting
a bag of peanuts on the plane, everyone is looking for cheap
ways to travel. Fortunately, even today when things seem a little
bit difficult, there are a great many ways to travel cheaply.
Here are five great cheap ways to travel:
Drive Someone's Car
People move across the country all the time and they often
don't want to drive their own car to their new home, preferring
to fly and arrange for someone else to drive the car for them.
If you can find these people, you can often get away with free
travel and even get paid for doing it. The catch of course is
that you will either be stuck paying your way back home or need
to arrange for someone else to have their car driven the opposite
direction. However, for your trouble, you'll get to enjoy a drive
cross country for free and you'll even get paid for doing it
(plus, you get gas money). Look for ads in the local Penny Saver
or check out some of the services online which match people up
who are interested doing this kind of work.
Sign Up to Crew a Boat
You do need to be careful with this as not all offers to crew
a boat pay money or are even free. Often, you'll be asked
to help pay the cost of keeping the boat running, including fuel
costs and the cost of food for the crew. However, you won't have
to pay for passage in exchange for being a member of the crew.
Just be careful as offers like this are sometimes misleading.
If the owner of the boat seems to be asking for a lot of money
(you shouldn't pay more than around $30-$40 per day) for crewing
the boat, you may be paying him a passage fee rather than just
Flicker photo by Tony Alter
This has become less popular lately as airlines have cut back
on the number of flights they offer and have taken to overbooking
in order to avoid having empty seats on flights. Still, if the
destination you want to travel to is either extremely popular
(meaning that there are lots of flights daily, some of which
may have empty seats) or extremely unpopular (meaning that the
one flight daily often flies more than half empty), you may be
able to get a deal on a flight. Call the airline and ask them
if they offer standby flights. If they don't, you can always
ask if they have any other options available for cheap ways to
travel. Often, they'll have sales and or other special deals
available which you can get merely for the asking.
Consider a Chinatown Bus
One of the best bargains for travel in the Northeastern United
States is the system of Chinatown buses. These bus lines run
from the various Chinatowns in major cities and offer travel
all over the Northeast. Common destinations and departure points
include New York City, Boston, Philadelphia and Washington DC.
Just be sure to either call or show up in person to find out
where and when the next bus is leaving as the buses offered in
the various Chinatowns often run on odd schedules or may not
run at all on certain days. However, for your trouble you may
find that a bus ride from New York to Washington DC could cost
as little as $25 whereas a Greyhound ticket could easily cost
$100 for the same trip.
This is the other side of how to travel for cheap. Even if
you can get yourself where you want to get to, hotel rooms are
incredibly expensive. However, there are a number of websites
which allow you to "trade" apartments for a few weeks
with someone else interested in seeing the place you live in.
Of course, it does help if you happen to live in an interesting
area. This means that the person who lives in New York City is
more likely to be able to trade for an apartment in Paris than
the person who lives in Butte, Montana. Still, even if you do
live in a more out of the way area, you may be able to get a
trade simply because some people are looking for a quiet place
to spend a vacation rather than a major tourist destination and
they are also looking for cheap ways to travel.
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