One of our top tricks for traveling free or as close to it as possible, and a great tip for travel in general, is to tack as many trips together as you can. We recently did this to create a next-to-free trip to Seattle and British Columbia.
We had already planned to go to Vancouver to attend the Travel Bloggers Exchange conference June 10-12, but we wanted to get as much out of the travel as possible. First, Keith secured airline tickets using Continental airline points. Then I set up a home exchange (our absolute favorite, most-used way to travel for free!) in Seattle at the front end of the trip. After a great week there and weekend at the TBEX conference in Vancouver, we tacked a visit to beautiful Victoria, British Columbia onto the end of our trip.
One of my best friends lives in Victoria – and staying with friends or family around the world is another terrific resource for free travel. I have known many people that just put the word out to friends that they were going somewhere in the world, and through the friend-to-friend network found places to stay – while also meeting some locals who could show their favorite places around town.
So Keith and I were thrilled to be able to add a week staying with friends in the gorgeous island town of Victoria. We walked the beach and Mount Douglas, went to the fisherman’s wharf and had drinks at the Empress Hotel, watched the Stanley Cups games and hung out with our friends.
All in all, we managed a great 10-day trip for no more cost than the nominal fee for booking our frequent-flyer mile seats and a little sightseeing - though our most expensive expenditure for that was a $15 splurge each for tickets to the Experience Music Project in Seattle. We save money eating out when we travel by cooking at home (staying with friends and in home exchanges makes this so easy, since you have a fully stocked kitchen), and we also take advantage of offers from places like Groupon and Restaurant.com – so much so that I was even quoted in a recent press release from Restaurant.com!
Stay tuned next month when I share some more free travel experiences in Canada – I am taking my mother, daughter and nephew to Montreal, also courtesy of airline miles that covered all four of our plane tickets, and a home exchange! Guess I’ve figured out that the best way to beat the unrelenting heat of a Texas summer is to make it a Canadian one.
Until then – travel well!