Frugal Traveling

I get pretty idealistic whenever an extended amount of time off from school approaches.  I see this span of time as a golden opportunity to tour the northern cities of the East Coast, head out West and camp in the Grand Canyons, or maybe even jump on a plane to Europe.  I’ll usually find an equally unrealistic friend to map out a travel plan with and we’ll spend hours in the library googling different locations around the world.  Finally, our long sought after break from school arrives, and ten times out of ten, the furthest either one of us makes it out of our house is five miles up the street to the local McDonald’s.  While I can’t really pinpoint exactly why our optimistic hopes and dreams to see the world turn to dust once we get home, something tells me it might have to do with money, or the lack-there-of.

Anyways, it’s that time of year again where I’m sitting in the library looking for things to distract me from my end-of-the-semester work load, so naturally I’ve been surfing the web in hopes of making my visions of becoming the intrepid traveler a reality.  I’ve gone as far as typing into Google “traveling for free” (who am I kidding) and while I have yet to find a free airplane ticket, hotel, or cruise, I did stumble across a site with a rather interesting travel concept.

Vagabondish is a site set up to offer travel advice to vagabonds (those who travel continuously without a permanent residence).  What intrigued me on the site was 8 Tools to Help You Travel Forever and Live Rent Free.  The article described and offered links to eight networking sites created for different types of travelers looking for rent-free places to stay.  Some sites required some sort of exchange-for instance Caretaker’s Gazette is a network designed for people who care for the elderly, house sit,work on a farm, etc. to receive free lodging.  Other sites such as Couch Surfing and Global Freeloaders consist of travelers and hosts, who are willing to offer up/stay in a home for no exchange.

I’m familiar with Couch Surfing and know a few people who have done it.  Basically they went anywhere they wanted to go in the United States and found a person on the site who lived in the area and stayed on their couch or in a guest room.  Everyone I’ve talked to who has tried this has had nothing but positive experiences but I can’t help but wonder about the trust factor involved in this.  However, it is tempting because housing tends to be the most expensive aspect of traveling and couch surfing eliminates this hefty cost.

Besides the eight sites, the vagabond site had a lot of other useful articles and tips on how to travel frugally.  So, for all you doers out there who actually plan on making it out of your town over break, give it a look, and let me know if you’d ever consider couch surfing.

-Tina

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7 Comments

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7 responses to “Frugal Traveling

  1. matt grundy

    More good tips, I want to go somewhere warm.

  2. Ryan

    i guess im in that frugal traveling group lol

  3. Colby

    Haha.. when I saw couchsurfers, I thought you meant people who stayed on their couches all the time and googled far off lands on their computer…oops:-)

  4. Caitlyn Berkowitz

    I am definitely guilty of overly optimist travel plans, which is really ironic because I tend to be a bit of a pessimist in every other department of life, but how can we (college students) not get swept away by idealist travel plans when books such as, On the Road and Into the Wild are put in front of our faces. In addition, our elders preach that we have no obligations of family or jobs and state that we are insane not to be traveling to distant shores, backpacking through Europe, and driving across the country. Furthermore, universities project study abroad programs as being accessible to anyone with an inclination to travel. I believe it is this combination of factors that has allowed me and my friends to become notorious for over zealous travel plans.

    Perhaps rather than give into the temptations of unrealistic travel, we should learn how to take a more sensible approach. As mentioned before, Couch surfing is one option, but not practical for everyone, due to the implications that come from spending nights at the home of a stranger. However, there is an alternative suggestion, as college students, it is more than likely that we have become friends with individuals from states other than our own, so perhaps we should take advantage of this opportunity for travel and plan trips to visit multiple friends in multiple locations. Hopefully, this could satisfy ones need for adventure and spontaneity.

  5. Anonymous

    I’m probably showing my age, but… Years ago people moving from one city or state to another often turned over their car to a “driver” who got a free trip, albeit one-way, whilst the car owner got their second or third car moved for free. Maybe this is still done?

  6. Pat

    Thanks for the travel tips. A friend of mine keeps talking about hostels which are free places to stay all over the world. Do you know anything about them?

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