Archive for the ‘Money Saving Travel Tips’ Category

Volunteer to Travel the World by Sailboat!

Volunteer to Travel the World

Alright – I may have just found a reason to quit my day job. Volunteer to travel the world? Yes, please!

I’ve been researching cheap ways to travel the world and found that volunteering on a sailboat is one such option. Not only do you get to travel cheaply, but you get to visit islands that are only accessible by boat/sailing vessels.

How it works: You volunteer (help out with various tasks while on the water) and the Captain gives you a ride and a place to sleep at night. When you reach your destinations, you are free to explore on your own and then set sail whenever the Captain is ready to leave.

Why Captains need volunteers: Every year, thousands of 30-75 foot yachts sail the world to see some of the world’s most beautiful destinations. Many of the smaller ships are single or married people who don’t have excess money to pay for a crew (this is where you come in). A small crew is needed so people can take turns keeping watch and helping with things like cooking, cleaning and other miscellaneous tasks. Captains look for people/volunteers that they can rely on and get along with.

Costs:  Depending on the Captain, costs will vary from boat to boat. There are opportunities to volunteer on sailboats where the only cost incurred is the cost of food (split between everyone on the boat). There are some boats that will want to split other costs such as gas or daily rates. I would assume that the more you have to offer will give you the better opportunities to become volunteer crew members for boats that only charge for food.

What you need to do: You don’t need to be certified and very little experience needed if you are volunteering on a smaller vessel. It wouldn’t hurt to take a couple sailing classes if you have money. If you are short on cash, you can get onto a local volunteer racing team or sign up to crew for a shorter sailing rally.    The two best ways to get on ships are to meet captains by being a part of the community and use internet crewing boards.

Visit islands only accessible by boat!

For someone with time, a little bit of money and a hunger to explore the world, volunteering aboard a sailboat could be a perfect opportunity. If I can find a way to not get sea sick, there is a very good chance that  volunteering aboard a sailboat will be in my future.

It’s important to remember that there are no contracts or rules for volunteering aboard a sailboat which is why it is very important to make sure you can get along with the Captain and other crew members. It’s definitely a risk but there are also some amazing opportunities and adventures to be had.


No Money for a Hotel? No Problem!

Is money for a hotel holding you back from travelling? A website called Couch Surfing may help you accomplish your travel dreams.

The concept of couch surfing is simple: identify someone who is willing to let you sleep on their couch in a city that you want to visit and avoid the cost of staying at a hotel. People who are interested in couch surfing need to do the following:

  1. Create a profile on Couch Surfing
  2. Search for people offering up their couches in areas you want to visit.
  3. View profiles of various people to see if you have common interests and/or would feel comfortable
  4. If you find a match or two, then send a request
  5. If someone accepts your request, then start planning your trip!

Couch Surfing is something that could work well for individuals or couples. If you are someone who has stayed at a hostel or would consider doing something similar, you may want to give this a shot. Couch Surfing offers a couple safety features in order to help make sure people are having good experiences. Of course, anything can happen and you’ll always want to have a back-up plan. The person that you plan on staying with could have an emergency and unintentionally leave you without a place to stay.

You know what they say — Where there’s a will, there’s a way!


What Hotel Agents are NOT Allowed to Tell You

Get the Best Rate on your Hotel Room

When planning a getaway or vacation, do you call hotels and ask for their best rate? If so, you’ve probably been offered a good rate but not the lowest rate.  We’ve received insight from hotel reservation representatives that may help you save a little extra cash on your next getaway or vacation.

When you call a hotel to request the “best rate,” the hotel representative  is most likely trained to offer you what’s called a “bar rate,” but it’s not the lowest rate. Hotel reservation calls are often monitored by revenue managers to ensure that representatives are not offering lower rates if you are willing to pay for higher “best rates.”  If a reservation representative offers you a rate lower than the “bar rate,” they can be reprimanded and could risk losing their job. These reservation representatives recommend asking for the “very lowest rate.”

Another recommendation is to check the hotel’s website for special offers. Many times, reservation representatives are not allowed to tell you about those on the phone.

Tips to make sure you’re making the most out of your getaway/vacation budget:

  1. When calling hotels, ask for the “very lowest rate.”
  2. Use websites like Priceline where you can submit an offer for a nightly rate – I’ve gotten more than 50% off nightly hotel rates for great hotels in the past. The downside is that you have to pay immediately if a hotel accepts your offer and the hotel is non-refundable.
  3. Compare prices quoted on the Internet to prices quoted on the telephone.