Travel for Free(ish)
They say that the best things in life are free, but there is no such thing as a free lunch, so we have decided that free(ish) is good enough – here’s how…
We can’t condone hitchhiking, but we have heard of one chap who, to reduce his carbon footprint, hitchhiked from Paris to Chamonix to indulge in some less-than-eco skiing. What we’d rather recommend to thrifty travellers though is Bla Bla Car, a handy service that connects people who want to get from A to B with the people who are already travelling from A to B. It isn’t totally free, but it is cheaper than travelling alone, or paying for public transport, and it covers Europe. After a quick check, we just found a lift we could get from London to Madrid for as little as £47!
There is only one way to traverse the globe and sleep for free (indoors anyway), and that is to join the Couch Surfing community. With over 7 million members and counting, with their homes open to travelling guests, it isn’t hard to find somewhere to stay just about anywhere you want to go. What sets the community apart isn’t necessarily that you get somewhere free to stay, but you get an experience that money actually can’t buy – living like a local!
If you get invited on a free cruise, and it isn’t by a family member or friend – watch out! Free cruises are an age-old scam that sees people flocking to enjoy what they think will be a free break on the open seas, only to be harangued by a hefty sales team into joining a travel club, or buying into a timeshare. Think you are resistant to their charms, and will take the free ride anyway? There are probably a long list of T&C’s that include charges and restrictions that will outstrip any savings this “free” opportunity actually offers!
If you are staying in a hostel or small hotel, you can get cheeky and ask to swap some of your time helping out in exchange for some food. Another tip from thrifty travellers is to wait until small shops, market stalls, and bakeries are shutting shop for the day and ask for food before it gets thrown out. Quite a common practice throughout Europe according to some! If you prefer to dine like a king, but for less money – many tourist hotspots vie for customers by offering deals that beat their neighbor. Ask around, strike a bargain, and consider clubbing together with fellow travellers to secure the best deal in town!
Free Travel Insurance
Kids go free on our family travel insurance, which is great if you are watching the pennies! We also do great deals on comprehensive cover, with flexible policies that cover you for what you need, and take off what you don’t!
For more comprehensive advice about keeping your costs down while travelling, we heartily recommend the Travelling on a Shoestring series from Lonely Planet. You’ll find a guide for just about every destination in their online shop.