Go On Vacation...For Free/Cheap!

People go crazy on vacations….and then when you get back to work and real life you have vacation blues and vacation BILLS!  Why not try a frugal vacation or even better….a FREE vacation?

This is not limited to “October”…as most people would think.  For real off-season deals, you have to think outside the box!  When people were canceling their trips over the Swine-Flu scare, I was like, “BINGO!” and booked a trip for my whole family to stay at a 4-Star All-Inclusive Resort with Airfare for 6 nights for under $670 a person!  That’s less than $100 a day for everything included and it was ocean front.  The resort was fantastic, the Swine Flu was no where to be found, and the pool and ocean were empty for us to enjoy all week!  We have gourmet Mexican food and top shelf drinks (unlimited!) all week!  To get even MORE savings per person, ask for quotes from competing travel agents, especially in this economy, they want your business!  Try pairing up Apple Vacations and Liberty Travel….you can say, “Well, Apple Vacations is quoting this price…what can you do for us?” But be sure to have the documents to back up your quotes!  
So it’s not the most dependable way to plan a vacation but it does work sometimes!  I mean, you get emails to enter sweepstakes all the time in your in-box and mailbox….”win a trip to Hawaii”Win a Dream Cruise” ….and do you enter these sweepstakes?  If not, why not?  I have taken up the habit of entering and have won us dream vacations (more than 3 in the past 3 years!) including all-inclusive vacations, luxury trips and tours to Europe and more!  How to get started?  Well that’s a whole extra conversation, but here’s some quick tips…
  1. I’d suggest setting up a separate email and using it as your “entry” email – because you will get junk email.  
  2. Just be patient and enter persistently, the winnings will come!  
  3. Make sure to follow the rules of the contest so you don’t get disqualified.  
  4. Only enter for trips you want and have the ability to take.
  5. Remember you have to pay taxes on your winnings at tax time!  (Keep that in mind when entering – you can estimate how much the trip would “cost”)
It’s a great way to see the world!  Get a good tent I suggest REI (because it comes with a great warranty) and go camping!  This week ALL the National Parks have free entry!  That’s pretty cheap!  You can cook your own food at the site, catch your own fish (if you have or rent fishing gear!) and live like the pioneers!  Many colleges have “Outdoors” offices that rent camping gear to the community for small amounts…like Northwestern University’s Norris Outdoors Office.  Rental Prices and packages are found here.   

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