Hey guys! I keep promising that I’ll post my frugal travel tips and here they are! Finally!
First, there’s getting over there. I use two different sources to find something cheap. Have you heard of Scott’s Cheap Flights? I have a premium membership which is only $39 a year. What the $39 gets you is multiple daily emails with your customized trip locations in it. If you don’t want to shell out money you can be a free member which will get you a daily email sample of cheap flights from here to there. This is not bad if you have the flexibility and the spontaneity (jeez – try spelling that freaking word on your own…) to pick up and catch a flight from LA to Turks and Caicos. I’m not even being sarcastic. That would stress me out but if you are suddenly able to book a flight to another country and leave in three days I think that sounds incredibly romantic and adventurous! Be sure to read through Scott’s guides to become more travel savvy!
I almost forgot about Momondo. Momondo is a website similar to the next app. You can plug in your travel dates/locations and see how the fares ebb and flow around your travel plans. Scott uses this to sniff out fares for his site.
The other thing I use is an app called Hopper. Look for a coral colored logo with a leaping white bunny on it. In this app you can plug in your dates and locations of travel and it forecasts the prices of the trip and tells you when to buy. The difference between this app and Momondo is that with Hopper you can plug in a few different travel dates and forget about it while it monitors price changes. Then it sends you alerts! I really like it… and while I’m thinking about it I’m going to plug in some travel dates right now! It also lets you buy your tickets straight from the app. I prefer to get my killer fares directly from the airline website because sometimes Hopper connects you to a really skeevy travel agency with terrible reviews. Unfortunately you may end up paying a little more buying from the airlines and sometimes you won’t even find the low fare at all but remember you are hunting for cheap fares so you gotta work for it. BE SMART.
How do you stay cheaply once you’re there? If you’re an artist you need to get your shit together (your portfolio and a proposal) and start searching Res Artis. This is a website with an exhaustive list of artist residencies worldwide. You can search by dates, country, cost, languages spoken, art mediums… the search fields are numerous. While I was on sabbatical I used this site to find all of my residencies. I had one in Japan, one in Holland, and two in Spain. I paid a little bit for mine but if you’re a total badass and can get your art and your proposal in front of the right people you can sometimes land a free residency. These residencies can run for as short as three days but I’ve seen them go for as long as three years! Even though I paid for mine I see it as a deep discount on lodging costs. I also had access to a studio and ended each residency with an art show! If you’re a dancer or writer or curator there are residencies for you too! I’m certain residencies for musicians exist as well.
Ok, now this tip is freaking cool. I heard about it from two crazy New Zealanders when I was in Seville. Work exchange! These ladies had been all over Japan, Morocco, and Spain and they were doing it for a year! The programs they told me about are Help X and Work Away and I’m excited to share this info with my students in particular. In a nutshell, for a little work you get to stay in your host’s home for free and often meals are included. Every host is different but the exchanges I’ve read through seem fair. You can search for the kind of work you want to do like gardening, helping at a restaurant, being a nanny, or teaching a language! It’s also a great way to meet people. Make sure to read the host reviews!
Travel IS within your reach and if you want to do it you should set some goals! I hope you are able to use some of my tips and get yourself traveling. Much love,