How to Kickstart Your Vacation Fund When Travel Comes Back
Once you're ready to travel again, here's how to do it — for free.The Penny Hoarder
Although it feels like vacations have been canceled for good, there is a light at the end of the tunnel. The first major European cruise line set sail on August 16 at 70% capacity and with additional safety and cleaning protocols, paving the way for the travel industry to rebuild itself.
Americans might still have a ways to go before we start jet-setting across the world again, but it’s never too early to kickstart your travel plans. After all, seeing new places will be good for our souls — but what about our bank accounts?
The answer lies in free travel. It’s possible for anyone to see the world without paying a cent — it just takes a bit of planning and a creative mindset.
Here are some ways to score free flights, lodging and extra spending cash for when our passports are ready to get stamped again.
1. Skip human interaction and let pets host you instead
Fancy exploring new homes and new places? Prefer the company of animals over people?
Housesitting is a great way to explore other parts of the country or world — for free. There are tons of platforms out there you can sign up for, including TrustedHousesitters.
TrustedHousesitters will connect you with thousands of people around the world who are looking for in-home pet sitters and housesitters.
It’s an exchange, not a job, so you have a place to stay for free and free puppies or kitties for all the snuggles. In return, you take good care of the pets and the place. You can even take your family along for the adventure.
2. Potentially add $826 to your travel fund this year
One of the easiest ways to start building your travel fund is to cut back on your monthly bills. Dump the money you save into a travel fund — you’ll be shocked how quickly it adds up.
One of the easiest monthly bills to cut is your car insurance.
In most places, it’s straight up illegal not to have it, so you’ve probably accepted that you’re going to pay through the nose for it, even with how little you’re using your car these days. But you don’t have to.
A free website called Savvy will help you find the best rates — in just 30 seconds. In fact, it saves people an average of $826 a year.
All you have to do is connect your current insurance, then Savvy will search hundreds of insurers for a better price on the same coverage. It’ll even help you cancel your old policy and get you a refund from your current insurer. Best yet: This is totally free.
If you find a better deal, you can switch right away and don’t have to wait for your next renewal or even your next payment.
3. Get a better rewards credit card
We all know reward credit cards are a good way to get free airline miles, but you might not have the best one.
So how do you sort through thousands of options to find the right one for you? The one that’ll give you a welcome bonus, cash back, travel miles or free gift cards? One of our favorite resources is The Points Guy. It breaks down various credit card offers by sign-up bonus, annual fee, bonus values and more.
Weigh your options side-by-side and make sure the switch can really pay off. You might get 50,000 airline miles with one card, but the $250 dent in your account from the annual fee isn’t worth it.
4. Travel light and sell your stuff online
Because we’re all still social distancing while awaiting the green light to hop on a plane, you might as well make it worthwhile and declutter your home. You could make some serious cash getting rid of the stuff you forgot about and add it to your travel piggy bank.
As you’re pulling junk out of your closet, check to see if anything you don’t use anymore is sellable. We’re not just talking about clothes and shoes. You can sell random kitchen appliances, gifts you never opened or old tech.
Look into listing these items on platforms like Facebook Marketplace, eBay or Craigslist, then add the money you earn to your vacation fund!
Bon voyage — eventually!
This was originally published on The Penny Hoarder, which helps millions of readers worldwide earn and save money by sharing unique job opportunities, personal stories, freebies and more. The Inc. 5000 ranked The Penny Hoarder as the fastest-growing private media company in the U.S. in 2017.