How to Travel Cheap: Tips I Gave to Woman’s Day Magazine

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The other day I got a call from Woman’s Day magazine, they were looking for budget travel ideas and so I spent a little bit of time thinking of what’s new that I could share with them. “We are looking for ideas for women who might be interested in a vacation on a budget, maybe something they could do with a girlfriend,” the editor told me.

I was fortunate to have just been doing some research for a story so I had some ideas at my fingertips. “Airbnb, now that’s a good way to stay some place and save a fortune,” was my first tip. It’s true. This website that connects ordinary people with a room or a whole apartment to rent out by the night is a godsend to anyone who just wants a place to stay, in a neighborhood instead of a city hotel. We had great luck with it in Pittsburgh.

Another tip I passed along was WWOOFING. This stands for Willing Workers on Organic Farms, and originally was made up of farms in Europe, Australia and New Zealand where you could work in exchange for room and board. But now, it’s become a clearinghouse for people looking for jobs in hotels, restaurants and other businesses. In two hotels I stayed in last year in New Zealand, I met young people WWOOFING themselves a three or four month stay, a little work in exchange for meals and board. HelpX.com is another similar outfit, one woman we published spent months in luxurious and exotic Corsica working for a friendly farmer there.

iStopover is another cool idea for budget travelers I passed along. This is for when there is a big event like the Olympics or the World Cup. People spring into action and offer their houses, their apartments or even a room in their house to rent. You connect with them online and the places and the renters are all ranked just like on eBay.