Secrets revealed: 5 Ways to travel for free!

I’ve spent years travelling around the world to places most people just dream about.

When I first set off on a round the world adventure, I’d squirrelled away plenty of cash and survived on the basics. Now I’m in my 30’s, I don’t want to travel like a broke backpacker.

And you know what? It really is possible to create a positive cash flow when you’re exploring the world! Here are a few secrets I’ve discovered to really get the best out of travelling…

1. Choose an airline partner

Most people look at frequent flyer programs as a bit of a scam but I disagree. I love them. The trick – pick one airline partner and stick with them.

I didn’t truly appreciate airline loyalty programs until recently. I’m a Virgin Australia platinum frequent flyer with their Velocity Rewards Program and only fly with them or their partner airlines (if I can help it!). I’m eligible for free upgrades, free flights, and my favourite, lounge access.

I’m still flying cattle, but trust me, it’s so nice when you rock up to the airport to priority check in, get rushed through customs and chill out in the lounge with a glass of free bubbles in your hand. Long stopovers are also so much better when you can enjoy a shower!

You don’t even have to fly to get points. Most airlines have branded credit cards which allow you to earn frequent flyer points every time you spend. Which means more free flights…YIPPEE!

Top tip Check if your loyalty program has family pooling. When you, your partner or family members travel, all status and frequent flyer points accumulate in one account (you need to live at same residential address). This will improve your status more quickly and you’ll receive free perks sooner!

2. Leverage your digs

What do you do with your home when you’re away?

Regardless of whether you own or rent, your place equals cash. If you’re leaving your place vacant when you travel, you’re missing out on income.

Rent your place

Covering your mortgage or rent while you travel is a great way to create positive cash flow.

For a small fee, websites like Airbnb and HomeAway let you advertise your place for short or long term stays. These sites recommend a nightly, weekly or monthly rate for your property and help you attract travellers from around the world.

You select the right house guests by reading through their reviews, just like on Trip Advisor but for house guests. To give you absolute peace of mind you’re also covered for insurance purposes too.

We just rented our apartment in Sydney through AirBnB and covered our rent no problem!

House swap

My parents’ neighbours swear by this option and have been house swapping with couples all around the world for years. I’ve never done this myself, but I know they’ve loved the experience and have scored fantastic houses which sometimes include the use of cars.

Think about it. Want to go to Paris? Instead of saving loads of cash for accommodation you could swap your place with a Parisian family. Your house isn’t sitting empty and you wouldn’t have to pay for expensive accommodation.

Makes sense? Plus you’ll have cooking facilities which allows you to eat in. This way you’re saving more money and will enjoy a more authentic experience.

A couple of sites worth checking out are HomeExchange and AussieHouseSwap.

Think a real life version of The Holiday. Who knows, you could be swapping places with Cameron Diaz before you know it!

3. Share your experiences

Word of mouth recommendations go a long way.

Register on sites like TripAdvisor and rate your experiences, whether it’s about a place you stayed, a meal you ate, or a day trip that you took…share it all.

The more reviews you write, the higher your rank. Make contact and book your accommodation through the site and you may find yourself receiving complimentary upgrades and services!

Why does this matter? Companies rely on these recommendations and when they know you’re a regular reviewer it’s in their best interest to ensure you have the best experience. Just the other day we received a complimentary upgrade for our room and a free shuttle (approx $500 value!).

4. Earn as you travel

Like most people, you probably earn a wage, but do you earn any other streams of income? Do you work hard for your money or does your money work hard for you?

We have a home based business which allows us to earn residual income wherever we are in the world. Just like a musician and royalties, they do the work once, and continue to get paid well into the future.

With our kind of business it works the same way. The hard work we put in continues to reward us over and over, even paying us when we’re travelling.

This business model is a great way to earn what we like to call ‘beach money’ (getting paid to relax on the beach!) with very little initial investment and unlimited potential on what you can earn.

5. Embrace the unknown!

It’s time to leave the comfort of your lounge room and explore the big wide world.

The beauty of travel is that you never know who you’re going to meet and what amazing experiences will come your way – often for free!

The key to embracing the unknown and really making the most of travelling is to be open. The people you meet could become brilliant sources of information, new business partners and even life long friends.

Our advice is to book a plane ticket and maybe your first nights accommodation and nothing else…let adventure take over and see where you end up. You could be staying with new friends, splitting a cab ride with fellow travellers and discovering what freedom really is before you know it!

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