You need a break from it all. You want to relax on the beach or live it up in a new city. Your bank account, however, is telling you to keep dreaming.
If you struggle to put aside money for your much-needed getaway (or can’t quit dipping into your savings), there are still plenty of fun and freeing ways you can travel for less.
3 Ways to Fund Your Next Vacation
Instead of making money so you can travel, think about how your travels could make you money.
1. Sign Up for a Work Exchange
Work exchanges are arrangements that allow you to travel to new places, doing work in exchange for room and board. You might tend to horses on a ranch, harvest produce on a farm or teach English in a foreign country.
Consider these work exchange opportunities to reduce your travel costs.
2. Sell Your Travel Photos
You’re going to be snapping and sharing photos of your vacation anyway. Instead of just posting them on social media for your friends to drop comments, why not get paid for them?
3. Watch Someone’s House, Pets or Kids
Scoring a house-sitting job means you can travel for less. You’ll have a free place to stay on vacation, and you don’t have to put in much effort beyond watering the plants, getting the mail and doing some light housework.
While taking care of someone’s pets involves a little more responsibility, there’ll be plenty of downtime to enjoy yourself too. You can become a pet sitter in cities all across the country, but bonus points if you can snag a pet-sitting job abroad, like this man did.
Babysitting children is even more work, but your vacation can resume when the parents come home and you’re off duty. Being an overseas nanny or au pair gives you the opportunity to visit a foreign country. However, if you want to stick to domestic travel, sites like Care.com list many opportunities for babysitting jobs and nannies.
3 Other Options to Travel for Less
If taking on extra work to afford travel doesn’t seem like the plan for you, here’s some more practical advice for traveling on the cheap.
1. Take a Road Trip
Eliminate the cost of airfare, luggage fees and airport meals by driving to your destination rather than flying.
Although you have to factor in the cost of gas when planning a road trip, you’ll likely spend less money overall. Choose a city that’s within a day’s drive, and make sure to pack snacks from home.
2. Plan Your Trip for October
When you travel really does matter. October falls in the shoulder season, the period between the peak season and the off-season. You can generally find more deals to make your vacation less expensive.
October is also a great month to travel because the weather is not too hot and not too cold. Plus, kids are in school, which makes for less-crowded attractions.
3. Enjoy a Staycation
You don’t have to go far to enjoy a little vacation time. Be a tourist in your own city — or the next town over. Visit a museum you haven’t gone to, eat at your favorite restaurants and have fun exploring local attractions.
You don’t have to pay for airfare, hotels or a rental car, which makes planning a staycation a very economical choice.
Nicole Dow is a senior writer at The Penny Hoarder.