How I Got Three Free Vacations in a Month (and You Can Too)
I have an absolute passion for adventures. I have a talent for going on them because I know how to recognize opportunity. Many people complain that they don’t travel because it is too expensive. The reality is people never get out because they keep a narrow mind. Our culture’s idea of vacations is working all year and saving thousands of dollars to go somewhere we have been a dozen times for five or six days. For the past several years I have challenged this model. Just thinking that people live their lives like this is depressing. Traveling does not have to be expensive or troublesome. In fact there are people who are begging to pay for others to go on trips. My most recent adventures have been all expense paid trips including flight, hotel, and food. The trip I returned from today was held in Florida and I stayed in a Sheraton Hotel and I ate catered food every single day I was there.
My current secret is competitions are being created that colleges and businesses across the country sponsor students to compete in. The competitions are sales competitions in which students are given a product to learn about, then they sale the product in a role play setting and are judged by sales experts. These competitions are popping up like wildfire because businesses see this as an opportunity to hire the top sales students in the country. I have done three of these in a month and have gone all over the country. I am by no means a sales expert, I am an adventurer that knows how to recognize and capture an opportunity. Below I have listed what I consider vital to spot an opportunity for traveling and just as importantly seize it.
Keep an open mind
Don’t ever think you need a big bank account to go on a memorable trip. Realize there are affordable ways to travel almost anywhere. One way to sharpen your mind is to think about something you do often then ask yourself, “How does this relate to travel?” Start with your company because there are tradeshows for every industry. Perhaps your boss is tired of going to the national glass door convention in Las Vegas every year and would entertain the idea of sending someone in his place, with a company expense account of course.
Become a lifelong student
The best part about traveling is the engaging environment it provides to soak up knowledge like a sponge. Keep this mindset even when you are home. Eagerly learn as broadly as you can because your broad knowledge base will be a foundation for recognizing hard to see opportunities that may have been unnoticeable before. I have little interest in doing sales professionally but that doesn’t mean I can’t appreciate the trade and learn from others who do intend to take it up as a profession. Start with something that interests you but have little knowledge on. If you find it fascinating look up classes and clubs related to the subject. Start networking with others who share your enthusiasm, these are your key people who can start you on your adventures.
Enjoy the Simple Things
Learn to love the simple joys of travel. This is a big one if you intend to travel on a shoestring budget. Splurge on one or two things that are worthwhile and build your trip around low cost or free activities that interest you. Things like nature, museums, and art galleries tend to be free or very cheap. Sometimes just being somewhere new can be exhilarating. Many cities also have amazing historic districts that are unique in their own right. Louisville Kentucky has the largest Victorian style neighborhood in the United States which is both free to tour and breath taking.
It is Not Where You go, but who you go with
What good is an experience if you can’t share it? Be flexible in your destinations and learn to enjoy great company. This often leads to meeting people who love to travel as much as you. Chances are they have connections for free or very inexpensive adventures. A great way to get free lodging and meet other adventurers is through couchsurfing. This organization links travelers with people that are willing to host them in their house. If you plan to visit an expensive destination this might be a great alternative to a pricey hotel.
These ideas are only the tip of the iceberg when it comes to traveling affordably. What ideas or experiences have you had? Share this with your friends!