Free Vacations: Find out How

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Take your family on a free vacation or take one by yourself.

 10 FREE Vacations

The title almost sounds like a bad timeshare scam, but the truth is, you can take a free vacation; we’ve been doing it for over a decade and I want to share our secret with you.

I always run into friends that wish they could take a vacation, but can never afford to do so. Some families I know haven’t been on one in ten years! In todays society, money is always the #1 issue when it comes to some well deserved R&R, but don’t let that stop you from taking a vacation; now you can have one for FREE! Yes, FREE!

You can’t afford not to. Taking a vacation has been proven to be good for you and the economy. Many studies have shown that production and employee satisfaction has increased when returning from a vacation.  Now you can tell your boss, that giving you some time off will be good for his business.

Benefits of Vacations:

  • Replenishes You
  • Stimulates Brain Activity
  • Good for the Economy (supporting local businesses with the tourist industry)
  • Relieves Stress
  • Builds Relationships
  • Increases Productivity

Taking a vacation is good for your health Research on naps, meditation, nature walks and the habits of exceptional artists and athletes reveals how mental breaks increase productivity, replenish attention, solidify memories and encourage creativity

Read more about vacations being good for your health here: Scientific Proof You Need a Vacation

I’ve listed several ways you can take that family vacation for FREE with just a little research. So pack your bags, notify your boss, and get ready to make some memories to last a lifetime!

Staycation

A staycation is a period in which an individual or family stays home and participates in leisure activities within driving distance, sleeping in their own beds at night. They might make day trips to local tourist sites, swimming venues, or engage in fun activities such as horseback riding, paintball, hiking, or visiting museums. Most of the time it involves dining out more frequently than usual. Staycations achieved popularity in the US during the financial crisis during 2007-2010. Staycations also became a popular phenomenon in the UK in 2009 as a weak pound made overseas holidays significantly more expensive.

Common activities of a staycation include use of the backyard pool, visits to local parks and museums, and attendance at local festivals and amusement parks, or put a tent up in the back yard. Some staycationers also like to follow a set of rules, such as setting a start and end date, planning ahead, and avoiding routine, with the goal of creating the feel of a traditional vacation.

Since we live in a tourist area by the beach, stacations are our favorite form of vacations. Because we live here, we never have the time to enjoy local attractions like tourists do. The key to getting the most from your staycation is to tell everyone you are going on vacation so they are less apt to contact you during this time. Put a hold on your mail and newspaper so you don’t get distracted by bills or local issues. Unplug. Don’t use anything you wouldn’t use if you were taking a vacation in a remote location, i.e.; computer, ipad, ipod, phone (turn off ringer or games at least), and engage in family activities instead.

Home Swapping

Home swapping has probably been around for hundreds of years but has only been recognized as a form of vacations during the last 60 years.

Home swapping is by and large, a safe way to arrange a stay. According to Costabel, “HomeLink is celebrating its 60th anniversary this year. In all of the years we’ve been in business, there’s never been a case of reported theft or vandalism. In the end, they’re staying in your home and you’re staying in theirs, so mutual trust is fundamental.”

The three main types of home exchanges are as follows:

  • You can stay in your exchange-partner’s home while they stay in yours (a “simultaneous exchange”).
  • You can stay at a home-swapper’s second home or vacation home (a “non-simultaneous exchange”).
  • Or you can stay as a guest in a swapper’s abode while they’re also in the house (a “hospitality exchange”).

There are several different home swapping sites, from free to an annual fee. They all have different regulations, some are international and some are the restricted to the United States. Do your research and find the best one for you.

Here is a list of the top five Home Swap websites

Home Exchange

Intervac

Love home swap

Knok

Casa Hop

To learn more about Home Swapping, read more here at  Usa today

Campground Host

Do you own a camper or know of someone that would loan you theirs?  If so, becoming a campground host may be the thing for you. Staying from 30 days to several months, campgrounds are looking for dependable people and families as Campground Hosts.

Your stay is FREE, you normally get the best spot in the campground and the job duties are light.

General job descriptions of a campground host include (but not limited to-each campground is different): Provide information and assistance to campers, monitor campground for forest service, and perform light maintenance duties.

To find a campground looking for a Host, visit: Campground Host

Become a Vacation Farmer

Ever heard of WWOOFING? World Wide Opportunities on Organic Farms connects organic farms with people like you. Organic farms all over the world are opening their farms and homes; offering to teach you trade skills, provide room and board, and meals, all for free in trade for around 4-5 hours of labor per day. Many host farms welcome children and pets, which counts as a bonus. Want to go to a Bison farm in Montana, or how about a Goat farm in North Carolina? Take a vacation and learn a skilled trade all at the same time; you can’t put a price on invaluable experience, so they didn’t.

Participate in a worldwide movement that connects interested visitors with sustainable farms in an educational and cultural exchange.

Learn more about World Wide Opportunities on Organic Farms

 Handyman Vacation

Are you handy? Many vacation rental owners would be willing, and appreciate, bartering vacation rental services for skill trade. My husband and I are contractors and have bartered several vacations with homeowners for maintenance. From painting and pressure-washing  to spring cleaning before rental season, owners are happy not to pay out of pocket and you still have plenty of time to enjoy your vacation after the work is done.

Start by telling those you know, contact vacation properties, place ads on Craigslist or online newspapers.

Skill Trade Vacation

Do you write? Have a successful blog? Good with advertising? Bed and Breakfast or Vacation Rental Businesses may be willing to barter for advertising. Contact the desired vacation spot owner and submit your proposal. Make sure to include your target audience, references, publications, or anything else explaining the benefit they may receive by trading with your services.

Click here to see a list of bartering websites

Housesitting

Want to make money while on vacation? Consider housesitting. I have housesat many times for family and friends. It gives homeowners peace of mind knowing someone they trust is taking care of their home, and I got a paid free vacation. Depending on the services needed, a house-sitter makes an average of $25.00- $50.00 per day, and a FREE vacation? Who new?

To get started in house sitting, contact friends and family and let them know your services are available. Ask for a reference that you can add to your resume each time you housesit. When offering housesitting services to strangers, it is a good idea to supply them with a reference list.

To learn more on how to become a house-sitter click here

Whole Season Vacations

You can live as a farm caretaker for a season for those looking for help. Many will offer room, board, and financial compensation for your services. It can be as easy as looking over the property to working hands on. You can start by placing a small add in local papers for ISO (in search of), contact local feed stores, or ask a farm animal vet for leads.

Find out more in this article from Mother Earth Living

Free Camping

Did you know there are campsites all over the United States you can camp for free? Take your family on the ultimate vacation (in my opinion-I love camping) and go to the great outdoors! Noting beats fresh air, a nice fire to roast marshmallows, and the evening stars.

To locate a FREE campsite near you click here

You can also camp at Walmart for FREE and visit state parks during day with a state park pass or visit local attractions.

To find out more about camping at Walmart click here

Time Share Sales Pitch

Guess I had no choice but to list this idea, Time Shares. While not the ideal way to get a vacation, it is obtainable. However, you should never be deceitful in your pursuit for a vacation. Do not consider Time Share Sales Pitches if you have no intention of the possibility if investing in vacation property at some point in time (see how I worded that?). But if you meet their qualifications, you and your family can experience an amazing vacation in beautiful destinations.

The Obvious Catch

While these timeshare deals can seem like an incredible bargain, remember that very few things are ever free. In exchange for the deal, you are required to attend a timeshare presentation. This requirement is mentioned when you book your package, and typically the company offering the promotion explains exactly what is required of you. In most cases, you must attend a 90-minute sales pitch, and sometimes take a tour of the timeshare resort as well.

It is also important to note that not everyone is eligible for the timeshare package. The requirements vary by company, but you may need to be married or in a relationship, and you almost always need to be over the age of 25 (or in some cases, over 30). Additional requirements may be imposed and should be stated upfront before you book your timeshare package.

If you fail to attend the presentation, don’t bring your spouse (if required), or otherwise don’t fulfill all of the mandates of getting the timeshare deal, then you’ll have to pay full price for the accommodations.

 Summer Camps

Becoming a Summer Camp Counselor is a great opportunity for an older teen or college student. Technically this is a job but feels more like a vacation with all of the fun you experience. Becoming a camp counselor offers; leadership skills, resume experience, network opportunities, coaching techniques, builds relationships, and they can even earn college credits!

To learn more about becoming a camp counselor click here

 

Now that you are ready to go on vacation here are some other tips for your travels

How to save money on food on vacation

Don’t let a vacation ruin your good eating habits here are some travel tips for eating well while away from home.

How to eat healthy on vacation

Livestock Housesitter

One of the big challenges of taking a vacation when owning a homestead is finding someone to watch your livestock.

I have found reliable people to watch our livestock from calling our Extension Service, 4-H and from my Facebook groups. You can also try local colleges and ask students studying to become vets, they might appreciate the experience.

Ask friends, veterinarians and farriers for recommendations. Peruse tack shop, feed store, and veterinarians’ bulletin boards. Don’t wait until you need a sitter to start looking for one. Let your fingers do the walking through the Yellow Pages: Check under “Horses,” “Livestock” and “Pet Sitting Services.” Or scope out the 
following national resources:

Locate a National Association of Professional Pet Sitters sitter:

 

Don’t wish you could take a vacation, make it happen.

Sometimes the best things in life are FREE!

 

 

4 Comments

  1. Monica on March 31, 2015 at 2:06 pm
    Excellent resource! I have been thinking about who I'm going to get for a "livestock sitter" now that we have cats AND chickens. Also, I'm going to need someone to tend to my garden if we go on a week long vacation during the summer. I have never heard about the vacation farmer idea! That sounds FUN! I keep telling my husband I want to ask one of the farmers around my area if I can simply help them plow their fields or do something with them on their farm for a day... It would be neat to find something like this and turn it into a vacation. :D
    • The Coastal Homestead on March 31, 2015 at 9:04 pm
      Thanks Monica! My son is going to become a WWOOFer as soon as his college loans are paid off and I am going locally, amazing experience. Its also a wonderful way to learn homesteading and gardening skills. Please share your experience if you take one of the vacation ideas.
  2. […] I can take a vacation. One year I had a beautiful garden with everything growing lush and green. We decided to take a last minute vacation and asked a neighbor to water our garden while we were gone. Guess what we came home to? Tumbleweeds and dust, I was crushed (and mad). My Aeroponic garden is on a timer and everything is automatic so we can go on a vacation and I don’t need to worry about asking someone to care for it. If you don’t know what a vacation is (joke intended) read my latest article Free Vacations; Find out How here. […]
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