How to Travel for Free by Leading or Promoting Tours
Whether you're 16 or 60, you CAN travel just about anywhere in the world for free -- and even with a nice stash of cash in your pocket -- by telling like-minded people about a trip and convincing them to go with you. Get 5 to 20 to book the same trip, and your trip is free.
© 2008 by Jacqueline Corbett
If you have a burning desire to see the Pyramids... or go on an African Safari... or snorkel the Great Barrier Reef of the South Pacific... and don't have the cash, don't worry.
There's a good chance that you can travel for free to just about anywhere in the world your heart desires just by locating a group of like-minded folks and convincing them to go with you.
And if you are really good at convincing a lot of fellow travelers to join you -- and have chosen the right travel company -- you could also earn up to $10,000 a trip for your efforts.
Not bad for doing something you passionately enjoy doing, and meeting a whole bunch of people who enjoy the same kind of traveling you do.
There are dozens upon dozens of travel companies who are actively seeking individuals to help them organize tours -- or promote existing ones.
Age is no consideration. Whether you are 16 or 70, there is a tour or tour group that is bound to suit your travel interests.
Teachers are actively courted to promote tours to their students... and even given handsome cash stipends to boot.
High school and college students are sought to promote grad trips and spring break trips to their friends and classmates. Besides free trips and "rock star" treatment, successful promoters can often earn as much as $10,000 per spring break.
Ministers and church members are rewarded for telling church members about pilgrimages and trips to the holy land. With as much as $10,000 to be made per trip, booking and leading tours is a wonderful way to raise cash for a church building fund... or augmenting a minister's meager salary.
Scuba divers can get a free trip by organizing a scuba dive trip and promoting it to their fellow divers.
Lovers of the oriental culture can get free trips to Japan or China, while connecting with a whole new group of friends and earning enough cash to dine well and bring back lovely souvenirs.
Travel companies will often pay cash when you produce more reservations than the minimum required to earn a free trip.
The number of paid trips it takes to get a free one varies from travel company to travel company.
Some require as few as 5. Others as many as 15 or 20.
Many companies will reward you with multiple trips.
Most will also offer a commission which gets bigger the more trips you sell.
It doesn't take any experience to get started -- and most travel companies supply you with lots of marketing materials and support.
The degree of involvement in planning and promoting a trip varies considerably.
For example, promoting a trip for a spring break can often be done quite casually. Some spring break travel companies will even send a representative to your campus to put on a meeting. A few phone calls to friends. Some posters placed around the campus. An ad in the school newspaper. And voila, you could easily have 15 or 20 people signed in no time. Some companies don't even require that you collect the deposits. And most will do the follow through in collecting the balance of the trip fee.
The more aggressively you promote, the more trips and money you'll earn.
According to some travel companies, it is not uncommon for a very aggressive promoter to walk away with a free trip AND a very sizeable amount of cash.
Some travel firms say their top producers earn as much as $10,000 a trip.
There is no limit to where or how you can advertise a trip to the general public. The more widely you advertise your tour or pilgrimage, the more trips you'll book and the more cash you'll make.
To maximize your chances for success, it is advisable to announce and begin promoting your trip at least a year in advance of your departure date, so that you have plenty of time to reach enough people -- and to enable your prospects sufficient time to raise fund and schedule the trip.
If you are already affiliated with a particular group such as a school, a church, or a club, it makes promoting a trip all the easier as you already have easy channels of communication in place. Writing letters or emails, making phone calls, announcements at meetings or services, announcements in bulletins, etc.
If you are interested in making as much money as possible in addition to a free trip -- either for yourself or as a fundraiser, you might want to look at other ways of reaching a wider audience.
- Press releases to newspapers and other media.
- Posters and flyers posted on community and church bulletin boards.
- Small ads taken out in newspapers and appropriate magazines.
- Posting in special interest forums on the Internet
- Holding public meetings and seminars.
Organizing a trip gives you rewards way beyond the trip and the money. In the process of organizing a trip, you will also come into contact with many like-minded people you might never meet otherwise ... resulting in friendships that last a lifetime.
For many, the best part of actively organizing and promoting a trip is meeting new people who have at least some common interests.
Because you are the group leader, you are in a unique position to have already "broken the ice"... so that when it comes time to embark on your cruise or tour, you will often be on a first name basis with everyone. This feeling of camaraderie with a large number of fellow tourists can contribute immeasurably to the success of the trip -- and can often lead to lifelong friendships.
So don't put off traveling just because you don't have the cash.
Look through the resources below for a travel company that suits you. Then get in touch with them, set a date and a destination. And start making plans to take the trip of your lifetime... by helping others do the same.
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Jacqueline Corbett is founder and editor of The Living Web. She can be reached at email@example.com. When not hunched over her laptop finding useful bits of information to help people live life better including how to travel on the cheap (www.thelivingweb.net/cheap_travel.html) she can be found in thrift stores seeking great finds to ebay or give as gifts ... and in grocery outlet stores seeking inexpensive delicacies to contribute to the healthy but frugal gourmet meals she enjoys preparing.
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