How to Travel for Free (no, really!)

How to travel for free

If you’ve followed Shelley of Trading Places for very long, you know that she travels extensively — sometimes for weeks or even months, with several globe-trotting trips a year. If you’ve really read much of her stuff, you know that most of the time she travels for free; i.e., not spending any more money than she would have if she’d just stayed home.

In today’s post, Shelley shares a quick-and-dirty Top 5 ways that she does this — and offers a free 30-minute instructional video telling you much more!

Trading Places founder & publisher Shelley Seale
Trading Places founder & publisher Shelley Seale, in her hometown of Austin, Texas

I really do love all my “Trading Places Village!” Followers, fans, fellow travelers, foodies, lifestyle & wellness junkies…you are all my people! Today to show the love, I’m sharing some of my TOP 5 TIPS for traveling a lot more, on a LOT less money. Plus a FREEBIE if you read to the end!


There are so many great ways to rack up airline points, from credit card and banking offers to dining, utilities or just everyday purchases. Put the money you’re spending on bills anyway work for you to earn free flights!


I very rarely pay for accommodations – and that’s not because I’m a travel writer! Most of the time, I stay for free in one of four ways: exchanging homes, house sitting, work trade or using income from renting my place out to pay for lodging (swap $).


Some destinations are more expensive than others, but in pretty much every place there are plenty of low-cost or free things to do. And the more local you can get (versus on the tourist trail), the more free fun you’ll find.


When you’re planning a trip, put your destination out there on social media, in groups, among friends and colleagues, etc. You might be surprised how many tips, offers, resources and help you’ll be offered!


I travel all over the world constantly, and I rarely spend more money than I would if I’d just stayed home. That’s because I don’t book travel the way most people do, and I don’t even look at it the same way. I think creatively about how I can travel in free or low cost ways, like some of the ideas above. What about couch surfing? Doing a 3-month work project, sabbatical or volunteer service somewhere? Don’t limit yourself!

Do you have any other great tips to add? If you’ve found my tips useful, check out my e-course at – where you can get your first 30-minute video lesson TOTALLY FOR FREE!

And here’s a bonus just for Trading Places readers: If you decide to enroll in the course (which offers 25 in-depth lessons detailing exactly how I do this and all the resources and methods I utilize), type the promo code TRADINGPLACES in at check-out for 20% off the course!

More On MapQuest

America’s Most Scenic Road trips
Top 5 Comedy Shows Around Denver
9 Amazing Alpine Ski Destinations
8 Things to See and Do in St. Lucia
guide to marrakechA Quick Guide To Marrakech, Morocco
This Incredible Polar Bear Safari Will Change Your Life
Escapades sous-estimées : les 8 endroits les plus beaux en Méditerranée
Prenez un bain de soleil : les 10 meilleures plages d’Hawaï