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The Best Vacations Are Free

As you all know, I am currently on a business trip in the Marshal Islands (MI). I’ve been here for three days now, and I have to say, I’m in love. I thought Hawaii was incredible when I was there last week, but it’s got nothing on the MI. I’m looking forward to the next six weeks of my “workation”.

As I approach my third year of work (post college) I am quickly learning the best kind of vacations are the ones I don’t have to pay for. Although I haven’t always traveled to the most desirable places, I’d way rather spend a week in Pittsburgh for free, than a couple thousand to navigate New York. My last “self paid” vacation was spring 2007, when I took a 7 day Mexican Riviera cruise with some of my college roommates. It was an awesome week, but it did leave me $600 poorer.

Just because I haven’t paid for a vacation in over two years, doesn’t mean I haven’t gotten to go to some pretty sweet places. I’ve been to Philly twice, Houston, Honolulu, Arizona, and now the Marshal Islands. All at no cost to me.

I know most people may not have the option to travel for work, but that doesn’t mean you have to pay for your next trip. Both of my trips to Arizona were with a High School youth group to summer camp (free). If you aren’t interested in kickin’ it with some high schoolers maybe you can call up your Great Aunt Norma, that lives in Las Vegas, and see if you can come spend a week with her.

Instead of rambling on about trying to be a cheap a$$ and get a free vacation, I pose a question. What does a vacation mean to you? For me it means going some place other than where I live and just taking it easy. I personally have no desire to backpack Europe, “Do New York”, or hit the Strip in Vegas. All of that requires too much work and stress. I’m much more inclined to go to Idaho and go skiing for a week. So for you, is a vacation about how much you do (museums, clubs, tours) or how little you do (relax, sleep in, get tan)?

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  1. I did something similar for a while. Didn't cost me a dime and I saved 95% of my entire net pay for the year because I stayed in hotels, ate for free & flew for free.

    I am the first to volunteer to go out of town.

    If you are able to save money by cutting out the expense of a hotel, a little really goes a long way.

    The flight tickets are where I feel the pinch most of the time.

  2. When I vacation, I try and see as much as I can depending on the place. If im in an area where there's alot of things that im really interested in, then ill keep busy, but if im skiing or in an area with a beach, odds are i'll do alot of relaxation.
    One final rule to remember is this: "Dont try to kill yourself having a good time on vacation"

  3. I would much rather chill at home for my vacation days. Planning flights and hotels and activities and stuff like that doesn't feel like a vacation to me, just a different kind of work.

    And staying at home, relaxing is certainly free.

  4. I'm a see-er. I want to see as much as I can while I'm there – but I also like to do it on someone else's dime. That is how I ended up in England and all over the Baltics. My work has the nice perk of conferences all over the world that I can go to. Some are in exotic places, others not so exotic – but typically always paid for by grants from somewhere. =D

    Since I am a see-er and not a relaxer when on vacation, I try to come back at least two days before I have to get back to work to give myself time to decompress and relax before forcing myself back into work. It makes the transition a lot nicer – also, if helps if you clean your apartment before you leave, because then when you come back it is like you don't have to worry about a thing. =)

  5. There is definitely a lot of difference between vacationing and traveling. Backpacking through Europe is traveling and it is a lot of work with planning and logistics. Vacationing in going someplace and knowing that there are things to do in the area and choosing to do some of those things each day or not. However you feel each day is all that you have to do.

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