Flight Delay Compensation
Air travel is not always the smooth-sailing experience we’d like. Unfortunately, flight delays happen. If you’ve been on a delayed flight, you may be able to claim up to $700 (€600) flight delay compensation under a European legislation called EC 261.
Read on to learn about your air passenger rights and how to claim delayed flight compensation.
AIRHELP makes claiming compensation straightforward for all passengers who are unsure of their rights, lack the time, or lack the expertise to embark on the claims process themselves. We stand up to airlines in court, and we campaign for national governments to introduce fair air travel rights. We’ve helped countless more through our fight for justice.
TicketNetwork – the sports, concerts, and theater tickets you want. TicketNetwork is an online exchange where sellers list tickets to sports, theater, and concert events around the world.
At Ticketnetwork.com are available concerts: Ed Sheeran, Lady Gaga, Katy Perry; theater shows: Wicked, Jersey Boys, Lion King, Cirque du Soleil; sporting events: MLB, NBA, NFL, NHL, NCAA, Boxing, and more.
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The Lion King
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RAKUTEN is One of Japan's leading online travel agencies under Rakuten Group, trusted by 1.6 billion members worldwide.
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MAPO TAPO is a platform where local guides can design and list awesome outdoor sport trips. Think of us as a friend who has travelled all over the world, discovered all the best local adventure spots, secret beaches and tastiest restaurants, and can't wait to share them with you!
We're here to make sure you have all the support and information you need for your trip so you can focus on the adventure, rather than getting lost working out the logistics.
How skilled or fit do I have to be to join a Mapo Tapo trip?It depends on the trip! A lot of our trips are suitable for beginners, but you can check this information on the 'Trips Tips' section of the trip page.
All our trips where a certified guide is not present will have the tag 'Autonomous climbers'. This means that you'll need to be able to climb and belay safely without supervision in order to join.
Can I join a trip solo?Absolutely! Over 50% of our customers are travelling solo.
Joining a trip is a great way to meet other likeminded outdoor enthusiasts from all over the world and make new friends.
Do I need to purchase insurance seperately?Nope! All our trips are covered by our awesome accident insurance :)
How do I know if a trip departure is confirmed?When you click on the trip date, you'll either see the words 'Planned', 'Almost confirmed', '1 to Confirm' or 'Confirmed'.
If the trip is marked 'Confirmed' or '1 to Confirm' it will definitely be going ahead once you make your booking. You should get an email within 72 hours from your host and will be placed in a Whatsapp group so you can start getting to know your fellow travellers :)
You can find all of our confirmed trips in the Confirmed Departures section of our website.
Our 'Planned' and 'Almost confirmed' trips will only go ahead if the minimum number of people (usually 3) book on. We will keep you updated on the trip's progress via email, and refund you the full amount if it does not go ahead.
When can I book my flights?Please wait until you receive an email confirming your trip's departure before booking your flights!
How long before the trip departure do I have to book?Bookings close a minimum of 2 weeks before the trip departure date. However, we recommend you book as soon as possible as some of our trips sell out fast!
What is the average age of people on your trips?For privacy reasons, we don't have this data to hand - but most of our travellers are between the ages of 26 and 36. All travellers must be 18+ to join a trip.
MAPO TAPO CLIMBING TRIPS
CALENDAR OF DEPARTURES
VIRTUAL SIM CARD AND SECURE VPN FOR TRAVELLING
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If connection failed, and you could not use Drimsim on the trip, we will refund the cost of the SIM card and your balance. We refund the cost of the SIM card even if you decided not to use Drimsim.
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Spain offers free train tickets in 2022: these are the best journeys to take.
The Spanish government has said that they will apply to round-trip tickets - to the same destination - for a minimum of 16 journeys (four per month).
Although tickets are free, passengers must pay a deposit. That's €20 for Media Distancia journeys and €10 for Cercanías. The deposit will be returned at the end of the year if you've completed a minimum of 16 journeys. We recommend paying the deposit by card because if you pay by cash, the refund process can take longer. However, even if you don’t complete the minimum 16 trips, it’s already worth signing up for the scheme. For example, a Media Distancia round-trip ticket from Barcelona to Figueres is €32, which is already more expensive than the €20 deposit.
You'll need to download the RENFE app and sign up for an account to purchase your free train tickets.
The measure doesn’t include either long-distance train journeys or the high-speed lines of AVE, Avant, and Avlo.
How to get around in Spain
Bilbao, Spain; Indalecio Prieto Station arrivals, Bilbao city, Spain © gurb101088 / ShutterstockSpain by train: the best local and medium distance itinerariesFrom MadridThe capital of Spain is the main transportation hub in the country, with direct trains to almost every major city. Near Madrid, however, there are more than a few worthwhile cities located in the historical region of Castile, all of them making for excellent day trips from Madrid.
Toledo is perhaps the most visited city around Madrid. Home to sword artisans and one of the largest old towns in Europe, its historical city was declared a Unesco World Heritage site in 1986. It is composed of architectural masterpieces: the result of the different civilizations that lived in Toledo for more than 2000 years, including Romans, Muslims, Jews and Christians.
Those looking for a rarely found culinary experience can take a train to Segovia, located less than 100km north of Madrid, nationally famous for their cochinillo asado (roasted piglet), always served crispy and washed down with local red wine. If the local food isn’t enough reason, Segovia is also home to the most well-preserved Roman aqueduct in the world, a Unesco World Heritage site since 1985.
If you want to escape the crowds, you might want to try Cuenca, a fortified medieval town also part of Unesco for its unusual hanging houses and Spain’s first Gothic cathedral.
Trail magic happens all the time on Spain's best hikes
Make the most out of every adventure with help from our weekly newsletter delivered to your inbox.From BarcelonaThe most touristy city in Spain is the perfect base for exploring the region of Catalonia.
First-timers should take the train to Girona, a 2000-year-old city founded by the Romans, which also contains one of the best-preserved Jewish quarters in the world. The entangled, medieval alleys of the old city were also a major filming location for Game of Thrones. Continue on the same train for an extra 30 minutes, and you will reach Figueres, the birthplace of the painter Salvador Dalí. The city houses his museum, which contains the largest collection of the artist’s work.
An easy, short train trip from Barcelona could also be Sitges, a coastal, bustling, and sophisticated town with white-washed houses, filled with restaurants serving Catalan cuisine. Do try xató, a local sauce made from almonds, vinegar and red pepper, typically eaten with anchovies, cod fish and salads. Sitges is also the center for LGTB+ tourism in Spain.
Furthermore, consider getting off the beaten track by visiting Vic, a rarely visited town located in the center of Catalonia, famous not only for its medieval architecture but also for producing the best embotit (pork cold meat) in all the autonomous region. Don’t forget to buy some fuet and llonganissa in one of their many butcheries. The locals from Vic are also known for having the strongest Catalan identity in all the region.
The fishing port of Bermeo on a sunny day in Basque Country, Spain © Ivan Soto Cobos / ShutterstockFrom BilbaoBilbao is the most populated city in the Basque Country.
If you had to take one single train journey from Bilbao, it should be to San Sebastian (Donostia, in the local language) the most refined city in Spain. The main reason to come here, however, is that most Spaniards agree that San Sebastian offers the best food in all of Spain, ranging from budget pinchos (local tapas) to a wide range of Michelin-star restaurants.
Wine enthusiasts may have also heard of Rioja wines. They are all produced in a Spanish region named La Rioja, Logroño being its capital. While the best wineries are not found in actual Logroño, all its bars and restaurants have an extensive list of Rioja wines to try. Moreover, the old city gets particularly busy around 1pm and 7pm, when locals gather over a few glasses of wine and tapas, before going for lunch and dinner respectively, making it a great local experience.
Camino de Santiago: Here's my itinerary from two weeks walking the Portuguese Way
From MálagaMálaga is the most cosmopolitan city in the region of Andalusia, and also a transportation hub for going anywhere in the area.
The capital of Andalusia is Sevilla, the fourth largest city in Spain, and an open-air museum containing endless examples of jaw-dropping Moorish and Gothic architecture, like the Alcázar and the city’s cathedral. Andalusia is where flamenco originated, so the capital isn’t short of flamenco-related activities. With that and the fact that this is home to two important football clubs, Sevilla FC and Real Betis, it is no wonder that Lonely Planet chose Sevilla as the best city to travel to back in 2018.
Often overlooked by tourists, Cádiz is an ancient port city located in the Atlantic southern coast of Spain. Cádiz is known for its local and friendly nightlife, especially during the summer season. February should be an excellent time to come too, since their Carnaval is supposed to be one of the best in Spain. In Cádiz, they love seafood, and they tend to eat it fried. A must-try local specialty is tortita de camarones, consisting of deep-fried dough filled with shrimps.
Embankment of Segura river and old bridge "Viejo de los Peligros". Murcia, Spain © Sergey Didenko / ShutterstockFrom AlicanteAlicante belongs to the region Comunidad Valenciana, with Valencia as the capital, but Alicante has the main airport.
Valencia is the third most important city in the country. They often like to compare it with Barcelona, since they are similar in many aspects but, being far less touristy, Valencia has a more notable local atmosphere, making it one of the most charming and welcoming cities to visit in the country. Remember that paella is a dish that originated in Comunidad Valenciana so, as the regional capital, here you are supposed to find the most delicious and authentic paella in the whole world.
Very few travelers know about a city named Elche, but we believe it’s definitely worth a train trip because here you can visit El Palmeral, an actual oasis made of groves of date palms built by the Arabs during the 10th century, today considered a Unesco World Heritage site for its complex irrigation system.
Highlights of Spain: 3 great travel itineraries to make the most of your visit
Public transport Multi card of Madrid at an underground metro station © Ivan Marc / ShutterstockHow to take a train in SpainRenfe is the national train company in Spain, which operates several types of trains, depending on region and speed.
These are the main trains operating in Spain.Low-speed trains:Cercanías: These trains link the main cities with their metropolitan area. Cercanías operates in Alicante, Barcelona, Bilbao, Cádiz, Madrid, Málaga, Oviedo Santander, San Sebastián, Sevilla, Valencia and Zaragoza.
Rodalies: Same concept as Cercanías, but it only operates in the region of Catalonia.
MD: It usually links different cities, towns, and villages from a single Autonomous Region,
Regional: Same concept as MD, but with more stops, hence being slower (and cheaper).
Timings can be checked on renfe.com but tickets can’t be purchased online. You must buy them at the counter, or at the respective machines. MD and Regional also allow to buy tickets in the train itself, but you must bring cash.
8 incredible national parks in Spain
Rodalies de Catalunya regional train at Franca railway station in Barcelona, Spain © Markus Mainka / ShutterstockHigh-speed trains:
Top 10 Best Things About Spain that Will Make You Love the Country !
Why is Spain famous?One may be tempted to say that the underlying reason that makes Spain famous is its geographical position.
This has enabled the country to develop a delicious cuisine, offer perfect weather and temperature opportunities during the whole year, and be populated by charming and open individuals.
Nevertheless, others will say that you cannot define the wonders of a country in general terms. You need to be specific for that. Is it each and every single small detail and peculiarity that creates the general and magic end result.
That is why we created this list.
After many years working as immigration lawyers dealing with individuals from all around the world, we have finally understood.
We have come to the conclusion that there is a specific set of things that make it inevitable to fall in love with it. A group of reasons that makes it nearly compulsory for those foreigners who visit the country just once to feel the desire to establish themselves in the country forever.
And that learned list is what comes next.
But be careful! You can experience a huge need to move to Spain after reading each of the elements of the following list.
1. BarcelonaIt was nearly mandatory to start with this one, and not only because our offices are located in this city.
The truth is that Barcelona embodies everything good the country has to offer. And that partially explains the nearly exponential growth of tourists the city is experiencing.
We can try to outline everything good about the city, but only way in which you will really understand why this city is so special is visiting it by yourself.
But let’s try it either way.
First of all, it offers a varied landscape, combining sea and amazing beaches with a mountain background. It is possible to go hiking to Montserrat, a mountain close by, and enjoy a fully nature experience.
But then, you also have its unique vibe and charm. A vibe that delights you during the day with its restaurants and Gaudi’s monuments, and thrills you at night with the party lifestyle that makes the city so lively.
As the list could go on and on, we developed an article in which we specifically talk about the pros and cons of Barcelona, which you can find here.
2. SiestaThese mid-afternoon naps are a common habit in Spain. There’s no way of conceiving your day if it does not include a small siesta.
They can be as short as 30 minutes just to recharge batteries. But they can also take up to 2 or 3 hours for the laziest ones.
Of course during weekdays they are not a common thing, unless your working schedule allows you to (in which cases it will definitely happen).
Nevertheless, siestas are like a national sport during weekends.
After all, its a logical consequences of the relaxed and laid-back spirit the Spanish population has.
But, on the other hand, sciences backs its effectiveness. It points out how much more productive you can be after a short 20 min nap.
3. Spanish footballFor many in the country it is perceived as a religion. In Spain, football is the king when it comes to sports.
And it’s not strange: the Spanish football league is one of the best in the world, housing some of the best players from all time.
Just check the statistics when “El Classico”, the famous match between Barcelona and Real Madrid, takes place. Millions of eyes from all around the world are watching expectantly.
It’s a truthful and unique experience attending to any football match in the country.
Because no matter to which stadium you attend, you will always encounter a devoted fanbase.
Don’t worry if you are not much into this sport. You will always remember the experience.
Besides, it is a topic that dominates many of the daily conversations spaniards have. On bars, the streets, restaurants… It’s omnipresent.
So you better understand what they are talking bout!
4. Summer in the islandsAnother thing that makes Spain famous is its archipelago blessing: its two groups of islands.
We talking about both the Canary and the Balearic Islands, two destinations that become the holiday homes for many tourists around the world.
Who does not know Ibiza and its parties? And Lanzarote and its volcanic landscape?
It’s like being in the Caribbean… while enjoying the wonders of the Spanish culture at the same time. What a great combination!
And if you are able to avoid the main touristic areas, you can get delighted with the unique and unspoiled landscapes that Formentera, Cabrera or Menorca have to offer.
Resting under the sun in any of this islands really feels like paradise!
After visiting them you will understand why many expats choose to retire there.
5. Mediterranean foodFor many the best thing in Spain.
Because maybe there is no other place in the world in which you’ll leave a restaurant with such a feeling of having eaten a lot of delicious food at a really cheap price.
And that’s because the food offering in Spain not only tastes amazing, but it is also capable of creating truly unique lunch or dinner moments.
First of all you have a wide variety of restaurants in any city you visit. Some more fancy, others more traditional. But they all have something in common: it’s impossible to leave without a negative feeling.
Both food and quality of the service are exceptional.
Secondly, you have unique dishes that have traveled the world, feeding nationals and foreigners alike.
We are referring to the famous Paella (a real icon from the country), tapas (which have created their own meal occasion), or crema catalana (the famous dessert).
Finally, the icing of the cake: the price at which you can enjoy all of that. You can take pleasure in all those delicious foods trough complete 10€-12€ lunch menus (including water and bread).
And if you go shopping, 50€ will be more than enough to completely feed your fridge for one week.
6. Culture and architectureNo matter where you go, you will find it.
Go to the northeast part and get delighted with the amazing architecture of Sagrada Familia. Go to the south and enjoy an amazing visit to the Alhambra in Granada. Go to the north and discover the Cave of Altamira.
Spain is a living museum where you can discover and learn lot. Its regions encompass a really long tradition that has survived until today.
That is why you will always need extra time to visit all the different monuments and historical attractions that are scattered through the Spanish territory.
You will always have an amazing weekend plan, or traveling options within the country. Its landscape is completely diverse and full of attractions to discover.
Perhaps what’s most important is not only the fact that many of those iconic places are recognized as UNESCO World Heritage Sites. But also that they have been preserved until the current era.
7. Local “fiestas”Fiestas are nothing more that special local celebrations that take place during the year in each of the different Spanish regions.
Each Autonomous region (and even each city/town) has their own thing, and is completely amusing to be part of that.
In fact, if you ever get the chance to experience any of these local fiestas in the country, you’ll see how that is something unique you will always remember.
Everyone gets on the street, stay together with a really fun and party vibe, which creates a charming atmosphere that drags you in.
The vast majority of this festivities have a religious background. But they are all completely different from what you are used to see.
In Valencia you have the well-known Fallas, a giant puppet parade that gets burn afterwards. Tenerife has its peculiar Carnival and Pamplona offers the famous Bull Run.
Indeed, each “fiesta” is something amazing and unique. That is why it attracts the attention of many foreigners worldwide who visit the country just to be part of those singular events.
8. WineWho has never tasted a Rioja and though was in heaven?
The truth is that Spain is really famous for its wine, which exports overseas to every single corner of the world.
It is the 3rd country in the world when it comes to wine manufacturing, and the extension of its vineyards is amazingly extensive.
Even though both white and rosé are produced in the country, it is most famous for the red ones.
The main regions that produce, and hence give name to the main wines in the country, are la Rioja, Ribera del Duero and Priorat.
Hence, you can’t even start to consider a meal at any restaurant if it does not contain a glass of wine.
It has become the perfect companion for every single lunch or dinner, even acquiring a “must have” status.
9. AndalusiaThe south of Spain is a really iconic area. With its own style and architecture, people there are the most extrovert and talkative in the whole country.
As the saying goes, Andalusía has a special color.
And that is the color that houses flamenco, the typical Spanish musical genre that has become a real icon of the country.
It basically combines a musician playing the guitar virtuously, someone playing the cajón flamenco, voice and the typical dancer dressed up in colorful red dresses.
Flamenco is simply a reflection of the spirit of the peoples in Andalusia. A viby place that will touch your heart.
As we understand it is really hard to choose one, what we suggest is that you devote 2 to 3 weeks to tour the whole region.
But make sure to visit Malaga, Granada and its Alhambra, Sevilla and its Giralda, Marbella and its Puerto Banús.
Without any doubt, each of this places are something you must include on your bucket list.
10. NightlifeThere’s no empty streets at 5 am. The Spanish nightlifes may be one of the most active in the entire world.
Because yes, Spain has gained the fame of being a place to party. And places like Ibiza, full of famous DJ’s the whole year around are good proof of that.
But you don’t need to go that far to experience what partying at night in the Spanish territory is like.
Cities like Barcelona, Madrid or Valencia also offer unique clubs and bars.
And then you have the rest of the country, including southern areas and the northern coastline, with its unique partying style.
You won’t get the full picture unless you enjoy the country both during day and night.
1. Work Abroad in Expat-Friendly IndustriesThere are plenty of expat-friendly job options overseas, from international nurses and doctors to au pairs to educators to engineers.
Teaching abroad is how my wife and I can afford to do so much traveling. She works at an American school in Abu Dhabi. It provides us both with round-trip flights home every summer, free upscale housing that includes a gym, pool, and jacuzzi, and comprehensive health insurance. Oh, and there’s no income tax in the United Arab Emirates.
Living in Abu Dhabi has allowed us to travel all over the world. We flew nonstop to Bulgaria for $185 round-trip. We spent even less on nonstop round-trip flights to Cyprus. Every time we fly back to the United States, we make a stopover in Europe for a few days to enjoy gastronomy in Lyon, the Christmas markets in Munich, or the nightlife in Amsterdam.
There are thousands of international schools worldwide looking for qualified English-speaking employees, from IT specialists to administrators to teachers of all specialties. If you’re interested, check out international recruiting agency Search Associates.
Don’t have a teaching degree? You can still potentially teach English as a foreign language with a TEFL (teaching English as a foreign language) certificate. But don’t expect the same benefits as credentialed teachers working at international schools.
Or keep it even simpler and research international positions for your existing skill set. You’d be surprised at the number of opportunities for Americans overseas.
2. Look for Work ExchangesThere are plenty of employers who provide free housing for short-term or even long-term stays in exchange for work. This arrangement is called a work exchange.
For example, if you’ve ever been intrigued by the idea of living and working on a farm, WWOOF is your chance to see the world while you do so. WWOOF stands for World Wide Opportunities on Organic Farms.
Farming is primarily seasonal work, and farmers need seasonal help. While they often have an abundance of space, housing, and food, many organic farmers don’t have an abundance of money. So in exchange for four to six hours’ help each day, they provide room and board. You’re on your own for the cost of transportation to get there, though.
You can go “WWOOF’ing” by yourself, as a couple, with friends, or even as a family with children. Select which country you’re interested in, and WWOOF will show you a list of host farms and connect you with the farmers.
And many hostels find themselves in a similar situation as organic farmers — with plenty of beds and rooms but short on labor. So they offer a free room (and sometimes free meals) in exchange for work. A few even pay a small stipend of spending money.
Check out HelpX, helpStay, and Workaway for thousands of opportunities worldwide to stay for free in exchange for your services.
3. Volunteer Long-Term With the Peace CorpsThe Peace Corps offers incredibly rewarding opportunities to live for several years in a community that needs committed volunteers. While the Peace Corps is a large international organization, they do an excellent job of keeping their focus on the grassroots level. Volunteers go to the ends of the earth, living and working in the poorest communities on the planet.
The Peace Corps isn’t for everyone, though. It requires a 27-month commitment: three months of training, then two years in the field. You’ll also be leaving the comforts of Western democracy behind. You may or may not have mobile phone service, and you may not have air conditioning in hot climates.
You receive a living stipend, which is enough to cover housing (if they don’t provide you with a free place to stay), food, and basic spending in the community where you’re stationed. But when you come home to visit, don’t plan on fancy dinners out or hotels. Expect to crash with friends and family.
That said, you’ll have the opportunity to personally transform poor communities into livable, sustainable towns and villages. In many cases, you will literally save lives. If you’re truly driven to change the world and see some of it in the process, the Peace Corps may be a good fit for you.
4. Volunteer With Short-Term Volunteer OrganizationsIf your volunteer travel timeline is measured in weeks or months rather than years, try short-term volunteer placement services like Go Overseas or Idealist. They offer global opportunities for work ranging from teaching English to building infrastructure.
For a comfortable way to ease into international volunteering, try Diverbo. It hosts one-week English retreats in Spain and Germany to immerse non-Native English speakers in English-based activities. As a native speaker, you’re there to give them someone to practice with. It pays for hotel stays and meals. All you have to do is get there.
There are endless ways to volunteer abroad for free travel and rewarding experiences in a new culture. Spend an hour researching options online, and you can’t help but be inspired by the possibilities to give back while seeing the world.
5. Organize Your Own Volunteer TripYou can also organize your own volunteer trip. With crowdfunding websites like GoFundMe, you can raise money from your friends, family members, and colleagues (and sometimes even strangers) to cover the costs of your volunteer trip. Perhaps they’ll even join you on your expedition.
But ensure your trip will genuinely change lives for needy people rather than serve as a cover story for you to persuade your friends to pay for your vacation.
I saw this happen just recently with a newly arrived couple at my wife’s school. They raised money from their friends back in the United States, inventing the name of an education-based “ministry” they claimed to be leading here in Abu Dhabi. It was an utter scam, as they have the same generous teaching package my wife does.
Whether they got away with it among their friends back home or not, they didn’t get away with it here. The link to their GoFundMe page made the rounds among the school faculty, and they’ve found few friends as a result.
So approach any crowdfunding attempts with complete sincerity and transparency.
6. House-Sit or Pet-SitDid you know there are entire websites dedicated to connecting house sitters with pet owners? Pet owners don’t want to leave their pets in kennels surrounded by unknown dogs and cats when they travel. They’d rather let them stay at home — a home which is just sitting vacant and unused.
House sitters can stay for free at these homes for the price of caring for the owners’ pets. While it’s a relatively easy job, it does mean you have to schedule your day around the pets’ needs. You can’t leave for a weekend excursion or go on 14-hour day trips. But for animal lovers, it can be an easy way to save money with free accommodations anywhere in the world, often in high-end homes.
And house-sitting isn’t limited to pet owners. Some homeowners sleep easier knowing someone is minding their home while they’re away, whether that means you care for their plants or are simply there to deter break-ins.
But these opportunities are the exception, not the rule, and most house-sitting gigs do involve caring for pets.
Try TrustedHousesitters and MindMyHouse as starting points for free house-sitting gigs in many different countries.
7. Swap HousesYou live in Seattle and want to visit Berlin. Someone in Berlin wants to visit Seattle. Why not swap houses with them for your trip? It’s a win-win. You get to stay for free in an authentic local home rather than a hotel, and your home doesn’t have to sit vacant and vulnerable to catastrophes like break-ins or flooding.
Granted, it’s not always that simple. Perhaps you want to visit Berlin in July, and the Berliner wants to visit Seattle in October. Perhaps you’re worried about the risk of having a stranger stay in your home.
The good news is reputable home-swapping websites provide a level of transparency, with peer reviews and identity verification to give members greater peace of mind. Some home-swapping websites also offer credit systems for indirect house-swapping. By offering your house to others, you accumulate points or credits, which you can redeem at your leisure at houses all over the world. Think of it like couch surfing for grown-ups.
A few reputable house-swapping websites to try are HomeExchange, Love Home Swap, and HomeLink. But even if you’re using one of these services, always do your homework before agreeing to your first swap.
8. Travel to ‘The Old Country’ for FreeSome countries offer discover-your-roots programs for descendants to come back and visit the home of their ancestors. In most cases, these programs are designed for young adults to come and stay with local host families.
While you’re at it, you can also look into citizenship programs for descendants. For example, Italy has a generous citizenship program through which descendants who can prove an Italian ancestor are generally eligible for dual U.S.-Italian citizenship.
A close friend of mine who was born in Boston was able to dig up proof that his great-great-grandfather was Italian, and he now has an Italian passport and the option of living in the European Union if he so wishes.
9. Drive Someone’s Car Cross-CountryDuring cross-country moves, people sometimes need help moving their cars. That’s where you come in. Some car owners will pay you to move their vehicles from Point A to Point B within a specified time frame. In some cases, they also cover your flight home. There’s no better way to get to know a country, especially your own country, than driving it.
In my 20s, I spent two years moving across the country every few months with my then-girlfriend, a travel nurse. I drove across the country a half-dozen times and developed a fondness for and truer sense of the U.S. than I ever felt from flying and visiting cities for a weekend.
After sitting alone in a car for six hours, when you stop at a roadside diner for lunch, you’re more likely to strike up a conversation with the locals. You can end up meeting fascinating people while eating local favorites.
And these road trip experiences don’t necessarily have to happen within the U.S. People on every continent need their cars moved. Start with Auto Driveaway for U.S. and Canada car transports — and a free road trip.
10. Crew a Yacht or Cruise ShipJust because you don’t know a slipknot from a half-Windsor doesn’t mean you can’t crew a boat. Yachts and cruise ships need crew members of all skill sets, from cooking to security to communications. The ship provides room and board plus a chance to see the world while sailing the Seven Seas and beyond.
But expect the hours to be long and the wages to be low. One of my friends spent a year working on a cruise ship. She reports she averaged five hours’ sleep every night they were at sea.
If you long for the sea life but are wary of cruise ships, look into yacht jobs instead. Several websites help connect yacht employers with crew members, including CrewSeekers, Yacrew, and Find a Crew.
11. Sit Through a Timeshare PresentationI’ve taken plenty of free vacations through timeshare presentations. But it’s playing with fire, and it can cost you far more in the long term if you end up buying.
Timeshare sellers have their pitch down to a precise science. They’re the best salespeople you’ll ever meet. Take my father’s advice and commit before going that you won’t buy, write it down on a piece of paper, and pull that paper out of your pocket to read it when you feel an overwhelming desire to buy.
Think about it. If it weren’t so profitable, how could they possibly give away a free vacation to everyone who attends?
At the event, the salespeople make the initial presentation and offer. A few people buy at the opening price. Then, you sit down one-on-one with an expert salesperson, who pitches you personally, probing for weaknesses and customizing their pitch directly to you. Then they drop the price — a lot.
After they probe and coax and tempt you some more, they drop the price again — and then again and again. By their final offer, the price is a tiny fraction of the opening price from the original presentation, which is hard to pass up.
If you understand and accept the risk, you can scope out some of these deals at TimesharePresentationDeals.com.
12. Take Advantage of Overbooked FlightsYou’ve probably experienced this one. The airline employee opens the intercom and announces, “We’re slightly overbooked for today’s flight and are offering a free flight voucher up to $500 for any passengers willing to take our next flight at 7pm.”
It’s not always practical to take them up on it. Sometimes, you need to get home for a pressing reason, such as a big meeting the next morning. But sometimes, it only costs you a few hours at the airport, and you stand to save a lot.
Typically, if no one takes the airline up on these offers, they escalate. They may start at a $300 voucher, then $500, then $700, and keep going until the offer is so astounding people race to the counter to take it. If the first offer isn’t worth the inconvenience to you, but you do have some flexibility, move closer to the counter and keep your ears open. Be ready to jump on the deal if it escalates enough to be worth your trouble.
A little flexibility can go a long way.
13. Maximize Credit Card RewardsIf you have the right card, you can earn free plane tickets by putting purchases on your credit card. And many of the best travel rewards credit cards offer some enticing benefits. But that’s far from the only option for maximizing your rewards.
Many travel rewards cards, such as the Delta SkyMiles Platinum card from American Express, offer free or discounted companion vouchers every year. You can score a free flight from your rewards points plus a cheap or free flight for your travel partner from the companion voucher.
Then there are sign-up bonuses. Some are positively generous, like the Chase Sapphire Preferred Card‘s.
You can also maximize rewards by using your credit card every time you pay for flights. Some credit cards and partner airlines offer double or triple rewards — or higher — for booking flights.
There are loads of ways you can score free flights with rewards. Just don’t overspend in the name of saving money.
14. Capitalize on Loyalty ProgramsRewards don’t just come from credit cards. Airlines, hotel chains, and other travel businesses often offer loyalty points for frequent travelers.
If you always fly with the same airline, you can rack up frequent flyer miles. The same goes for hotels. These businesses sometimes offer brief promotions with killer deals to score points quickly and cheaply or accept fewer points than usual for flights or stays.
Travel forums and frugal travel blogs let you stay on top of current promotions.
15. Open a Bask Bank AccountMost rewards programs require you to spend money — counterproductive to saving.
But Bask Bank rewards you with American Airlines miles for saving money, rather than spending it. Every dollar you save earns you 1 mile with American Airlines, every single year.
Best of all, Bank Bank doesn’t charge fees, so you get the rewards at no cost. Unlike credit cards, who fund their rewards programs with the interest paid by less savvy-cardholders who don’t pay their balances in full each month.
Click on the map to check the applicable entry requirements for the country you are travelling from and the restrictions for your return home. If your country is not on the map, check the “Are you travelling to Spain?” section.
You can also find out what measures are in place for each region you are visiting during your stay in Spain.