February 2nd, 2012
You know how it costs extra to rent a car in one place and drop it off in another? And some rental companies and locations don’t allow it at all. Well, I recently found out about another way to make one-way road trips happen, basically for free: become a driver for a car that needs to be relocated.
Rather than ship a car across the country on one of those big trucks, some people opt to have someone drive it for them. It’s like carpooling in that you’re not adding to the number of cars on the road; but you have the privacy and control of having your own car. In the United States, check Auto Driveway for these types of driving opportunities. In Canada, Hit the Road seems to be the major service.
Photo by Vlasta Juricek
You need to have a good driving record and pay a deposit, and the opportunities are limited by the number of driving requests customers make. (Right now there are only three routes listed on Auto Driveway and nine on Hit the Road.) But beyond the pick-up location, the drop-off location and general time and mileage constraints, the vehicle is all yours for the duration of your road trip.
As with any other really good deal, you have to be patient, flexible, or just ridiculously lucky to make this work. Now I’m just crossing my fingers for a car that needs to be transported from Denver to LA this summer—with unlimited mileage and no time limit!
June 14th, 2011
It looks like the plan this summer is to house/dog/cat sit for two different sets of friends—one out on Long Island, and the other in upstate New York. The more I think about these arrangements, the more they sound like ideal vacation opportunities. While helping our friends out a little bit, we’ll be able to get out of the city and explore both areas’ beaches, lakes, parks, and food options. Swimming, blueberry picking, farmers markets, bike rides, and breweries, here we come!
It occurs to me that we’ll also get access to lots of perks that most hotels and vacation rentals don’t provide. My own apartment doesn’t even offer most of these:
Maybe I am getting boring, or maybe I am just getting tired of living in NYC, but this all sounds pretty exciting to me.
The only downside? I’ll still be working.
January 28th, 2011
Valentine’s Day is coming up, and boy, do I have a fun craft project for you! If you have some old maps, travel brochures, foreign language magazines, and things like that lying around from past adventures—and you don’t mind cutting them up for the sake of love—read on.
I used two different sets of instructions to make the flowers. This one from How About Orange is a little more involved and elegant, while this one by maya*made is cute and quick.
I stuck the flowers in glass bottles collected from various countries to go along with the theme. Besides gifts and surprises, these could make great centerpieces or permanent decorations in a home or office. I could even see them adorning the front desk of a quirky little backpackers’ hostel.
Basically anything you save from your travels—subway and bus passes, newspapers, programs from performances, bottle caps, the photos you take—can turn into crafty gifts, if you have the time. I’m envisioning magnets, mobiles, picture frames, ornaments…. Any other ideas?
December 21st, 2010
For adventurous travelers, crashing with strangers is one way to avoid the cost, waste, and impersonal nature of staying in hotels. CouchSurfing has gotten a lot of attention as a community of travelers who offer each other free places to stay.
Photo by jon_a_ross
There are more similar networks popping up, and I wanted to introduce you to a few.
Warmshowers.org is just like CouchSurfing, except it’s meant specifically for those traveling by bicycle. It could be a great way to get advice on the best bike routes, exchange cycling stories, and meet people with similar interests.
HelpX is for travelers who want to work in exchange for accommodations. Hosts include organic farmers, small business owners, hostel owners, and regular homeowners who could use a hand with anything from harvesting to babysitting, painting to greeting other guests. Talk about living like a local!
Airbnb lists accommodations offered in people’s homes, but they’re not free. Guests could stay in a humble guest room, a room in a bed and breakfast, an entire empty apartment or house, or a tree house in someone’s back yard.
I’m excited to choose my own adventure someday using one of these networks.