Extended Vacation: Trips for the Unemployed
Suddenly have a lot of free time on your hands? With the jobless claim at a seven-year high, chances are you or someone you know is out of work. Being unemployed may hamper your finances, but those of the “lemons into lemonade” mentality will consider turning this sudden abundance of free time into an opportunity to travel. So if that severance package is burning a hole in your pocket or you’ve got money saved up, consider these five budget-friendly trips for your extended “vacation.” Who knows? By the time you get back this mess could be cleaned up and you’ll be refreshed and ready to re-enter the workforce.
Anguilla is known for its white-sand beaches, fine dining and upscale resorts. What this island in the northern Caribbean is not known for, however, is being inexpensive. Anguilla makes this list for one reason – a deal offered at the Arawak Beach Inn geared at guests staying for one month or longer that makes living the good life affordable. Guests who book extended stays are eligible for a rate of $825 / month – or less than $30 per night – with a three month stay. According to the website, a two month stay it is an additional 20 percent and 25 percent more for one month stays. Accommodations are in an oceanfront room with a kitchen.
A month touring Asia? Who has that kind of time? Well – you do. An Asia itinerary on offer from Azamara cruise line is priced from just $1,999 (not including airfare) for a November departure, or about $84 per night. A great value, considering the price includes your accommodations, all meals and transportation between ports. The ship departs from Athens, Greece and calls on exotic locales like Cairo, Dubai, Mumbai and Taiwan before the last stop in Singapore. That should give you enough bragging rights for a lifetime. This particular cruise departs on November 22; there are many shorter cruises and different itineraries available depending on your needs.
Photo courtesy of IgoUgo.com member Koror
If you live in or near a big city or popular tourist destination, you’ve already got your ticket to a free vacation – your home. Home exchange is a popular way to experience a new destination for next to nothing, provided you’re willing to let strangers stay in your home while you’re away. If you’ve always dreamed of a villa in Tuscany or a beach house in Hawaii, this is your chance to do it for free. Depending on the deal you strike, you may even get use of the home owner’s car and access to information from a local on what to see and what to skip. Home exchanges last for any length of time, from a weekend to months at a time. Rule of thumb – the more you give, the more you get in return. Check out IgoUgo.com for more information on home exchange and other free (or nearly free) vacations.
South America Cruise
The favorable exchange has long made South America an economical destination for American travelers, and now is the perfect time to go as winter in North America means summer sun in South America. For most, it’s a once-in-a-lifetime destination and you’ll want to see as much of the continent as possible on the trip. Consider a cruise: the ship calls on multiple ports and provides your transportation between cities. Option 1 – a 13-night Royal Caribbean cruise from Buenos Aires, Argentina to Sao Paulo Brazil from $799 – about $62 per night – stopping in Chile and Uruguay. Option 2 – a 14-night Celebrity cruise from Fort Lauderdale to Valparaiso, Chile from $649 – about $47 per night –calling on Columbia, Panama (and taking in the Panama Canal), Ecuador and Peru. Remember to factor in airfare from your city; both cruises depart on December 7.
If you lost your job recently, chances are you’re not feeling too fortunate. A volunteer vacation will put things in perspective and allow you to do some real good with your time and energy. You may even discover a passion you never knew you had. There are limitless opportunities to volunteer based on various interests – options range from traveling to South Africa to observe and collect data on the meerkat colonies of the Kalahari to working in an orphanage in Brazil to caring for the elderly in Costa Rica. These trips last from one week to three months depending on your interests and available time. Volunteer vacations aren’t free, but in many cases they are tax deductible. Travelocity’s Travel for Good program has ideas to get you started; there are also grant applications to help eliminate or offset costs.
My name: Genevieve Shaw Brown. I also answer to Genny and Gen.
How I earn my keep: I work at Travelocity.
Greatest travel lesson learned: I travel for my job, but I've learned work is work, vacation is vacation, and it's best not to try and do both on one trip.
Fondest travel memory: There are so many... but a recent experience was being totally jet-lagged and waking up pre-dawn in Koh Samui, Thailand, and watching the sun rise with my husband on the beach. We talked about what all our friends and family were doing at that very same moment as the sun set back home in New York.
First thing I do in a new place: Peruse the local restaurants and map out my dining strategy for the duration of my trip. Dining strategy = eating at as many restaurants as humanly possible.
First thing I do when I get home: Put a push pin on the destination I just returned from on the map of the world that hangs on the wall above my couch.
Travel ambition: To cover that map completely in push pins.
My most beloved place in the whole world: Cockle Cove Beach in Chatham, Massachusetts.