So there you are: planning how to spend a few weeks vacation in Italy or Europe but you don’t have a lot of money to spend. But before you pack your bags, you need to park yourself in front of your computer, because your vacation really begins there! There are dozens of worthwhile internet travel sites and resources on the web that will save you time and money (but mostly money) on your next vacation. All it takes is a little patience on your part at the get-go.
But first a little background: one of the simplist cost-cutting tools involves the “swap”. I provide you a bed and you provide me a bed. Thanks to internet., it’s safe to say that somewhere in the world – from Borneo to ChinaTown, there are individuals who are willing to accomodate you in this most simplist of transactions. But that’s just the tip of the iceberg. The best vacations are planned shortly after the end of the vacation you just returned from. Good planning takes time. Unfortunately, most of us stary planning a few days before we actually are set to leave. But don’t worry, there’s still hope.
I have tried most of the following internet sites at one time or another so I speak from experience. And for the most part my experiences have been good! First step, what kind of vacation are you looking to take? Country-hopping with friends? A romantic get-away for two? A cruise? And what location are you eye-balling? The mountains? The beach? The mountains AND the beach? All important questions that you should consider ahead of time. Because once you touch down in your specific country-of-choice, the clock is ticking and you don’t necessarily want to burn up precious time asking your friend or lover “So, what do YOU want you to do..?”
If backpacking is your idea of fun then log on to www.backpackers.com . A thoroughly engaging site geared for those with more than a simple case of wonderlust (or is it wanderlust?) full of important information for pretty much any location in the world. There’s even a newsletter you can sign up for that keeps you up-to-date on good deals for backpackers.
If you’re looking for something a little more low-key, then maybe www.homelink.it is a link that is more your style. A great site for house-swappers. Not only in Italy; but internationally as well. Homelink contains all the info you need to get from “here to there” and do it in the comfort of someone’s home. Another similiar site is www.scambiocase.it which also involves house swapping. Both are informative sites with useful contact information.
Two other sites worth mentioning are www.couchsurfing.com and www.hospitalityclub.org which look to hook you with friendly folks abroad who will put you up for a night or two or three.
One of the more intersting sites is www.freecarindex.com which provides information on how to get a free car. We all know nothing is actually free in this world but this may be the closet thing as there are links included for companies who will provide you with a car covered with advertising and phone-numbers. If all driving across the country for free means is showcasing ads on the doors, hood and trunk (for products ranging from timeshares to swiss watches) than I’m there!
Still looking for good deals? No problem. WWW.sleepinginairports.net is a fun site that connects you with user-friendly airports which will let you crash (no pun intended) for night. You might also want to check out www.volagratis.it which acts as a kind of hub for the best airfares in Europe. And last but certainly not least is www.travelmania.it which connects you with an entire community of similar-thinking travelers looking to save time and money while they see the world.
Are there more sites out there? You bet there is!It just takes time to sift though them all. I’m pretty confident in telling you that these sites are user-friendly and safe. But like any good deal, “you pays your money and you takes your chances”. (and speaking of which, you shouldn’t be paying money for any service that helps you save money)
A cheap low-cost vacation is not impossibile, especially in Italy and Europe. But before you pack your bags, sit yourself down at a computer and log on, because your voyage really begins there!