Four ways to travel for free -- really

Ken and Daria Dolan are widely known as America's First Family of Personal Finance.

How would you like to vacation in a dream location and never pay a dime for your accommodations? Or travel the United States all expenses paid? Sound impossible? It's not -- here are four creative ways to travel free:

1. Take advantage of RV courier travel. Anyone between the ages of 18 and 88 who has a driver's license can take a vacation and earn money by driving recreational vehicles across North America. RV driving is a no-stress, enjoyable way to see America for free -- and you get paid to do it! Depending on how many trips you want to take, you could earn as much as $50,000 a year. The company pays your expenses, provides insurance coverage and you sleep right in the RV -- most are very comfortable.

Your destination is on a first-come, first-served basis. But the route you take is left up to you as long as you arrive at the final destination in a reasonable amount of time (usually about one week). How about a stop at the Grand Canyon as you make your way across the U.S.?

Best yet, you don't need any special training -- RVs handle just like the family car.

2. Set up shop as a part-time group tour planner/tour escort. Not only can you get a complimentary vacation for every 15 people you sell a vacation to -- you also get income from travel agency commissions (usually 10%-15% of the airfare, hotels and tours you arrange). Plus since you're in business for yourself, your trip expenses are tax-deductible -- as are any travel expenses when you "scout" new destinations.

All you need to get started is the ability to think on your feet and relate to all kinds and ages of people. To find clients, contact churches, banks (they frequently have senior citizen clubs), high school graduating classes, garden clubs, needlework guilds, investment clubs -- any group of people that are used to doing things together.

3. A career in the airline industry. This is a great way for you to see the world. Of course, there are fewer career opportunities at the airlines nowadays, but you can also work for any travel-related business, be it Hertz or Holiday Inn, and get travel bargains.

4. Become an air courier. If you don't mind traveling on relatively short notice, you can save 50%-70% on some great trips. But don't pack too many bags because you generally can't check any baggage.

Very often custom law dictates that someone must accompany a cargo shipment. So you "chaperone" a shipment -- like bank papers or blueprints -- in exchange for airfare. You meet a contact at the destination, then you're off on your vacation!

Ken and Daria Dolan have hosted their own national radio program for 22 years, anchored their own television shows on CNN, authored six books on money matters, served as money contributors on CBS This Morning and have now launched a comprehensive web site and free e-letter at

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