The more places we go, the more we realize that there are plenty of free things when traveling. A friendly smile will go a long way.
Our favorite finds:
- Free City Tours: We went on fantastic walking tours in over a dozen cities, some large like Moscow and London, others in smaller towns like York or San Sebastian. The tour quality was always amazing as our guide was either working for tips or was a passionate volunteer who doesn’t take tips. Of course sometimes they have you do silly things with strangers:
- Free off-peak museum entries. Two of the world’s top art museums are in Madrid. Like many museums worldwide both the Prado and Reina Sofía have daily no-pay entry hours near the end of the day. The queue is massive but goes quickly and everyone gets in.
- Free Wifi in McDonalds and other locations.
- Local Entertainment and Community Events: Street performers, local fairs, firework displays, local sports, open dance lessons, etc. We try to read the local newspaper.
- Activities which we never pay for: hiking, beaches, and window shopping in markets both local and boutique (could get expensive if you are on Champs-Élysées).
Plus there were many special opportunities we were given because “we are so awesome” (a quote from one of my girls):
- Tour of the A380 – I don’t sleep on planes, I wander – generally back toward the galley where I talk to the flight crew. On our initial long haul I met a flight crew who gave us a tour of the plane. Did you know there is a bar in business class and shower up in first class?
- Clean laundry – We had more than one occasion where the proprietor offered to wash our laundry. Once at a large chain hotel we were giving the laundry room code as long as we did our laundry after the housekeeping staff went home for the night.
- Free dinner – It was getting late when we finally found a vacancy in Belgium that was in our budget. After checking in, I asked about restaurants in the area and they offered us free sandwiches left over from an event that day. And then there was this, that they should have given to me free (it’s a piece of pie gone wrong):
- Free entry and discounts in exchange for blog reviews and magazine articles. Sadly, I have only just learned about this and haven’t had an opportunity yet to try it out. It does require a pitch letter and a bit of pre-planning.
And let’s not forget, free blog topics for years to come!
Why do we get so many free things?
I can thank my mom. I learned as a child to treat all people respectfully. A friendly greeting, a smile, an interest and empowerment of a service worker goes a long way.
So, smile today Say hello to someone you don’t know and your reward may be a free moment of happiness.
All photos ©Rhonda Albom 2011-2012. All rights Reserved.
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