You are an adventurer, right? You have an unquenchable desire to travel the Amazon… or go on an trek the Sahara by camel… or hike through Philippine jungles… and you don’t have the cash, but don’t worry.
There’s a possibility that you can travel for free to anywhere in your heart desires by locating a group of like-minded adventurers and convincing them to go with you.
That’s not too bad for doing something you love doing, meeting bunches of people who enjoy the same kind of traveling you do, and seeing the world. It’s easy…but not really.
There are dozens of travel companies who are actively seeking individuals to help them organize tours — or promote existing ones and the reason for that is that it’s pretty damn hard to convince 5-20 people to come on any given trip at the same time. Go ahead, give it a try. See if you can get 20 people to come to Morocco or Turkey with you at the same time and I will make the trip free for you (but the other 19 will have to pay).
People say age is no consideration, but in fact it is.. Whether you are 16 or 70, there are things that probably won’t suit you, so when you arrange a trekking trip, you probably can’t invite your friends with small kids or senior citizens. If you are arranging a museum trip, good luck getting your friends under 40 to come along.
Teachers have the best chance to make this kind of travel work and as a result, they not only travel free but can get some large cash stipends to boot. High school and college students are sought to promote grad trips and spring break trips to their friends and classmates. A successful promoter can pull in big money…enough to pay for college with 3-4 trips. Why? Because it’s not easy and successful promoters are few and far between.
Religious groups are a good niche but don’t expect to undercut the ministers. Pilgrimages to the Holy Land or Vatican raise as much as $10,000 per trip for the shepherds flock and the ministers and priests are no dummies.
I don’t want to discourage you, but I want you to recognize that this isn’t as easy as posting “Let’s take a scuba trip to Australia” on Facebook or Twitter. Lot’s of people will say yes and very few will pony up the cash to go.
If you can get enough people to make reservations, you can not only travel free, but also earn some cash. Most travel companies have a minimum for a free trip for you and above that you get cash. Don’t count on less than ten although some high end companies will take as few as five. Mostly, you need to get fifteen to twenty people to commit with credit card details or cash deposits.
There are people who do it and do it successfully. The travel companies will pay increasing commission and reward you with travel and/or money and in addition they usually will give you all the marketing materials you need to ‘sell’ the trip, but be warned. People love to dream but generally hate to let the cash out of their hands.
Some ideas to promote are holding meetings about student or club travels, taking out newspaper ads, and yes, telling people about your trip on social media. As in all sales, if you are more aggressive, you will be more successful. The promoters I’ve talked with say that it takes at least 9 months to a year to organize a successful trip. And you know what the key is? Require a cash deposit that is non-refundable. If you don’t, people will never find a way to pay for the trip, but it’s human nature to hate losing a deposit.
Make no mistake though, this is work. As a tour promoter you are working your buns off but in the process you can not only get ‘free’ travel, but earn some cash, and make like minded friends.
I prefer not to work so hard though….