The $9 airline ticket, and other frugal travel hacks.

My current piece at MSN Money won’t show up in the RSS feed. That’s because it’s a slide show rather than a column.

$9 airfare and 9 other travel hacks” offers the skinny on things like “news flash” alerts (e.g., a $9 flight from Boston to New York), ways to get a free flop anywhere from Anchorage to Amsterdam, and how to spend just $1 to journey from Washington, D.C. to Philadelphia.

Not every tip will work for every person, obviously. Some folks just hate riding the bus and some wouldn’t even consider staying in a stranger’s guest room.

While I’m not suggesting doing something that terrifies you, I will say that stepping outside your comfort zone can be a rewarding journey indeed. You could always pretend you’re an exchange student, just for a night or two.

Give the piece a read and learn the details before dismissing it out of hand. Incidentally, some of the frugal hacks are savvy, not scary.

My current column at Get Rich Slowly urges you to avoid giving your pound of pence to the Coinstar machine. “A penny saved is a penny spurned? What to do with pockets full of change” suggests ways to use up/cash in on the contents of that Miracle Whip jar on your dresser.

The readers offer some ideas of their own, too. Feel free to add yours to theirs. And keep adding those coins to the jar!

Related reading:


10 Comments

  1. jestjack

    Donna, You give new meaning to the word….”multi-tasking”. Here you are in Alaska…house sitting…maintaining your blog….and writing not one but two articles for different publications. Cheeez…some vacation!

    • Donna Freedman

      @Jestjack: Hey, I’ve got to make a living. If I stopped working for two months I’d be in trouble.

  2. My comment has nothing to do with your current post, but I wanted to tell you how excited I am to find out that you have a blog! I absolutely love your ‘Surviving (and thriving) on $12,000 a year’ article. I read it when it was first posted on MSN and have read it several times since, in addition to your videos. I find your story very inspiring!

    • Donna Freedman

      @TLC: Thanks for your kind words. I hope you’ll browse the tag cloud and see what else I’ve been doing lately. :-)

  3. I just read the article. Super excellent tips and advise. I just saved MegaBus to my favorites as a possible trip from Toronto to Washington.
    Question though: Are there tips on MegaBus for actually getting the $1.00 deals? I tried a few times with varying dates and the lowest deal I have seen is $10 one way and as high as $33.00/day (I also entered close as in next week dates and up to September)?

    • Donna Freedman

      @Rhona: I don’t know why some tickets are $10 (or $33) and others are $1. Maybe it has to do with distance; although NYC to DC is a pretty long ride, Toronto to DC is a lot longer. My $1 ticket leaves NYC at 9:30 a.m. The 10:30 a.m. bus would have cost $7, even bought well in advance, so there’s definitely variance.
      I wish you luck with the trip. Bring snacks! And hand sanitizer in case you have to use the bus bathroom.
      Thanks for your kind comment.

  4. Your article gives me hope that I can go on my own vacation someday soon without going into debt. I have to wait until I can pay off my current debt, though (which shouldn’t take too long if I manage my money carefully enough). But I have tried doing the “staycation” thing in Chicago; there are always free festivals, concerts, and outdoor movies in the park during the summer. I just have to avoid being tempted to buy the overpriced food that is often sold at these events.

    • Donna Freedman

      @Neurotic Workaholic: One of my assignments at the Chicago Tribune was to go to the Taste of Chicago event (one of several reporters roaming there). I was startled to see how much the food cost and how fast it would add up to being more than a restaurant meal. And you’re right: Even non-food festivals have wildly expensive refreshments. Time to carry a water bottle and some non-meltable snacks.
      Thanks for reading, and for leaving a comment.

  5. I’m with jestjack on this one. You really are a writing machine!

  6. I had a jar I took to Coinstar and mine didn’t offer a CVS or Amazon gift certificate which is what I was hoping for. I was irritated to say the least but took the cash and paid the fee. *sigh* Next time I will hunt the machines and find one that has the gift certificates I want before showing up with my jar.

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