Some weeks I really need a Saturday on a Wednesday.

If this is you, scroll down for three steps to book your next paid-for-by-somebody-else vacation, starting this week.

Tomorrow I’ll send you a few ways to make a profit off of those free trips, too.

HOW TO TAKE A $5,000 TRIP FOR A FEW HUNDRED BUCKS      
By Roy Stevenson in Seattle, Washington

On my recent four-week press trip, all except three nights were covered by tourist agencies.

Hotels averaged about $100 a night, so I saved $2,000 there.

I also saved big by arranging press passes to all the tours and attractions that I visited, often with a personal guide. These saved me at least $1,200.

And complimentary meals saved me a further $900 at some great restaurants.

These savings, plus the $700 I was comped for road travel, totaled $4,800.

To get parts of your vacations — or even entire trips — paid for by someone else, you’ll need to line up as many assignments as you can before you leave for your destination.

This way, you’ll bring in some income from the trip and you’ll be able to prove to the tourist board and hotels that you’re really going to provide articles about your stay.  

Here’s how:

** STEP 1: Research the place where you’d like to go and come up with as many story angles as you can imagine.

** STEP 2: Pitch your story ideas out to any magazine or newspaper where you think such a story might belong — blitz those magazine editors with your query e-mails (making sure to follow the Writer’s Guidelines, of course). You should start this process three to four months before your trip.

** STEP 3: Once you have some assignments, contact the media director at the Convention and Visitor’s Bureau at your destination and let them know you’re loaded with assignments and that you’re hoping they’ll help you when you visit.

In the U.S. (and some overseas countries), you’ll find the Convention and Visitor’s Bureau reps only too pleased to accommodate. You see, it’s a symbiotic relationship. You’re bringing in lots of nice free publicity about their place, and, in exchange, they help with meals, accommodation, and complimentary entry into the tourist attractions, museums, and tours in their territory.

You can travel like this, too. Between your article income and complimentary travel, you’ll have a nice inexpensive trip.

[Editor’s Note: Learn more about opportunities to profit from your travels (and even from your own home) in our free online newsletter The Right Way to Travel.]

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