Our goal is to help 1,000,000 people accomplish their travel goals for free or cheap. We can teach you how to travel the world for significantly less money so you can experience the benefits of travel without saving up or waiting another year.
We want to eradicate the myth that travel is too expensive. Whether you want to visit your family for the holidays or take a nearly-free trip to Bali, you can do it, and we’ll show you how. You don’t have to be a frequent flier, go into debt, use travel agents, find last-minute deals, buy timeshares, participate in multi-level marketing, or sacrifice your normal level of travel comfort. Cheap travel is easier than most people think.
If you’re new to the strategies of free and cheap travel, check out our Beginner’s Guide. To get our future tips, be sure to subscribe to our email newsletter. And don’t keep these travel hacks to yourself— please share this site with friends and family so they can enjoy free and cheap travel, too.
About Our Team
Neil and Danielle founded FreeandCheapTravel.com in October 2013. They are business partners and friends who originally met through Danielle’s travel Meetup in 2008. Both are available for press interviews, guest writing, and public speaking.
When I was growing up in Ohio, my family only took three vacations, which I now consider to be “binge travel“. My parents saved up for years to take the whole family on 1-2 week trips; meanwhile, my friends and neighbors seemed to go to Florida every year. I figured there had to be an affordable way to travel as often as they did. That was the beginning of my interest in cheap travel.
I first learned it was possible to fly for free when I was a pre-teen. My uncle had a cork board map of the United States, and it was full of pins representing all the places he had traveled, mostly on business trips. As a result of his frequent flier miles, he and my aunt had flown for free to vacation in Maui (a goal I’ve since achieved by other methods). I was blown away that two free flights to an exotic destination were possible, but I had no desire to fly so much for my job. I set the idea of earning free air tickets on the back burner for many years.
As soon as I was 18, I started researching and planning cheap, weekend trips on a regular basis. My first trip was with my high school sweetheart to see our favorite architect’s most famous work, Frank Llyod Wright’s “Falling Water” house in neighboring Pennsylvania. That was where I first discovered how bed and breakfasts and boutique hotels save you money, serve delicious free food, and connect you to local travel experiences you wouldn’t have known about if you stayed in a chain hotel.
Rewind to 8th grade geography class: I fell in love with New England and set a lifetime goal to visit every state in that area. As a small town Ohio girl, that seemed like a lofty and expensive travel goal. But in college I took a co-op job in Massachusetts for six months and spent almost every weekend driving all over New England. Turned out that travel goal only cost me a few tanks of gas and was affordable on a college intern’s salary. That taught me your job can be the ticket to free travel, and it doesn’t have to involve lots of flying.
After I graduated college, I found myself living in Ohio with a boyfriend in Texas. I researched frequent flier mile programs and discovered the world of airline credit cards and travel rewards. With that, I earned my first, free roundtrip flight!
I soon moved to Dallas and founded a Meetup group for young professionals who liked to travel. Every month for four years, I took groups of 8-26 strangers on a cheap (under $80) weekend trip, and we had a blast. This travel group is how I met my friend and now-business-partner, Neil Lemons.
Today, I own an Internet marketing agency, DGdesign, and am best known online as “Dallas Foodie“. Every day as Dallas Foodie, I post photos of my food and drinks with commentary. As such, the Dallas Convention and Visitors Bureau hired me to write a large part of their official “Visit Dallas” 2013 guide book. I love helping locals and visitors discover the best of Dallas, and now I’m moving up to help the rest of the world.
I started this site because people were asking me how I travel so often and find such interesting places to go and great things to eat. One secret is that I travel for free and cheap! I am living proof that you don’t have to be an actual frequent flier, rack up credit card debt, or otherwise inconvenience your usual lifestyle to take the trips of your dreams. I’ll be gradually revealing the details of my free and cheap travel secrets on this site. Sign up for our travel newsletter so you don’t miss our upcoming articles.
I grew up in a small town in North Texas. My parents followed the American Dream of owning their own business, working hard, and taking family vacations. We took some great trips, from skiing in Colorado and New Mexico, to visiting Walt Disney World and Disneyland in Florida and California. We never traveled outside the U.S., but these vacations were some of the best memories of my childhood. I later learned, like many Americans, that my parents put these trips on credit cards that haunted them with debt for years.
After working very hard in school, getting good grades, and having several “character-building” jobs, I found myself with a good career and a good amount of disposable income. Following an increased lifestyle, I fell into some of same mistakes that many others do – I found myself in a scary amount of credit card debt twice, and I was only in my 20′s. About three years ago, I got extremely angry about it and mustered the long-term willpower to make a plan to get it all paid off. I swore to myself and my future family that I would never make that mistake again. Now I’m less than two years from being completely debt-free, and I am ecstatic to be out of the “make more spend more” lifestyle and to know how to travel without going into more debt.
I’m sure there are many people who have gone through a similar experience. We’re here to offer you a better alternative. You don’t have to go into debt (like me or my family) or save money for long periods of time (like Danielle’s family) to take amazing trips that enhance your work/life balance.
In 2007, I was inspired by Tim Ferris’ “The 4-Hour Workweek”. I learned if I’m going to own a business and travel, it has to be location-independent and automated. In 2008, coincidentally not long after meeting Danielle, I took a trip to Panama in Central America. That week in Panama changed my life because I found my reason why— a reason why to travel and keep working on my dream of having a business that makes a livable income and can be operated from anywhere in the world. Seeking a business in something in-which I had prior-established skills, in 2008 I became an independent Internet Marketing Consultant for small-and medium-sized-businesses, while maintaining a day job at a digital marketing and design agency.
Not completely satisfied with the services model that required me to be present, I continued my quest for residual and location-independent income. In 2010, I co-founded a hyper-local publication named I Live In Dallas, which reports on things to do in the Dallas-Ft. Worth area. Over time, the site won several awards and allowed me to gain experience reporting on local travel experiences, including festivals, concerts, theater, film, and other cultural events. Becoming the publisher for this site opened a world to me I never knew existed. All-of-a-sudden, I was being invited to high-status elbow-rubbing events with local celebrities, restaurant openings, art galas, high-end festivals, of which I never dreamed would have been a result.
Free and cheap travel is a lifestyle which involves more than just site-seeing. It includes meeting incredible people, attending mind-blowing events, and having priceless experiences when you get to your destination. I’ll be teaching you these types of “lifestyle hacks” that you can use even without being a writer/publisher/blogger or “knowing the right people”. Sound like fun?
My personal travel goals include taking weekend jaunts to domestic destinations. I also want to take several months in Chile, Brazil, Panama, China, and two dozen other countries within the next three years. Follow my journey, and learn how to do the same by subscribing to our travel newsletter.
Danielle’s Travel History
Lifetime Frequent Flier Miles Earned: 400,083
Total Savings of All My Free Flights: at least $10,830
(Data as of October 2013)
To give you an idea of what is possible, here’s a list of places I’ve flown basically for free, with the normal cost of a roundtrip air ticket from my home airport, DFW, in parenthesis:
- Santiago, Chile ($1,300)
- Paris, France ($1,100)
- Grenada, West Indies ($860)
- Maui, Hawaii ($890)
- Every family trip to Cleveland for Christmas since 2007 ($2,310)
I also have a bankroll of miles I’ve already earned, just waiting for me to redeem the flights. I plan to use these miles to save almost $5,000 to visit all of the following places:
- Australia ($1,800) and New Zealand ($400)
- Tokyo, Japan ($1,400)
- Italy ($1,200)
I’ve visited 39 U.S. states, 6 countries, and 3 continents. My favorite destinations were:
- Paris, France, for their food and art history
- Waipo Valley, Hawaii, for its inaccessibility, cliff waterfalls and black sand beach
- Valparaiso, Chile, for its San Fransisco Bay hills and abundant graffiti stencil art
- Green Mountains, Vermont, for its hilly, curvy roads and New England charm
- Rocky Mountains, Colorado for the scenic, mountain vistas
Sometime in my life I hope to visit: Tuscany, New Zealand, Glacier National Park, Yellowstone National Park, and Fiji. I have no doubt I will get to all of those places at some point, and each trip will be free or extremely cheap!
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