3 Top Hacks on How to Vacation for Free

Do you know you could get a vacation house for free? We all associate vacations with spending tons of money, but it does not have to be that way. Here are three excellent strategies for how to vacation for free.

1. Bartering

I actually got offered a free stay at a resort in Patagonia, which is in South America, when I was planning my wedding. All you need to do is put an offer on one of these webpages for something that you are good at. For me, that is social media and creating webpages, so I offered to create a webpage in exchange for wedding invitations, a photographer, and a place to stay for our honeymoon. I did not take up the honeymoon offer, but I did take up some of the other offers for my wedding.

There are many webpages that specialize in bartering. A couple are SwapRight and UExchange. I know that all of you guys have a talent of some sort. It could be writing, a social media presence, writing thank you notes, writing blog posts, doing research.

We all have something we are good at, and you can offer this in a very creative way to a lot of different people in order to get something in exchange, including something you need for a vacation, whether it is a place to stay, or some time at a resort. You also can get creative and go on Craigslist and find people or put your ad on there.

Word of caution: there is no safety gate. You have to do your own research and trust your own intuition to know if this is going to work out. No one can guarantee you that the person you are choosing is trustworthy, so make sure to do your homework when you set up these exchanges, so you do not end up coming to South America and having nowhere to stay.


2. Win a vacation

I know that just sounded too simplistic, and you may be thinking that you never win anything.

However, winning something, especially big stuff like vacations and cars, is easier than ever nowadays with the internet. There are thousands, if not tens of thousands of giveaways every day for these big, big prizes.

Not only is it easier for you to find them now, but there are also just not enough people that are entering them to go around, making your chances of winning better than ever.

Here are my favorite resources for entering contests, especially vacation contests:

  • Sweeties Sweeps. It has been around forever. Her webpage is just easy to follow and to navigate.
  • I Love Giveaways
  • Contest Girls

There are a ton of great webpages. I actually have a friend who enters so many contests and wins way more than a full-time income’s worth. She has also won a ton of vacations, so winning a vacation in this day and age is totally possible.

All you have to do is enter a couple of contests every morning, and once you get in the groove, it is super easy to do, and I promise that before you know it you will win a vacation.

3. Mystery shopping

This is a genius way to save money on vacation. When I say mystery shopping, you are probably thinking of going into a store and seeing if they are doing a good job, but there is also free mystery shopping for hotels, amusement parks, zoos, cruises, and for a ton of different types of entertainment. There are people out there who travel constantly and do it all via mystery shopping.

There are plenty of webpages that help you get involved in that, and also some amazing resources on Facebook groups. The most well known website for this type of mystery shopping is called coylehospitality.com. They specialize in hotel and cruise mystery shopping.

One thing to keep in mind before you sign up is making sure that you read through all of the fine print. I have heard stories about people who go on mystery shopping cruises and end up at the bottom floor in the worst rooms, forced to do the most boring activities and fill out tedious paperwork and super long evaluations.

On the other hand, I have also heard of other people who have wonderful times on free cruises. So do your research and read the fine print to know exactly what you are signing up for.

Also, keep in mind that when you are doing higher-end mystery shops like hotels, cruises, and resorts, it is not first-come, first -served basis, but rather normally whoever has the most experience.

This means that you might have to do some of those less fancy mystery shops in order to build your credibility and potentially get the higher-end mystery shops.

Once you get to know the scheduler, you can also ask them to fit the plan to your needs. For example, if you want to go someplace for a week, they usually can pair up the different hotel stays or resort stays, so you do not have to pay for hotels for the rest of your trip after that one night of mystery shopping.


Apart from cruises and resorts, let’s say you want to do entertainment for free, like a zoo, bowling or a museum. A lot of times, there are mystery shops for those specific entertainment things in a specific area.

I, for instance, belong to Amusement Advantage. Locally, there are always three or four different events that I can do for free, and when I travel someplace else, I can just search that area and sign up for those shops as well.

How to vacation for free

Traveling for free or almost for free is absolutely possible, and these three options are a great way to begin. Put your energy into it, and I promise you, you will travel for free or for pennies on the dollar.

Do you know any other creative ways to save money for vacation? Let me know in the comments and maybe I will learn something new, too!

Next, learn How to Eat for Free Using Your Phone.

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