Free idea: How to combine free work and travel

You all remember this contest from last year?  Well, it was more than just a brilliant marketing campaign.  It’s also a great way for you to work doing something you love.

If you want to travel for an extended period but can’t afford it, consider drafting up a proposal for the tourism company in the city you want to visit.  Say that you want to do the same things that Ben Southall did for Queensland, “free of charge,” if they’re willing to fly you over.  Tourism companies need good public relations people, so prove to them that you can fill that role.

“In fact, I went ahead and got started on this.  As you can see, I already have a sizable audience that’s interested in reading about my travels…”

If your proposal is truly outstanding, they might even be willing to cover the majority of your expenses.

Free work doesn’t have to mean that every single thing you do for someone is coming out of your wallet.  It just means they’re not paying your salary… yet.

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Charlie Hoehn is the author of Play It Away, Play for a Living and Recession Proof Graduate. His work has been featured on NPR's TED Radio Hour, Forbes, Fast Company, and Harvard Business Review. Previously, he was the Director of Special Projects for Tim Ferriss. Currently, he is the Head of Video at Book In A Box. He lives with his wife and daughter in Austin, Texas.

This Post Has 11 Comments

  1. angel vallejo

    “To think otherwise is blissfully naive”
    Ha, ha..You rock, Charlie.Sometimes the evidence is hard to perceive.

  2. Tim

    So they provide more biased reviews on these hotel review sites then? And people wonder why no one trusts those reviews in the first place.


      Tim, my friend, you have to understand that EVERY review site is biased. Amazon, iTunes, imdb, and beyond… it really doesn’t matter where you look. In fact, sometimes people/companies will intentionally give their product pages a couple bad reviews to make it appear LESS biased. Taking that idea even further, savvy online marketers will often buy all the adwords that say their product is a scam, then direct that traffic to landing pages that look like an average-Joe writer trashing the product… until you read the rest, and it reveals that the author of the page is actually the creator of the product, assuaging your doubts and “proving” it’s not a scam.

      There’s bias and manipulation everywhere you look. To think otherwise is blissfully naive.

  3. Angel

    That great idea should not be, in my humble opinion, limited to tourism activities.

    I know a pair of guys who are making some kind of “temporary professional stage” in another country, being paid and accomodated by the company hiring their services.

    One of them is a systems engineers and the other is a programmer. Both are knowing (and living in) different and interesting countries without being attached to their day job table.

    The internet has changed it all ¡¡

  4. John Bardos - JetSetCitizen

    Great idea!

    The focus doesn’t have to be as big as a city either. I know of travelers that offer marketing services for hotels in exchange for free stays.

    They take pictures of hotels, add them to various hotel directories and write reviews. They often get a week or two of free accommodations for a few hours of work.

    Before they arrive in a country they email several hotels with their proposal and hopefully at least one will take them up on it.

  5. Griffin

    Oh sure Mr. Sizable audience. What happens when I have to email:

    “…I already have about six people who leave hateful comments on my website and probably want to murder me.”

    But seriously, this approach does work. Another solution is signing up with a volunteer organization to help with the environment, and then organizing a local fundraiser (preferably involving booze) to help pay for your flight and expenses down there. My friend just did that exact thing, and now she’s off for 3 months.

      1. Griffin

        Stay out of my koolaid, Hoehn!

  6. Dan

    I’m a huge fan of this kind of thing! I think there is a huge opportunity to go resort hoping as well, doing basic web marketing for them on review sites, blogs, stuff like that. Almost every resort owner I meet is dying to get more traction on the web.

  7. John

    Great idea. I want to try this right now. One question though – who is the quote from?

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