couch changeYesterday I asked you has the global economic crisis is affecting your travel plans, and for the most part it hasn’t – although as Priyank mentions, it does have him a little worried. Before you cut your own plans however, consider the following unconventional ways to fund your travels.

  • Sell Your Old Books and CDs – Unless they’re for reference, most books are dead weight once you read them. Lighten the load and sell back your books as soon as they’re read to get the most value back. I prefer Half.com, which makes it easy to sell books, CDs, and DVDs and reimburses you for most shipping costs.
    • Take the books you can’t sell after 60 days and take them to a public library, they’ll buy them for much less but at least you’ll have more than nothing and be 1 book less at that.
    • Download free eBooks instead and stick to a single carry on.
  • Grab Extra Change From Toll Booths – Chances are you are missing the ‘rejects’ coin return below most toll booths. Drive through the toll booths that are unmanned or exact change only and stick your hand in the coin return – many times you will find part, all, or twice as much change as it cost you to get through the booth.
    • You probably won’t make a net gain, but could save a few dollars a month. Or save all of the change you find and put it aside for some small travel essentials.
  • Tutor A Language – There are plenty of high school and college students who are struggling with their language classes. For a few dollars an hour you can provide them with some homework help. Check for signs on college campuses, church, or Craigslist.
    • Only know English? For longer trips find a job teaching it at your destination in exchange for lessons. (Either way, you should know a few words before you go, here are the 12 best ways.)
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  • toll boothMedical Research and Focus Groups – When I was in school I participated in a number of medical tests and surveys for extra money. The medical exams usually consist of sitting in front of a computer (to test reactions), getting an MRI, or giving blood. It sounds creepy but you’ll be helping a Master’s or Ph.D student complete their thesis and add to the general body of medical knowledge. Not to mention around $50-150 in cash for an hour.
    • Focus Groups – Are generally surveys or interviews about a movie, music, a company for marketing purposes. You’ll be paid a small amount of (again) cash for your time. The Gilmore Research Group is a good place to begin.
    • Beware of Google and Craigslist scams.
  • Use Your Travel Blog – Earlier in the week I listed 6 ways to make money with your travel blog.

None of these methods are designed to make you rich – and that’s not the point. Using airline recession tactics and being proactive in generating extra money can expand your simple travel budget. Saving all of your money from a second temporary job, for your travels for example, is an exchange of time for money – better than using credit. Using your time, knowledge, and possessions you can finance even the biggest travel plans.

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Don’t think it can be done? Be inspired by One Giant Step and Clearly Enlight.

[(top only) photo by: Dave Austria]