02/25/13 8:54am
Paradise found. via Flickr user luca.sartoni

Paradise found. via Flickr user luca.sartoni

Real talk: short sleeves, warm weather, cold beer, and free shows with your friends is hard to beat. But it’s still winter. If, like me, you are too broke to afford even thinking about Coachella without a collection agency potentially calling you, but desperately need warm weather and music, you might think you’re out of luck. There’s always South by Southwest, but the annual industry showcase/rolling boozefest requires an expensive flight, an expensive hotel, an expensive badge and expensive food. Or does it?

Allow me to offer you the potential to go to South by Southwest for little over the price of a month’s rent. Now, for declamatory purposes I must state from the outset that all expenses were accurate at the time of the research, prices go up closer to the time, the snooze/lose correlation is as inescapable as death or taxes. But enough about taxes and onto Texas, and how to get there. (more…)

01/29/13 7:30am
Looks like we picked the right week to start being cheap

Looks like we picked the right week to start being cheap

Despite the fact that it involves partaking in the miracle of human flight, air travel is a pain in the ass. It’s expensive too. But it’s less expensive this week on JetBlue owing to NYC Flight Week, a veritable orgy of discounted flights, to the tune of 80% off. Each day this week, the carrier is offering three bargains. But like all great deals in life, there’s a catch. (more…)

10/28/10 12:51pm

Jon wants you there

The hype is building around this Saturday’s Rally to Restore Sanity in Washington, DC. You’ve been wanting to jump on the bandwagon, but you’ve been holding off because you’re just a little sick of all the Tea Party talk, heresy denials and non-political gatherings on the National Mall lately. Of course, now the day’s almost upon us, and you’re catching the fever… but your best friend gave your seat away before you made up your mind and you missed that Daily Show episode where Oprah gave everyone a free trip to the rallyyyyyyy. So how the heck are you supposed to get to DC to show your sanity in an insane election season? Your options are limited this late in the game, but all hope’s not lost. Here’s what it’ll take to get down to the Mall and back again in time for Halloween. (more…)

10/27/10 9:16am

Most of us flock to the gathering of every living relative for a couple of drama-filled days in late November. But some of us… just need to be FAR AWAY. And so having a free apartment in London might be the perfect opportunity. (After all, who else will “watch” your “friend’s” place while they’re traveling abroad to the U.S.?) Jauntsetter’s found a Londoner looking for a New York/London apartment swap between Nov. 23 and 29. We’ve always wanted to try one of these trades. This one is for a London pad in the center of town, within walking distance of a whole lot. Exact dates are flexible, but the stay has to cover Thanksgiving weekend. (more…)

08/17/09 7:47am

dsc00762Squirrel is jittery and lean, with a look of confusion on his face. “Do you know the Rainbow Family?” he asks. “I’m part of the tribe. You can call me Squirrel. It’s my Rainbow name.” For a student of couch surfing, Squirrel is an intriguing character study, but the encounter ends as a cautionary tale.

I meet Squirrel during a five-day experiment in couch surfing through Brooklyn, which takes me from a shag rug in Bed-Stuy (not all couch surfing is done on couches) to a plush white sofa with a view of McCarren Park.

The practice of couch surfing—crashing at a stranger’s home for free rather than at a hotel or hostel—is growing among thrifty travelers both here and abroad, many of whom find each other through the five-year-old web site of the CouchSurfing 2.0 Project (CSP). Here some 1.3 million road trippers and prospective hosts (many of them one-time couch-surfers themselves) post detailed profiles listing their occupations, travel experience, personal philosophy and interests, along with action shots from the road.  As on eBay, members review one another, a practice that usually—but not always—encourages good behavior. (more…)

07/21/09 8:14am
Villas near Puerto Vallarta, $266/week and up.

Villas near Puerto Vallarta, $266/week and up.

My challenge was this: to figure out how to get a group of four out of town for a week, with a $500 budget for lodging. It was a tall order, even for this frugal traveler. Most choices at that price were slim, and they tended to look like they were furnished for our budget—several decades ago. But a bit of sleuthing uncovered rustic cabins in magnificent park settings and appealing homes advertised at higher rates but available to the skilled negotiator for less. There wasn’t a Sun Valley chalet or a Bora Bora bungalow in the bunch, but I did find some nice getaways for little more than the cost of a staycation. (more…)