Get even more when you travel overseas

If home-exchanges and long-term rentals don’t appeal to you, there are lots of other ways to get extraordinary overseas vacations on a reasonable budget



From the November 2011 issue of the magazine.


Some great suggestions can be found at, a website developed Charles Feaver, a semi-retired 60-year-old from Winnipeg.


If you want go on an overseas adventure and help out in a developing country at the same time, consider volunteering your services. In many cases, sponsoring organizations will cover your accommodation and living costs if your skills are in particular demand, says Feaver. That might leave you only paying for airfare. Even if your skills aren’t particularly sought after and you have to cover all the costs yourself, the trip is probably still well worth it. “Across the board, when I talked to volunteers they said they thought they were going somewhere to help,” says Feaver. “But they found out they got more out of it themselves than they could possibly give to a community.”

Hospitality exchanges

A social way to travel abroad inexpensively is to exchange hosted visits with people from overseas. Friendship Force is a worldwide organization of older adults that facilitates group exchanges between local chapters. They have about 20 local clubs in Canada and 350 around the world. The way it works is about 20 to 25 members from one club will visit members of another club for a week, staying in the homes of some members and being shown the sights by others. Then the travelers reciprocate by serving as hosts of another club’s visit. “You basically host them for a week and show them the town,” says Feaver. “It doesn’t have to be elaborate or expensive.”

Hostels for all ages

While you might think you’ve outgrown hostels, they’re not just for callow youth anymore. While you can stay ultra-cheaply in the dorm-like conditions that you expect from hostels, you may also be able to book private rooms with bathrooms at a cost that’s similar to a low-end hotel, says Feaver. And these days you can book online. “Hostels are very much a mixing place of independent travelers,” he says. “It’s much more social than staying at a hotel.”

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