Road Trip Alternatives

Adventure Travel, Cabins & Camping, Car, Dispatches from the Road, Hostels, Hotels & Resorts, Lost Girl of the Week, Planning, Tours & Attractions, Traveling Solo & Together, United States, Websites and Blogs — By on March 31, 2009 at 4:09 pm

by Molly Fergus

I’ll admit it, I’m lucky. I travel the country for one year, all-expenses paid, and I get to call it a job. But landing a gig as a hotdogger certainly isn’t the only way to travel the U.S. on a shoestring. Whether you want to hitch a ride in some other crazy car or befriend retirees, cruising the interstate doesn’t have to cost or fortune (or anything at all).

Mobile marketers The Wienermobile isn’t the only weird-looking vehicle on the road. Those Red Bull cars? Someone drives them. Same for the Hershey Kiss Mobile, the Marshall’s Shoe Mobile, and a host of other novelties on wheels. Peruse eventmarkter.com to scout out mobile marketing firms, which hire drivers and marketing reps to travel the U.S., execute events and maneuver those funny-looking cars. Bonus: You get to sightsee on days off.Military campgrounds Few things are more American – or more gas-guzzling — than cruising the interstate in an RV. Lucky for some military personnel, bases across the U.S. offer RV hookups at about half the price of private campsites. Typically, career military, retired military, disabled veterans and some Department of Defense members are eligible for the benefits.Drive away If you’re lucky, you’ll find a snowbird couple to fund your whole trip, like Spacing Toronto blogger Matthew Blackett, but retirees aren’t a requirement. Skip rental fees or nix the wear-and-tear on your own vehicle by signing on with a company like autodriveaway.com, which transports vehicles cross-country for corporations, government agencies and families. Drivers pay fuel and lodging along the way.

Archaeological digs If it all sounds too Indiana Jones to be real, don’t stop reading. Every dig site needs a strong crew – to sift through dirt, label relics, shovel up layers of mud – and shovelbums.org is the online headquarters for most of the jobs. Positions can last anywhere from a couple of weeks to a few months, and often include compensation for lodging and food.

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