Tuesday, July 6, 2010

ETR: Your Next Vacation -- Free

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Issue No. 3055 - $1.00

Tuesday, July 6, 2010

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Don't You Love Getting Stuff for Free?
By Jason Holland

In today's main essay, Liberty Street League expert contributor Matthew Adams writes about two of his lifelong passions: cruises and getting stuff for free.

Read on below to find out how those things can go together -- and then plan your next vacation "on the house."

"Twenty years from now you will be more disappointed by the things that you didn't do than by the ones you did do. So throw off the bowline. Sail away from the safe harbor. Catch the trade winds in your sales. Explore. Dream. Discover."

Mark Twain

Your Next Cruise -- Free
By Matthew Adams

"That's impossible. No one can cruise to those places for free!"

My friend was astonished when I showed her several ways to get luxury cruises to Bermuda, the Caribbean, the Bahamas, or the Mediterranean absolutely free.

Heck... a luxury 10-day cruise to the Caribbean typically runs $1,500 to $3,500 per person (and up). So we're talking about a HUGE savings.

Today, I'll show you how it's done.

And it has NOTHING to do with winning sweepstakes, contests, or sitting through fatuous time-share promotions.

On top of that, you won't be forced into "off-season" trips or cruises aboard third-rate ships sailing into pathetic ports of call.


I'm talking about first-class luxury cruises aboard the most fascinating ships on the planet.

And get this. In most cases, your meals, entertainment, and amenities are included.

Let me explain...

Bill Miller has been cruising for free since the 1970s. According to a 2009 story in The Washington Post, the now-retired schoolteacher from New Jersey spent about two-thirds of that year on ships. He "worked" just a few hours during each trip -- giving short, informative lectures on various subjects to his fellow passengers. And he always got a free cabin, usually with drinks and amenities thrown in.

John and Carol Ann Hall have been enjoying the same perks.

John is a retired Louisiana State University professor of anthropology and geology. Since 2002, he and Carol Ann (who helps with the presentations) have taken a couple of free cruises a year. In exchange for sharing their expertise, they've been to the Caribbean, Panama Canal, and Alaska. (On the Alaska cruise, John talked about glaciers and the Klondike gold rush.)

Dan Benedict lectures on board as an astronomy expert. "It's up to you to give them a reason not to go to the casino or the buffet," Dan says. And he adds that talks are generally scheduled for at-sea days, when boredom sets in.

Cynthia Barnett started getting free cruises after she retired in 2003 at age 60. During a typical 7-day cruise, Cynthia gives four talks. One talk every other day.

"This is a great way to get a free vacation," says Cynthia. 

If you're a retiree, you could spend half the year or more cruising the world. If you're still in the workforce, you can get away for one or two weeks at a time. And you can usually bring a guest.

To be honest, you can't bluff your way into this. You really have to be knowledgeable about the topic you'll be talking about. You can't fool the people who will be signing up for your lecture or course.

But everybody is an expert in something. (Location-specific topics are especially popular... like the history of the Mediterranean, Caribbean cuisine, that sort of thing.)

And, of course, you need to be comfortable speaking in front of people.

In fact, you must be a fun and dynamic speaker. After all, you will be part of the ship's entertainment.

Can Anybody Do This?

Anyone "could" do this if they wanted to. But most won't take the time or make the effort. That means more opportunities for you.

Here are some of those opportunities...

  • Arts and Crafts Instructors: Teach craft or art classes. Popular shipboard projects include watercolors, pottery, quilting, scrapbooking, and macrame.

  • Bridge and Poker Players: If you enjoy playing bridge or poker, you could run a tournament in exchange for your cruise.

  • Computer Instructors: Most cruise lines actively seek individuals who can present classes on computer basics, the Internet, and related technology.

  • Financial Experts: The strong recent interest in the financial markets has encouraged cruise lines to provide knowledgeable speakers, teachers, and instructors on subjects like stocks, bonds, commodities, and exchange-traded funds (ETFs).

  • History and Geography Instructors: You could give a series of lectures about the ship's destinations, as well as lead tours and host events.

How to Get In On This Incredible Opportunity

Jeff Davidson, a management consultant who lives in Chapel Hill, North Carolina, conducts lectures on one- and two-week cruises. And he says it's easy. But he adds, "Applicants must convince the cruise ships of their knowledge and presentation skills."

Jeff suggests submitting a letter outlining your qualifications, along with letters of recommendation and a resume -- better yet, a video showing you in action. You could also send copies of past lectures you've given, certificates you've earned, or anything else that makes you look like a good fit for the job.

You can apply through online job boards or contact the entertainment department of cruise lines directly.

Yes, you have to be qualified to take advantage of this opportunity -- but you certainly don't have to be a celebrity or college professor.

Give it a try. And happy cruising!

[Ed. Note: Matthew Adams is a relentless dealmaker and freebie-seeker, dedicated to getting more for less -- or for nothing at all. He is a featured contributor to ETR's Liberty Street League newsletter. In his columns, he regularly reveals under-the-radar opportunities to save money on dining out, vacations, cars, medical care, and much more. Find out more about the League -- and the financial privacy and wealth-building advice it offers to members -- here.]

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Today's Words That Work: Fatuous

Fatuous (FACH-oo-us) -- from the Latin for "silly" -- means foolish or inane, especially in an unconscious, complacent manner.

Example (as used by Matthew Adams today): "Today, I'll show you how [to go on luxury cruises for free]. And it has NOTHING to do with winning sweepstakes, contests, or sitting through fatuous time-share promotions."

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