Six Ways To Travel The World This Summer Without Spending A Dime

Our resident wordsmith Colleen Dunn uses her powers for more than just pitching prowess, she’s also a freelance writer for Uproxx. This week she rounded up six ways to travel the world with spending a dime. With the Memorial Day holiday officially kicking off summer, we know your wanderlust struggle is real this week. Read on for travel inspiration.

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People offer a lot of reasons for not traveling more often, with lack of funds usually topping every list. At Uproxx, our basic argument is that traveling is more worthwhile than most of the other crap we spend our money on. Still, even though we firmly believe that travel is cheaper than most people realize, we have to admit it isn’t free. Usually.

This summer there are some sneaky ways to snag yourself a one of a kind travel experience without having to tag along on your parents’ annual cruise. Whether you’re the outdoorsy type, an eco-warrior, or a potential au pair, here are six ways to choose your own FREE (!) travel adventure this summer.

Be a Wildsam Fellow

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Hip guidebook company Wildsam is looking for travelers to take a 10-day research trip this summer as “Travel Fellows.” The goal of the program is “1) to discover and document the broad and diverse narrative of the US; and 2) to inspire a deep sense of curiosity in our Travel Fellows.” The WildSam fellowship was inspired by The Federal Writers’ Project, commissioned by the U.S. government during the Great Depression to send writers, artists, photographers, and journalists out to share the American story.

Last year’s Wildsam Travel Fellows documented the cultural heritage of New England and the Desert Southwest with interviews from locals, explorations of tiny back roads, and hundreds of photographs. Each of the two travelers selected for the program receives a stipend to fully cover travel expenses.

Apply for the program here before May 25.

Find Your Park

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In celebration of their 100th anniversary, The National Park Service is offering free admission on 16 days in 2016. Which means you can hike through caves made of lava tubes, experience the hottest area in North America and go sound bathing at no cost this summer. And that’s just in California.

Check out one of the 127 national parks that normally charge an entrance fee for free on August 25-28, September 24 or November 11. We’re betting you can track down a friend with a tent for the more camping friendly park options like Joshua Tree and Yosemite but if not, there’s alwaysCouchSurfing.com.

 

Work Work Work Work Work

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Work for trade opportunities abound for the traveler who isn’t afraid to use a little elbow grease. WWOOF offers young vagabonds the chance to work on organic farms around the world in exchange for free housing and food, making you a friend to the environment as well as a savvy penny saver. Opportunities usually require around four to six hours of work per day, at least two days a week. So it’s not insane.

If farm life isn’t for you, there are plenty of other volunteer and cultural exchange opportunities on Workaway or HelpX. Experiences vary from working at a hostel and teaching yoga, to helping build a house, splitting coconuts, and walking dogs at a South American animal sanctuary.

Be A Summer Au Pair

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Put those neighborhood babysitting skills to good use as an international au pair. Websites like Au Pair World connect you with families looking for live-in childcare that will give you the opportunity to improve your language skills and get to know a new culture while living with a host family. Not only will your room and board be covered, you actually get paid for this one. You’ll have more luck looking for a family in the Northern Hemisphere right now — in the Southern Hemisphere summer is not until January and they’ll be more likely to want a long-term au pair placement right now rather than a few months of relief from their out of school and under-foot children.

 

Home Exchange

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If you’re a pet lover, TrustedHouseSitters.com is about to rock your world. The website will connect you with a place to stay for free in return for caring for someone’s pets while they’re out of town. It’s basically Airbnb but you have to walk the dog in the morning. If you own your own place, trading homes with someone is another way to score yourself a free place to stay while traveling. Yes, like Kate Winslet in The Holiday and yes, you’ll totally fall in love with the person you house trade with. Use HomeExhange.com to browse options in 150 countries.

Get In Touch With Your Roots

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You’ve probably heard about Birthright Israel trips. What you may not have heard of is Birthright Armenia, a volunteer internship program which reimburses travel expenses to people of Armenian descent who commit to two months interning or volunteering at approved organizations including hospitals, news agencies, government offices, and environmental NGOs. Meaning this travel opportunity is also a cultural goldmine, not bad on your resume, and will probably make your grandparents really, really proud. Win-win-win.

Similar programs include Heritage Greece, ReConnect Hungary, or the Love Boat Study Program for youth of Chinese or Taiwanese descent.

 

Article originally appeared on Uproxx.

We’re Hiring: Account Executive

We’re looking for an awesome Account Executive to join our growing team! Candidates need to be hard-working, creative, confident, and have a love for the food and beverage industry. If that sounds like you, read on.

Responsibilities include:

  • Assist account team in client management
  • Assist account team in day-to-day client work
  • Assist account team on client events, openings, launches, etc.
  • Prepare agendas, briefs, and event recaps
  • Research trends, pitching
  • Researching, writing, editing and distributing press materials
  • Tracking print, online, broadcast and social media for ideas and coverage
  • Assist in updating SPPR’s social media pages and blog
  • Building and cultivating relationships with media and influencers
  • General office duties – we’re a small but might team and all pitch in!

What we are looking for…

  • Candidates should have 1-3 years at a PR agency or in-house
  • Candidate should enjoy working as part of (an awesome!) team
  • Experience in event production/management
  • Excellent written, verbal and interpersonal communication skills
  • PC proficient, particularly in the Microsoft Suite, including Word, Excel,  PPT and Outlook
  • Social media savvy
  • Ability to multi-task
  • Experience in handling routine office tasks
  • Excellent people skills, attention to detail and amazing follow through
  • Preferably some experience working in the food, culinary, wine or travel industries
  • Someone who wants to learn a lot, have fun and grow with us!

Please send résumé, cover letter, 2-3 writing samples & a brief overview of why you want to join the SPPR team to sayhi@sodapop-pr.com.

Candidate must be based in Los Angeles.

5 Questions with SPPR Featuring Kali Mungovan

This week we’re excited to welcome our new intern Kali Mungovan to the Soda Pop PR team. With experience in government and agency PR, Kali looks forward to continuing to learn and grow in an agency setting. Read on to find out about her surprising experience post-grad and what her not so hidden talent is.

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1. As a California native, what did you miss about your home state while going to school in Oregon?

SUN! I didn’t realize how much I took the LA sunshine for granted until I left the Golden State. While I’m a big fan of changing seasons and yes, even the rain, I couldn’t help but miss that Vitamin D. When 55 and partly cloudy becomes the new 75 and sunny, you know you’ve become a true Oregonian.

 

2. After majoring in Public Relations, what did you find most surprising about your first real world experience in the industry?

I think the most surprising thing for me was grasping just how big the PR industry really is. In school I was taught the basis of traditional PR and while I did have the opportunity to work with clients through my classes, stepping out into the real world was a little overwhelming. The options seemed endless. Although all experience is good experience, I believe it is important to understand your interests and stay true to what you enjoy doing as you work to find your niche.

 

3. We love talking about food at SPPR! From start to finish, what would be your ideal food day?

For breakfast I’d have to get chocolate chip pancakes and home fries with extra ketchup from Studio One Cafe in Eugene, OR. I’d then take it south for a pitaya bowl with extra granola from Swami’s in San Diego. For dinner I’d go back to my hometown of Torrance, CA for Gaetano’s Tagliatelle and Chianti Short Ribs (with a glass of wine of course). And because no good day is complete without dessert, Salt & Straw on NW 23rd in Portland would end my ideal food day (they have locations in LA now but there’s just nothing like the original).

 

4. If you had unlimited funds and two weeks off, where would you go?

The list is endless but first on my list would have to be Ireland. I fell in love with the country after studying abroad in Galway and have been wanting to go back since the second I got on my plane back to the States. I would spend the two weeks road tripping to each end of the island and visit all of the unique cities and towns that I may have missed my first time there. I would also have to drink my weight in Bulmer’s cider because as much as I try to convince myself otherwise, it just doesn’t taste the same here in America.

 

5. You were the captain of your dance team in college, do you have any signature moves on the dance floor?

Technique wise, turns are definitely my strong suit but if I were to ever find myself in a dance battle I would have to bring out the worm. It’s one of my better talents and I am proud to admit that I can do it going backwards AND forwards.

(For more from Kali, you can find her on Instagram @kalimungovan)

The Secret Sauce: Are you ready for PR?

Business is growing and you’re ready to kick things up a notch but how do you know when it’s time to invest in PR? Here are 8 signs you’re ready to take the plunge.

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  1. You’re prepared to expand the team: We encourage our clients to consider Soda Pop PR as an extension of their team. Hiring a PR firm means more people on your side. More people with fresh ideas, valuable experience and a passion for your brand.
  2. You know who you are: A good PR firm will take the time to get to know your brand to help tell your story to media and consumers in an authentic way. Having a clear brand identity and an ability to explain your mission will help us do this.
  3. You’re rebranding, launching a new product or location: It’s important to work with a PR team to create awareness and manage the messaging around big brand news such as a new look, product or launch. Media and influencers like to cover what’s new and it’s a perfect ice breaker to introduce your brand to the masses.
  4. Your inbox is overwhelmed: If emails are piling up with requests for photos, interviews, sponsorships and events, it’s time to bring on a PR firm. We’re experienced at evaluating opportunities and helping you make the most of those that are beneficial toward raising awareness for your brand.
  5. You want to build stronger relationships: Connecting with your community, likeminded brands and media is crucial for creating and maintaining a base of loyal customers. We’ve spent years cultivating these relationships and can help build them on your behalf in a strategic and authentic way.
  6. You have insight to share: If you’ve built a successful business, you have valuable input to contribute to your field. A PR firm helps you find opportunities to share this experience at speaking engagements and conferences to connect with your consumers and other likeminded business owners.
  7. You want to get people talking: Want to host a pop-up or throw the party of the year? We know what will get people talking, tweeting, snapping, and gramming and can help brainstorm, plan and execute a unique event or attention grabbing campaign so you can focus on your business.
  8. You want to invest in the long term: Securing the best coverage for your business is a marathon, not a sprint. Help with a project like a launch or opening is important, but PR works hardest when you’re ready to commit to the long term benefits of sustained media attention.

SPPR Travels: Flying Solo

Our very own Colleen Dunn just returned from a trip to Spain and in addition to being her first time in the land of sangria and siestas, it was also her first time traveling abroad solo. After two weeks exploring Madrid, Córdoba, Valencia and Barcelona Colleen breaks down some tips for taking on a new city alone.

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All photos c/o @colleenadunn

Set the Mood: Music has a huge impact on my mood so before the trip I made sure to load my iPhone with feel-good jams and girl power anthems. I’ve also been known to cry in public while finishing a sad book so I made sure my reading selections embodied the kind of trip I was hoping to have (which meant leaving Me Before You at home). I brought Wild by Cheryl Strayed for a strong dose of bravery and Where I was from by Joan Didion for a bit of home. Having books by two of my favorite lady writers along for the ride took all the loneliness out of flying solo.

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Don’t Use Airbnb: One of my favorite parts of traveling is meeting interesting people and nowhere can you do this better than in a hostel. Airbnb’s are great for having your own space to cook and unwind when traveling as a couple, not so great for discussing Justin Bieber over beers with people from four different continents. Hostel World is a nice resource for booking which features photos and reviews from other travelers. If sharing space with strangers weirds you out, a bed and breakfast is a lovely option since many host happy hours that allow you to mingle with other guests.

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Walk it Out: The first thing I did when I arrived in a new city was sign up for a walking tour. Not only did it give me the lay of the land and some much needed historical context, it also gave me something planned to do first thing when being alone felt a little daunting. Companies like Sandeman’s offer free walking tours all over the world and their local guides are also a great resource for restaurant recommendations and city tips.

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Forget the List: It doesn’t matter how many lists the city’s best art museum is on, if you don’t actually like museums, you don’t have to go. The best part about traveling alone is experiencing a new place in a way that’s authentic for you. For me, that means tracking down the best coffee shops and stopping in every bookstore I see. Don’t get so caught up in crossing things off a to-do bucket list that you forget to leave room to explore a spontaneously discovered garden or hike up to a look-out point some people you met in your hostel are headed to.

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Be Smart: There are a lot of articles about how to be safe as a women traveling alone and if you read all of them you will be convinced something bad is going to happen to you. I’ve never been one to wear a fake wedding ring or strap my passport to my torso. I think the only advice you need is to be smart. Always pay attention to your surroundings, make sure someone back home knows where you are and trust that funny feeling you get in your gut when something’s off. Soon you’ll find that being alone isn’t nearly as scary as you thought it would be, in fact, it’s pretty great.

Follow along with Colleen’s next adventure on Instagram @colleenadunn

 

We’re hiring: Full-time Spring Intern (Paid)

We’re looking for a rock star intern to join our team this spring. Candidates must be hard-working, creative and quick-learning college students/recent grads with a passion for the food & beverage industry. If that sounds like you, read on.

Responsibilities include:

  • Assisting with general daily office and administrative duties
  • Creating media lists and event/campaign recaps
  • Researching, writing, editing and distributing press materials
  • Working as part of an account team to implement media plans
  • Tracking print, online, broadcast and social media for ideas and coverage
  • Preparing client bios, fact sheets, press clips and images
  • Drafting social media content and managing a content calendar

What we are looking for…

  • Organized, self-starter, takes initiative, is resourceful and likes a challenge
  • Strong interest in public relations
  • Excellent written, verbal and interpersonal communication skills
  • PC proficient, particularly in the Microsoft Suite, including Word, Excel,  PPT and Outlook
  • Internet research and social media savvy
  • Ability to multi-task
  • Experience in handling routine office tasks
  • Excellent people skills, attention to detail and amazing follow through
  • Preferably some experience working in the culinary, wine or travel industries
  • Someone who wants to learn a lot, have fun and grow with us!

Please send résumé, cover letter, 2-3 writing samples & a brief overview of why you want to join the SPPR team to sayhi@sodapop-pr.com.

This is a full-time (35-40 hours per week) paid internship. Candidate must be based in Los Angeles.

5 Questions with SPPR Featuring Grandma Phelan

Whether it’s in history books or biopics, at SPPR we love hearing the stories of wise women who’ve blazed a trail before us. This week we’re excited to welcome a woman who has played a vital role in the history of our own Kelly Phelan Johnston: her grandmother. Grandma Phelan recently turned 99 so we asked her to share some of her experience with relationships, stress and remembering what’s really important.

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1. How do you think that women have changed since you were little?

Women now have more confidence in themselves.

  • When I was born in 1916, women were not allowed to vote. That came four years later, in 1920. They depended upon their husbands for everything they needed. The names of Gloria Steinem and Betty Friedan were names we hadn’t yet heard. Now females owe a lot to them both. They gave us confidence.

Women take more pride in their appearance.

  • This is a good thing, within reason. My mother wore no make-up so I persuaded her to let me put a bit of rouge on her cheeks. We were on the screened-in porch of our home. There was a glint in her eyes as she allowed me to work on this “slightly naughty” (for her) project. I had a very good time modernizing her. However, I don’t remember her ever doing this on her own.

Women now travel much more than they used to.

  • When I was young, most roads were badly paved. One summer my mother, sister, cousin and I drove to Buffalo, NY to visit relatives. I was twelve years old at the time and that was the longest trip I had ever taken, it never occurred to me that someday I might go to Europe. But time passed and yes, I did go to Europe.

2. You continue to maintain long term relationships with many different people. What are your tips for others to do the same?

“In order to have a friend, you must BE A FRIEND.” This is so true. I am no authority but here are a few ideas:

  • If a person has a birthday, send him/her a card plus a little personal note. Make it more than a regular birthday card.
  • If he/she is ill, send a card with a note added. Make it special; it is no fun being sick. Send some flowers if you can afford it. At least let them know that they are being thought of.
  • Listen to what your friends tell you about their lives. Most people are poor listeners. Do others a favor and listen while they speak. Don’t let your eyes look around the room as they talk. Don’t be anxious to top the stories they have told you.

3. What in life are the most important things to you?

  • Color – I must be surrounded with colors I enjoy. French blue with a punch of raspberry near it makes me smile. Add a bit of soft yellow and it looks even better.
  • Music – Going to a good classical concert makes me forget any sadness in my life.
  • Humor – People who have a good sense of humor are fun to be around. It is fun to laugh.
  • Reading – An inspirational book clears my mind.
  • Praying – For people who have so little.
  • Using my hands – To knit, to play the piano, to make stamp pictures and to crochet.

4. What are the things in life that you worried about but weren’t worth the worry and stress?

I still remember when I had to go to Speech Class in high school. I was so worried about having to speak in front of others that I was almost paralyzed. That now seems so strange. When I was young, I worried more than I do now but really, I was never much of a worrier. I kept very busy. That is the trick, I suppose: Keep busy doing worthwhile things. 

5. You have a philosophy of spend, save and share. Why is this such an important lesson?

Perhaps, it should be: save, share and spend. If you have to ask why these three things are good, just try them. You will see. Saving is the hardest part, so make yourself do it. Very few people save much. That has to be learned and it is difficult. Share with someone who has less than you do. Then spend and enjoy whatever you buy for yourself! You will deserve it.