Here’s an idea for restless young adults and adventurous retirees alike: Get paid to live in Italy.
The region of Molise, east of Rome, has more than 100 underpopulated villages that are fading away due to migration to larger cities. These communities — some are walled, medieval towns set among olive groves and green pastures — have put out a global offer to recruit new residents. The region will pay people the equivalent of $770 a month (for up to three years) to move there and start up a small business to contribute to the local economy.1 Ever dreamed of owning an inn, restaurant, book or boutique store?
If that region of Italy doesn’t appeal, several others are willing to sell you an Italian villa for about $1; you just need to agree to renovate your new home within a certain time frame.2
If you’re not interested in relocating permanently, but you would like to stay somewhere long enough to live like a local, check out the residential options at Airbnb.com. Some rentals offer up to a 50% discount if you book for at least a month, while others may drop another 5% if you book at least two months in advance.3
Staying longer in fewer places eliminates many of the hassles of traveling. You can stop living out of a suitcase and avoid spending half a day or more catching planes, trains or buses or driving place to place. You can develop favorite cafés and stores, getting to know the proprietors and locals for tips on the best places to eat, shop and tour. By staying in one location, you may save money on accommodations, travel lighter by washing and re-wearing clothes, and even save on your food budget by eating “at home.”4
Of course, if you’re inclined to stay a spell in another location, you might as well volunteer to do some good. One of the latest trends is “environmental travel,” where visitors spend time helping clean, plant or build in natural areas such as farms, wildlife habitats or national parks.5
Another travel industry trend is themed trips. For example, culinary travel involves exploring the local cuisine via cooking classes, eating in private homes or at farm-to-table venues, or trying activities like truffle hunting. Other popular themes include the expansion of the “Girls Night Out” into a longer getaway, or “untouristed” excursions to remote, unpopulated regions in such places as Borneo, Greenland or Oman.6
Not everyone can afford an extensive vacation, particularly if you live on a fixed income. If that isn’t an option, consider other ways you can enjoy luxury without the travel. For example, glam up the thrifty “staycation” option.
Save up a specific amount of money and choose a long weekend one or more times a year when you indulge at home like you’re on vacation. Go to the most expensive restaurant in town. Have a spa day. Spring for a tee time at an upscale golf resort. And don’t skimp when you’re dining at home on staycation, either; buy things that don’t usually fit into your grocery budget, like crab legs, expensive cheeses, berries and fine wine.7
Then revel in how much you’re saving by not paying for travel or accommodations.
1 Silvia Marchetti. CNN. Sept. 12, 2019. “These Italian towns in Molise will pay you $27,000 to move there.” https://www.cnn.com/travel/article/molise-italy-pay-to-move/index.html. Accessed Nov. 7, 2019.
2 Silvia Marchetti. CNN. April 18, 2019. “Buying a $1 Italy dream house just got even easier.” https://www.cnn.com/travel/article/italy-one-euro-home-websites/index.html. Accessed Nov. 7, 2019.
3 Airbnb.com. https://www.airbnb.com. Accessed Nov. 7, 2019.
4 Craig Makepeace. Y Travel. Oct. 4, 2018. “52 ways to save money on travel.” https://www.ytravelblog.com/how-to-save-money-on-travel/#3_Spend_More_Time_in_Fewer_Places. Accessed Nov. 7, 2019.
5 Adventure Student Travel. “10 Most Important Travel Trends for 2020.” https://www.adventurestudenttravel.com/10-most-important-travel-trends-for-2020/. Accessed Nov. 7, 2019.
6 Lea Lane. Forbes. Oct. 18, 2019. “6 Emerging Trends For 2020 Upscale Travelers Among Key Findings In New Virtuoso Report.” https://www.forbes.com/sites/lealane/2019/10/18/6–emerging-trends-for-2020-upscale-travelers-among-key-findings-in-new-virtuoso-report/. Accessed Nov. 7, 2019.
7 Valerie Lai. NerdWallet. Oct. 12, 2018. “Your Money-Saving Guide to Holiday Vacations (or Staycations).” https://www.nerdwallet.com/blog/travel/money-saving-guide-holiday-vacation/. Accessed Nov. 7, 2019.
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