Another Option- Be an Air Courier......
We've all heard
about the lucky person who signs up as an Air Courier and
gets a free flight to some exotic spot in the world(or to
any spot in the world for that matter!). And everyone I
know has heard about people, but no one really knows that
person, making the Air Courier option kind of an urban myth.
Yes, it is a partial myth, but there is a lot of truth to
seems too good to be true that someone would pay your way
to some place halfway around the world and all you have
to do is show up at the airport with your carry on luggage
and no check in luggage! Well, you probably won't find someone
to pay the whole fare, but you will be able to get a discounted
ticket(anywhere from 30 to 80% or more) if you are willing
to go to the right place at the right time!
If you're willing
to travel with only a piece of carry on luggage(although
in some cases you may be able to check in a piece of luggage),
and have the flexibility to change your dates of travel
and are traveling alone, this may be the way to go(trying
to synchronize your flight with others is difficult, although
there are cases where whole families flew Air Courier and
ending up in Asia within days of each other!).
Air Courier companies
need documents, parts and all other kinds of cargo sent
to places all over the world. If they check it in on a plane
it is a lot faster and guarantees that it will get to the
destination quickly(as opposed to freight that could wait
in the airport for two, three or more days before being
sent). For them it's worth the expense of buying a ticket,
selling it at a discount and then having a body on the plane
that can ensure the delivery of their cargo.(Don't worry-
you don't have to deliver anything. You just meet the Courier
Representative at your departure and destination airports
and they help you with everything!)
As for the chances
of getting a flight to your specified destination: the more
flexible you are the better. Courier companies usually have
only one seat per flight so if you have a specific date
that you have to travel, you may be out of luck if the seat
is already being used by another Courier. It's best to have
range of dates that you can travel(and the return can usually
be anywhere from a few days to a month or more!). If you
want to get the best deal, your best bet is to wait as long
as possible to "volunteer" as Courier Services
will add other enticements(bigger discounts, meals, transportation
to and from airport etc...) to try to get someone to carry
their freight. If you are flexible in your destinations,
then you can get on a last minute list and they will contact
you when they really need to get someone on the flight.
Who can be a
courier? In most cases you have to be at least 18 years
of age and in many cases "Presentable", meaning
you must dress for the part. You'll be representing their
service to some degree and they don't want other passengers
to see a scraggly, T-shirt, shorts and sandal laden courier....
but other than that, it's open to most people.
To be fair, this
opportunity may have passed it's heyday as there is less
opportunity now than before September 11, 2001 as trade
restrictions and security measures have made this more difficult,
but it's still worth looking into....
So... if you're
into the Air Courier option, visit some of the links to
your right or left or run a Google search for Air Courier
Services... Good Luck!!
like The International Association of Air Travel Couriers
and Air Courier International can give you more information
and help you to catch a ride as a courier!