The Ultimate Traveling Babysitting Job -- Be An Air Courier
Want to travel around the world cheaply? Consider
traveling as an air courier.
Air couriers fly around the globe at substantial
discounts simply in exchange for “baby-sitting” documents or package
shipments. Companies often need to send documents or packages
quickly and don't want to wait days for the items to clear customs.
Having shipments escorted by an air courier enables these items to
be cleared through customs immediately. In exchange for your
babysitting job, you get highly discounted tickets (often at least
50% off), and once in awhile you may find a free trip (less common).
So how cheap are these tickets? As with any other
tickets, price depends on the route. As one example, the average
round-trip fare to London these days is approximately $750 or
higher. Air courier fares can be as low as $100.
Although flying as a courier is fairly simple, you
should keep in mind that you are technically working for your
discounted ticket. According to Kelly Monaghan, author of Air
Courier Bargains, Fly Cheap and the Intrepid Traveler
website, “being an air courier is a serious business that
involves a contractual relationship between you and the company you
are serving as a courier. While your name might be on the ticket,
the courier company still owns it.”
Monaghan, who flies as a courier several times a year
offers that as a courier, “you can usually expect to fly for about
half price.” “Today, air courier travel is much like other forms of
leisure travel,” he continues, “that is, you call a courier company,
book a flight to the destination of your choice up to three months
in advance, and pay with a credit card right on the phone.”
“If you are really flexible, especially able to travel
last minute, you may be able to obtain the free, or dirt cheap
flights,” Monaghan points out. At times courier companies find
themselves in a bind and need to find someone other than their own
employees to send with a shipment. When courier companies get into a
bind is when you will find great deals. If you are adventurous, this
may be your ticket out of town.
Some companies have a number you can call to check on
last-minute opportunities. Others keep a list of people who are
willing to fly on very short notice to specific destinations.
Monaghan adds, “You can join an air courier
association that sends bulletins of special fares. The largest are
the Air Courier Association (800-822-0888) and the International
Association of Air Travel Couriers (561-582-8320). Membership is
under $50 a year for each. Some air freight companies for which
you'd act as a courier might charge a one-time fee for flying for
them. New York-based Now Voyager charges $50 for your first time
flying with them and requires a refundable deposit of $100.”
Worried that you might end up carrying illegal
Don't be. Monaghan says he knows of no cases where a
courier was arrested due to the contents of a shipment. Most courier
companies won’t let you touch the shipments for fear that the
courier may try to smuggle something in.
What about your luggage?
You are still allowed to bring one or two carry-on
bags. With today’s wheeled carry-on bags, this is sufficient space
to accommodate a week’s worth of clothing. Even if you don’t want to
bring carry-on luggage, you can usually check a bag as excess
baggage for a small fee.
If you are serious about becoming a air courier I
recommend that you pick up a copy of Monaghan’s book, Air Courier
Bargains. At his Intrepid Traveler
website, Kelly offers a complete resource list for air courier
companies around the globe.
Association of Air Travel Couriers
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