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How To Make Money While You Travel In 3 Simple Steps

I'm lucky enough to be born into a big, tight knit family that goes all in on holiday traditions. Though my siblings and I moved to different states, we've stayed close despite being physically far away. When the holidays roll around, there's no question we'll all visit home for Thanksgiving and Christmas. But traveling is expensive, and it takes time to find affordable flights and packages. As much as my parents taught me to value family-time, they taught me the value of a dollar. That's why I was so excited when my friend told me about Ebates, a service that automatically directs you to the best deals online, and gives you cash back rewards pretty much everywhere you shop online. This has been my go-to for earning real money while I travel, and I'll show you how you can too.

Ebates is the ultimate shopping site that gives you cash back while you shop. No catch, and no funny business. (They get paid an affiliate fee from pretty much every online store you can think of, and they pass on a piece of that to you.) You can either collect that money by check, or they deposit it directly into your Paypal account! It's unlike anything out there, and there really is no better way to shop.

Because of the way Ebates works, it has become my go-to for every single trip I take. You can shop for flights and hotels as you usually would on travel sites like Expedia, Travelocity, or Hotels.com, or you can search the best cash back offer amounts on their site. With Ebates, you get the best deals available on all of their 2500+ participating stores, and earn cash back rewards that stack up quickly!

My first purchase was a round-trip ticket on Expedia on a romantic vacation with my boyfriend for New Years, and I got $53 dollars cash back in my PayPal account through Ebates. For a seven night stay at a 4-star hotel, I got $98 dollars cash back. I booked some activities, like a sunset sailing cruise and a "Jeep and Surf" day trip. They even had dinner events, so I figured I'd get a meal with a show, and picked up another $32 cash back there.

I use Ebates whether I'm going on a trip or not, because who doesn't want to get money back for buying stuff? I use this cash as a travel bank, and once I've got a few hundred in my account, I book another flight using my PayPal balance and off I go to feast with Mom and Dad on Thanksgiving -- for free this time, plus I get cash back there too!

All in all, including the travel, and the 6% cash back on some shorts, shirts, and shoes from Macy's (all at discounted prices), I came away with just over $300 my first week using Ebates. I put that money towards a flight to surprise my sister with a visit when she couldn't make it to our parents' house for Christmas. Ebates has changed the way I travel, and keeps my close-knit family sharing holiday traditions together no matter how far away we live.

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