From free checked bags to free seat upgrades, and free wi-fi to free continental breakfast, ‘free’ is many travelers’ favorite four-letter word. If you’re among them, you’ll love TheFreeSite.com. Created as a catalog of the Web’s best freebies, the site will help you score free samples and services you can use at home or on the road.
Hundreds of New Free Offers Each Month
As an early Internet adopter, Marc McDonald, creator of TheFreeSite.com, loved browsing the Web and discovering cool websites.
“I first got online in 1994,” he recently told RewardExpert, “and set up my first website, Dr. Webster’s Website of the Day, where I would review new sites that I had found. I was just doing it as a hobby and never expected it to generate any income.”
A short time later, he noticed that the freebies he had posted were generating more traffic than any other category on the site including the welcome page.
“I decided to focus all of my attention on freebies,” he continued. “I bought the domain for TheFreeSite.com in 1997 and the rest is history.”
McDonald now spends between 40 to 60 hours a week finding and reviewing new online freebies, investigating tips sent to him by his website’s audience, and editing or removing outdated content.
“I try to avoid dead links,” he said. “Freebies come and go quickly on the web, so I spend a lot of time following my links and making sure the offers are still there. I also remove any freebies that have started charging a fee and update those that have changed their terms.”
He said that he posts around a couple hundred new free offers a month, though the number can fluctuate depending on what is available.
Sample Products, Free Books, Software and Services for Travelers
While TheFreeSite.com contains links to a multitude of freebies in categories such as back to school, business, family, health, mobile and more, McDonald recommends that new visitors check out the Newest Freebies section first.
“That’s where they’ll find the new and notable stuff,” he said. “I update that section all the time.”
He noted that travelers will find a wide variety of useful free offers throughout the site.
“In the Free Internet Access section, they’ll find free apps and websites,” he continued. “There are several that allow you to find nearby public wi-fi hotspots. I’m also starting to list free VPN tools. If you’re a traveler and using a public wi-fi hotspot, you need to protect your security.”
“A lot of these free sample products are small sizes, such as little tubes of toothpaste or bottles of shampoo, that won’t take up much space in a carryon or suitcase,” McDonald added.
“The Free Books and Magazines section is handy for travelers who are killing time at an airport,” he said. “There, they’ll find free sources for e-books for Kindle and other e-reading devices. There is actually a surprising amount of free content out there.”
McDonald’s Tips and Tricks
When dealing with free offers, McDonald encourages his audience to have a “healthy amount of skepticism.”
“There’s a lot of stuff out there that is called ‘free’ but has a catch,” he said. “On my site, however, I carefully review what I’m listing and make sure there are no catches or fees.”
He also recommends that anyone interested in freebies sign up for an additional email address just for that purpose.
“You’ll find several free email services listed on the website,” McDonald continued. “One is Tempr.email, which will give you a free, disposable email address. That is perfect for freebie hunters, as you usually have to enter an email when you fill out a form to request a free sample.”
McDonald said using an alternate or temporary email will help you avoid the junk mail and SPAM that is often the price of pursuing even legitimate freebies.
Finally, “Be careful what other information you enter into online forms,” he concluded. “If it’s really free, they won’t ask for your credit card information. The only information they should require is an email address and a postal address. I advise people not to enter any other information. If it’s a legitimate freebie, you generally don’t need to.”