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There’s no such thing as a bad day at the spa in my book.  Massages soothe sore muscles and rid the body of toxins.  Body scrubs and wraps exfoliate the skin and replenish moisture lost through everyday stresses.  Facials combat the signs of aging and restore a healthy glow to our skin.   No one would debate the benefits of regular spa treatments…they’re good for the mind, body, and soul.  The downside is they can be expensive.

Not everyone can afford to pay $200 to $400 and up for spa treatments — especially not on a regular basis.  I know how it is. Not long ago, I could only treat myself to a spa day for special occasions.  Not anymore.

Today, I’m a travel writer.  As part of my travels, I seek out unique spas, request treatments, and include those experiences in my articles.  The treatments are complimentary.  And that makes them much more affordable, don’t you agree?

Take my recent experience at The Hotel Hershey.  The hotel’s public relations team sent me an invitation to attend the annual Hershey Food and Wine Festival. The invitation included a note asking whether I’d like to experience a limited-time-only spa treatment — Vintage Hands and Feet — at the Chocolate Spa located in The Hotel Hershey. How could I resist?

I cleared time for the event on my calendar and received an itinerary a few days later.   Lodging had been arranged at one of the Hershey resorts.  Reservations were set up for an exclusive Wine Blending class.  Tickets were set aside for the main event — the Food and Wine Festival.  And spa reservations were in place for the indulgent Vintage Hands and Feet treatment.  Not wanting me to have to spend the weekend alone, complimentary tickets were included for my boyfriend, as well.

This was not my first visit to Hershey.  Over the past few years, I’ve enjoyed four or five visits.  Each time accommodation, spa treatments, meals, and complimentary tickets to events were arranged at no cost to me.

At first my articles featured Hershey’s attractions, the history of Hershey, and general stories about chocolate desserts and beverages for my chocolate and travel columns. By expanding my writing to include the one-of-a-kind Chocolate Spa at The Hotel Hershey — with its year-round and seasonal offerings — I’ve been able to write about this delicious destination for several publications.  More published articles equals more invitations to Hershey.  And that brings more complimentary spa treatments!

Imagine the experience of a relaxing massage using a combination of products derived from cocoa…a cocoa facial designed to nourish your skin…a cocoa sugar scrub for exfoliation…and a Vintage Hands and Feet treatment using the antioxidant properties found in red wine.  Oh, and enjoying a glass of wine while your polish dries!

As a writer, math was never my favorite subject.  But, here’s a breakdown of everything I received and how much I earned from this trip…

** Lodging at the Hershey resort for one night (value: $500) – FREE!
** Hershey Food & Wine Festival tickets for two (value: $100) – FREE!
** Wine Blending Class for two (value: $70) – FREE!
** Spa treatments at the Chocolate Spa (value: $300) – FREE!

So that’s $970 worth of accommodation and activities that I received for FREE.  Plus, I’ve earned $300 for travel articles about my experiences so far.  Not a bad deal if you ask me.

[Editor’s Note: Learn more about opportunities to profit from your travels (and even from your own home) in our free online newsletter The Right Way to Travel.]

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