How to Get Free Reading Material for Plane Trips

Why spend money buying magazines at the airport for full price when you can get them for free with a little advance planning? Many magazines allow you a free trial of one or more issues. Sign up for a couple of free trials four to six weeks before your next trip, and you'll have free, current magazines to read on the plane. When you sign up, make sure to select the "bill me" option rather than giving them any credit card info, and when the bill comes, just write "cancel" on it and mail it back. It's also best to use a fake name and email address when you sign up to help reduce or at least identify future junk mail -- magazines frequently use their mailing lists to send you advertising.

Here are a few places where you can get those free trials online:
Economist - Four free issues.
Fortune - Two free issues. Scroll down until you find the sign up box on the right hand side.
Fortune Small Business - Two free issues. Scroll down until you find the sign up box on the right hand side.
Money - One free issue. Scroll down until you find the sign up box on the right hand side.
Business 2.0 - One free issue. Scroll down until you find the sign up box on the right hand side.
Rolling Stone - Four free issues.
Entrepreneur - One free issue.
Martha Stewart Living - One free issue.
Everyday Food - One free issue.
Mac Life - One free issue.
PC World - Two free issues.
Food and Wine - Two free issues.
Travel and Leisure - Two free issues.
Entertainment Weekly - Two free issues.

If you don't see a magazine you like here, just visit the website of your favorite publication and look for the subscribe section. This is where you'll find information on free issues, if they're available.

Sometimes you'll come across a deal where you can get somewhere between several months and an entire year's subscription for free -- the catch being that you have to hand over your credit card number, and if you don't remember to cancel during the free trial period, the subscription will automatically renew and you'll get charged (companies are counting on you to forget about this when you sign up for the free offer). One place that offers this deal is Best Buy. They often hand out flyers at checkout offering eight weeks free to Entertainment Weekly, Time, Sports Illustrated, Rolling Stone, or U.S. Weekly.

It's also possible to get subscriptions to trade publications for free. You are supposed to work in the field that a particular magazine caters to if you want to take advantage of these offers, and the subscription forms tend to ask lots of questions about your business to make sure you're legit and gather valuable marketing info. Any time you take advantage of a free magazine offer, make sure to read the company's privacy policy before signing up or use fake information if you're concerned about how it will be used.

If you feel a twinge of guilt about signing up for free trials of magazines that you may have no intention of subscribing to, just remember that magazines are heavily advertiser-funded and that when you get your free issues, you're getting the ads they want you to see, too. It's also possible, of course, that you'll like the magazine enough to become a subscriber after all.

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