Traveling on a budget is a unique experience. Because my husband and I are still in school (well he is), we are stretched pretty thin on how much we can spend on trips. Let me tell you what my plan is when we look for our vacations!
First and foremost, we look up the travel cost. As that is the most expensive portion of the trip, how much we have to pay to get there is half the battle. I scour for deals on all sites looking for times, dates, coupons; anything that will help us get there without spending so much. The big thing will travel costs when you are on a budget is be patient. It can get overwhelming when you want to go somewhere and you just can’t make the costs work. Stay the course, stay calm, and keep searching!
Next, we try and find a cheap place to stay. Don’t get me wrong, I love beautiful, stately hotels and it’s hard to not stay there. But if you can make it through a mediocre, slightly crappy hotel, you can save your money and use it to explore the sites! Let me paint you a picture of the most extreme example of this that I have done so far. My husband and I went to San Diego and he let me choose the hotel. I chose a hotel about 5 miles from the Mexican border at a Motel 6. Yes, I am fully aware these aren’t the best places to stay, but it was a holiday weekend and it was my cheapest option! The hotel was surprisingly very clean, with a giant flat screen and Direct TV. There weren’t any fancy accessories or anything special about the room, but it served the purpose of giving us a roof over our heads. By taking this room we were able to save our money to try new restaurants, activities and view the sites!
It may seem like you are missing out by not having the best hotels and amenities every time you travel, but its okay! Making small sacrifices gives you the ability to spend money on the things you really want to do, like taking a surfing lesson, going to a famous zoo, or exploring new parks.
Another good example of saving money when going on trips, is exploring the possibility of camping. I will be the first to say that camping has it’s downsides. But if you look in the right places, you can find a campsite with clean showers, sinks and general stores to help with your unexpected needs! We found a perfect campsite in Malibu, called Malibu RV Park. The campsite has a gorgeous view, clean shower rooms, and everything was well maintained. Camping ended up being so much better than staying in a hotel, and we were able to save a couple hundred dollars!!
Lastly, we only eat out one meal a day. Don’t get me wrong, when we do go out each day, we try a fun local place! But, when deciding between exciting activities or eating out, I will choose the activities every time! My suggestion is bring pop tarts and granola bars for breakfast and materials for sandwiches and chips for lunch. That and a 24 pack of water will get you through your trip on a skin tight budget. You may need to spend a little bit of money on a cooler, but the cooler will pay for itself after a few trips of following this regimen!
At the end of the day, you need to be patient and not worry about how you look. Don’t worry about what people think if you aren’t in the fanciest place or eating the fanciest food. As long as you are enjoying your time and making memories you will have the best vacation!
And as always, remember travel is good for the soul!