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Travel on a Budget

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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!

 

Malibu. Sun, Surf, Good Times

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My husband and I haven’t had a week of vacation together since we were married two years ago. With me working full time, and him being a full-time student, we don’t get a lot of time off. So, I was thrilled to get so much time together! We had no stress, no responsibilities, and no worries!

We made plans to go camping in Malibu for a couple of days. We had never been to LA/Malibu, so we were ecstatic to see what the area was like. Let me tell you, Malibu is GORGEOUS! Between Los Angeles, San Diego and Malibu, Malibu won hands down. The beaches were pristine and well maintained, and it was so much more relaxing than LA and San Diego had been. Our campsite was located in the mountains at Malibu RV Park, on the east side of the Pacific Coast Highway. Our campsite overlooked the ocean, and it was stunning! No matter where we were  in Malibu, the ocean was just a few steps away.

Our first stop was the Santa Monica Pier. I had heard that it was a must see place in LA, and it was such a unique and fun experience. There are so many rides for kids to play on and there are tons of tasty food vendors and places to buy souvenirs. If you head to the end of the Santa Monica Pier you will see some locals fishing off the dock. If you are lucky you will even see a seal like we did! Now, this seal wanted fed. When he wasn’t he left. But it was still so fun!

We also went to the beach on our first day and spent time enjoying the sights. My husband is normally a very tan person. But he has been so immersed in schoolwork, he is not outside as much. He got burnt to a crisp that day, which put a bit of a damper on the rest of the week. 😉 

Zuma Beach was without doubt our favorite beach, especially since we saw dolphins there almost every day! Evan’s plan was to try surfing for the first time, and I was going to paddle board for the first time. The water was too rough that week for me to try paddle boarding, but Evan could try his hand at surfing. Let me tell you, he really enjoyed it! I give credit to all the surfers out there. Surfing was definitely a lot of work, he was exhausted!

We went out to eat at some amazing places while we were out in Malibu: Malibu Seafood, Spruzzo, and Burger Fi. Malibu Seafood was right next to our campground and was definitely a local favorite. I am not a huge seafood fan. However, I got a deep-fried shrimp platter, and I am pretty sure I have never had such tasty food! It was unbelievable! Everything was made fresh and so well done. Also, if you stay at the Malibu RV Park, you get a 10% discount on dinner! The next night we tried Spruzzo, a local restaurant near Zuma beach. We went there for the $20 combo pizza, and it did not disappoint!

We took one of the days of our vacation to go and visit Hollywood! We have a bucket list of places we want to hit while we live out west, and Hollywood was definitely on there! Our first stop was the Hollywood Walk of ame. Who knew it was so long! It was such a fun time seeing all the new and old stars. After the walk of fame, we drove to a neighborhood near the Hollywood sign to get some gorgeous photos!

During our trip to downtown LA, we ate at Chili Johns. Whenever Evan and I go on a trip we try to stop at least one restaurant Guy Ferrero ate at. Let me warn you up front: it is located in a rough area, and the outside looks like it hasn’t been updated in years. However, the food is unbelievable. The chili is fantastic. But the lemon cream pie was to die for! I haven’t had that good of pie since the last time my grandma brought me pie! We spent the rest of the day saying goodbye to the ocean, with a promise that we would be back soon.

We loved Malibu and would highly recommend staying there on your next trip to California!

My husband and I haven’t had a week off together since we were first married two years ago. With me working full time and him being a full time student, we don’t get a lot of time off. I was so excited to get so much time together! We had no stresses, no responsibilities, nothing but just enjoying our time together!

 

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Malibu has the best beaches!

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Santa Monica Beach

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End of Route 66

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Santa Monica Pier

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Zuma Beach

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First Surf Experience

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Good luck!

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Burger Fi

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Don’t let the outside fool you!

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Amazing chili!

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Our campsite