Traveling on a budget usually gets a bad rap.
When people hear the words “travel” and “budget” sandwiched next to each other, their minds immediately flash to eating potato chips and gas station hot dogs for dinner, staying at a hotel that looks like it’s straight out of Hitchcock’s Psycho and watching other tourists partake in exciting tasks like helicopter tours and zip lining.
Sure, that might be the portrayal of traveling on a budget, but it definitely doesn’t have to be the reality. There are ways to be budget savvy and still travel like a high rolling pro, to an extent, of course!
Check out these tips for how to have an amazing trip without running your bank account clear into the ground.
Why pay for lodging when you could just have it for free? Home swapping is the latest and greatest way to have permission to stay in a stranger’s apartment in Paris, nose around the city and eat food out of someone else’s fridge. You can connect with someone in your same budget-conscious shoes via sites like Home Exchange, arrange a date to swap homes and then stay in their place while they stay in yours. Food and lodging are two of the biggest expenses of vacation. If you can cut those out, you can travel just about anywhere!
If you live near a big city like New York, Chicago or L.A., it can be a lot of fun and super affordable to plan a day trip with friends. Pull in a few people with you to help split the cost, and then either drive or take the trains into the city for a full day of fun. Save up money beforehand for a shopping spree, Broadway show or swanky dinner. That way, you can enjoy the luxuries of the city without having to hope that your bank account somehow recovers from the damage!
If you’ve never been camping, don’t knock it until you try it. Sure, camping isn’t for everyone (including me), but it’s also possible that you’re not quite doing it right. Beach camping, for instance, is affordable and fun – not to mention an excuse to never leave the beach! Many campgrounds offer rates as low as $20 a night, split between several campers. The restroom facilities at many campgrounds are surprisingly clean, and may even outdo your freshman dorm bathroom at college! Do your research on the campground before booking, however. And visit in person just to get a feel for layout and cleanliness. Also, it doesn’t hurt to invite the outdoorsy friend who owns all the camping gear!
Between friends, there is a mutual understanding that sometimes, you’re going to mooch off one another. Between picking up a tab because your friend forget her wallet in her other purse, setting up a memory-based system of IOU’s, and swapping clothes, your friends know that the relationship is a give and take. So, when one of your friends moves to Hawaii, don’t hesitate to drop in for a visit! You’ll have the lodging covered, maybe even some of the food and you’ll have the inside scoop of entertainment, food and nightlife. Also, you get to see your friend. Best of both worlds.
See? Traveling on a budget isn’t so hard! You just have to get creative and save up in advance! Vacation within your means and be a savvy traveler. You’ll be a jetsetter in no time.
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