“Of all the books in the world, the best stories are found between the pages of a passport.” – unknown
1. Check out alternatives to hotels
When developing travel plans, the prices of hotels can be overwhelming. On longer trips specifically, budgeting in a place to sleep at night can be a substantial portion of the cost.
Seeking out other places to stay can help cut costs, and add to the experience. Hostels are similar to hotels, but you often share a room with others. There are hostels specifically created for families and couples. Certain hostels may separate males and females, whereas others have co-ed rooms. While it may seem intimidating, hostels are cheap and allow you to meet other travelers with unique stories and suggestions of where to go in the area. Meeting new people and sharing your experiences may be the highlight of your trip.
Another option is to camp. Camping is a great way to get out in nature, work together, and spend distraction-free time with others. This cheap option is a great way to see the area and truly immerse yourself.
2. Check out times of year vs. pricing
Different seasons bring different prices – if you go on a trip to a popular vacation spot during their busy season, prices are going to rise. By planning a trip for the off-season, you will save money, avoid dealing with lines and crowds and save time by not having to wait. By doing a little research on the area you plan on going to, you can save a lot of money and time.
3. Plan out ahead of time a budget for food
It is well known that eating out can be pricey. While on a trip, try packing food and planning out meals. If you see a location you really would like to try, and you feel it will add to the experience of the trip, you can go ahead and eat there! It is a vacation, after all. By planning out most of your meals, though, you can be more selective about the places you do eat and avoid stopping at fast food restaurants when on the road.
4. Be spontaneous, not excessive
Keep an eye out for the places, restaurants, experiences, and stores that inspire you. Be spontaneous – when you see an opportunity to do something that will bring value to your trip, it is good to go with the flow. It becomes costly to be excessive. For example, it may not be necessary to purchase souvenirs for each family member and friend.
5. Consider alternatives to flying
While sometimes flying is the only option to get where you need to go, it may be cheaper to drive. Road trips can save a lot of money and you can visit places on the way, not limited to simply your destination. If you allow your trip to be flexible, you will be surprised how many opportunities and fascinating things you can come across.
Another option, if your trip is in-state, is to take a bus or train. While it may seem outdated, train tickets are cheap and are a unique and memorable way to travel.
6. Be flexible
If you’re a chronic planner, it can be challenging to let go. Part of the fun of a trip can be the flexibility to adapt. For example, if you’re on a road trip to a location and find a spot you love, being open to forgoing your original destination and staying where you are might be the best decision. Choosing to seek out new experiences and letting go of the details and sticking to a loose plan can be the best way to relax on a trip. Things rarely go as planned – letting go of expectations can help to enhance the experience.
7. Consider avoiding tourist spots
While it may be difficult to dodge tourist traps, try to avoid locations where this may be a problem. Often, the most interesting places are away from the hub of activity, where you can experience the genuine culture, activities, and restaurants. Outside of these hubs, you will find inexpensive genuine experiences.
8. Check out the free activities
Many places have free activities. Check out the local events calendar and there may be events happening in the area that would interest you. Museums often are free to enter, and local parks, beaches, historical centers or monuments are too.
9. Spend more time in nature
Speaking of free thing – it’s typically free to spend time outside. While some national parks make you pay a small fee, ultimately you’ll be saving money when comparing it to walking the streets and window shopping. Spending time outside it proven to uplift your mood, keep you healthier and improve mental health – and, it’s accessible to everyone, even if you’re on a budget.
10. Travel with a group
It comes as no surprise that traveling in a group is cheaper. Many places have group rates, whether it’s for skydiving, a hotel, or other activities. If you’re driving, the more people you have, the less you’ll each have to spend on gas when it’s split. So, get your friends together, pull out a map and plan your next trip!