So you are getting the itch again, huh? That stir crazy feeling from being in the same place for too long. You need to get out, see somewhere else, try something new. But.. wait.. you don’t have a couple grand to spend on a nice vacation? Have no fear, neither do we! And we travel all the time.
Now don’t get me wrong, my husband and I save money for travel splurges whenever we can. But it can take a long time to save up for a big trip, so in the meantime we keep on adventuring in smaller ways. Ready for some tips?
Distance. When we are on a budget, we try to find places that aren’t too far away from home. A nice two or three day trip for us is usually driving distance away, with maybe a max of 5 hours away.
Book Online and Book Early. If you can’t drive to your destination, there are other ways to save money on your plane ticket. Besides the obvious like using airline points, we always utilize SkyScanner. SkyScanner is a website that shows a list of flights/hotels available from a myriad of third party websites. We have used it many times to get the best price on flights. Another thing to keep in mind is how early you book your flights. The earlier you can book, the better. Flights get more expensive as your travel date comes closer and you can get some deals by booking a few months in advance. You can also set up price alerts on SkyScanner which will email you each time the price changes on your selected flight.
Take Advantage of the Outdoors! When choosing the itinerary for our trips, hiking and biking always make the cut! Even if hiking isn’t your thing, there are always free activities that let you see the beauty of the city you are visiting. Look for popular public parks, town squares with interesting sculpture gardens, or outdoor shopping areas with beautiful fountains. The main attractions of a city are always fun of course, but you will save a lot of money if you hit some of the touristy things mixed in with some hiking, some parks, and some fun walks around the city.
Google it!! When planning what to do on your trip, TripAdvisor becomes your best friend. Easy access to local and tourist opinions are hard to beat. However, if all those suggestions don’t quite fit your low budget, try a different search. There are plenty of websites focusing on the locals approach to the place you want to visit.. “off-the-beaten-path” attractions if you will. Often those are much cheaper than the pricier and more touristy options. Another google search to try.. as obvious as it might sound… is “Free Things to do in ____.” There are tons of free things to try and explore all over the world!
When driving through Texas, we found this awesome free roadside attraction called Cadillac Ranch, an old art installation with Cadillacs buried in the ground and an encouragement to graffiti as you please. For free, we spent about 30 minutes climbing on the cars and spray painting our names and we had a blast! Once we arrived in Dallas, we spent the day there looking at the sculptures in Pioneer Park and checking out Reunion Tower all for free. A little research can go a long way. With all the resources for free activities and cheap eats, you can definitely tour a new place on a budget!
Last tip of the day is to try out AirBNB. It doesn’t always work for your particular situation, but depending on the city it can save you hundreds on hotel rooms! Make sure to read reviews and use your common sense, but finding the right AirBNB rental can be a great experience. Take this example.. when we visited Albuquerque, New Mexico, we found an awesome little rental unit. It was a good sized guesthouse – a living room, bedroom, bathroom, and kitchenette, with a beautiful skylight and a unique, pueblo feel. The rental unit was FAR cheaper than a hotel and came with so many benefits! We were walking distance from ‘Old Town,’ with amazing shops and restaurants, 15 minutes from Petroglyph National Park (free outdoor activity!), and as an awesome bonus we were granted use of the courtyard and hottub of the main house! The owners also allowed us to have our dog with us, which a hotel wouldn’t have let us do! The best part about using AirBNB is the hosts are more than willing to give you advice on the area. Our host left us a gigantic binder full of take out menus, maps to local hiking, etc. We saved tons of money by using AirBNB and we also got the personal guidance of our local host. It was a win-win for us.
So do your research and start planning your next adventure- no matter how big or small your budget is! Have any more tips? Leave them in the comments, below!!