Luckily, that doesn’t require a whole lot of money if you plan everything just right, from the destination to the accommodation and all the cost-cutting measures in between. Here are a few tips to make sure you have a wonderful time without breaking the bank.
What do the sea, the forest, and the mountains have in common? Besides being breathtakingly beautiful, they’re all free and open to visitors year round. The best reason to go, however, is the sheer excitement of hiking, surfing, rock-climbing, or the dozens of other activities you have to choose from in the great outdoors, and there’s little temptation to spend, spend, spend like you would on a trip to the city, where shopping and restaurants are the norm.
Find Cheap Lodging
This usually makes up the bulk of your expenses when traveling, especially if you stay at hotels. However, there are more options now than in the past. You could rent a room, apartment, or entire house via Airbnb or check into a youth hostel, which may provide beds for everybody in your group. Don’t rule out hotels completely as deals can be found, particularly during the offseason. If Airbnbs and youth hostels aren’t your thing and you really want a hotel, search for coupons and cash rewards from websites like Hotels.com to help keep expenses in check.
Use Airfare Hacks
You can score some budget plane tickets if you’re willing to learn a few technological tricks and get a little sneaky, according to a writer with lifestyle magazine Self. A service called Skyscanner alerts you whenever flights drop in price, while searching for tickets in incognito mode keeps aggregators from raising prices on your second or third visit to check rates. You can also use more traditional means of saving money by looking for package offers and promotions from companies like Priceline, which can help you out when you’re on a budget.
Cut Car Costs
Getting around is another major expense, but the traveling experts at TripSavvy have 12 ways you can spend less on your rental wheels, with the first one being to comparison shop for the best rates. Other tips include avoiding hidden fees, refusing extras and staying away from agencies at the airport, who charge an arm and a leg. Sometimes, however, you just need to rent a car, and companies like Enterprise frequently offer deals and extra savings that can prevent you from spending way too much on a set of wheels.
Take Public Transport
Of course, you could forget about a rental car and take public transport to save a bit of cash on the road. That depends on where you go and what the schedules are like as you don’t want to spend your whole weekend waiting for a bus or train. There are distinct benefits to this form of travel, though. You’ll get to see more sites and interact with the locals.
The cheapest place to stay is outside. Thanks again to the wonders of modern technology, there’s no trouble at all finding campsites wherever you go, and outdoor recreation website Wide Open Spaces has provided a review of six apps that do the legwork for you. The drawback is you’ll have to buy a tent and sleeping bags if you don’t have them already. Sites like RetailMeNot can help you save some money if you need to grab some gear.
Prepare Your Own Meals
This probably isn’t an option if you’re staying in a hotel, but should pose no problem at all at youth hostels or home rentals, which is another point in their favor. Not only will this save you money on restaurants, but it’ll also give you an excuse to check out the nearby farmers market and try your hand at a local dish. Don’t have any gear? Read up on the best tools and utensils you’ll need if you plan to do some cooking on the go.
Traveling doesn’t have to drain your entire bank account as long as you plan ahead. Once all that’s settled, it’s time to pack your bags and get ready to go. Happy trails!
By Jane Moore