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Traveling is amazing. Taking family vacations creates lifelong memories and broadens your horizons. But, it can be expensive. So, how can you travel more if your budget is next to zero? Here are 7 easy tips that will help you take a vacation when you can’t afford one.
Tip #1: Have a Staycation
There is no rule that says you have to leave town to have a vacation. The easiest way to have a vacation when you can’t afford it is to simply take time off without leaving home. A staycation allows you to eliminate the two biggest expenses of vacation: transportation and lodging. You can still feel like you are on vacation by visiting local tourist attractions and trying new restaurants. Vacationing at home is a great way to recharge and relax without breaking the bank. Read my tips on planning the perfect staycation.
Tip #2: Crash with Friends or Relatives
If you just have to get out of town, you can save a lot of money by simply staying with friends or family instead of in a hotel. Depending on the length of your trip, this one tip can save you hundreds or thousands of dollars. So, plan a trip to a location where you can stay with someone you know. The bonus to this tip is that you can get in a visit with someone special in addition to getting a vacation.
Tip #3: Trade Houses with a Friend or Relative
If you like the idea of staying with friends or family, but you want more privacy in your trip, consider trading houses with someone that you know. Just make sure that this is someone that you trust enough to give your house to for a week or so. This can be especially fun if you have someone to trade with that lives in a place you’ve never visited before. For extra fun, leave a little care package for your friend’s family welcoming them to your town and have them do the same for you.
Tip #4: Camp for Free
Another easy way to take a vacation when you can’t afford it is to camp for free. Again, this can also save you hundreds or thousands of dollars on your trip by avoiding the cost of lodging. You can either camp in your own backyard or stay at a lake, park, or forest where camping is allowed without a fee. If you have access to an RV or travel trailer, use it for camping. Otherwise, grab a tent or camp in your car. For some ideas on finding free places to camp, check out Fresh Off the Grid’s post on how to find places in the US and Canada to camp for free.
Tip #5: Drive Instead of Fly
While driving instead of flying won’t completely eliminate the cost of transportation to get you to your destination, it can greatly reduce that cost. Sometimes, this reduction is enough to make an impossible vacation affordable. Plus, a road trip can add to the fun of the trip. It can also create extra memories along the way. Driving gives you a chance to see more of the country rather than just your destination.
Tip #6: Try Free Activities
Another easy way to eliminate travel costs from your budget is to look for free activities during your trip. The various admission costs can really add up during the course of a week. To reduce that cost, replace activities that cost money with those that are free. Depending on your location, these could range from parks and public gardens to museums and sporting events. New Zealand, for instance, offers a surprisingly large variety of activities that are free. For some ideas, check out my list of free things to do with kids in New Zealand. Before leaving home, do some research to find things to do on your trip that won’t cost anything.
Tip #7: Look for Discounts
To make your travel plans more in line with your budget, look for discounts on all aspects of your trip. By doing some research, you can usually find ways to save money on airfare, hotels, rental cars, and sometimes even restaurants. Many times, you can also find discounts for attractions online as well. In addition to discounts, look for certain days and times when prices are reduced. While these discounts may seem small in isolation, they can make a significant difference in the cost of your overall trip.
Travel can be expensive, but it doesn’t have to be. You don’t have to forego a trip just because your budget is small. By trimming the costs of the various aspects of your trip, you can make your travel plans line up with your budget. With a little effort, you can take a vacation when you can’t afford it. For more ideas on traveling on a budget, see practical tips to save for vacation, and how to take amazing vacations on any budget. Happy travels!