Either you want to spend a year away or go for a week-long stay, budget is the most important factor in determining the when, where, and how of your trip. Just like budgeting for anything in life, flexibility and motivation will determine your success. Below are seven tips to help your with the finances for any kind of adventure.
Plan Ahead (Book Early!)
Depending on your current financial situation, you can plan your trip as soon as weeks away or as long as years away. Always remember, airline tickets soar in price when purchased closer to your leave date. Booking early guarantees your stay in your first-choice lodging.
Planning should start as early as possible. Determine your location(s) and length of stay. Location and length of stay will determine how you will get there, where you will stay, and what you will bring. You can then draw out a rough budget and budget time frame.
Go with a Goal
Traveling should be spontaneous but traveling with one goal in mind will make planning easier. Plan to hike a famous trail for a few days, attend a multi-day festival, or scour a collective museum worth your time. Going with a goal in your destination of choice will provide you with not only a centered theme but also spawn other travel opportunities found nearby your travel goal (visit a hot spring pool by the trail or famous restaurant near the museum). Don’t try to plan too much for your trip. Keeping a central idea provides flexibility. Too many ideas could be stressful and refined to a schedule. The best vacations contain a bit of spontaneity.
Invest in Quality Gear
After you successfully travel once, you will most likely get bit by the ‘travel bug.’ Planning a second vacation will prove to be not only easier but cheaper. For example, by choosing to go backpacking for your first trip, you will be happy to already have all the backpacking gear you need. Investing in quality gear the first time means your gear will last much longer than your first trip. Investing in quality products shouldn’t be considered just for backpacking gear. Buy a good suitcase instead of lugging around your old high school duffel bag. Purchase the perfect snowboard and boots instead of renting each time you want to hit the slopes. Only use this advice if you plan on using your gear more than once.
Outdoor activities can prove to be cheap and awarding. Hiking and beach bumming are both great and inexpensive ways to have fun. Camping for a few nights will save you more than staying in a hotel. Spend your vacation camping on a beach, hiking, and snorkeling. Simplicity and nature equals a perfect vacation.
Spend Less at Home & Away
To save money for a trip, you need control. By spending less on eating out, you will also save money on gas. Stop all unnecessary and impulse shopping unless directly related to your travel. If your budget isn’t quite where you want it when your vacation approaches, consider frugal activities for your trip such as a picnic in the park instead of another lunch out. Take the bus or train instead of the taxi.
Go Without It
This tip only applies to those with a less-than-perfect budget. If your leave date is a week away and you are troubled about affording the theme park ticket or worried about the price tag of that designer sleeping bag, then go without it! Ditch out on the theme park and simply find a nice (& cheap) botanical garden to get lost in. Your sleeping bag from the 8th grade will have to suffice. Making these decisions for your travels will be difficult. To help you decide, rank your activities/gear by priority. Things/activities at the bottom of your list should be reconsidered.
For those with a conservative budget, a local getaway cuts the costs of a trip by omitting expensive transportation costs. Depending on where you live, you could potentially find a perfect vacation only a few hours’ drive away. Do not limit your options; discovering a nearby city or natural area rewards and rejuvenates as much as any other vacation.
Photo source: www.oprah.com