Vacations on the Cheap: 3 Budget Friendly Break Ideas

Vacations on the Cheap: 3 Budget Friendly Break Ideas

There are times in life when you just need a break—even when you really can’t afford a full-scale vacation. In these instances, a little creativity and extra planning can be your best bet to save a lot of money. Here are a few ideas on how to fit that much needed break into a tight budget.

#1. Go Back to Nature

The most relaxing, rewarding, and budget-friendly vacation experience may be waiting for you at a local campground. There's a reason that camping is such an enduring American tradition. Whether you're looking for solitude, adventure, relaxation, exercise; the Great Outdoors has it all.

Start by finding a place nearby that will accommodate your needs and experience level. If you are camping newbie, consider starting out at a large campground, like those found in many state and national parks, or even a KOA or similar chain. While these sites may be considered a less "authentic" camping experience, the amenities provided, such as hot showers, bathrooms, and stores will help ease your transition. Once you're comfortable with the conditions you can move on to a more traditional style of camping.

For those on a budget, camping may be the best way to stretch a limited vacation fund. Camping is cheap; there are many places where you can set up a tent for little to no money, and even the nicest accommodations at most parks and campgrounds are typically a fraction of what you would pay at a hotel. Other than the cost of a tent and some reasonable site fees, the only expenses would be relatively minor things such as food and gas.

#2. Become The Local Tourist!

Brush up on your local knowledge and do a Google search of the some of the surrounding areas. Take the opportunity to enjoy your neighborhood as a tourist by asking yourself “Why do other people travel to my city?” Even if you know your area well, there are likely some local attractions that you “saved for tomorrow” but just haven't gotten around to visiting. To give your trip that true vacation feel, consider staying at a bed & breakfast — you can easily pay for a couple of nights at a decent hotel or B&B with all of the money you're saving in other travel expenses.

#3. A Last-minute Cruise

You will be amazed at how affordable a cruise can be. The best part is, if you wait until the last minute the prices actually go down! Many of the best deals are short round trips, usually from three to five days, with many available for less than $70 a day.

To snag a cheap cruise, start by figuring out your best time to travel, and then keep an eye on Cruisesheet or a similar website. The key here is flexibility; you may not get the exact destination, or ship, or port of departure that you had in mind, but by staying open to several options you can save a lot of money.

The most expensive part of a cruise is not the ticket itself, but all of the extras that you purchase during your stay. While some packages are all inclusive, with the price of food, drinks, etc., all built in, this is becoming less common. Drink prices in particular can be pretty steep on the ship, though many cruise lines will allow you to bring a bottle of wine or case of beer on board with your luggage. Also, the pre-planned excursions offered at the destination are far more costly than exploring the area on your own. You can save a lot money by doing a little research beforehand and keeping a sharp eye on all those extra expenses.

Jan 12th 2018

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