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6 Ways that you can Travel Cheaper, Smarter, and More Often

Sequoia National Park – David’s Prime Adventure
July 20, 2017
3 Days in Southern Utah
July 27, 2017

“I can’t afford to travel.”

That is perhaps the biggest excuse I hear the most from people and it has to be the greatest misconception of them all.

Don’t get me wrong, I am fully aware that travel is not free. But then again, what is in life? The simple fact is that if you want something bad enough, you can do whatever it takes to achieve.

So how can you get out and explore without breaking the bank?

Kevin McAlister from Home Alone mouthing "Pack my suitcase?"

1) Be Flexible

Globe spinning

It’s easy to dream big when you are thinking of a vacation destination. But most of the time, your actual traveling expenses will be the biggest you incur traveling. Airfare isn’t cheap.

Have you ever tried to enter your available dates into an airfare tool like Google Flights and looking at any destination? How about using a tool like Wanderu to find the cheapest train and bus tickets leaving from near you?

A major thing that people tend to overlook is what is within driving distance to them. I am constantly discovering new and amazing things by packing up a car with a friend and hitting the open road. Have you visited your nearest national park? A bit of prior research could help you stumble upon unknown gems.

2) “Lower” your accommodation expectations

campsite in colorado mountains

99% of the time sleeping under the stars will be cheaper than sleeping at a Hilton, and in most cases, better. There are many free campsites out there and when it’s not free, a permit is usually very cheap.

My extremely cheap Walmart tent ($25) and sleeping bags ($20) has been my home for many nights and in many situations that range from backcountry Yosemite, to sleeping on several feet of snow in high country Grand Teton, and even the desert of Death Valley.

I bought a fixed-framed backpack and the majority of my camping gear second hand on Craigslist. With a little searching around, chances are you will find something too.

You don’t need fancy gear to make it happen as long as it is adequate for the conditions.

Electing to stay at an Airbnb or a hostel is another surefire way to save a few coins while traveling, and a great way to meet some people with great local knowledge!

If you just have to stay at a hotel, stay at one that is “off the beaten path,” as those will be cheaper than in major tourist areas.

3) Go in the Offseason

I tend to visit many places in the offseason and I am often told that I am crazy for doing so. But the reality is, travel costs are cheaper and there are a lot less tourists with the same intentions that I have when it is not peak season.

Research and preparation allows me to save money and to have a better experience. It is a win-win.

4) Travel in a group

Driving in Beverly Hills

Not only does traveling in a group give you more people to take selfies with, it also gives you more bodies to split costs with.

Splitting the gas of a road trip with 4 people is less than covering it alone. Apply this same logic to accommodations, food, and group entertainment.

Just be sure that you like them at least a little bit.

5) Eat In

Eating every meal out on vacation can get expensive very fast. On vacation you never want to skimp yourself, but typically I try and only eat one meal out a day.

The best ways to accomplish this are by packing a lunch for the trails, cooking a meal by the fire, or getting an Airbnb that allows you to cook in the kitchen!

Grocery shopping and packing a cooler will be cheaper than restaurants three times a day.

6) Research, Research, Research

If you are reading this post, congratulations! You are already half way there.

Answering as many questions as possible will help ensure that there are no surprise costs that you run into while traveling. How much will it cost you to enter the park you are visiting? How much is a camp permit? Will you incur underage fees for renting a car?

While you may not be able to think of everything, doing your homework pre-trip will save you in the long run.

So there you have it. Utilizing these basic tips will get you on your way to cheaper and more adventures! What are some other cost saving tips that you use when traveling?

Chris Fluitt
Chris Fluitt
I am an all around tech guy, a graphic designer and programmer, a car enthusiast, and a coffee and beer lover. When I'm not behind the keyboard I am probably exploring a national park.

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