I always like to joke that my favorite hobbies are very expensive: traveling and concerts. However, all jokes aside these two hobbies can be very costly. In 2019 I went to 15 concerts and had 12 new adventures. While I would much rather spend my money on experiences than things, it can be tricky trying to fit these ventures into my budget. Here are tips and tricks we use when traveling to keep things within budget. Each item conveniently named for my Cheap Trick fans.
Mighty Wings: Search for cheap flights using a search tool that best fits you. One of the best ways to find cheap flights is searching on a search engine such as Skyscanner and Google Flights. We tend to use these the most (and also signed up for Scotts Cheap Flights which sends awesome deals). Skyscanner allows you to check “Everywhere” when searching so if you just want to get away for cheap with no destination in mind, it is a great tool!
Walk Away: You don’t need to pack all those items, and you don’t need to check a bag. Flying with an airline that doesn’t allow a carry-on item can been daunting. But I promise you can fit much more in a backpack than you think. Plus, how often do you end up wearing the same thing the entire trip anyways?! Not checking a bag is cheaper and flying airlines such as Spirit tends to be cheaper as well. Plus, it is so great walking through the airport with nothing but the clothes on your back (hehe). For other tips and tricks for how to pack all your items in a backpack check out our post ”Don’t Forget the Stuffing.”
Surrender: Get rid of the idea that you need a huge meal during vacation. We aren’t foodies, so that does help us. However, we still love eating and trying new things. It can be temping to grab that huge plate of pasta after hiking. Or maybe you want to try every appetizer on the menu. Try to surrender the idea that you must try all the things and get a huge portion. We split almost every meal when traveling. It saves us money, is usually healthier, and saves food since we can’t save on trips with coming home to a fridge.
I Want You to Want Me: Stop bringing souvenirs home to all your loved ones. I know how harsh this may sound. We want everyone to know we thought of them during our trip and brought something home. However, souvenirs cost a lot of money and don’t typically provide a lot of value. If you must grab something, grab post cards of your favorite memories to talk about with your loved ones when you are back. Not buying souvenirs saves money and space in your, hopefully, one bag to get home in. I promise talking to your loved ones about your trip is much more important.
Come On, Come On: In order to follow a budget, one must be made first. Colin makes us a budget we try to follow during each trip. Think about how many days you are going to be gone. Evaluate parking prices, food prices and any money needed for fun. Factor all this in and then create a budget. This will help you create an idea in your head of what to follow when on the trip, and also give you an idea of how much the trip will cost before you book.
Clock Strikes Ten: Having the most amazing place to stay is not as important as you might think. Totally understandable that on incredibly special vacations a fancier and more luxurious stay might be wanted. However, trips where the majority of the time is spent outside of the place you are sleeping, location is probably more important. We find great deals on Airbnb’s and never feel like we are giving up comfort or safety for something cheaper than a typical hotel. We still search for stays that are the entire place to ourselves and end up spending half of what a hotel may cost.
This Time Around: Instead of buying all your meals while traveling, think about going to the store when you arrive and grabbing snacks. If you have a rental car you can go to the store yourself. If you are walking around, then you could take an Uber or use Shipt to have food delivered right to your door. We always buy granola bars, travel breakfast foods, some water jugs for our bottles and any fruit etc if we have a fridge. This always saves us money and gives us snacks throughout the day.
Everything Works If You Let It: One of the best ways to save money when traveling is do your research before traveling. Colin will put hours of research into our trips to see what items are free around the area. We plan out our activities for the entire time. We look at restaurants to make sure there is going to be food we like. We create a schedule for each day and add up the cost for anything that costs money. It is a huge help for saving money!
Planning ahead, sharing food, Airbnb’s and not checking a bag are all ideas which can help decrease the cost of traveling. Our number one goal in life is to see as much of the world as possible. We don’t make a ton of money, or we would travel ALL the time. We must make travel budgets and stick to them in order to fit in all of our fun experiences. We hope these Cheap Trick(s) help you too!
Also, be sure to check back for our posts coming soon on New Orleans, Mammoth Cave National Park and the Mighty Five National Parks in Utah!