It is so true that if you put your mind to something and make it a priority you can truly do anything it just depends how far down it is on your list of importance. Everyone using the money they make on what is important to them. It may be clothes…it may be investing..it may be their homes or eating out a lot. None of these are right or wrong. You should use your hard-earned money on experiences and things that you enjoy. Vacations is a big priority for us and very important to spend our money on so, we sacrifice other things we want, so that we can do that every year. I am going to share with you how you can go on vacation every year without breaking the bank. Some years we spend more than others but, overall we are usually shocked by how little we need to get away and have a great vacation. We have gone on a vacation every year since our first year of marriage (11 years ago) when we were literally broke so…
If we can do it….you can too!!
DRIVE & WALK
No matter what sites you want to travel to see or how far you want to go. DRIVE there. Whether we are heading to Florida or just a few hours away we drive there. This saves a lot of money compared to a flight or renting a car. If you really don’t want to spend much then look to go somewhere with a shorter distance. There are plenty of sights in every state it just takes a little research on Google.
Less gas. Less money.
Whenever possible we walk. In most big cities, it’s easier to walk to your destinations and it saves money on transportation. All the exercise is an added plus as well. When traveling with little kids, we just bring the stroller or take breaks for ice cream or a treat along the way.
DON’T STAY IN A HOTEL
Not staying in a hotel is probably the biggest savings. Anything over one night is going to be extremely expensive. Groupon is a big savings for places to stay for vacations. Even if they are offering a week at a resort and you can only go or 4 days, we have found that it is still way cheaper than a few days in a hotel and you will have a nicer place to stay at. Also, sites like Airbnb or HomeAway are amazing for finding places you can rent for your trip for a great discount. So many people rent out their houses for a great price for a week during the summer months to make some extra cash. This is a win-win for them and us as travelers.
If you really want to go super cheap for a vacation, camping is the best option. There are beautiful campgrounds all around and all you need are some sleeping bags and a standard tent (nothing fancy) and you would be amazed how little you need to spend. My parents took us camping a lot as children to save money and still be able to vacation every year. We camped all over the United States. We would drive to the sites we wanted to explore, like the Grand Canyon and camp there for super cheap. Even though I’m not really an “outdoorsy” person, we did make a lot of memories at these places and had some amazing experiences that we would not of been able to have otherwise. For my parents, vacations as a family were a priority and they made that happen with what they had. As their income increased our vacations were nicer but, as the child, I never thought any vacation was cheap. Vacation just equaled fun so we were always excited. They took us camping a lot but, they’ve also taken us on a cruise and to Hawaii, and all these vacations were equally amazing because, we were making amazing memories and exploring new places together.
COOK & MEAL PLAN
This also connects with where you stay. If you forgo the hotel for a cheaper, bigger place then you will have a kitchen with a stove and refrigerator. If you are camping you can bring food to cook over a grill or fire as well for a great savings. Eating out for every meal is ridiculous and runs your budget up a great deal. We never eat out for breakfast as cereal & milk is an easy & affordable. Sandwiches and chips are an easy lunch and we usually head out for dinner but, that isn’t always the case. If it’s a more expensive vacation overall, I will meal plan the same I do at home to make sure I can cook and, just go out for a desert treat. Whatever your budget allows is how you can plan this but, this is something that is easy to adjust for your budget.
DO A LITTLE RESEARCH
Plan activities by finding out what is free or lower cost in that area by simply researching it. Again, groupon and living social are great resources for finding local activities for cheaper. Even if you don’t have kids, when you google free activities for kids it seems that so many more items come up that are just as fun for just a date! Also, plan your vacation around seeing sites that are free. For example, we love to go to the beach. It is a beautiful place to just be in awe of God’s creation, inexpensive, and creates amazing memories with endless fun!
GO TO WALMART/DOLLAR STORE FOR SOUVENIRS
Most tourist shops are ridiculously expensive! Wal-Mart and the Dollar Store has key chains, mugs, t-shirts or whatever your heart desires for half the price. They are just as great in quality and, usually even have more variety. We always want something to take home to remember our experiences and this is a cheap way to do that.
This year we went to Virginia Beach and had a great time. These are the memories we hope our kids will always remember and will pass on to their kids as well. We hope that we are teaching them to invest in experiences more than stuff that will all fade away. We are so grateful that the Lord has blessed us with these experiences. I hope that you can go and make great memories with the ones you love, they truly are priceless.