Want to go to 59 places, but not have the money? Well, first of all, let's visit how you set your vacay budget. Now everyone is gonna have their own opinion on this, but this is how I usually travel and I love it! Let's dive into my money-saving tricks when it comes to planning a dope trip...
pick your hotel wisely
I used to be the girl that was like "Hey this place is $75! I'm booking it now." However, after planning trips out loud with my dad, I've learned a few things. Before you book the cheapest place think, "What matters to me about my stay?"
For instance, Trey and I just road tripped to Colorado for a weekend. There were a couple hotels that had the same ratings and were cheaper, but didn't have breakfast. Paying five dollars extra a night for sure overrides a $15-30 sit down breakfast. This is especially smart if you plan on hitting a national park early or had a long night with your newborn, lol.
At the same time, double check to make sure your hotel has a microwave and fridge. When you travel to tiny mountain towns, these aren't always gimmes. By not checking for these two things, you aren't able to keep leftovers cold or whip up some popcorn for a cheap snack.
I can't really remember a trip where I didn't stop at a grocery store and grab a few dinners. When I stayed by Yellowstone, my room didn't have a microwave and I ended up eating some warm apples from the car, lol gross.
*Read about my budget guide for Yellowstone here!
Before my last trip, having a pool didn't really make or break my hotel decision. Although, after not being able to soak in a hot tub for nine months, I was so sad I didn't make this a priority. Your trip will ultimately be better and you'll save more, if you explore these wants before you get there! This brings me to my next point, what would you love to do at this destination?
For example, before we went to Colorado, I knew I wanted to see Rocky Mountain National Park. Usually, I try to pick one thing I really wanna do and then do other things based on the cost of my top favorite. This way, I know beforehand I'd be spending $35 on a park pass and not splurging on another high ticket item.
In addition to that, since I did research prior to the trip, I knew you could buy a day pass or a week pass. Which is important to be familiar with, so you can decide what kind of time you want to spend there and not last minute, buy two one-day passes.
*TIP: Often national parks won't be taking admission around sunrise or late in the evening. This will save you big time! Also, who doesn't wanna take a 1,000 photos during golden hour?
research the town's tourist season
Most people know that when you travel during peak season, prices get marked up. If my trip is already booked and I notice it happens to be peak season, I like to change up my itinerary. I usually allow myself to do one or two "touristy" things in this instance. The rest of my schedule will consist of things that are a bit more underrated and less crowded.
Checking up on this can save you big bucks. Once I accidentally planned a trip to the Badlands in South Dakota on the Fourth of July. You bet we waited close to two hours to get into Mount Rushmore and paid WAYYY too much for a motel because everything else was booked. Traveling during peak season is still totally do-able on a budget, but it just requires extra planning. If you're flexible, definitely shoot for off season!
*Read about what God taught me in South Dakota or an insane guide for exploring the Badlands!
don't immediately decide to drive to your destination
I'm totally guilty of wanting to drive everywhere. However, if you only have a couple vacation days, this is not the best investment. Budget travel isn't always about picking the cheapest option. It's about setting an amount and dividing it based on what you VALUE.
Spending half of your trip driving may sound like a good idea at first, but when you get home, will you think, "I wish I could've done more." This can be avoided by flying and limiting yourself to eating out only once a day instead.
Along with that, when planning it's smart to consider if you'd like to see different cities. Let's say you're organizing a baby moon. Would it be possible to stop at another city on the way to your destination? At Hop Upon, you can plug in your departure/arrival city and it'll find you cheap multi city flights! I can't wait to try them out for my next trip and add a few new cities to my itinerary :)
transportation hack: don't book the first uber you see
I have both Lyft and Uber on my phone. If your flight just landed, avoid ordering the first uber price you see. People like to get them right away, so they may be outside by the time they get their luggage. If you aren't in a time crunch, grab your luggage and compare prices on both apps.
When they look a little steep, try to head outside and find a great spot where they can find you easily. Now, check prices again. These few minutes in between can sometimes save you $5 to $10!
*If these photos got ya feelin' some type of way, I post WAY more on my Instagram. Follow along and find your next tropical wallpaper :)
travel in between school breaks
Trips over Christmas break are super fun, but they can also be costly if it's a college mecca. Most of the time I end up traveling during school and in the middle of the week. This keeps my hotel rates down considerably.
I used to try to get all my homework finished before I leave on a trip. These days, I do what I can and do a couple homework breaks throughout my trip. This definitely took a mindset shift, but now I rarely notice because it's my new normal.
Most of the time I try to think, "Yeah I have to spend a little time at a coffee shop, but isn't a trip + homework, better than no trip at all?!" Then I reflect on the things I've done so far and just get psyched to finish any work I have.
Aight I hope these ideas help y'all save a few on your next trip! If ya wanna save this post for later- PIN IT HERE :)
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Thanks for pointing out that we should also consider if we might want to add another city to our tour. I will suggest this to my friends now that we plan to book a tour this coming August. It will be our first time doing this after we all have graduated, so I hope that we really get a good tour to enjoy our vacation.
12/21/2022 12:18:43 am
I like that you talked about looking for lodging with a microwave so that we can heat up cheap snacks to save on food. I will follow your advice when I go to Ojai, California for the solo trip that I dream of having. With this tip, I can stay there for about week with the savings that I have for this trip.
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