Travel season is here! We are planning a couple of vacations this summer. Here’s how we spend less than the average traveler every time we take a trip!
I have always loved traveling. My earliest visions for this blog always included travel posts. When I started blogging 9 years ago, we were a homeschool family of 6 with a very limited income for travel. Now that our youngest son has graduated and will be leaving home soon for college, we are entering a new season of life. One that I hope will include travels to foreign and exotic destinations.
Our recent trip to Colorado has opened my eyes to some new ways of travel that we hadn’t considered before. We usually travel off season, camp or stay in the cheapest of accommodations. As much as I love camping, my husband does not. He prefers more comfortable accommodations. Here are the things we have learned about comfortable travel that doesn’t break the bank.
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10 “Cheap” Travel Tips
- Traveling off season can save you a bundle. We find hotel and resorts discount their rates as much as 70% during the off season. Simply Google your destination for ideas of the peak travel times, then turn back the calendar. For example, we love visiting Florida. We have found that the best time to visit is in October. The beaches are practically deserted while the weather is very warm and comfortable. Our last stay on the beach was $35.00 a night. During the spring season, the same rooms were renting for about $275.00 per night.
- Try Air B and B. We stayed in a private home on our recent trip to Colorado. It was lovely. We had an entire basement apartment to ourselves with a kitchenette, outdoor seating area and grill. It was very stylish and comfortable. Our host was amazing, very friendly and hospitable. He even provided a crate for our dog when we were away from the house and not able to take him with us shopping. I would definitely do Air B and B again. I was not sure that I would like it at first, but we felt it was a much better fit for us than a regular hotel. Plus, we could cook our meals to save money and even entertain ourselves outside! Our host was a wreath of information and gave us ideas on what to see and do during our stay. We have decided we would rather financially support a real person than a large corporate hotel, I look forward to more visits at Air B and B locations!
- Look for accommodations that have a kitchen. I realize that this may not be for everyone. Some people just don’t care for cooking and would rather eat out. However, even if you just have breakfast in your room everyday and eat your other meals out, you can save a substantial amount of cash. Particularly if you have special diet needs, having a place to cook can be easier than searching for restaurants that offer food you can eat.
- Find nature trails or green space near by to visit. We love spending time out doors. Beaches, nature trails, and county parks are free. That makes them at the top of our list of attractions. In the past, we have spent big money on major attractions that we weren’t very impressed with in the long run. Now we find that the local green space is always on our list of must see locations. Something as simple as a walk in the local park can be very relaxing and therapeutic while on vacation.
- Check out the local botanical garden. I am a gardener, and I am constantly inspired by the local gardens we explore during our travels. I have thousands of photos from these trips, I can never get enough. Again, many of these attractions are free or only charge a few dollars for admission. The butterflies in this photo were at a local green house in Fort Collins, CO. We stopped to wander through their lovely plant selection and explore their free butterfly house exhibit. Stunning!
- We favor small accommodations over large ones. Our family time is precious, we often book smaller places to stay away from the hustle and bustle of the large attractions. Even when we were traveling with our 4 kids, they would bunk together to save space and money. Granted some may not find this a relaxing vacation but for us it has always worked. Now that the kids are older, we can up our accommodation budget a bit for more ideal surroundings.
- Shop the airline sales. Most of the time we travel by car. However, once in a while we come across an airline sale that’s too good to pass up. We look for the airline deal first, then find accommodations to match. We rarely choose our destination first, most of the time we just look for the deal then decide whether or not it’s a place we would like to go. Some of our best vacations have been to spots that we would not have had on our dream vacation list. Open your mind to seeing new places before you decide if you like them. One of our best vacations was to Montreal, Quebec. We found a weekend away package deal for just $150.00 of airfare. Fantastic trip, but we never would have seen it if we only traveled places that were on our “dream vacation” list.
- Make a Pinterest Board of Vacation Ideas: I often come across interesting places to visit on Pinterest. It must be the photographer in me, but I wouldn’t dream of traveling to a place where I couldn’t take great photos. My Pinterest Board is bursting with vacation ideas, and amazing photos. You can join it here.
- Live History on Vacation. We are die hard homeschoolers. Even though our kids are gone, we still love history and enjoy visiting national or historical monuments, places we have studied. Something about seeing things for yourself can make history come alive. We have visited homes of famous people, seen monuments, battle fields and more. My all time favorite place is Mount Vernon, VA home of George Washington. It is beautiful and fascinating. We have been there several times and probably will go back again, I highly recommend it! Another favorite, the Freedom Trail in Boston, MA. These places are inexpensive, off the beaten path and many are even free to visit.
- Look for local coupons and deals. It used to be that you had to go to a location and pickup the local newspaper to find the deals. These days a search on Groupon.com will yield all sorts of things to see and do in a specific that are great prices. We limit our more pricey adventures to 1 or 2 per trip, favoring the other types of entertainment listed above over the major attractions.
Here’s more great travel ideas: