Given that 54% of American workers don’t use their vacation days, it’s not surprising that some people cite the expense of travel as the reason why. Traveling isn’t accessible to everyone. Thankfully there are cheap ways to travel that can make even a simple getaway within reach for anyone.
Here are 6 tips to ensure you have fun without going into debt.
1. Take a Bus Rather Than Plane
If you’re looking to travel on a budget, your best bet could be to find ways to get to your destination cheaper than taking a plane. While flying saves time, if that’s not an issue, ground transportation could be far cheaper than taking a flight. You won’t have to worry about getting to the airport hours early, being crammed into a sardine can, or the annoying journey from the airport to the city.
Taking a bus offers all kinds of other freedoms as well. Should you decide to extend your journey or take a detour, you won’t be losing out on as much money. When the bus stops for a break halfway between your departure, you might decide to get out on a whim and spend a day taking a detour.
When you’re on a bus, you don’t have to worry about losing out on hundreds of dollars. Talk to the bus company and see if they’ll help get you a transfer for the next day.
2. Carpool With a Friend
By far the cheapest way to get to your next destination is to share a ride with a close friend. If you can get a friend to drive and carpool to where you’re headed, you could split many of the costs. Find someone who was headed there anyhow and they might not charge you much of the costs.
If you prefer not to travel alone, splitting the costs with someone you like is a much better idea than heading out solo. You get to make memories with someone close to you and get to laugh at the inevitable bumps along the way.
Carpooling with a friend might be the best travel decision you can make.
3. Couch Surf
Accommodations can be one of the biggest expenditures when traveling. Finding a cheap motel can save money but the high risk of bedbugs or sleeping somewhere dingy but not be worth the trouble.
Instead, see if you have friends or acquaintances you can couch surf with. Staying with someone you don’t know very well is actually a great way to forge a long-term friendship. When that person comes to your town, you can return the favor and let them stay with you.
There are online couch surfing networks to tap into, but the best way to go is to put the word out via social media. You’ll see who among your friends have moved without your knowledge to your exact destination. You could end up making several stops along your way just to catch up with and stay with friends.
If you insist on finding a hotel or motel to stay at but need to save money, read more here for tips.
4. Make The Journey Part of the Experience
Rather than make your destination the end-all, be-all most important element of your trip, you could save money by using every part of your trip as an adventure. Along the way to get where you’re going, you could make stops to check out interesting sights.
Make a map of the potential landmarks on the way to get where you’re going. Make detours when necessary if you have the chance to see something really special.
Rather than just plot a straight trip from Washington, D.C. to Chicago, you could make stops in Ohio to see the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame. You could even make a stop in Indiana to see the childhood home of Michael Jackson.
Take advantage of national parks on your way from one place to another. There are so many gorgeous parks dotting the landscape of the country, there’s no good excuse for not seeing as many as possible. If you know someone with a pass, you can get unlimited entry into all of the country’s national parks.
5. Bring Snacks
While you’re traveling, you’re bound to spend lots of your extra cash on food and snacks. While you’ll certainly need to eat some healthy meals during your trip, if you’re staying in one hotel room or a friend’s house for the week, buy some treats. Having a couple of pieces of fruit on you, a granola bar in your pocket, or a quick bowl of cereal before you go out could help you save $20 or more per day.
Some clever planning and a reusable water bottle and you could come back from vacation even healthier than you left.
6. Research Your Destination
Before you head out, do some extensive research on your destination. If you’re in a strange town and you need anything from a cup of coffee to a phone charger, you’re bound to make some reckless financial decisions.
If you want to make sure you stay in the best neighborhood, you need to do some internet sleuthing beforehand. To ensure you’re getting good food deals while having a great culinary experience, you’ll have to do more research. Thanks to the internet, there’s little need to hire a travel agent or a guide.
Keep your eyes peeled for happy hour drink deals and save some cash while still having a good time on your trip.
There Are Lots of Cheap Ways To Travel
Thankfully, with the increased competition in the marketplace, there is a growing number of cheap ways to travel. With online booking sites, cheaper buses, and car sharing services, there are fewer excuses than ever to never leave town. If you have the time to get out of town, there’s a budget-friendly option out there for you.
If you don’t realize the major benefits of traveling, check out our guide to find out.