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  • jonathanrwalton

Low Budget Travels


One of the biggest reasons we hear people say they don't travel is finances. "I don't have the money." In some cases, that may be true, but most often, it is not a matter of too little money. It's a matter of money allocation. So, whether you think you don't have enough to travel, or you just want to travel and save a little while doing so, here are some tips for you.


SAVE NOW. That sounds so simple, but when we decide we are taking a trip, we talk about what we could start giving up today that would give us a little wiggle room to travel later. We recently decided that instead of drinking Starbucks coffee every time we go out, we could cut that out and make coffee at home most of the time. It sounds small, but those little choices really add up.


WORK TOGETHER. You have to be on the same page. If one of you is working to save money to travel and the other is blowing money weekly on fun personal activities, it kills the travel vibes. Not to mention the strain it puts on the relationship. So, make sure you are pulling in the same direction as anyone who is working to save with you. Having someone keeping you motivated to make little sacrifices that lead to big gains is important.


LESS TOURISTY PLACES. As a general rule, the more touristy the destination, the higher the price point. We have found that some of the most beautiful and exciting places we have been are slightly off the beaten path. Finding and choosing these types of destinations can save you a lot of money.


GO DURING THE OFF SEASON. Study the trends. Most places have a peak season and a low season. Naturally, tickets are higher in the peak season and lower in the low season. It is often more convenient to travel during peak season, thus the higher influx of people to an area. However, modifying your schedule to take advantage of the off seasons will help you save.


BE REALISTIC ABOUT WHAT YOU HAVE. If you don't have the money for an all-inclusive resort in some tropical paradise, as nice as it sounds, find a place that would have some of the same perks but for a fraction of the cost. I know that sounds crazy to those who love the all-inclusive resorts but know what you have and work with that. You will be more motivated to travel later, and you will not feel guilty when you return home. Something about not spending the next year paying off the previous year's travel debt makes you feel good. It allows you to stay excited and plan ahead instead of struggling to play catch up.


DECIDE YOUR TRAVEL TYPE. Would you rather have less trips but bigger destinations or more trips with smaller destinations. Some people prefer to travel closer to home, exploring the natural wonders and exciting offerings of places they can visit within a couple of days. Naturally, this is less expensive, so you can do more of this type of travel. Others prefer to travel further away. As a rule, the further you travel, the more you will spend. There is no right or wrong way of doing it. Just know that your travel frequency and travel location will directly affect your travel budget. So, choose one and stick to it if you want to save in the long run.


NATIONAL PARKS. As of 2023, there are 63 national parks in the United States. We have found that they are some of the most beautiful places that you can experience at a fairly low cost. Tickets to get in most parks ranges from $20-40 per vehicle. Most National parks have many outdoor type activities to enjoy. If you travel often, you can purchase the America the Beautiful annual pass for only $80. It will get you and up to four people in the same vehicle in any National Park and 2,000 Federal Recreation Sites. For more info: Entrance Passes (U.S. National Park Service) (nps.gov)


DOWNSIZE. If you love to travel and want to make that a priority, you can always downsize. We made financial choices concerning types of vehicles we drive, the home we live in, etc, to give more financial flexibility for us to prioritize other things that we are more passionate about in life. Travel is one of those things. This one may not be for everyone, but it is sound advice to choose the lifestyle you want to live and then make decisions to support that lifestyle. You will be happier and more financially stable because of it.


DON'T OVERREACH. Don't use credit cards frivolously. You will have to use them to book reservations. However, make sure you have the money to cover those bills when they come in. Don't make a habit of traveling on credit if you don't already have the money to back it. Those choices usually snowball and cause you to spend wasted time paying for things you've already done instead of planning for the next big adventure.


USE POINTS. Most credit card companies and airlines have reward systems built into their framework. Learn to discover and use this to your advantage. We use certain cards for everyday life, getting gas, buying groceries, etc. And then pay those bills off immediately when they come in. We aren't paying interest for using the card because it's immediately paid off, and we are accumulating points with hotels and airlines that will help us travel more in the long run. Again, a small step, but those points begin to pile up.


The bottom line is that if you want to travel, there are ways that you can do it affordably. Don't let mismanagement of finances keep you from enjoying the great big world God created for you. Travel responsibly. Enjoy the journey!



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