Wednesday, June 5, 2013

Travel on a Budget

Greetings, friends! I am currently writing to you from Sin City. Well, kind of. I've received some, what I'd consider, critical eyes from my some people lately. I am well aware that life has been fun of much travel and adventure lately. Triathlon weekend in Tempe, San Diego, Lake Roosevelt, now Vegas, San Antonio next week.

But it's been manageable. A few reasons to clarify....1) We worked out butts off in the preceding months. 2) All these trips we are driving to. 3) Lake Roosevelt was camping ....doesn't get much cheaper than tents, beer, and hobo meals cooked over the fire! 4) Our Vegas Trip is a kind of a work trip. Ryan is here for pilot training - we are staying at hotel at the Air Force Base Hotel. Our room has 2 twin beds...if that gives you an idea of our "digs" (as least is safe, and only a few miles from the strip)

Many of these tips I'm about to share are kind of "no brainer's" -- but I've found them to be very valuable. So hopefully these can be helpful!

  • Find the local gems. We are very fortunate to live in AZ. We are about 7 hours from Las Vegas, 6 hours from San Diego, 4 hours from Mexico (however it's not safe right now so wouldn't risk it), 7 hours from LA, 3-4 hours from Sedona...... Plane tickets are crazy expensive these days! So it's nice to be able to drive.
  • When you are within a distance where you're debating, "Should I drive or fly?" -- here are a few things to consider (I did this with my trip to Vegas today)
  1. Will you be required to drive a distance to get to the airport? How about your flights being hours where you may need to stay in a hotel? Will you need to purchase transportation to get to the airport? How expensive is parking/day?
  2. How much money will you spend on your luggage fees, eating during the day, etc...
  3. What kind of time constraints do you have? Do you need to have a flight that leaves after or before a certain time? 
  4. These questions developed me into deciding to drive to Vegas instead of fly.
  • Check out Groupon or other deal websites for the area you are visiting. We did this for San Diego a few years ago and got some good restaurant deals
  •  Save everywhere you can! The little things add up. For example -- breakfast. Now when we travel (even when we fly) -- I make us stop at a grocery store when we arrive so we can get an assortment of healthy snacks to keep in the fridge. I will keep fruit, cliff bars, greek yogurts to have as breakfast. You can end up burning about $20 on breakfast for 2.
  • Are you driving to your destination? Instead of stopping at Subway on the way...pack sandwiches or premake salads! I know this sounds super-cheapo of me. But once again, I'd rather save that $$ for vacation fun.
  • Research, research, research! I always have a list of the top restaurants, when/where happy hours are happening, good walking/running/hiking trails, and hot spots to see. 
  •  Hit up several different happy hours and order a small appetizer at each place (i.e. in San Diego we did oyster shooters @ one restaurant, shared fish taco at the next, shared a sushi roll at the 3rd) -- You got to try 3 different restaurants, during their discount priced happy hour. This is so much better than ordering one entree at one place!
  • Pay with cash. This seriously helps us manage spending and reduces that guilt feeling. Make a budget before your trip, and withdraw your cash -- it takes away the stress of "constantly spending money" on vacation. Then you feel like your trip is already paid for by the time it's started! 
  • Remember - walking/hiking/running along a beautiful area of your destination is always free!
What are your methods that you've used for vacationing on a budget? I love traveling a lot -- so in order to make many mini trips must save somewhere! ;-)


Marlys said...

I never imagined you would be so organized and am impressed by your ideas to save money! Does Ryan have a hand in these plans? Hmmm, it seems to me he must as I know he is a budget planner, but I'm happy his traits are being passed on to you! I hope you have a lovely experience in Vegas! I've never been there, and really don't have it on my "bucket list" but do take pictures to share if you can!

Lisa from Lisa's Yarns said...

First off, it really bothers me that anyone is making you feel bad about the trips you have taken. It has not even remotely crossed my mind to think that they are indulgent, especially knowing you spent most of the first 5 months of the year apart. People need to back the heck off and mind their own business. I know those comments are from the jealousy of others, which is annoying because we all make choices in our lives.

End rant. Sorry it just bugs me that anyone would try to make you feel bad about making the most of your time together!

I have done a lot of traveling and have gotten good about doing it on a budget. If possible, I try to get a place with a kitchen so I can make breakfast. Besides that, I just try to really budget for the trip ahead of time so that I can indulge in nice dinners and starbucks coffee and whatever else I fancy!

Enjoy Vegas!!

Marlys said...

And I agree with Lisa about people making comments to you about your travels, as most of them are related to his "military training" and you two do deserve time away for yourselves! Don't ever make excuses for that. I never ever make comments to people about their traveling, or purchases as I hate envy!