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Great Alternative Budget Vacation Ideas

While many of us dream of traveling the world it’s not always feasible, even for those with the best of intentions. But while you might not have a lot of time or money, luckily there’s more than one way to see the world. Travel is…

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While many of us dream of traveling the world it’s not always feasible, even for those with the best of intentions. But while you might not have a lot of time or money, luckily there’s more than one way to see the world. Travel is simply the art of going somewhere new and different and exploring everything the place has to offer. It doesn’t matter if you have two days, two weeks, or two months. There are many ways to get on the road and see the world, so here are some budget ways to travel and explore even if you are cash-strapped or time-poor:

 

Be a local tourist – How often do you visit the tourist sites in your own city? Hardly ever, right? We always put it off until tomorrow, because when we live in a city, there is always a tomorrow. If you’re short on time and money, there’s no better way to spend some free time than to wander your own city. No matter what its size, it has a number of wonders just waiting to be explored. When you become a local tourist, check out of your house and into a hotel, hostel, or guesthouse. It’s important to get out of your familiar environment, because if you stay home, you’ll find something to do around the house and create excuses for why you can’t sightsee. Moving to a different location can help give you that feeling of adventure, excitement, and unfamiliarity. Moreover, be sure to go to your local tourism office and get a city tourism pass. These cards allow you to see a wide range of local attractions for free or reduced prices and can be your way to see your local sites on a budget. They aren’t just for outsiders!

Travel regionally – Travel brings to mind faraway and exotic destinations. Because of that, few people look in their own backyard for adventure, but it offers just as many places to travel. Exploring your own region is an underrated and often overlooked aspect of travel. So you don’t have to fly across an ocean to explore the world. Head to the bookstore, buy a regional guidebook, and see what there is to see in your area. Your backyard holds as many possible travel destinations as does a country half a world away.

Go to National Parks – There’s almost always a park nearby and spending a few days with nature is not only good for your wallet but also good for your soul. Camping, after all, costs very little money. Camping fees in national parks are as little as $15 USD per night in the United States, $15-40 CAD in Canada, $30-60 AUD in Australia, and $17-22 NZD in New Zealand. And in many places in Japan and Europe (especially Scandinavia), you can camp on public lands for free. Additionally, you go camping stocked with all your own supplies and accommodation so you don’t have to worry about spending lots of extra money. Your food bill can be whatever you spend on groceries and nothing more. You don’t need to love camping to spend time in the national parks, either. Luckily, many parks provide cabins.

Book a last minute cruise – Cruise lines always offer incredible last-minute deals. No ship’s captain wants to leave with half the cabins empty. If you wait until the last minute, you can find some really amazing deals as cruise lines scramble to find passengers. Plus, cruise operators always throw in some on-board amenities, free upgrades, and cash vouchers to sweeten the deal. After you book, keep an eye out on prices, because if they drop, you can often call your travel agent or the cruise company itself to get a partial refund or vouchers to use for dining and alcohol on the boat.

Think outside the box – Travel counter to the prevailing trend. If people are going in the summer, you go in the spring or winter. Skip the popular destinations and head off the beaten path a bit. It might not be the most ideal time to go or your favorite destination, but thinking of unusual places to go and visiting in the off-season are going to save you a lot of money.

Book a last-minute tour – Just like cruises, tours are best booked last-minute. Tour companies need to fill the seats because once that trip departs, they still have the same costs. Why are tours so cheap last-minute? Well, think about how people plan vacations. You get the time off work, you book your vacation, you buy your flight, and you go. Since people pre-book, prices are higher in advance because these companies understand booking patterns and then price accordingly. As departure time nears, companies know people aren’t likely to turn up and book on departure day, so they sweeten the price to increase bookings. So take the time off work, wait until the week before, see what’s cheap, and then go.

Become a house sitter – Accommodation can eat into the cost of a trip big-time. A way around that is to stay somewhere for free. A unique way to overcome this is to house-sit for someone while they are on vacation. You get free accommodation, a kitchen to cook in, and the chance to explore a destination in depth. It’s a pretty unique way to travel and one that a lot of world travelers take advantage of. You can even do this in your own region too, to cut down on transportation costs.

Grab a cheap flight – Nowadays, you don’t have to guess where the cheapest flight from your home would be. You can look up a whole list of flights using a site like Momondo or Google Flights. With those sites you can type in “(the closest airport to you)” for your departure city and “everywhere” for your destination. Then a list of the cheapest flights appears in front of your very eyes, so you can choose where to go within your budget.

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Travel

Don’t Break The Bank When You Travel

Check out these great money saving tips so you don’t go broke taking your next vacation. 

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There’s really no way around it: traveling is expensive. On top of the obvious charges like flights and hotels, there will always be the little daily expenses that you didn’t fully prepare for when you were preparing for your trip. But the last thing you want to do is just not think about it and throw money around like a madman. There are definitely still ways to save money while traveling. And here they are!

THE TUESDAY RULE

I have to admit, I didn’t even really know about this “rule” before I started writing this article. But, for the most part, the cheapest flights of the week are almost always on a Tuesday. So, if you can, try to schedule all your flights on Tuesdays and Wednesdays. This can dramatically lower the cost of your vacation.

DON’T BOTHER WITH HOTELS

Thanks to rental services like Airbnb and VRBO the hotel industry has really taken a hit. And prices have gone way up because of it. So, no matter how bad we may feel about their declining business, they’re just not the best option anymore. You can find a great deal with all the service and amenities you need from one of the vacation rental sites. There are even a few sites that deal in “house-swapping” where you basically just stay in each other’s homes during simultaneous vacations and don’t have to pay a thing!

BOOK DIRECTLY THROUGH THE AIRLINE

Many of the flight booking sites like Expedia or Travelocity actually don’t offer as many options as are available to you if you book through the airline. There are other services like Google Flights and Skyscanner that find the cheapest flights being offered by the airlines, and then you can just contact the airline yourself and book those specific flights. It’s a little extra work, but it can end up saving you more money than you think.

A LITTLE SPONTANEITY NEVER HURT ANYONE

Sure, doing your homework and planning ahead can most certainly help you save money on a vacation. But sometimes there are last minute deals made available when airlines are just trying to fill out their flights. So if you have a favorite airline, sign up for the mailing list. This way you’ll know when they are offering really cheap flights. And if you’re in the mood to just get out town regardless of where you’re going, this is a really cheap and fun option.

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Stocking Stuffers For Kids Who Love To Travel

If you’re a parent with kids who love to travel, here are some great stocking stuffer ideas to make sure your next vacation is a huge hit!

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Traveling as a family can be wonderful. It’s a great way to get closer as a family and create memories that will last a lifetime. But it’s always tricky with the kids! Sometimes it seems like you’re constantly walking on eggshells just waiting for one of them to decide they’re not having fun and promptly throw a loud and public tantrum.

So what better way to keep them calm and having fun than gifts! So this Christmas season, fill your kids stocking with some of the awesome travel-oriented gifts that will surely keep them happy for months to come!

FIREFLY FLASHLIGHT

First and foremost, this is just an adorable flashlight. It looks like a little firefly! So clever. But it’s also great for the camper kid in the family. Some kids just love sleeping under the stars or in a tent outdoors. So having a flashlight is key. And giving your child their very own flashlight is a cool way to make them feel important and independent.

RAINBOW WATERCOLORS MOVE ACTIVITY TRACKER WATCH

Just like with the flashlight, giving your child a watch is a great way to make them feel important, independent, and more like an adult than a child. Especially as it tracks steps taken, distance traveled, and sleep time. Just like mom and dad’s fit bits! Plus this watch just looks so cool. They’ll certainly love it.

GOPRO HERO

This may not feel like the best stocking stuffer for your children, but they’re so easy to use and can be really fun for your kids. It’s waterproof so it’s perfect for goofy fun at the pool, lake, or beach. And if your kid is into biking, skateboard, and the like, this is the perfect stocking stuffer as it can be easily attached to their helmet and help them make awesome compilations of their adventures.

They are a little expensive though. So this is definitely for the kid that has been really good this year.

COZYPHONES

It’s amazing that these awesome headphones aren’t a much bigger deal. They’re basically just adorable and cozy headbands that also have headphones in them! Brilliant idea right? They keep your child’s head cozy and warm, allow them to express themselves by wearing some wacky, and keeps them distracted and comfortable because they’re listening to their favorite music! It doesn’t get much better than that.

TRAVEL SPIROGRAPH

I don’t know about you, but I used to love spirographs! They’re so much fun and great time killer. So if you’ve got a long flight or road trip ahead of you and you’re worried about your kids not having fun, these are a great stocking stuffer. Also, as a creative release, it’s a great mental exercise and obviously a better use of their time than just watching that movie they’ve already seen a hundred times before on a tablet.

TRAVEL BINGO

This travel Bingo set is another great time-spender on long trips. It’s extremely simple but extremely fun. As you see any of the things pictured on the card, you flip down the marker. Then, once you have a straight line; BINGO! And just like with the travel spirograph, it forces your children to be more active and use their minds, which is always a huge plus.

 

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Travelers! Never Leave Home Without These 5 Essential Travel Items

Traveling can be extremely stressful and uncomfortable. These five items will help make your traveling experience an easy one.

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Everyone loves (and needs) a good vacation every now and again. Getting out of town and exploring new areas is good for the soul. But the actual traveling part can be extremely stressful and uncomfortable. A lot of people are so stressed out by it that they don’t even bother traveling at all. But, have no fear, help is here! Check out these five must-haves for any and all travelers.

 

SLIDER SANDALS

This may seem simple and not all that worth it, but they can make that terrible security check process so much easier. No more untying and retying your shoes. No panicking that you’re holding up the line as you do so. Just slip these bad boys on and off and you’ll be through that line in a breeze. Also, as long as your comfortable in your socks in front of strangers, going shoeless while you’re on the plane feels great!

PACKING CUBES

This one is for my fellow OCD types out there. I can’t tell you how many times I’ve been lugging my suitcase around just thinking about how all that wonderful folding I had done was completely going to waste. But getting packing cubes like these completely changed my traveling experience for the better. You can keep everything organized and separated perfectly, while also maximizing your luggage space! Even the laziest and most unorganized of us can benefit from these beauties.

PASHMINA WRAP

This might not be as necessary for any of you that run hot, but it can be a lifesaver for those of us that can’t stand how cold airplanes get! I don’t know why those overhead vents have to blast cold air at us like they do, but I’ll tell you right now I do not like it. So having a light wrap like this that is easy to keep in your carry on can make the flight so much more comfortable.

SKIN MIST

Traveling is a messy business. How many times have you gotten off a plane and felt like your face had never been dirtier or greasier? I’d say it happens to me about, oh… every single time I’ve ever stepped on the plane. Having a skin mist like this one on hand to freshen up does wonders for your skin and your mood. Everyone deserves to stay fresh! Throw this baby in your bag and thank me later.

PORTABLE CHARGER

I think we’ve all been in the apocalyptic situation where I phone dies. It truly feels like the end of the world. How will I call or text people? How will I call a Lyft? How on Earth will I post an Instagram?! Well keep one of these little lifesavers with you and you will never have to experience that terrible fear again. If you get a good one, it can fully charge a dead iPhone up to five times. Trust me. You need one of these, like, yesterday.

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