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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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Guides

Save Big Bucks on Airline Tickets with these Tips

Let’s look at ways you can definitely save money off airfare and have the vacation of your dreams.

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Airline tickets have become so expensive that it’s beginning to limit where many of us can travel. Of course you can find cheap flights if you search hard enough or get lucky, but we can’t all gamble on that. Let’s look at ways you can definitely save money off airfare and have the vacation of your dreams.

Book early

This is the tried and true method to saving big bucks on airfare and will always be the way. Book early and you will be happy in the wallet region. It’s a fact that airlines like their planes booked early so they don’t have empty flights. It’s an advantage to both parties to book early. The airlines like it for obvious reasons and you like it because the rates are so affordable.

Its best practice to book at least 2 months in advance for domestic and 3-4 months for international travel. According to Airlines Reporting Corporation passengers on average saved up to 20 percent by booking 2 months in advance. That’s a nice chunk of change. They also reported a staggering 28 percent savings when booking international flights with at least 24 weeks advance notice.

Obviously we all can’t book that early, who are we…planners?

For the rest of us who aren’t super planners and like to live by the seat of our pants, here are some other saving options.  

 

Off-peak and cheap days

First you have to figure out when exactly the cheapest days to fly are and which times a year are cheapest.

Simple, search for your flight but check the entire month you want to travel, this will show you the price highs and lows.

On average Tuesday, Wednesdays and Saturdays are cheapest days of the weak to fly. The times of the month vary depending on time of year and season.

Its good to travel during the shoulder seasons, these are the times in between the high and low seasons. So early spring and late fall are great and cheaper times to fly.

 

Know the baggage rules

Saving bucks on your baggage is crucial to flying for cheap. A select few airlines will allow one or two checked bags for free but most charge for all bags. Some “discount” airlines actually charge for carry on bags as well. These “discount” carriers usually end up being the same price as other airlines after all the hidden fees.

Make sure your checked bag isn’t over the allowed weight restrictions, because that can add a hefty penalty fee. Many times a heavy bag fee can be up to $675 per bag, so check before you leave home or leave some extra room I your carry on in case you have to repack at the airport.

 

Fare alerts

Sign up for fare alerts form a certain airline or ticketing service like Kayak.com. These fare alerts may seem like an annoyance but in reality they can save you major bucks. Once you buy the tickets at an awesome price make sure you end the alert or you will continue to receive emails on a loop forever!

 

Off airports

You favorite airport is awesome, it’s close and convenient to get to, that’s why it’s usually more expensive to fly out of. Instead choose a secondary airport, maybe one that is farther out or smaller, often these have great deals on flights.

 

Hopefully you save some money on your flights so you can do many more fun activities on your upcoming vacation. Send pictures and let us know how much fun you had.

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Destinations

Most Beautiful Spring Vacation Destinations in the US

Are you looking to plan a spring break destination but wanted to stay away from the Frat boy party? Not everyone wants to wake up hungover with permanent marker drawn all over their faces and for those proud people, we have some beautiful places they can visit.   For those of us trying to enjoy the wonders of our country without being blackout drunk, search no more. Here are six awesome choices for travelers looking for beauty instead of the party. Check out the most beautiful destinations in America this spring.

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Are you looking to plan a spring break destination but wanted to stay away from the Frat boy party? Not everyone wants to wake up hungover with permanent marker drawn all over their faces and for those proud people, we have some beautiful places they can visit.   For those of us trying to enjoy the wonders of our country without being blackout drunk, search no more. Here are six awesome choices for travelers looking for beauty instead of the party. Check out the most beautiful destinations in America this spring.

 

Charleston, South Carolina

Charleston South Carolina is a great place to start any list of cute springtime cities. The cobblestone streets bring a real uniqueness to the city. You’ll feel like you stepped back in time with the vintage restored homes and moss covered trees. It feels like walking through a storybook here, you’ll fall in love for sure.

 

Ennis, Texas

This small Texas town is home to the most outstanding collection of wildflowers West of the Mississippi. The prairie here in spring erupts with purple and blue wildflowers and is truly remarkable. The small town is very open to tourism and actually keeps track of where the best flowers are, so check before you go.

 

The Grand Canyon

Springtime in the Canyon is the perfect time. The weather is great, not too cold and not too hot, just right for hiking and exploring. Officially the offseason or shoulder season, the Grand anyone is quiet this time of year. The lines are manageable and the parking lots are half empty. Take a donkey tour to the bottom or make a weekend of it and camp out near the flowing Colorado River. The hidden waterfall of the Grand Canyon is flowing super heavy now and the beautiful pool underneath is waiting to be swum in.

 

Holland, Michigan

The tulip fields of Holland Michigan are spectacular and so wonderfully majestic. If the views here don’t bring a tear to your eye then you aren’t truly appreciating the beauty. Each May, millions of tulips come into full bloom here and the annual Tulip Time Festival is raging. The town’s Dutch heritage isn’t lost as its architecture shines, with windmills and all.

 

Savannah, Georgia

Enjoy the Deep South before the heat and humidity of summer take over. Savannah is glorious during the springtime and tourists should play attention. The cute little city has plenty of Spanish moss and bright azaleas to make it so picturesque. The riverfront area is alive with tall ships and modern yachts cruising by.

 

Washington, DC

Every spring our Nation’s capital is covered in beautiful pink flowers as the Cherry Blossom trees bloom. Originally given to America as a gift from Japan, the Cherry Blossoms are planted all around the National Mall, which has all our monuments. The National Cherry Blossom festival happens the first weekend of bloom for these trees and is a spectacle to be seen. The city is alive with tourists and fun events for the entire family. Highlights include the cherry blossom parade and kite festival.

 

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Destinations

Best Architecture in the US by City

America is a country full of history and its cities show some serious architectural range. These 10 cities have awesome and unique architectural styles throughout them and have some pretty special buildings that should be visited. I compiled a list of cities in the US that have very unique architectural styles and interesting buildings.

 

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America is a country full of history and its cities show some serious architecture range. These 10 cities have awesome and unique architectural styles throughout them and have some pretty special buildings that should be visited. I compiled a list of cities in the US that have very unique architectural styles and interesting buildings.

 

Norfolk, VA

Norfolk Virginia is a port city that has been around since the 1600s. Neighborhoods with fancy and ornate plantation style estates are surrounded by dense city centers.   Very interesting row houses are typical here showing their rich history and beauty. Come for the near by Virginia Beach boardwalk and stay for the very inspiring Scope Arena. Hosting bands like the Grateful Dead and The Rolling Stones, the arena is stylish and futuristic looking.   Side note, the arena is built on a marsh and is slowly sinking at an average of 5 centimeters a year.

 

Las Vegas, NV

What is this “city” doing on this list? Well, Vegas is special because it has every style thrown together in a hodge-podge on the famous strip. Casinos are awesome and grandiose if they are anything. The newer buildings are so epic that even purists enjoy them.

 

Pittsburgh, PA

For a region that is so ruggedly beautiful the Steel city’s architecture actually matches the surrounding area pretty well. The downtown high-rises are spectacular and the Victorian homes on the North Side are eloquent. With tons of scenic vistas, the city has an excellent cityscape and skyline that’s pretty impressive.

 

Philadelphia, PA

The other side of the state of Pennsylvania, Philadelphia is known for eclectic styles and American history. From the Liberty Bell to Constitution Hall, Philly is full of Colonial American style. Check out Loews Hotel for an awesome architectural hotel.

 

New Orleans, LA

If it were up to just me, I’d put New Orleans at the top of the list. The Cajon city has so much rich history with French, Spanish, Creole, Caribbean and European influences. The French quarter may be the most popular among tourist but it’s the stereotypical shotgun homes Victorian mansions that really shine.

 

Charleston, SC

Populated by church steeples and classic row houses, Charleston is not your stereotypical architectural city. The downtown area is walk able and a dream for fans of cobblestone streets and a distinctly European feel.

 

Providence, RI

All you have to do is head to College Hill and hang around Brown University. The school has a rich history and beautiful buildings. With a mix of revolutionary war era homes to cape cod bungalows, Providence has plenty to look at.

 

Chicago, IL

After the Great Chicago Fire of 1871, Chicago had to switch from wood to metal. Gone were the stereotypical wooden row houses and replaced by huge steel behemoths. Chicago has an impressive skyline with so many tall skyscrapers. The bridges that cross the Chicago River are the real stars. You have so many drawbridges in the downtown areas that bridge fans can spend weeks here.

 

Savannah, GA

Come to Savannah for the perfectly maintained and preserved downtown neighborhoods. Houses look exactly like they did 200 years ago and are restored with amazing accuracy.

 

Buffalo, NY

The number one city on our list is Buffalo New York. The birthplace of American Architecture and Frank Lloyd Wright, Buffalo is a dream. Filled with beautiful old school architecture mixed with incredible forward thinking modern designs.

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