Do you have a huge craving to adventure out but your fluctuating bank account reminds you that the only place you can afford to go to is your job and home? Or are you stingy with your money and don’t have the time to act like an Instagram influencer? If you happen to be both like me then I have some tips on how you can travel without having to break your bank account. I like to think that California is the best state to live in (biased opinion, so please don’t @ me ) other than California’s expensive housing issue and an overcrowded population, California has a lot to offer if you really think about it. Cities with great art and food, diverse landscape, you can even go surfing and skiing in the same day! So if you live in California, you have a lot of options when it comes to exploring. However, this list doesn’t only apply to Californians. Wherever your home may be, I am sure there are still places you haven’t seen yet and new cities you haven’t explored.
1. Travel with a group of friends and/or family
Not only will this make your trip 10000x better because you are making memories with your loved ones, but this is also an important necessity when traveling on a budget because you can split the costs with your friends or family. Just make sure that you and your group go over and plan on what will be split. Whether that be a rental or an Airbnb. Another major important tip is to make sure that the people you are traveling with have $$$😬.
Like I mentioned in my caption, my siblings are my favorite people to travel with because they got me covered whether I have $ or no $! That’s what family is for anyways haha!
2. National Parks and Scenic Spots are even more fun when they’re free
Who says you have to spend money to see the most beautiful parts of the world!? Okay..well maybe you do have to for the greatest monuments and world wonders BUT there are some places that are completely free or have a low cost that you can visit. You just have to really and I mean reeeaalllyy look. For instance, if you live close to a large city this is a perfect place to go and explore places for free. Walking around cities, you are always bound to see something new whether that be street art or great architecture and that is the best thing about cities, there will always be something new for you to see. With that being said, if you want to avoid all the pricey tourist traps please do! You are not missing out! I regret spending $40 on a colorful ice cream museum tour that lasted about 30mins and it wasn’t that great. You know what I could have bought with $40? Maybe splurge on the prettiest foodie spot instead!
However, if you hate the city like my boyfriend does, there are so many scenic nature spots and botanical gardens you can visit that are free as well. Some of the best parks may not always be free but will for sure be affordable. I like to find nature spots and beautiful parks off of Instagram. I simply search my state or whatever location I am in and see what cool spots people like to go to! I found the Ho’omaluhia Botanical Gardens in Hawaii this way. This place was breathtakingly beautiful! Oh, and free!
3. Timing is everything
Obviously, this tip is a no brainer. If you plan on traveling a bit further than a few hour drive or places that require you to take a short distance flight to somewhere, always plan ahead with costs. For flights, look ahead 4 to 5 months in advance if you want to find a flight that fits your budget. What Justfly.com did for me is what Hydro flasks did for college students everywhere (the ones who needed a bigger water intake to balance out their sleep deprivation and alcohol consumption)- Changed their freaking lives!! You can also try searching from different airports to depart from. Some airports are cheaper than others. For instance, I found that Oakland airport has cheaper flights than San Jose and San Francisco. If you know Oakland, then you know why it’s cheaper!
For families flying with toddlers and want to know how I did it, please read it here🙂
4. Save your phone from roaming
When I first went to Australia and endured that horrible 13-hour plane ride while I was pregnant, the first thing I wanted to do of course was to rant dramatically about the 13-hour plane ride to my boyfriend! Having pregnancy brain, I completely forgot to turn my roaming off. So my 5-minute call added an extra $200 to my phone bill. Yay! So learn from my stupidity and buy a sim card! I’m not sure about every other country but Vodafone, a cell phone company, was available for me in Fiji and Australia. They had a sweet $30 sim card plan that gave me unlimited wifi where ever I was in the country. I highly recommend doing that instead of relying on your hotel’s slow wifi.
5. Eat at home!
You know how everyone says that a great way to save money is to cook your own meals at home and to try not to eat out as much? Yeah well, the same rule applies when you’re on vacay! I’m not saying that you shouldn’t totally eat out, just maybe not every night but if you aren’t staying any longer than a week and used tip 3 by planning ahead to save then go for it! Take as many foodie pics as you want to make your Instagram followers wish they were eating alll the good travel food you’re eating. I saved a ton of money in Fiji by shopping at our nearby market. Since USD doubles in Fiji, my $200FD groceries ended up being around $94USD. Wish I had a picture to show the amount of food that was bought but just believe me when I say that traveling with a grouchy toddler that can only be calmed with food required this mommy traveler to have food on her at all times! So you bet I had to buy a lot to prepare for the tantrums to come. “Here! Eat some Bongos!” is one of the common phrases I said at least once a day with her 🙄
Now stop daydreaming and start planning!
“You get what you pay for” is what my boyfriend always says when I offer a more frugal option but ends up picking the extravagant route cause we’re just opposites like that. But honestly, he is absolutely right! You get what you give. I just believe that the cheaper route isn’t always bad and there really is nothing wrong with finding a cheaper alternative to save money. Self-care is important especially when you’re young and living in a competitive social media crazed society and guess what? Traveling is a form of self-care! You not only find the beauty in other places but also the beauty in the memories you made in the fun you had. When you’re looking back on your happy memories, you won’t be thinking about the money you lost but the time you spent to gain what made you happy. In the end, it isn’t about how much money you have, it’s all about how you can make the best out of what you have.