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How to Take an Adventurous Vacation Without Spending Much

Updated on July 11, 2015


The word "vacation" is often thought of as a temporary leisure surrounded by luxuries in some far-off and very different place. However, vacations can come in a variety of sorts that best suit your needs. Many of us cannot afford such extravagant vacations and some do not even desire the typical vacation. No matter what your particular choice is for an ideal vacation, this article will help to reduce your costs without ruining your expectations. All you need to have is the courage and the curiosity of an adventurer.

There are five big financial costs of every vacation that will be reviewed: Travel, room, dining, entertainment, and shopping. Before going on your planned vacation, take account of about how much money you want to spend overall, and how much you will spend in each category. If you prefer cozy travel, go big on flight tickets; but, adjust accordingly how much you will spend on the other categories. Below, I give a variety of ways to cut costs for your dream vacation.

1. Travel

Travel can be one of the most costly areas of any vacation. But, here are some tips to reduce such crazy costs. First, you must plan ahead. Plane, bus, and cruise tickets will skyrocket the longer you wait to buy them. Not only try to buy tickets quick, but also compare several companies in order to get the best prices.

Also, if you are looking for the cheapest alternative way of travel, you need to compare them. For example, if you live on the west coast of the U.S. and you want to travel to the east coast, a road trip may even cost more than a plane ticket. I have even found some bus tickets to be more expensive then plane tickets to the same destination. In other words, you never know which form of travel will be cheapest. That is why it is necessary to compare and contrast all the plausible/relative ways of travel.

It is important to make the form of travel fit with your schedule. If you need to travel a long distance but can only take a couple days off, you will be stuck with a plane trip. However, if you have a whole summer free, a road trip might be ideal for you. Never pick your travel method without first taking to account the amount of time you have for a vacation.


A big problem with finding a cheap room for a vacation is that people often limit their searches to hotels. Yet, there is always a variety of options for places to stay at. One of the cheapest options is to book a bed in a hostel. However, hostels can be creepy to some who do not like sharing a room with several strangers. Like I said though, it takes courage to have an adventurous vacation.

Another option is to go and search on craigslist for the area which you plan on vacationing. Craigslist allows you to easily check who might need a roommate for his or her apartment. It would be rather easy to organize a deal for you to stay there for a few days and you can likely haggle out a spectacular price.

If you are set on having your own private and secure room though, go for a motel. They may not be nearly as classy as hotels, but this is a guide to a frugal vacation after all. Booking a hotel is, in my opinion, the number one most expensive cost of any vacation. So, try your best to lower your standards and you will most likely be happy with whatever alternative option you choose.


Yes, I already told you to avoid hotels and now I am going to tell you to avoid restaurants. You may be thinking, "Who is this monster!?" Before you jump to conclusions that I was raised in a barn, hear me out. Restaurants waste time that could be spent sight-seeing or enjoying your vacation spot. Additionally, restaurants give you such giant servings of food that you eat so much you feel too tired and lazy to make much out of your vacation. I mean, fine dining is ridiculous. Is it worth it to spend $20 on a single meal three times every day you spend on a vacation? If cost is your biggest constraint, restaurants will surely cut your vacation short.

In order to get the food you need without going overboard on price, I would recommend focusing on grocery stores and fast food. Snacks such as trail mix or fruits are good to eat throughout the day and will not stop you for very long while out on your vacation. Similarly, fast food is not called such for no reason, although it is not as healthy or cheap. The good thing about fast food though is that it fills you up with tons of calories. And, when you are out on vacation and walking about or playing on the beach, a high calorie intake can be a very good thing.


Unlike the previous categories, costs in entertainment can realistically be nonexistent. Free entertainment varies from events, museums, art galleries, hikes, beaches, etc. In order to make the most out of the entertainment aspect of your vacation, make sure to plan ahead. Look at the website of the city you decide on going to and check what events they offer. And, ensure that you know where the must-see places are before you leave.

If you decide on spending money for entertainment, try your best to pick a form of entertainment that is not offered where you are from. The point of going on a vacation elsewhere is to do and see things that you would not normally. Why see a movie on a vacation when that movie can be seen any other day of the year? Instead, seeing certain plays or exhibits gives you unique experiences that you could not do in your hometown. So, overall, free entertainment rules and only pay for entertainment when it is unique to the place.


As with entertainment, I suggest that you only buy things that you cannot buy in your hometown. Shopping can lead to a ton of debt on a vacation. It is necessary to have a set limit of money on shopping before you go out and try to buy the world. Don't let your addiction to shop make excuses or justifications to go over your set amount. Stay strong and try to limit yourself to mementos or shops you could not find where you live. If you follow these rules, shopping will not get the best of you and your wallet.

You Cannot Buy Happiness

When you are planning your vacation, the most important thing to know is that you cannot buy happiness. In fact, some of the most thrifty vacation activities can end up being the most satisfying. Do not get discouraged by the small amount of available money you have on reserve. A wonderful vacation is possible for everyone as long as you plan it right and have some self-control. I hope this information has helped you and I would enjoy some thrifty vacation ideas in the comments.


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