I believe that vacations are good for the soul. There is nothing like being able to get away for at least a day or two (hopefully more) and just relax. Maybe seek some adventure that we have wanted to do. You set aside some money for your yearly vacations but there are times when a vacation just won’t fit in a tight budget. For whatever reason we find yourselves cutting back. Allow me to offer my Smart Frugal Vacation Tips. It is how we are able to cut loose a bit and rejuvenate our souls and enjoy quality time with cheap getaways.
I know people who have retired early and some who are working hard toward financial independence who struggle to take a vacation. Cheap getaways are better than no vacationing at all. You can take a smart fugal vacation and still have a blast. You just have to plan a bit and be open to hitting the road.
There is also Airport parking. Once you reach your destination there is either ground transportation or a rental car. All of this adds cost to a vacation.
Obviously flying is the only choice for a far off out-of-the-way vacation like to Hawaii or a different continent or country. However if you think you can’t afford a vacation then reconsider your destination and instead consider a Road Trip for a cheap getaway.
Smart Frugal Vacation Tips – It’s all about the open road.
Cheap Getaways: The Road Trip is the Frugal Way to Vacation
Obviously this requires that you have a reliable and maintained automobile. If it isn’t then make your destination closer to home. If you want to go far, then consider swapping or borrowing a car from a loving relative or awesome friend. Even renting a car can be done on the cheap.
Time and Distance:
Depending on the amount of time you want to vacation pick an appropriate destination. I prefer to leave early in the morning and drive a maximum of 10 hours. That way even if I push that limit, I still reach my destination early enough to enjoy it that day. If the destination is farther. I then pre-book a room or pick somewhere mid-trip where we have family or friends to crash with. Same for the destination (more on this below).
If you are traveling with a partner then consider trading off driving and sleeping. You can travel any length trip with only rest stops and not have to pay for a room. We have done that but I prefer enjoying the ride and stopping somewhere on those longer road trips. For me it is about enjoying another location on our way.
Pack a Cooler and some of your Reusable Shopping Bags:
Grab the biggest cooler you feel like carrying and have room for. This is a sure Smart Frugal Vacation Tip. We pack sandwiches and drinks. We take food that we can buy inexpensively at home including condiments, fruit, and any other food items we can pack in the cooler and the reusable shopping bags. When we stop we take it all into the room with us. We make fresh sandwiches when the time comes. The idea is to cut cost where you can. We still enjoy going out for some meals.
Pack a box of Zip-Lock bags:
We always ask for a doggy-bag for any of our leftovers at restaurants. But traveling with a Styrofoam, Paper bag, or small box container isn’t always going to cut it. When we stay at a hotel that offers breakfast we can grab some fruit and a bagel or two. We then use the bags to store them until our next meal.
Pre-book your Hotel/Motel:
If your destination doesn’t offer family or friends to crash with then pre-book your hotel. Doing so allows for discount hunting. I usually use Booking.com and see what deals I can find and try to select hotels that offer some kind of breakfast. I also look for rooms with a mini fridge and access to a microwave. Either in room or their common area. I also carefully read any offered reviews so I know what to expect. Face it, sometimes there is huge reason a hotel or motel will be overly discounted or inexpensive.
Doing this also allows you to know what your vacation cost will be before you leave. If I find a national chain hotel that I am interested in with Booking.com. I then will Google and check their corporate or direct website to see if I can beat it. I can check for any other discount offers they may have.
If the hotel offers free breakfast foods then we don’t need to pack those kind of meals. If they don’t then we know to bring breakfast items with us.
When you find that destination Hotels/Motels are too expensive to stay then this is your chance to pick different dates that may be cheaper or go somewhere else to vacation. I have had to do that and the disappointment of having to alter our vacation date or make our destination change to stay reasonably within the budget passes quickly. We still super-enjoy the cheap getaway vacation.
On the Road Entertainment:
If you are tiring of your same old music you can go to the library before your leave and pick up some new CDs or some audio books. We always find having fresh material makes the drive enjoyable. But I do like to have some of my favorite and familiar tunes with me. That way if I feel fatigue coming on I can sing along.
We should still all live our lives.
Just because we are on the journey to financial independence or already there living our retired life we still need to enjoy a vacation now and then even if it is only cheap getaways. When our budgets are tight, for whatever reason, a vacation should still be part of our plans. Just as long as it can be done financially responsible.
I hope these Smart Frugal Vacation Tips give you an idea of how you can squeeze a little money free to take a short break and set yourself free.