Thursday, December 12, 2013

Traveling on a Budget: The Four Keys

Travel is expensive. There's a multitude of costly variables that bar you from doing it more.

The only thing to do in San Diego when you're broke
Say you want to go from Austin to San Diego.

First there's a plane ticket, round trip, $350
Then there's a hotel for two nights, $130
You eat out for lunch and dinner your entire stay, $40

That's $520 just to sit in a hotel for two days. We haven't even factored in money for events, transportation, or souvenirs. Your floor is set pretty high, with the barrier for travel that high it may take a whole year just to save up for one vacation.

We need to lower your floor so you can travel farther and more often.

But how?
I separate all my costs into 4 variables: Lodging, Entertainment, Food, and Travel. Once I'm looking at all my expenses, I try to figure out how to save in every area. Every dollar saved equals more miles gained.

Lodging, Entertainment, Food, and Travel. (LEFT) 
(Auriel, I'm sure is laughing at how cheesy this post is)

Lets see how we can apply this to our previous example:

Cheap lodging
Instead of flying let's drive. In a compact car with good gas mileage thats only $250 (savings=$100)

We're going to find a free place to camp in Cleveland National Forest outside San Diego $0, then use Priceline the next night to book a room in town for only $40 for a total of $40 (savings=$90)

Instead of eating out, we're going to buy all of our food before hand and cook it ourselves at the campsite and in the hotel, $20 (saving =$20)

Altogether the entire trip now costs only $310, saving us $210 total! We could use that money to go whale-watching, eat at a fancy restaurant, or just save it for the next trip.

You can see how each change we make varied in it's overall effect but added up to a sizeable amount.

This segment called Traveling on a Budget will teach you how to save every chance you can, so you can go farther, see more, and spend less. We'll look at various ways to find cheap hotels, calculate whats the most efficient and fastest mode of travel, and learn how to cook food in almost every setting. If you're feeling adventurous, I can even show you why sleeping in your car is the best idea ever!
While all these things do sound fantastic, we always need to remember one thing:

You walk a fine line when trying to minimize your costs on vacations.  Sometimes saving money can be just as restrictive as showing up to a city with not enough money to do anything. You give up things in one place to gain them in another. You always have to evaluate if that’s alright with you.

It isn't always for everyone. Many times the changes will be light and even enlightening, but others will be drastically different than what you’re used to doing. It’s ok if you don’t feel comfortable, just don’t do it. I see every dollar saved as a mile farther I can travel.

If you were only able to save $15 on your whole trip because you weren’t comfortable sleeping in your car and decided you really wanted some fast food along the way, that’s fine. You just allowed yourself to go roughly 150 miles farther! That’s a meaningful increase in possible opportunities!

So go forth, travel, love, and enjoy.


1 comment:

  1. Love your blog, and yes I know about traveling on a budget recently. Makes life interesting and exciting in my book.