How I Travel Without Blowing My Budget

One of the most frustrating things for me since my journey began to get my finances in order has been watching Facebook posts of those around me taking glamorous vacations. I really want to be happy for my friends and peers, but I can’t help but get that twinge of jealousy and bitterness. We have worked so hard to get where we are that I just can’t imagine spending four of five thousand dollars for a little fun in the sun. On the other hand, you can really lose it if you never take any time away. There are a lot of different ways to travel for less than the average person. Some of them can even be really nice to make the best of your situation.

 

I was invited to go with some friends on a trip to a beautiful lodge in the Smoky Mountains. When I started asking about prices, I couldn’t believe what I was hearing. For four days in the mountains, they were talking about spending about $2,000-$2,500 a couple.  My last car only cost me $5,000 and I will probably be able to drive it for the next five years.  I obviously declined to go on their trip even though it sounded really nice. It did give me the bug to do a little research.  I started looking online for affordable cabin rentals. At first, the only thing I found were over the top cabins that I wouldn’t have known what to do with. I then found a state park website. I found beautiful cabins on state park property that rented for less than $250 for a three-day weekend including cleaning fees

Cabin rentals are one of the best values in my opinion. I ended up renting was on a lake with plenty of privacy.  It had a fireplace, kitchen, two bedrooms with comfortable beds, and flat screen televisions. Outside, it had a screened in porch with Adirondack chairs, a fire pit, a barbeque grill, and a large picnic table. We had an absolutely fantastic weekend, all for less than $400 including food, lodging, gas and everything. I would highly recommend looking at your local state park websites to see if you can score some great cabin deals. It sure beats paying top dollar at a chain hotel. If you do book a hotel, make sure you get the best rates and rewards on hotels.

If you prefer a little fun in the sun, I have a friend that takes a week-long trip to the beach every year and spends less than $500.  There are a variety of beach campsites up and down the east coast.  My friend goes to a campsite that has individual sites that include personal electrical outlets powerful enough to run a small house, your own water supply, your own fire pit and every site comes with a small picnic table.  There is also a large shower room divided for men and women. If you own an RV or trailer, you can even hook up for $35 a day. Camping is one of the most affordable ways I have found to travel. It is more for the more adventurous at heart but it can lead to some great savings.

Doing your research and shopping around is the biggest thing I have done to score some great deals. Talking with others on how they travel has also led me to some other great finds that I would not have gotten on my own. Keeping an open mind has also been helpful. There is definitely some major money to be saved if you re willing to do a little research to find the best travel deals.

# VISITING BLUE LAGOON, ICELAND

The Blue Lagoon may be the most iconic place you can go in Iceland, and is deservedly a must see!  It was our last stop on our way back to the airport, and it was the perfect cap to our entire Icelandic vacation.

Basically, the Blue Lagoon is a humongous hot tub located in the middle of field of lava rock.  The spa is heated by lava pushing up from the center of the earth. The milky blue water is not a photographic trick, but is what actually happens when geothermal energy helps heat and enrich the water.

The water is enriched with silica, blue green algae, and mineral salts.  These ingredients help clean, exfoliate, nourish, and soften the skin (all while you are relaxing in the heavenly warm water).  While soaking, many visitors make silica mud masks to give themselves facials.

We soaked for hours, but unfortunately had to head back to the airport. It was the perfect way to relax after days of trekking around the island, and before a long flight home.  Blue Lagoon well worth the money (about $40 USD per person), even if you are passing through Iceland on a layover (the spa is only 20 minutes from the airport).

-Claire

 

 

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