This is a guest post by Natalie over at Everything Finance. Everything Finance is a site about just that, everything related to finance. You can get information about investing, saving money, insurance, shopping, blogging, and making money online. Let me know if you would like to guest post on MMYW.
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.
Anne @ Unique Gifter says
Nice find with the cabin! That’s a great price. Having a traditional job, I now struggle with having to travel at peak times and the part that”s by far the most expensive is plane tickets. Previously, I could spread the cost of flights out over several weeks, but now it’s only over a few days.
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Thats a good tip. Thanks for commenting.
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It amazes me how willing people are to spend thousands on their holidays. For this summer, we have just booked a two week tour including Toulouse, Bordeaux, La Rochelle, Biarritz, Bilbao and Barcelona, with transport (flights and trains) and hotels for less than €300 each. Even with food, drink, etc, we expect to spend less than €500 each in total.
However, we know some people who spend that on a weekend away!
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Thats a great deal!
Kendal @HassleFreeSaver says
I have a friend from high school who always seems to be traveling — South America, Eastern Europe, everywhere. She even got married in Croatia. It’s tough not to feel jealous when I see her photos but I try to remind myself that if I really wanted that life, I could make it happen. I’m happy where I’m at and wouldn’t change a thing! I love your tips about saving on a fun weekend. I recently saved on airfare by separating a RT flight into two one ways and using accrued miles toward one leg (I didn’t have enough miles to cover a RT ticket). Saved $100
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I think you have a great perspective on thing. Best to be appreciative.
With travel, you really can spend as much or as little as you want. We spent $30k NZ for two for six months with a lot of time in expensive countries on a frugal but not shoestring budget. And then there are people who can blow that much in a month (a friend reckons she knows people who spent $20 in a monthlong holiday in SE Asia, which I even struggle to imagine! I guess if you spent a lot on partying….
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everyone is different I suppose. Thanks for commenting.
Tonya@Budget and the Beach says
Your friends sound like my friends. They just don’t seem to worry about money and maybe they don’t need to, but I do. I think there is a lot one can do with time and patience to do the research. That place sounds wonderful!
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It really was. it was so nice!
KK @ Student Debt Survivor says
I just got back from a trip to Mexico and I’ve totally been bitten by the travel bug. I’m hoping to plan a trip for this summer to Dublin (using airline miles from my credit card). With all of the websites like Vacation Rental by Owner it’s now so much easier to find affordable (and homey) places to stay.
Aja McClanahan says
I think that ratios should be considered here also. If you make $60K a year and spend $30k on vacation, yes that might be a bad idea. But if you have a household income of $500K a year, $30k is a relatively small part of your world. I think there should be a good balance between frugality and wealth building. Sometime we spend so much time trying to save money on things and it is quite possible that energy could have gone into finding ways to actually raise our income and standard of living. I am not saying we need to become corporate raiders lusting after mammon and worldly riches, but I think it is ok to have a goal of one day spending more that a few $$s on vacation (without over extending yourself of course.) Balance is key.
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