I have a secret to share with you. It's a big one, so pay close attention. It might even shock you. Are you ready for this jaw-dropping surprise?! YOU can afford to work with a travel agent. Who is the YOU I'm referring to? The everyday guy or gal. The one that works really hard to afford a vacation, but you still find yourself on a budget (for the purposes of this post, I recommend $2,000-$3,000 for a 5-7 day trip). You have a tiny bit of money to spend, and a long list of what you want to spend it on.
I'm here to help you! You don't need Expedia, Hotels.com or Priceline. I've got you covered! There is nothing wrong with having a budget. Especially when it comes to travel. I'm the first to tell you that you have to know what you can afford to spend in order to plan.
If you saw last week's post, you saw what planning a luxury vacation is all about. Today I want to cover the budget vacation. Stop making that face- you know, the one where you're not sure if this is a good thing or a bad thing. VACATIONING is a great thing!
First up- Transport. There are some great deals on flights if you are willing to vacation in an off -season. If you want to be spontaneous, we could have a great time finding the perfect trip for your price! I also recommend driving. This again will depend on where you are going and how long you have to get there, but gas is a steal these days, so it's a pretty budget friendly option. If the trip is beyond 4 hours from your home, renting a car keeps you from putting the wear and tear on your vehicle and makes it feel extra vacation-y!
Second- hotels! By my definition, a budget hotel will range from about $59-$199. I realize that is a pretty wide range, but location makes a HUGE difference on this.
Third- food! Budget vacation dining doesn't have to mean McDonalds every day! But it may not include a steakhouse every night either. My recommendation is $35-$55 per day, per person (there is a good reason Rachel Ray got famous for the $40 a day show!). This can usually get you 3 meals per day and one of those can usually be pretty good! Alcohol can be a budget buster, but for many, no vacation is complete without it! So, keep that in mind when budgeting. If you plan to drink, plan to have another line item for this. Usually, at least, $20 a day, per person. But if you really want to let loose and you like the fancy stuff... well, that'll cost you. Haha.
Here are some great destinations for the budget conscious traveler:
- Hiking! This usually means a few nights in a campground- which is about as cheap as it gets!
- Beach it! A beach vacation should be relaxing and low-key. You don't need to plan a ton of excursions because the beach is what you're there to enjoy! Splurge on a great place to stay, and then keep close by. Depending on the season, we might even be able to find you a steal on an all-inclusive destination.
- The 4-hour radius trip. Pick somewhere that you can get to relatively quickly, but offers a change in landscape and weather! For example- a North Florida traveler could get to South Carolina in about four hours.
- Small town trip. Find a destination that isn't known for their tourism, but has a ton to offer in terms of dining, activities and scenery.