Posted: 12 March 2018
People love to get away from the everyday grind and head out on a trip, but no one loves to pay an arm and a leg for it. Even cheap weekend getaways seem further and further out of reach.
That is unless you know how to cut corners.
It is possible to travel while still living on a budget. And you don’t have to save up several paychecks to make it happen.
Don’t believe me? Well, get ready to grab your suitcase, my friend. These six tips will make a believer out of you in no time.
1. Let’s Drive, Not Fly
It may be tempting to head to the airport on your next trip, but if you truly want a cheap weekend getaway, look into going someplace within driving distance.
Those sale airfares may look shiny and great at first, but once you get down to the fine print and tally up all those added fees, they quickly lose their luster. Not to mention the additional cost of a rental car or shuttles once you arrive at your location.
If you need help deciding, use a Fly or Drive Calculator to figure out which option will be the most cost-effective for you.
And if you want to save even more money when driving, consider a road trip with friends. You can divide up the cost of gasoline among the group!
2. Stay Comfortably, Not Pricey
Research will be your best friend when it comes to figuring out the cheapest option for lodging. Believe me, it’s time well invested.
When looking at hotels, check out sites like Momondo or Expedia for discounted prices. And when you do find a room at a price you like, don’t just stop right there. Go directly to that hotel’s website, sometimes the hotel will offer a lower price if you book directly from them.
Airbnb can be another great option. A majority of the time it is cheaper than a hotel, can give you more space, and also give you the option to cook your own meals there – which is another money saver that we’ll chat about in a minute.
And remember that group of friends you’re road-tripping with? How about sharing a room with them and divide up the cost of that as well.
Just make sure you don’t invite the friend that snores.
3. Don’t Put Your Money Where Your Mouth Is
It’s easy to overlook just how much the cost of food can add up when you’re on a trip. Dining out here… a quick snack there… the costs start to pile up, turning those cheap weekend getaways into a budget nightmare. Especially if you’re with someone that eats A LOT.
An easy way to cut the cost of food is to bring your own, or shop at a local grocery store.
Bringing your own water bottle also eliminates the need to buy drinks throughout the day… and helps get in your daily water intake. That’s a win-win!
If you do eat out, avoid going to the expensive touristy areas. Instead, head into one of the quieter, local neighborhoods. You’ll not only find cheaper restaurants and cafes but a unique experience you just won’t find in the tourist traps.
You can also try mixing it up a bit. Have breakfast at your hotel, lots of them offer free continental breakfasts or have a mini-fridge you can keep breakfast items in. Then opt for a cheap fast food lunch and splurge for a nicer meal for dinner.
4. Walk It Out
Getting around an unfamiliar place can be overwhelming, especially if you’re driving. If you want to avoid headaches like traffic in New York City or ruining a ski trip with a car accident in Utah, I suggest walking.
And the best part about it is – it’s free! You can’t get any better than that.
If you’re able to stay close to the sights you plan on checking out, walking is a great way to save money on transportation and explore the area you are in.
Or if you have a bit further to go, public transportation is your best bet. A subway pass or bus ticket is so much cheaper than paying for gasoline and parking fees.
5. Entertainment That Doesn’t Break You
Sight-seeing can be expensive, but if you’re able to be flexible with the times you visit attractions, you may save a lot of money on the price of an admission ticket. Be sure to check if the attraction you’re going to offers cheaper tickets if you enter later in the day. Arriving after peak hours would cut a good chunk of the price off your ticket.
Plus everyone that entered that morning will likely be leaving by then, leaving fewer crowds for you to deal with.
If there are several places you want to see on your trip, check if a bundled pass is available. A lot of cities offer a CityPass, or something similar, discounting the admission tickets to each attraction included in the bundle.
And don’t forget to visit any free museums or art galleries!
6. Travel Points Are as Good as Cash
If you want to make your getaways even cheaper, look into getting a credit card that offers travel points towards the cost of any travel expenses. This could save you more than you realize!
When you use your card for everyday purchases, you begin to rack up a bunch of travel points. Those points can then cover the purchase of any hotel, airfare, train ticket, and so much more. Certain cards will even cover the cost of admission tickets to top sightseeing attractions.
I know I don’t have to tell you that those are the major chunks of your travel budget – so imagine if you didn’t have to shell out a cent for them!
Now that would be the ultimate cheap weekend getaway.
Conclusion: Cheap Weekend Getaways Are Entirely Possible
Flexibility and research is key when booking your trip.
Traveling doesn’t have to be expensive, and now you know how to book your next cheap weekend getaway like a boss.
Check out more travel tips on our blog!