Those who have traveled know, that all it takes in one trip for you get become wanderlust, and it will forever change your life.
The key in being able to travel, and to travel inexpensively are two things (1) making the time, not making excuses for why you can’t go somewhere and (2) budgeting any liquid funds to make traveling a possibility.
Let’s start with making the time… the easiest way to travel without an excuse, to start, is to do what you can drive to. I live in Ann Arbor, Michigan so I am lucky enough to be surrounded by a lot of mini-cities and to be near an international airport that is a HUB for Delta. That said, where ever it is you live, start near. That’s right take out that handy dandy map and start looking at near by cities you’ve heard of and never seen, no matter how small. Refrain from making excuses on what’s too far, weekend trips can be done with up to 8 hour drive (each way) comfortably. My opinion. Plus, you can always extend your stay longer or take more than one weekend trip to/from the same places if it’s a place you don’t think you can tackle in one visit. And to really make this work, at least for me when I started, was to schedule one trip a month.
For me these places included: Chicago, Columbus, Toledo, Lansing, Grand Rapids, Mackinac Island, Pittsburg, Cleveland… and as you start tackling these places you likely will start passing by places that you wouldn’t mind exploring. And, to hell with it really… if you’re on a trip and a different journey decides to happen instead, go with it! The goal, inevitably, is to see all you can see in a lifetime….. so why have rules?
To do these trips cheaply (I’ll have more detailed blogs later on each of components of this) traveling in groups makes the costs more bearable. I am sure a lot of people, like myself, have a M-F 8-5p job, so traveling is really between the weekends and the vacation days. Although some of you have assumed I travel for employment due to the frequency, that rumor is just not true– again proof that traveling can be for anyone, and especially those like myself on a budget. On trips that take more than 3 hours to drive, I tend to stay the night and being able to split costs with people can significantly reduce travel costs. Not to say that you can’t travel solo, it’s certainly possible just requires more planning in advance to make the dreams work!
BTW, hotels are so 2000’s (hehe). People traveling now have options, that’s right the times have changed and it’s not all bad. We have Uber, Open Table (book dinner reservations), Air B&B, Groupon and trendy hostels all of these can be easily booked and at an inexpensive price. Having the standard of a Marriott or Holiday Inn to be on a good trip will really have to go out the window if you want to travel frequent, unless money is not an obstacle.
Have a little more money? And limited on time? Take an airplane. I strongly encourage doing the car journeys first because it allows you to vet out unnecessary costs before investing in more traveling. But when you’ve reached things to what you consider driving distance it’s time to get a sky miles account to the airline companies (most have free sign up reward plans) and start stalking their “junk” e-mails. These are hidden gems! Traveling via airplane is certainly cost effective if you live near major airports, Chicago O’Hare, NYC Kennedy, Detroit Metro, LAX, etc…. Traveling to other “major” cities allows the costs to go down for air flights because there frequent flights to these destinations and deals that are always being posted.
If you’re new to how to search for inexpensive flights, make a list of 5 places out of state you want to visit, log on to http://www.google.com/flights and punch in those places and save to start tracking flights. Start by putting a travel date 2 months out. What this will allow you to do is see what days of the week and times of the month that flights to that location change and then you can strategically plan your trip and not feel you were cheated if the prices drop. Using this website will also not directly hit one particular airline with multiple IP addresses, which they use to jack up the ticket prices if they see multiple people looking for the same flight. Hmmm… you see, they are smart! But be smarter!
These are some quick tips to get your started! If you want additional posts or have questions comment below or e-mail me at Jackie14Craig@gmail.com .
Thank you Tiere for your question that inspired this post!