Not every vacation has to “break the bank” … Tips and tricks to budget vacationing!
Let me start by introducing myself… my name is Rebecca Barrett, and I’ve been an agent at CARE Travel for about 8 months now. I went to school for hospitality management, because jobs in hospitality allow me the flexibility to move around to different locations every few years, to really explore different areas and cultures. I consider myself a “young professional” which basically means I choose my jobs based on how much experience I will receive from the work, versus how much money I’ll make. What that also means is I don’t have very much disposable income to travel, and traveling is my passion… so I want to share the creative ways I travel on a budget!
When I was really little, every weekend my dad would help me set up the tent so I could camp in the backyard. I loved hearing the animals cooing as I fell asleep and being surrounded by fresh air. 25 years later I’ve graduated to actual camping (although some nights I still get the itch and set up camp outside our house).
You’d be surprised at how many state parks are in within driving distance from your home. Make sure to do some research, know if you need to make a reservation ahead of time, and be aware of other park information/policies. My husband and I frequent areas that have water so we can bring the canoe too. Once you are comfortable with local camping, you may consider some more intense backcountry camping like the boundary waters of Minnesota, to Glacier National Park, or even to Denali Park in Alaska. I’d suggest reaching out to a travel agent for these type of travels, as we can help set up transportation to these areas and ensure you are fully prepared with proper information, outfitter and potentially a guide that can arrange routes to maximize your time in the area.
My husband is an avid motorcyclist and I love to be outside – that said, we enjoy traveling to unique destinations on the bike; this allows us to experience the scenic routes from a whole new perspective. Last year we flew out to Phoenix and rented Harleys. We took a 5-day ride to/around Sedona and the Grand Canyon. Although we had a pre-set route, we loved the flexibility of having our own mode of transportation. During the days, we could stop as frequently as we wanted to, and were able to visit a ton of cute, local cafes and artisan shops along the road. We stayed at hotels that were centrally located, so in the evening we could walk to local restaurants and shops, rather than take a taxi. We loved this type of vacationing, because of the flexibility if offered and also ability to see so many new places in 5-days.
Many people assume they can’t afford to travel internationally, but with some guidance form your CARE Travel team, you may be surprised at how much value we can provide for this vacation, within your budget. First off, go for the all-inclusive route,so you can budget exactly how much you will be spending at time of booking. The key with this is understanding exactly what kind of all-inclusive you are booking.
There are SO many all-inclusive, which one is going to maximize your budget? ….That’s a surprising easy answer. You want to be sure you are booking a 4 or 5-star resort, as the Caribbean’s star ratings are much different than the USA. Compromising is key… not on star value, but on room type. Opt to choose a resort that has ample amenities, like multiple dining options, snorkeling and sailing included, top shelf liquor in your room, but book a room in the less desirable part of the resort. You will still get exceptional service, cleanliness, and amenities, you just have to talk a few extra seconds to the beach to see the ocean. VERSUS, an ocean view room at a 2-star resort, where one dining option is included (and it’s buffet style), they have the well drinks included (but any upgrades to liquor is extra) and no activities are provided (so you have to spend $200+ an activity off property).
I would also suggest looking into when the “off seasons” are at the resort. Resorts often offer discounts and special promotions during their low season (generally September, October, November) and the resort is less crowded!
Overall, your dream vacation may be closer (and more affordable) than you realize!
Happy Travels -RB