How to Plan a Super Affordable Weekend Trip
Hey everyone! We have another helpful guest article from Daniel over at Dad Solo !
Read below for some awesome tips on quick, affordable getaways!
Not everyone is blessed with limitless vacation days. When you only have a couple days or weeks of paid time off per year, weekend trips are essential for satiating your wanderlust. Unfortunately, shorter trips can be a lot more expensive on a per-day basis than extended getaways because your travel costs aren't spread out over time. These tips will help you save money on the most expensive parts of a weekend trip so you can escape more often.
Choose a Destination Three to Six Hours Away
Driving is almost always cheaper than flying. However, travel too far and you'll spend half your weekend on the road. Search for a locale between three and six hours from your home for a destination that's far enough to feel like a getaway but close enough for a quick trip.
Or Find a Great Flight Deal
Flying can be an affordable option for a weekend trip if you're up for some spontaneity. Head to Skyscanner and search for cheap flights to anywhere or sign up for airline newsletters to get notified of flash sales to popular destinations like Las Vegas and Los Cabos.
Prepare Before You Go
There's nothing more frustrating than getting home from a trip to discover you left all the lights on or a power surge fried your computer. Make sure you're not accidentally wasting money while you're away by preparing the inside and outside of your home. On top of turning off the lights and unplugging electronics, dial down the thermostat and pick up loose items outside.
If you don't check baggage, you don't have to pay baggage fees, waste time at luggage carousels, or risk your bags getting lost in transit. Traveling with only a carry-on requires know-how, but Her Packing List's guide will help you pack a carry-on that’s TSA- and airline-compliant. Traveling light is also a smart idea for road trippers depending on the destination. Cars full of gear are a magnet for break-ins.
Flex Your Work Schedule
You can save a lot by flying out Thursday night. If your work is flexible, take a long weekend and make up for it next week — or spend Friday working remotely. Spending the first day of your trip working isn't ideal, but you'll get an early start on exploring your destination.
Set Up Camp
If you already own the gear, camping is by far the cheapest way to travel. For just a few dollars, you can pitch a tent at a campsite with basic amenities like toilets, showers, grills, and drinking water. If you're willing to rough it, you can even camp for free! However, most free campsites are primitive and lack amenities. If you don't own camping gear or tents aren't your style, you can still save money by renting a cabin or yurt.
Or Find a Cheap Vacation Rental
Vacation rentals aren't always a better deal than hotels. In fact, Time's Best in Travel report found that hotels are cheaper than Airbnb on average. However, vacation rental prices vary more widely than hotels. You can find luxurious whole-home rentals for hundreds of dollars a night, but you can also find quaint, clean rooms for under $50. And unlike a hotel, your Airbnb is more likely to come with a kitchen so you can eat in for additional savings.
Your budget isn't the most exciting thing to think about when you're on vacation, but traveling cheap is the key to traveling often. Just don't let frugality get in the way of your enjoyment. It's one thing to hunt for a great flight and lodging deals, but if you find yourself griping about paying the parking meter, you might need to loosen the reins a bit!