I'm passionate about value - where the save, when to splurge.
I think anyone can save money to travel. Bit by bit, coin by coin, scrapping a dollar or two from dusty corners of your budget, and letting it slowly accumulating in your coffee can. In my house, saving to travel is a priority and we combine many traditional and unusual ways to do it.
Our philosophy is both for saving the money to travel and/or for creating bonus money in your budget to splurge on such luxuries as, say, some of the greatest coffee in the world. Either way, because you worked so hard to get there, made so much effort to save up, our value travel philosophy encourages you to use that money for pure travel enjoyment.
As such, I work hard to recommend ways to pack lighter, allowing you to put your checked luggage fees towards a bottle of wine. I suggest ways to make a basic hotel feel more luxurious, allowing you to stretch two nights into three. And when you spend your money on a restaurant meal, a national parks pass, or a museum tour, I want you get the most value possible for your money. You don’t just buy dinner, but you know where and when to go for a great view. You invest in your parks pass and you know how to navigate potential tourist traps with ease. Your museum entrance will cost the same no matter when you go, but I advocate learning which day will contain the most free perks.
This approach is nicely complimented by something else we're working on: the $200 challenge. Can two people travel for two nights for $200 – and actually enjoy their trip? Years ago, the Frommer's budget books began with “Europe on $5 a day”, and until just a few years ago, you could find their guidebooks recommending different locations for $95 a day or less. While they don’t publish that particular series anymore, I love the challenge behind it.
Our first $200 challenge involved 2 nights in northern Vermont. While we did go over budget (the camp stove broke, among other challenges), we had an amazing time on an extremely frugal budget – we did a driving tour of the fall colours, ate in restaurants, drank local micro-brew beers, and enjoyed a beautiful campground.
Travel for me is a love and a passion - maybe even a calling – and I love to share it with others.
As always, I welcome and encourage your comments. How do you save for a big trip?
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