“I’m Broke but Need a Vacation” Sound Like You? Here’s How to Make It Happen

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When life gets overwhelming, nothing feels better than getting away from the stress of your daily routine and taking a much-needed vacation. However, you see all your friends on social media taking extravagant trips, and you just don’t have the funds to make that possible for yourself. If this sounds like you, don’t lose hope yet: use these strategies to plan a fantastic getaway on a budget.

1. Cook Your Own Meals

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One element of vacationing that many people fail to take into account is how expensive eating out every single day can get. Without your kitchen available to cook food, you have no other choice than to splurge on takeout or pricey restaurants. However, if you stay in an AirBnb or hotel that has a kitchen and adequate appliances, you can go grocery shopping when you arrive and save money on meals.

2. Have a Staycation

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Alright, maybe this isn’t the glamorous answer you wanted to hear, but sometimes staycations can be way more relaxing and rejuvenating than pricey excursions anyway! After all, between the stress of planning your transportation, lodging, and itinerary, normal vacations can feel like work. Enjoy a leisurely staycation by treating yourself to an at-home spa day or by staying with a friend who lives nearby and partaking in some fun activities.

3. Choose an All-Inclusive Resort

It can be hard to predict how much extra money to bring on your trip to pay for food, drinks, entertainment, activities, and other experiences. But some all-inclusive venues are designed to provide everything you need for a comfortable and engaging stay. When you book at one of these spots, you can know upfront exactly how much money you’re spending on the trip.

4. Take a Cheap Cruise

Typical Length of Alaskan Cruises and Ports of Embarkation
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On a similar token to all-inclusive resorts, cruises are often priced to factor in both your room and board. This means that for that singular price, you can secure lodging on the ship and have access to their dining options, such as buffets. If you can find a short, inexpensive cruise, you can enjoy a tropical vacation to an exotic spot without breaking the bank.

5. Stay In Hostels

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Though not quite as luxurious or private as traditional hotels, hostels are a great way to travel on the cheap and make friends along the way. Hostels are typically similar to shared forms with bunk beds, and as an added bonus, they often have common kitchens. Stay in one while you travel to enjoy unbeatable rates and some extra company.

6. Use Credit Card Points

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Even if you’re broke when it comes to cold, hard cash, accumulated credit card points can get you far. Many of these points are transferable, meaning you can exchange them for gift cards, airline miles, hotel accommodations, or even money in some situations.

7. Plan in Advance

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We all know that waiting to buy airline tickets the week before you want to travel is asking for inflated prices. Almost every key element of vacationing is going to be more expensive the longer you wait to book. Make your reservations and plan your flights months or even a year in advance to enjoy the lowest possible prices.

8. Make the Most of Public Transportation

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If you live in an area where you’re used to driving everywhere, taking the bus or subway can seem confusing, scary, and overwhelming. However, once you try it a few times, you’ll find that it is not that hard to figure out. Uber or Lyft costs are going to add up fast. Save money and experience authentic life in the city by using public options instead.

9. Travel off Season

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There are certain times of the year that are hot spots for traveling: such as during the holidays, summer vacation, and spring break. During these popular periods, prices for almost everything dealing with vacations are going to be hiked up to the max. Opt to go during a less crowded time that is still convenient for you.

10. Avoid Tourist Traps

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In every city, there are experiences and destinations which are believed to be “musts” by vacationers. However, these things are often grossly overpriced, overhyped, and seldom worth the money. For instance, going to the top of the Empire State Building in NYC is practically a tradition. But you can get a great view of the city from above just by going to a rooftop bar, plus the crowds, waiting time, and fees will be far lower.

11. Be Your Own Tour Guide

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It can be tempting to book a professional guide who knows a foreign area well to show you around. However, with all the resources available to you on the internet, you can explore any city or town yourself with minimal trouble. Simply set aside some time to do research beforehand and stay open-minded once you arrive. It’s a great way to cut costs and save money.

12. Reach Out to Family & Friends

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Depending on how well-connected you are, you probably know people who live in various locations across your country or even the world. Ask to stay for a short visit with one of these loved ones to completely cut lodging out of your payment equation. Offer to return the favor when they want to visit your area and be sure to help out around the house to be a good guest!

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Do you love exploring new places, but they don’t always fit your budget? Here are our tips on how to travel for free.

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Is Hawaii on your bucket list of places to go on vacation? You’re not alone! Each year almost 10 million people visit the Islands (not counting 2020), but as I’m sure you know, it’s not cheap. Good news, though. I’m going to share with you how you can fly on Southwest to Maui and any other Hawaiian island for free!

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Karee Blunt is a nationally syndicated travel journalist, focused on discovering destinations and experiences that captivate and inspire others through her writing. She is also the founder of Our Woven Journey, a travel site focused on inspiring others to create memory-making adventures with their loved ones. Karee is passionate about encouraging others to step out of their comfort zone and live the life they dream of. She is the mother of six kids, including four through adoption, and lives with her family in the Pacific Northwest. You can learn more about Karee on her about me page.