Saving on a Vacation: Traveling alternatives

Its labor day weekend and so the summer officially ends. Many are out and about trying to get in their last stint of travel.

We had the chance this year to explore some new territory but looking back I’m interested to see what the cost was and whether we could have done it differently.

I’m not a travel hacker by any means. The travel I did when I was younger was largely due to school. Thinking about it I was able to do it for really cheap maybe at a cost of $100 or less for climbing trips to West Virginia and Kentucky. That was for about 3 nights with food and logging included. I would venture the trip to Chicago and Philadelphia for a conference where about the same.

So now lets analyze the Roamer clan’s summer trip to Colorado.

Recently we had a vacation. Traveling is one of the passions I want to feed but that doesn’t mean I am looking for the plushest accommodations or the highest priced locations. The small amount of travel I have been able to do has been during my college years on shoestring budgets. Living the adult life doesn’t make me want to inflate my travel cost, specially when there is no reason.

It was great fun to visit family and to experience a different place. I loved the houses in Colorado. They all looked so unique and seemed to have their own little details that made them seem so. I didn’t get to do everything I wanted ,like try out the Bcycle, but it was nice to go somewhere new. So as far as I can tell our last trip cost was $1915 for a nine night stay in Denver,CO for a family of 4. I’ll break it down in a graph then I’ll present the alternative more affordable option.

Colorado Costs


The Alternative

As I planned our trip I just automatically assumed we would fly. How else would we get there. It didn’t even cross my mind to drive until a coworker asked how we would be getting there and assumed we’d be driving. In retrospect  I can see that we could have driven to Colorado.  It’s a long haul with 2 kids, but I had driven twice the distance frequently to Michigan when I had just the one. So it’s possible, and oh the money we could have saved.

One of the things I had checked out was camping during our stay. Trying to figure out how we’d do that with no camping gear in CO, well, I realized it wasn’t feasible. That is only true for flying there, if we had driven we’d pack the camping gear from home. Tent, sleeping bags, and so on. We could have stayed at  Jefferson county fairgrounds, the tent stays are shown for $25 per night, 7 day stay limit, 14′ x 14′ plot.  There are showers and restrooms. Sounds good to me and what a price cut compared to our actual accommodations. 

Just changing those 2 items, how we got there and where we stay would yield us a saving of almost $1,000.00. You can see that in the table I included, and that was without changing any of the other costs. To me that is a good amount of savings.

Still we were fortunate to be able to save costs in other places. Having family in the area meant a few of the meals where covered as we visited different relatives houses, and one even let us borrow a car so we had no car rental costs.

So even though the trip could have been about half as expensive we still did ok. If you do the math it was about $53 per person per day.

Are you setting out for some travel for this long weekend? Did you just get back from a trip some where? It really is amazing how just a few tweaks to the itinerary can save you money. What do you do to save on your travel?

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