We like to go on vacation. In that sense we are just like the average american. But googling “average american vacation budget” tells me that the average american spends way more then we do on vacation. What’s up with that?
This post is part of my 30 day writing challenge. Each week I will be focusing on one topic. This week I have chosen to focus on travel. If travel is your thing don’t forget to come back everyday until Monday when I choose my new topic for the week.
There are lots of costs associated with travel the plane tickets, food, knickknacks, activities. Oh yeah and accommodations.
Accommodations the big surprise
I like to travel but I was miss informed in the whole process of travel. I went from being a kid and never worrying about any of the cost. To being a college student who’s travel consisted of a lot of new places but little associated expenses. Being part of clubs and having lots of new friends afforded me the chance to travel but never have to worry about where I would stay.
Life was good.
My wake up call happened after my niece was born and we had a trip to go to Denver for the first time. As I estimated cost of the trip I couldn’t believe how much we would be spending. Did we get a really bad deal on the flights? Was I accounting for too many activities?
Wait a minute whats this? a cost for accommodations…. and it was how much?!
I couldn’t believe it would cost us as much as the flights themselves.
What’s a money savvy person to do?
Well, find workarounds of course.
The thing was we didn’t need to find a work around we already had one. We just had never realized or appreciated what a difference it made.
What’s the secret to lowering vacation costs?
I know you probably guessed it by now, but I’ll go ahead and say it anyways.
STAY WITH SOMEONE YOU KNOW
Maybe the idea of being stuck in someone else’s house for your vacation makes you feel, Yuck. Not that you’d ever admit it!
But you have some valid concerns so why not address them.
First off, yes, this is different kind of travel.
I remember the first trip, it was 3 weeks long and we stayed with family. I got cabin fever. Mr. Roamer was happy because he had use of the cars and could come and go as he pleased. I didn’t feel like I had the same right so I felt stuck, and 3 weeks is a long time when you feel stuck. It led to complaining on my part and finally a bit of an argument with Mr. Roamer.
I survived, but when you think of taking a vacation you don’t want to survive you want to enjoy it. So what can you do to make sure you don’t have a Roamer experience. This is what I learned.
Set the right expectations and Communicate them.
Traveling serves many purposes: to see new places, meet new people, to unwind and just relax, to run around from one place to another like a chicken with it’s head cut off, or see familiar places and people.
I’ve found that staying with others pairs best with a vacation focused on family and relaxation. Where spending time with whomever is hosting you is one of the main reasons of the trip. For example catching up with family or friends you haven’t seen in a while.
Part of the process like I said is communication. Talking with your hosts to realize what they had in mind. Are there group plans to participate in? or is it just somewhere to sleep( more like a home base for your trip). Again get expectations clear. Its good to discuss it before arrival, but we also always ask the question again on day one to see if anything has changed.
Guests that don’t Stink
There is a saying that goes “Guest like fish both start to stink after 3 days ” by Benjamin Franklin.
None of us want to become smelly guests. Or suffer from cabin fever but 3 days is just not enough time for me for a trip. Make sure after your trip your hosts are open to having you over again in the future, not counting the minutes until they can pop the champagne and celebrate your departure.
- Pick up after yourself
- Do the dishes once in a while
- Try to keep your belonging in your room
- Offer to cook them dinner
- Leave the gas tank full if you borrow a car
- Buy groceries
Sure that sounds like a little bit of work but everything is a trade off. This is how our family of 4 gets to travel and take vacations for many more days then average but for much less.
It’s not just us either.
We know people who have traveled internationally and while they did spend big $$ on the plane tickets thanks to it being spontaneous, they spent maybe $100 on top of that. No cost in accommodations, or food, or excursions. Accommodations were not an issue since they just stayed with family. Talk about a great deal!
So why aren’t you visiting family for your vacations?
Save by visiting family and return the favor.
Its a 2 way street
We also participate on the other side of the equation. We don’t live in a big house or luxurious apartment packed with 5 rooms and 10 swimming pools. hahah ah exaggerations.
Nope we currently live in 1050 sq ft , 2 bedroom apt. But that hasn’t stopped us from offering up our space to fellow travelers. Those travelers being predominantly family, but there was a time when I was single and childless and it included a good deal of friends as well.
Even with our small abode we have had people take us up on our offer.
Now I would still advise you to come ready to cover all the rest of the costs but at least having somewhere to stay is taken care of. And that can be a huge chuck of travel expenses saved.
How do you travel? Have you been able to enjoy a free stay somewhere thanks to family or friends?
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