If you are living in your first apartment, chances are that you are also living on a budget. However, being on a budget doesn’t mean that you can’t have travels and adventures! Here are three ways you can satisfy the travel bug in you without breaking your wallet.
1. Explore local destinations.
I’ve written before about learning about your city by exploring it like a tourist. The same ideas apply here; you can learn a lot about where you live – and see some really neat sites – by exploring the area around where you live. Contact the local visitor’s bureau and/or tourist office for suggestions of things to do, places to go, and sites to see in your area.
Even if you don’t think your town is very exciting, there’s probably actually quite a bit to do within a couple of hours drive of where you live. Consider taking day trips to nearby towns or cities to explore more of the area that you live in. I’m lucky enough to live in Denver, only a short drive from the mountains, so I go into the mountains nearly every weekend to hike, ski, camp, or do some other activity.
If you, like me, love getting outside, contact your local parks and recreation office to learn about outdoor recreation opportunities in the area. I also suggest visiting Find Your Park, a website put together by the National Park Service and National Park Foundation that helps people find parks suited to their interest nearby.
If you are looking for a slightly longer trip, consider taking weekend trips to nearby destinations so you don’t need to take time off work. If you are open to camping, it’s generally much cheaper than staying in a hotel. If you don’t want to camp, look for budget lodging options such as hostels (hostels are not just for backpacking through Europe; many U.S. cities have hostels too!).
2. Take advantage of business travel.
I’ve written on my own blog about turning a business trip into a vacation and adventure in itself. Take advantage of any free time you have on your trip by exploring the neighborhood, getting breakfast at a cool cafe, or getting dinner at an iconic local restaurant. You can also consider taking a vacation day or two to add a little time on to your trip. Since your company will probably already be paying for your transportation costs, if you add a day or two on, the only costs to you will likely only be your lodging and food for the additional time. I traveled to New York for work earlier this year, and took a vacation day to extend my trip so I had a couple days to explore New York City. I will be traveling to Washington, D.C. this summer for work, and am arranging my flight so I arrive a couple days before my work engagement starts, leaving me with a some time to explore the city.
3. Save up for bigger trips.
If you long for a bigger adventure, whether in another corner of the states or on the other side of the world, work to save money by cutting your costs. This may mean cutting back on going out with friends or eating out, or cutting back on splurges on things like clothes or electronics.
You may also consider taking on an additional part-time job, or if you don’t want to commit to a regular part-time job, working odd jobs like mowing lawns or babysitting.
When it comes time to actually plan your trip, use sites like Hipmunk and Kayak to search for flights, so you can see options from a variety of airlines to determine the best deal. Look for inexpensive lodging options, such as hostels or lower cost hotels, and use sites like Trivago that aggregate information from over 200 booking sites. If you have friends or family who have traveled to the same area before, ask them for ideas of where to stay. Even better, if you have friends or family who live in the area you are visiting, see if you can stay with them to cut costs (just be sure to return the favor if they ever want to visit your city!). You can also reference travel websites like Budget Travel and Lonely Planet for tips on traveling on a budget,
Don’t let an entry-level income hold you back from having adventures; there are plenty of ways to travel and explore on a budget!