Make the most of traveling on a budget
A weekend getaway is significantly different from vacation travel. You are pressed for time and probably don’t want to dip into your main vacation savings account. The reasons and preferences for weekend travel vary greatly from person to person. Relaxation versus adventure, spontaneity versus meticulous planning, clearly there’s no one-size-fits-all. Similarly, there’s no single weekend travel budget that will be appropriate for everyone.
In any case, the very definition of what degree of expenditure constitutes ‘budget travel’ isn’t universally agreed upon. For a jet-setter, budget travel may mean holding back on a snowboarding lesson. For someone else, low-cost travel implies sleeping in a hostel. Nevertheless, I’ve come up with a number of weekend travel budget tips that most people should find relevant and practical.
1. Research and Identify Your Priorities
Whether you prefer spontaneity or elaborate planning, weekend budget travel is hard to do without some minimum amount of research and planning in advance. The less knowledge you have about the place you are going to, the more likely you are to spend much more than you need to. Knowing what to focus on during a brief weekend trip allows you to carefully choose where and what to spend your money on.
Your time is greatly limited, so some basic organization is necessary if you don’t want to return home with not just empty pockets, but also regrets of what you could have done. There’s a vast library of free but useful travel information on the Internet on almost any place you’d want to go. Take time to pick up the most important tips from people who’ve been there before you. For example, Busy Tourist made a list of things to do in Gainesville you would want to take a look at if you are planning a weekend excursion that takes you there.
2. Cut Down on Dining Expenses
Food is something you cannot do without so inevitably you have to make some decisions on where and what to eat. However, vacation dining can grow your travel expenses much faster than you anticipated. Avoid posh, high-profile eateries. Instead, prioritize places that serve delicious and fresh food at a reasonable price.
Pay special attention to lesser-known restaurants that are far removed from the tourist circuit as these are usually geared toward the local population and are therefore less expensive. Visit a grocery store and stock up on snacks you could take to your hotel room.
3. Opt for Edible Souvenirs
Souvenirs allow you to carry with you something local that reminds you of the place you’ve visited. Unfortunately, souvenir shops can be unreasonably expensive since they seek to exploit the spending power and price-unawareness of tourists.
One way to get around this is to look for edible souvenirs since you’ll find these in ordinary stores. You satisfy your curiosity for something local and also cater to your food cravings. An edible souvenir could be anything from a bar of dark chocolate to an exotic spice. It may not last as long back home as a traditional souvenir (if it even makes it back before you eat it), but the taste and photos should serve the purpose.
4. Don’t Ignore the Off-Season
It’s true that the off-season is the off-season for a reason. The travel conditions aren’t the best and the weather may not always make you want to jump out of bed and explore the outdoors. However, this isn’t always the case. Off-season is especially ideal for weekend travel since you are probably going to be there for just one night or two.
The costs are substantially lower and the destinations aren’t crowded. There’s greater flexibility in how you experience the sights and sounds. You don’t have to endure hanging around a group of people you cannot stand. In fact, the low cost is just the cherry on top.
5. Pick One Thing to Splurge On
Choose a budget travel solution without cutting back on essentials
Budget weekend travel is often not absolute. Most people aren’t looking to spend the bare minimum on everything. After all, weekend travel is all about relaxation. Having to compare numerous options each time you take out your wallet would be so arduous that it would defeat the very purpose of the excursion.
Instead, you should pick one or two things that you wouldn’t mind splurging on to make the trip memorable. For many, accommodation is the one thing to splurge on since after all, they’ll be spending hours in there. A hotel room with breathtaking ocean views or excellent room service can be worth every dime.
Weekends don’t seem to afford the average person much time to see the world. But it’s possible to do so, and on a budget, if you apply these tips.