Beating the Budget Blues {Guest Post}

Sus & Chlo here! We’re the hosts of the travel webseries, Sus & Chlo on the Go, bringing you affordable adventures across America. Who says budget travel has to be boring? If we’ve learned anything it’s that if you do your research, a little cash can go a long way. So here are 10 tips for how to get the best bang for your buck as you travel.

Where to Sleep – Finding a place to sleep for the night on the cheap can be tricky but not impossible.

1. If you’re lucky enough to have friends or family to crash with, do it! Just make sure to be an ideal houseguest. Come with a little gift! It doesn’t have to be anything extravagant, just a little way to say, “I appreciate you letting me invade your space.” Another option we love is to pick up groceries and a bottle of wine and cook up a tasty meal for your hosts.  If your cooking is questionable… maybe just stick to the wine. Oh, and don’t forget to leave/send a thank you card at the end of your stay- a simple “thank you” goes a long way.

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2. Try AirBNB! It’s a safe, user-friendly website where locals rent out their own space at a nightly or weekly rate. These places can range from a bare room in someone’s apartment to an entire private house—or maybe even a boat! The people who rent are a fantastic resource for finding neighborhood gems and keeping you away from over-rated tourist traps. Another plus of renting an apartment/house is having the option to stay in and cook some meals, as eating out for every meal can really add up. It’s also been a lifesaver for us when we travel with our dog, Zaxby, since pet-friendly hotels are hard to find and paying pet fees is no fun.

Zaxby loves to travel too!

3. If you’d feel more comfortable in a hotel, be sure to read reviews. We like to check reviews of a hotel on a multiple sites so we aren’t misled by biased reviews. Our favorite review sites for hotels are Trip Advisor and hotels.com. Before you book, check out the hotel’s website to see if they have any special booking offers. Often some of the major chain hotels have deals (ie. book two nights and get the third night free.) Taking the extra few minutes to check can sometimes save you the big bucks! Also, if you are looking for a pet-friendly place to stay, we’ve found that most La Quintas are pet-friendly with no additional fee!

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What to Eat– Food is such a big part of exploring the culture of a new place- don’t be afraid to try something new or different.

Lutefisk is fish soaked in lye- a midwestern classic

4. Ask around or search the web to find out if there are any local staples that you must try. If you’re in Miami, you need to have a Cuban sandwich. In Wisconsin, you’ve got to try cheese curds. San Francisco? Clam chowder. You get the idea!

A “Jucy Lucy” is the signature burger of the Twin Cities. It’s two patties with American cheese in the middle- YUM.

5. Head to a local farmers market. Filled with free samples and local delicacies, they’re the perfect place to stock up on goodies for a picnic (another great money saving option) and often a good place to find gifts to take home!

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What to do– Our favorite part of every trip is finding out all the cool things a destination has to offer in terms of “to dos.”

6. Trip Advisor not only can help you find a place to stay, but each location has a list of things to do based on reviews from travelers like you! Reading reviews on the major tourist attractions can help you decide which attractions to see and which ones to skip!

7. Many cities have a Parks and Recreation department and they often have tons of free events such as outdoor concerts, theatre, and fitness classes. Plus, parks are packed with locals for suggestions and tend to be a great place to people watch.

Free fencing in Bryant Park is just one of the many things NYC Parks and Rec. has to offer!

8. Release your inner hipster and pick up the free, local newspaper. These can often be a great resource, highlighting all of the events going on around the city such as concerts, plays, art walks, book signings, and street festivals.

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9. Take a class! Ask around and find an activity that is unique to the area- such as a beer brewing class in Portland or a pottery lesson in Taos. You’ll end up having a unique experience and could go home with some new skills!

A woodcarving class in Minnesota, a place very influenced by its Scandinavian roots.

10. Give yourself permission to play and explore. Itineraries are great but the best experiences happen when you’re open to other possibilities. No matter where you travel or what you do, how much you get out of it is up to you!

Geared towards the cash-conscious explorer, Sus & Chlo on the Go is a travel webseries co-hosted by Susannah McLeod and Chloe Thorsbakken. For episodes and more information, visit www.susandchloonthego.com. 

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