Planning for your next outdoor adventure doesn’t have to be a stressful or painful experience. Of course, not all of us are keen budgeters (myself included), but that shouldn’t mean that a great outdoor vacation is unobtainable! In fact, there are nearly endless ways to save money while still getting the most out of a road trip or outdoor trip. Need some budgeting inspiration? No problem!
Plan Ahead as Much as Possible
Here’s the thing, I love a loosely planned, impromptu adventure, but those trips rarely ever end up playing nicely with my budget. The best thing you can do when working with limited funds is planning ahead of time. Mainly, I keep in mind how much I’ll be spending on gas, meals, lodging, and activities. Sometimes, this means making adjustments to my budget to get where I want to go without breaking the bank. By planning ahead, I can make sure I’m getting the best rates of lodging (when I need it), can plan for special dining, and activity costs like an entry fee to a National Park. Make a list of how much you’re willing and able to spend, and be honest about how much your adventure will cost.
Save Money by Making Your Own Meals
It’s exciting to eat out in a new place you’re visiting, or eating out at a spot you know and love. Don’t make the mistake of eating out for every meal, however. More so than transportation costs, eating out for every meal will eat away at your budget. Personally, I give myself a per diem and make sure to not go over that daily food amount. Before I take off for a trip, I purchase easy to keep foods, treats, and a plentiful amount of water. This way I can stay hydrated and make meals on the go with minimum effort and at a significantly lower cost.
Save Money on Hotels by Camping in Style
Feel like your entire budget is being spent on nightly lodging? Why not camp in style instead? By bringing along a small and light camper, like my favorite Bean Teardrop Trailer, you can comfortably sleep while saving over time. No more iffy hotels with lofty rates. After I make a plan of which route I’m taking to my destination, I use a trusty campsite app to explore camping options. Usually, I pay less than a third of hotel costs by renting a campsite, parking, and camping luxuriously in my camper. Just make sure to find a spot with nearby restrooms or water hookups if those are important to you.
Plan Your Route
Make sure to plan your route with your budget in mind. Sure, it might be tempting to hit up every major city on your way to more rural destinations, but going out of your way to getting to your final destination means spending more overall. I also like to try out destinations that lend to fun outdoor activities that are mostly free. Communities that cater to a lot of low-cost fun are perfect places to find yourself in when you’re on a tight budget.
Stay Safe While Traveling & Save
There’s nothing worse than traveling to a new place and losing your valuable funds. But it’s easier than you think to keep yourself safe! Remember the simple things like keeping any valuables in your car or camper out of sight or on your person. Never leave your wallet in your back pocket or travel pack, even if you’re just going on a hike. No matter if you’re traveling to a different part of the state or across the country, be familiar with your destination.