Is the only thing holding you back from taking a vacation the balance of your bank account? Check out these 10 tips on how to put together a getaway that’s easy on the checkbook.
This past week, my boyfriend and I wanted to embark on a fun, easy and cheap getaway. Since I live in Rhode Island, we were sold on the idea of a short drive out to Provincetown, MA — right on the tip of Cape Cod.
We gave ourselves a budget of just $150 for the 24-hour adventure—and even with gas at $4.00 per gallon, we made it happen!
Here’s how we did it:
#1 Call motels and inns directly
While booking online is super convenient, it’s always helpful to talk to a real person directly. They will also know of any last-minute cancellations or special discounts—which will increase your chance of finding a room in your budget.
#2 Travel off-peak
Our motel room was just $87 on a Thursday night. Come Friday—during the Memorial Day holiday—that same room goes for $150. We saved $63 by taking our trip on an off-peak travel day.
#3 Travel locally
While the world is full of wonderful destinations, many of them are right in our own backyard. You don’t have to travel far to have a great time. And staying closer to home will help keep costs under control. By taking a 2-hour drive out to Provincetown, we saved ourselves a potential boatload of transportation expenses.
#4 Eat like a local
Provincetown’s downtown core—like many tourist spots—is full of great but pricey restaurants. By taking a short drive off the beaten path, we were able to find a more local restaurant with much more reasonable prices. Dinner was $28 for the two of us.
#5 Use your feet
While Provincetown has some convenient paid parking lots, we were able to find a free parking spot a short walk from downtown for a $10 savings. Some destinations also offer great public transit options—it’s an affordable and fun way to experience a city or town and meet new people.
#6 Take advantage of the free stuff
The best things that Provincetown has to offer are free. Like the sights, sounds and incredible landscape. The beaches and nature trails are free—and absolutely breathtaking. Hanging out in the sand and getting a little sun charges the soul and doesn’t break the bank.
#7 Pack your own beverages
For less than $10, we filled my trunk up with bottled water and beverages. Even better, bring along a reusable water bottle to stay hydrated and help save the environment. Cheers!
#8 Hit up the grocery store
Since we were only staying for one night, stocking up on groceries didn’t make a lot of sense. But for longer trips, I love packing the mini fridge full of fresh food options. It’s a lot cheaper than restaurant dining—and a lot healthier, too. Fruits, veggies and sandwiches bought at a local grocery store make for great dining out alternatives.
#9 Take advantage of free food
Our motel offered a free continental breakfast. It wasn’t super fancy, but it was a free meal. Before booking your room, ask about any included meals—it can be a real money saver.
#10 Ask locals
I always try to befriend locals wherever I go. Friendly locals can be a tremendous resource—they are full of great recommendations and often know of free events (i.e., concerts, festivals, etc). Be friendly and wear your smile.
With $87 for a room, $28 for dinner, $10 for beverages and another $25 worth of gas, our grand total came out to a very doable $150. Turns out, you don’t have to spend a lot of money to have a wonderful and amazing vacation adventure.