Think you can’t afford a vacation? Perhaps you’re just not thinking far enough outside of the box of budget-unfriendly trips to Hawaii and weekend spa resorts in the Hamptons. A vacation is supposed to be a period of relaxation from work, so why spend a month eating Ramen Noodles and working overtime just so you can be able to afford it? Although some choices may not be as obvious as weekend getaways in some tropical destination, budget-friendly vacations can occur virtually anywhere for those who put forth a little creativity and insight to everyday life. To get a better idea of inexpensive vacation opportunities that are likely hidden all around you, consider the following four vacation ideas for hard workers on a budget.
1. Help a Friend Move to Another Country
Although you can really save some cash by stowing away in a moving van, you can tag along with a friend who is moving to Canada or another country around the world to make a mini vacation out of a good deed. When someone makes a big move out of the country or even out of the state, chances are they could use all the help they can get. Your friend will likely appreciate the extra help, and you can squeeze in some free time to see the sights and enjoy some time off from the daily grind.
2. Have a “Staycation”
One trend that has really caught on with the thrifty among us is to go on vacation without straying too far from home– an act cleverly referred to as a staycation. I know what you’re thinking “A vacation where I don’t leave the house? What a jip.” Don’t knock it before you’ve tried it! You may still be in the same house with piles of laundry to do and a much-needed kitchen renovation, but you can let all of that go to the wayside during your staycation. Plan day trips throughout the duration of your time off and view some of the sights and attractions your town has to offer. Let the mail pile up all you want and worry about the cleaning later, so you can truly enjoy yourself.
3. Swap Houses with a Close Friend or Relative
Got a sister in Orlando? An old college buddy in NYC? Test your persuasion abilities by convincing these people to swap houses with you for a short and cost-efficient vacation that completely cuts out the cost of lodging for your stay. You can even borrow each other’s cars for cheaper transportation and have full access to convenience-enhancing provisions such as laundry appliances, kitchen appliances, entertainment centers and more.
4. Split the Cost
Another way you can call on the support of friends and family members is by splitting the cost of a vacation and making it a large group event. Look for vacation homes (or camping grounds if you want to be REALLY thrifty) and choose one that will fit everyone. Plenty of lodging options and entertainment sources offer group discounts and other savings options, so vacationing all together will likely continue to save you money throughout the trip. Your strict budget may not seem like much to work with, but you’d be surprised how far a little creativity and imagination can take you. With today’s inconsistent economy, budgeting effectively can help you enjoy the lifestyle of the rich and famous with the bank account of the poor and unknown.
Ashley Spade is a blogger and law student who lives in Chicago. Recently, she and a few a Montreal movers helped one of her friends move to Canada- a location where she’d definitely enjoy a home swap vacation!