Real Travel. Real Cheap.

Real Travel. Real Cheap.

Maybe it’s the smell of spring in the air or just my winter doldrums reaching their usual April peak of screaming boredom, but it’s time for a road trip. No idea where I’m going but unless I win the lottery, I’m know how I’m getting there: as cheaply as possible!

That’s what sucks about travel. It’s so freaking expensive. I went to New York City a few months ago, and that town took a twenty out of my wallet every ten minutes. Not cool, New York. Especially for a girl on a budget.

But I love to explore new places, so I’m not going to let a little thing like cash flow get in the way. I go, but carefully:

  • I travel with a friend. From rooms to cab rides, there’s a ton of stuff we can split to cut costs in half. It’s safer, too
  •  I’m never picky about lodging. I just need a bed and a blanket for six hours a day. Whatever’s cheap works as long as it’s clean. Airport motel, AirBnB deal, somebody’s couch, hostels. Even if it’s off my beaten path, the savings are worth it.
  •  I keep a ledger. It’s sooo easy to blow my daily travel budget limit when I’m not paying attention so I write down every expense to make sure I do.
  •  I eat street food or at hole-on-the-wall takeout joints. It’s cheap and that’s where the real local color is. No drinks, please, just water. Bonus points if your lodging comes with breakfast. Load up and stuff a bagel in your bag for lunch. Grocery stores rock, too. Why pay $10 for a sandwich when I can make my own for $3?

I’m happy just being there. Real travel isn’t about dropping big bucks on five-star attractions. Park bench people-watching, hiking, window shopping and more are all free. And public transportation? That’s my code for “affordable bus tour.”

Mostly, it’s about learning to love going without and knowing that just being there is enough. When my needs are few and my demands are low, the price is right. And the right price means more time traveling and less time wishing I was. 

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