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January 18, 2011

How To Squeeze A Vacation Into Your Budget

Vacations are important and without one there is a good chance that you will experience some form of burn out. No matter how little money you have there are ways to fit a small vacation into your plans.

With the cost of gas no matter what type of transportation you take it will probably be costly. While buses are kind of gross, in my opinion, I have found trains to be rather enjoyable. I had a friend that rode from Michigan to New Mexico on a train a few years ago and even though it took something like 36 hours, he said he liked it. While I try to limit my train rides to ten hours or less, trains are a nice way to travel. Typically you can find good deals on train tickets, especially in the off season. If you are lucky enough to live close by some relaxing, scenic areas, driving is also a good option. Of course it helps if you have a smaller car and can travel on days when the weather is not inclement.

Visit friends that live in other towns that are willing to put you up for a few nights. One of the best things about friends living in other places is that you can go and visit without having to stay in a hotel. My friends and I have an agreement that if they come into town, or if I come into town, there is a warm place to sleep and shower. The accommodations are less than luxury but a few nights sleeping on the couch is totally doable if I am getting a cheap vacation out of the deal.

If you don’t have friends in cities that you want to visit, consider staying in a hostel. I have actually stayed in some nice hostels so don’t write them off as dumps until you check them out. Look online for ratings and see what former guest have to say about them. You can request to have a private bathroom and pay just a few dollars more.

Another game plan for cheap, much needed vacations is to recruit others who are on the verge of burnout. If you have to stay in a hotel it will be much better to spilt the cost three or four ways. The more people involved, the more likely it will be that there will be a person that gets some type of discount through their job or family member on airfare or lodging fees. Be sure that you check your company’s website for discounts and deals that you may not be aware of on hotel fees or vehicle rentals.

Volunteer for your next vacation! I know, I know you don’t want to work on your vacation. Well, the best vacations that I’ve ever had were the three that I volunteered for. I spent my mornings working on rebuilding homes and schools in Louisiana and South Carolina and the afternoons and evenings were mine. The non-profit I volunteered for paid for transportation, two meals a day and put us up in a beautiful home on the beach. So, for a few hours of work during the day, we were able to spend every night relaxing on the beach or enjoying the night life.

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