How To Weekend Affordably!

Is there such a thing as an affordable getaway???

I cannot speak for everyone, but now that some warmer temperatures have thawed us out a bit, we are itching to getaway…..
but on a BUDGET.

Uh, I hate that word…budget, there is nothing fun about it!  I am sure that if we had plenty of money the word would not feel so heavy, but for now money can suck it!

One thing that Josh and I are great at doing is quick weekend escapes.  Throughout the year we venture out quite often to places around our area for a quick two nighter.  Its not a week long vacation but it still does the job!

We went to Corolla, North Carolina this weekend on a budget of $150.  We succeeded!
Gas: $30
Food: $70
Alcohol: $40
Accommodation: Free
Activities: Free
And have no fear, you can still have a fantastic weekend getaway $500 or less!  

Here are some tips that we use to save in accommodations, transportation, food, and entertainment.

Accommodations
1. Stay with a friend or family 
Do you have a friend or family member that is the area you want to visit or that lives in a cool place?  Call them up and see if their spare bedroom is open.  More than likely, they would love to see you and by staying with them you have people to hang out with.  
What if you know someone but are not close enough to ask outright for a place to stay?
This takes a bit of planning….
As soon as you figure out where you are going give them a “I was just thinking about you” call and feel them out.  If your convo goes well, wait a week to ask so it doesn’t look like you are calling just for a warm bed.  Call them back to chat again and talk about the trip you have planned etc.  Maybe they will offer or maybe you will bring it up but either way it couldn’t hurt to try.

2.  “Budget” hotels
That just sounds grungy doesn’t it???  No worries, you can find plenty of nice places to stay that do not offer roaches complimentary.  
For instance, I just did a quick search on www.lastminute.com for hotels in Norfolk, Virginia for a 2 night stay.  Three pages came up with with hotels that ranged from $74 total stay to $300 total stay and always in local in the city and outside of it.  

3.  Camp!
Camping truly is the cheapest way to stay!  Renting a campsite usually only costs about $10-$20, plus bringing your own food and driving you literally could spend $300 or less for a whole weekend!

Are B&Bs your thing?  They are ours!  Unfortunately though, it is hard to score deals.  Even though you will not save any money staying in a B&B, I will recommend using www.bedandbreakfast.com to help you pick out your favorite place.   

I do not recommend renting a whole house for a couple of reasons.  Unless you are staying for a week and have more than two people with you, you are not going to save money.  And if it is the high season, majority of homes will not be available nightly and also exorbitantly high is they are.    

How to get there 
For the sake of saving money, go somewhere you can drive to and in a reasonable amount of time.  You do not want to spend your entire trip in a car!  Whenever you cut out the need for airfare you automatically save a lot of money.  
Just out of curiosity, I searched for roundtrip flights to Charlotte, NC from Norfolk, VA this weekend and the cheapest was $459.70.  That is more expensive than my ticket to Nicaragua!  Save $200+/- and drive the five hours to get there.  Also, when you drive you can look up neat towns on your way and stop for a fun lunch or check out some local history! 

Food
From the way I see it, you either will be able to cook your own food or will have to eat out each meal time.  Staying with a friend opens up a kitchen but if you stay at a hotel then eating out really is your only option.  
How can you save money eating out?

1. Share plates
How often do you really eat the left overs you put in the hotel mini fridge anyways.  Don’t waste food and just share.

2.  Eat lunch specials
They usually come with a drink and side so take advantage of the extras.  

3.  Bring your own water bottle
This is a must!  You will save so much money if you carry a reusable water bottle AND cut down on your plastic consumption at the same time.  
Realistically, bottled water is just tap water anyways.

4.  Eat away from touristy areas 
It is always fun to splurge on a nice meal but in general you will save money by avoiding the mainstream eateries.  Look for mom and pop joints that are probably just one street over.  

5.  Bring your own food
Pack a cooler full of sandwiches, snacks, meals, and drinks and hit the road!  That is the joy of driving somewhere, it gives you much more freedom to save money!

Entertainment
1. Take unguided walking tours.  In other words, get out and walk around by yourself.

2.  Matinee.  Opt for a day movie rather than night.

3. Look for “free” days at museums and other attractions.

4.  Buy tickets at the actual box office rather than online and asked for a “special” rate.

5.  Google “free things to do in _”.

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I want to share with you a blog called, The Educators’ Spin On Itbecause they put together a list with over 60 different bloggers to highlight the major attractions in many of the major cities.  Check them out here!

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866-582-9579
#travelnowpaylater 

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