By Kathleen Thompson – In my previous two articles I’ve shared 10 great tips for traveling on a budget. In this final post I share the last 7 tips based on my experience booking a recent trip to California.
To view the first 5 tips please visit: Still Holding onto that Tax Refund? Consider an Affordable Vacation.
To view tips 6-10 please visit: Booking an Affordable Vacation: Part II.
11). Don’t buy things at the airport- unless you have too!
Everything in the airport stores are expensive. From food and drinks to neck pillows, books, headphones- everything. We brought snacks to hold us over so we wouldn’t have to eat a full meal and we brought a water bottle so we didn’t have to buy drinks. Note: TSA will let you bring food in, you just have to show it to them and they check it. A water bottle can pass through TSA as long as it is empty, and then you can fill it up once you are past them. We made the mistake of forgetting headphones and ended up paying $25.00 for one pair- YIKES.
12). Skip out on extravagant gifts.
We love to buy gifts and souvenirs, but this year we decided to go with picture frames and magnet frames. Almost all tourist shops, or attractions have them. They are easy to transport home and you can then put a picture of yourself from your trip as a great gift to family. There are also other great options for gifts if you look for local vendors and markets. I bought my mother a pair of seashell earrings which were handmade at a local shop- they were also on sale for $5.00 (she loved them!)
13). Look for the free days (museums and tourist sites).
Lots of museums and tourist attractions have “Free Days”. You can find them by checking out their websites.
14). Walk as much as possible.
Walking is free! And of course, good exercise. I tore my Achilles tendon at the beginning of May and went on this vacation with a boot (3 months post-surgery) and I was still willing to walk everywhere to save money. Plus when you walk, it’s easy to discover things that you may want to visit that you didn’t know where there!
15). Use Scooter or Bike Rentals.
So many cities have scooter and bike rentals which are really fun and inexpensive. Since I was injured and in a boot, I was not able to utilize these- but our Airbnb hosts recommended them and the prices can range from $1 per hour to $10-15 for the whole day. Definitely worth it for places and attractions that are a couple miles apart.
16). Uber and use shared transport costs.
Uber is hands down cheaper than taxis! We made the mistake of taking a taxi to our first Airbnb (which was about 15 minutes from all the San Diego hot spots). This trip was $56. When we used Uber and shared transportation cost with other people going to the same place it was $25.
17). Do the Free Stuff!
There are so many attractions that are free and we took advantage of this on our trip. These can include street fairs, concerts, cultural events, swimming in a beach or a lake, activities in a local park, catching the sunset (or sunrise if your ambitious), taking a walk or bike ride, hiking or visiting a local market. We also found a lot of unique and interesting street performers and boardwalks full of artists doing art demonstrations. I love photography, so for me just being able to walk around new places and take pictures was an incredible experience.
I hope this blog series has given you some insight into traveling on a budget and perhaps given you a good idea for using part of next year’s tax refund.
Written by Kathleen Thompson, Associate Accountant, Davis & Hodgdon Associates CPAs.
Davis & Hodgdon Associates CPAs has been assisting Vermont individuals and business owners with tax consulting and retirement planning for more than 25 years. Call our office in Williston 802.878.1963 or Rutland 802. 775-7132 to schedule a tax planning strategy session today.