COMPASS has shared ideas, experiences and stories during the month of June of how to have fun on a summer budget. Recently, Nicole Brennan shared with us some of her cost-saving tips for travel. Here are some more helpful reminders on how to stay budget conscious and still have fun during your summer travels.
Like I wrote in part one, I relish in deals and money-saving tricks, especially when traveling. Summer can be expensive for travel (since gas prices are higher and it’s the typical tourist season) but with some handy tricks, it shouldn’t put a huge dent in your wallet.
Try to be flexible. When searching for airfare, check prices for three days prior and after your planned travel dates. Flying out on a Saturday morning rather than a Friday night can easily save you $100 a ticket. Create a list of various activities you’d like to try and rank them in importance, knowing you might not visit them all. The worst part about pre-planning is having too rigid of a schedule. Make allowances for weather, emotions, and exhaustion by having a few options available.
Splurge on lunch and save on dinner. One of my more practical tips focuses on meal planning. Dinner is the most expensive meal of the day for Americans. Lunch specials can offer the same great cuisine at a discounted rate. Make a reservation for that Michelin restaurant at 1pm, and eat pub food in the evening. A role reversal can save you a lot when dining out. (Be sure to share your food, too! You can split a few meals, try a bite of everything at the table, and not have to pay extra!)
Savor your surroundings. While on vacation or staycation, plan some nature time. A hike, picnic, or a walk down the boulevard or beach is a cheap way to waste a day and appreciate the beauty around you. Find some quiet time to marvel at God’s wonders before your next activity. (I find journaling during these times particularly eye-opening.)
Maintain a balance. I try to “highlight” one activity a day to help me balance out my frugality. Whether that is a great meal, a unique excursion, a special treat, or an unusual souvenir, I try to treat myself daily. Just like a diet, if you are constantly in a starvation mode, you are bound to act out. This is a vacation after all- Enjoy it! Allowing yourself a “cheat” every once in a while helps your psychology and your budget in the end. (Be sure to include extra spending money for your “cheats” in the plan. You do have a budget, after all!)
Above all else, remember people (and your experiences) are always more important than things. I learned this proverb at a young age, and incorporate it in my daily philosophy. It is easy while watching your pennies to become too focused on the spreadsheets and not what really matters. It is more important to spend money on the journey, the memories, and your travel companions than extra postcards, magnets, or other frivolous souvenirs. Have your priorities straight when planning and during the vacation and invest in them.
During your travel, be it an exotic destination, entertaining cruise, or a sparkling staycation, take time to enjoy the many blessings God has created: the scenery, the company, and the opportunity you have to travel and relax.
About the Author, Nicole Brennan: Hello there! I’m passionate about living a stewardly lifestyle, while being adventurous and frugal. I currently live in community with six other 20-somethings in downtown Chicago and work as a Marketing Assistant at Barnabas Foundation, a partner of ESC and COMPASS. In my off hours, you can find me volunteering at a nearby homeless shelter, enjoy live music with friends, or watching reruns of Parks and Rec. Email me at firstname.lastname@example.org or tweet me at @BarnabasFdn.
This blog is a component of the Ecumenical Stewardship Center’s COMPASS initiative to engage young adults in conversations about faith and finances. Like what you see and want to know/do more? Visit the COMPASS web page and join the COMPASS community on Facebook.