Tips for Vacationing on a Budget

If you’re anything like me, you love adventure… but you’re also super broke. Well, I have good news, fellow struggling students! Even though we may not be able to travel the world (yet), there are still options for us to satisfy the urge to get out there. Whether you want to settle into a sleeping bag on a mountaintop or explore a new city, I have gathered some helpful tips to help you explore on a budget.

Sleep in your car. It may not be the most comfortable place, but when you just want to get out and go, this is a viable option. If you don’t have a car (or if yours is too small), it may help to find another adventure hungry friend and crash in theirs. Once you have the vehicle, grab some sleeping bags, sleeping pads, and blankets to craft your nest. This can end up being very comfortable if you’re short. This is also perfect for spontaneous trips when you don’t have time to find a hotel room or campsite. NOTE: do a little research before you go. Sleeping on the side of certain roads and in certain parks may not be allowed. Look for signs and do a quick google if you aren’t sure.

Find a Hostel. Hostels are like super cheap communal hotels. Lots of people come to stay in one place, usually in bunk-beds. These are great for meeting new people, traveling to cities, and saving money as hostel stays are notoriously cheap.

Use hipcamp.com. It’s like Airbnb for campsites! Many of them are cheaper than state-owned ones and still quite nice. Plus, you can talk to the host for advice and help should you need any.

Stay on BLM land. It’s FREE to camp on BLM land. Do your research and respect the landscape while you’re out there.

Go searching for some hot springs. There are many hot springs in Nevada and California in gorgeous locations. To maintain their natural beauty, most of their exact locations are not made public. A fun adventure nearby could be simply heading out into the great outdoors with a general direction and a bathing suit (or none- I won’t judge) to find one of these diamonds in the rough and relax.

Look up popular nearby locations on Instagram. Sometimes there are hidden gems near you that will save you a long trip! The pictures can tell you how beautiful they are. Look for location tags on posts and follow some local Instagram pages.

Take a friend. This way you can split the cost of gas, food, and campsite fees.

Stay at a hike-in campsite. These are often either free or cheaper than car-camping sites!

Be frugal when shopping for gear. You can usually find great, affordable gear either in thrift shops or online. Check reviews when shopping online and look for higher quality brands in thrift stores- they sometimes carry high-end items that were unpopular because of factors like color.

Get creative! Use free beach showers or biodegradable soap to bathe in a lake or river.