How to Travel on a Budget + Free Adventure Planner PDF

it's Monday // June 27th, 2016

I adore the phrase – Adventure is out there and I must go. But for me it’s more like – Adventure is out there and I need to go. Like, right now. But my wallet usually says no Ashley, you’ve got bills to pay. Remember last weeks post that talked about investing in yourself? Well I’m going to play that card when it comes to traveling. It’s an investment in myself and it’s 100% worth it, every single time. Here’s why investing in travel is important and how to set up a travel budget that will make for successful adventuring!

And don’t forget to download my free adventure planner PDF! This planner will help you lay out all the details for your next trip. Rather than sifting through emails, you can easily reference this on the go to locate check-in times, addresses, phone numbers, etc.

When you all will be reading this (if you follow me on Twitter or Instagram I’m sure you already know) – my husband and I will be on our 2 year anniversary adventure! We’re traveling to Nashville, the Smoky Mountain’s and Asheville, NC.  We’ll be using #TennesseeTwoYear to share photos. 👌

Why Investing in Travel is a Worthwhile Endeavor

Have you ever bought something and been like, wow this object is truly amazing. This object is so amazing that it’s literally bringing tears to my eyes. This object is changing my life right now so much that I’m going to tell people about it forever. This object is so magical that I’m going to photograph myself with it and share it with the world so they too, will buy this object.

Okay, weirdo. Or maybe you are just a super passionate person. I get it. I’m sure that 65 inch 4K curved TV would make me tear up while watching Titanic, but… I’m not sure I’d be taking selfies with it and telling my grandchildren about how it changed my life.

Hopefully you catch my drift?

So why do I invest in traveling rather than buying a new car or new TV? Because seeing the ocean for the first time (when I was 19) WAS truly amazing and I WILL be telling people about that experience for the rest of my life. Because seeing Yosemite National Park literally brought tears to my eyes. I was so overwhelmed by the beauty God created, yes in something as simple as a rock formation, that I couldn’t catch my breath.

See, I’m a passionate person too.

Traveling allows me to experience new, amazing things and then I can share those experiences with friends, family and you! Every time I go somewhere new, even if it’s a day trip to a city only 2 hours away, I leave feeling refreshed and inspired. Without this inspiration – I wouldn’t be able to run any of my businesses.

The act of exploration and adventure leads to learning and personal growth.

Traveling not only helps you grow as an individual but it strengthens relationships. Tell your kids to put away the iPads and go create a tangible experience with them. An experience that they will want to tell their friends and family members about for years to come.

Feeling distant from your husband or wife? Get in a car and travel across the country with them. Work through any arguments along the way and come back feeling renewed and closer to each other.

It’s expensive to travel. So… let’s create a budget!

Set up a budget for your adventures, just like most of you do for your life. Start 6 – 12 months ahead of time and set a concrete number for your trip. For example, I will spend no more than $3,000 total on this trip. And start saving! Price and plan out the following details to ensure your budget is being used properly.

1.  Where am I staying?

I typically start our adventure planning with where we are going to stay. You may choose to start with how you are getting there, or maybe you just love food and want to make sure you have a reservation at your favorite restaurant. It’s your trip! Do you.

If you’re going to travel as a couple for 10 days, plan on spending at least $1000 of your budget on places to stay.

✨  Savvy Saver Tip #1

Use services like AirBNB, HomeAway or VBRO. They all pretty much do the same thing, but the prices and places on each vary. And read the reviews! On sites like those, they are typically on point with what you can expect.

I’ve used those services multiple times and have no real complaints. However, I will say for short 1 – 2 day trips these services do give you a little grief. A lot of the rental owners don’t explicitly communicate that they require a 3 day minimum stay until after you reserve, in which case they decline your stay.

 Savvy Saver Tip #2

If you have a credit card, use those benefits! We use Discover and I absolutely love this company. Not only can you choose to have a purple credit card, but the first year you sign up is free of interest and every time you call for help you get AN ACTUAL HUMAN. *Gasps*

Credit card companies typically all offer some sort of incentive to sign up, like the notable 5% cash back on most purchases, but they also offer deals on hotel rooms, car rentals, etc. I blind booked us a 4 star hotel in Indianapolis for only $90 AND received 10% off, just by using my Discover card. Woo! Savings!

2.  How am I getting there?

How the heck are you getting to where you are going? I’ve spend more money on traveling than upgrading my car – hey, it gets me from point a to point b most days and that’s all I really need right now – so, whenever we go on an adventure, I end up renting us a car. I recommend Enterprise. They are the cheapest in our area and they offer great discounts and deals when you sign up for their Enterprise Plus membership, free of charge.

For rental car or plane tickets, just do a little research before booking anything to see if there is a cheaper option out there. You never know until you check. So you need to nerd out and make a comparative chart? Don’t be ashamed of your inner “savvy-saver-coupon-clipper-it’s-free-it’s-me”. I’m definitely not. ✂️

3. What will I eat?

Set aside in your budget a pretty big number for food, especially if you are planning on eating out the entire trip. It gets expensive, especially if you’d rather have a nice juicy steak over a cold McWhatever.

3 meals a day, for 10 days? Plan on at least $600 for two people.

✨  Savvy Saver Tip #3

If you are staying somewhere for an extended time, make your own food! It’s so much cheaper to go to a local grocery store or market stand and buy items to make. Many of the AirBNB or HomeAway rentals have tiny kitchens ready for use. Complete with a fridge, microwave and occasionally even a stove. And the best part? The money you save doing this can be used towards…

4. Touristy Things & Souvenirs!

If you’re an amateur traveler or just visiting to a new place for the first time – it’s inevitable that you’re going to become a little touristy. I see that camera strapped around your neck! You don’t have to go crazy – like buying a selfie stick – but opt in for at least one touristy thing! Don’t be ashamed. These touristy things are going to cost you money. Bet on $10 – $50 per person, per thing.

We even had to pay to get into Yosemite. And yes, it was totally worth it.

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5. Things For the Journey

Don’t forget to leave room in your budget for all of the miscellaneous items you need to take with you! Things like; bathing products, sunscreen, books / magazines, and did someone say new swimsuit???

Also in this piece of the budget are the random pit stops you will be making – if driving. You know, Starbucks and then Starbucks. And you’ll probably have to use the restroom, at a Starbucks. And if you aren’t driving, this covers the snacks you will inevitably buy while waiting for the plane.

Those little things do add up. So remember to budget around $100 for them.

✨  Savvy Saver Tip #4

Shop when things are on sale! Stock up on sunscreens and lotions at the end of the summer. If you shop at Target, do yourself a huge favor and use the Cartwheel app. I know, the app crashes occasionally and who actually has the time to look through it for deals? Make time you must, save money you will.

The Adventure Planner PDF

No matter how spontaneous the trip may be, it’s still a good idea to have some sort of game plan AND to actually write it down. What if you drop your phone in the toilet at the highway rest stop? Are you going to travel to the nearest library in order to access your email and itinerary? I doubt it.

I’ve made this handy little adventure planning PDF for myself to easily plan out our trips. I’m sharing it with you because I’ve found it to be a super useful tool and I hope it will help you too! Now, please go plan a vacation.

adventure planner PDF

Stop living vicariously through others and start experiencing the wonder for yourself.

It doesn’t matter where you are in life, if you want to travel somewhere new, experience a culture rich city, or just go camping in the mountains… take the steps to do so!

Happy Monday! Adventure is waiting, my friend.

Click here to download the adventure planner PDF!

*Please note all opinions here are my own. I am not affiliated, sponsored by or in association with any of the companies I make mention of.


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