Exactly How We Afford to Travel Often


How do you afford to travel so much? We get this question all the time. The secret to traveling more often is to travel locally. We’re sharing exactly how to travel more often (and affordably) so you can explore more and make the most of your time off.

7 Tips for How To Travel More


Pablo and I love to get outside and explore our “backyards.” When we say backyards, we mean the state we live in and the neighboring states.

We have an appreciation for seeking fulfillment outdoors through an active and healthy lifestyle hiking, camping, and road-tripping. We currently live in a city and take every chance we can to get out and explore off the beaten path.

You don’t have to quit your job to do what we do. You also don’t need a lot of money or always use vacation time. Local road trips to hike and camp are the perfect way to recharge and reinvigorate your soul. It is a great way to travel on a budget and an easy way to save money while traveling.

1. Road Trip + Travel Close to Home

Explore local parks and hike

Look for local places to explore and road trip close to home. Search for public parks, green spaces, state parks, national parks, wildlife refuges, Army Corps of Engineers campgrounds, and places to explore up to four or (sometimes) five hours from the house. It is easy to road trip somewhere for 2-3 days if the drive isn’t far.

2. How To Plan a Road Trip

Road tripping

Planning a road trip doesn’t have to be complicated, and it is a great way to travel. Below are some easy ways to plan:

  • Find out where you want to explore: start by doing a simple Google Search or find inspiration on Pinterest. Then, look for state parks close by, national parks, the best trails to hike, and places to camp.
  • Once you find some camping and hiking areas that call to you, figure out how far the drive is and make camping reservations.
  • We always make reservations because it is nice to know where you’re sleeping once you get to your destination. More and more people are camping (which is incredible), but that also means campgrounds fill up. A little planning goes a long way.

Get inspiration to plan your next adventure with free apps for hiking, camping, and navigating road trips.

There are quite a few apps for outdoor trip planning that can be of great help to hikers, campers, and road trippers. That’s why we decided to share the FREE apps we use ALL OF THE TIME.

3. Plan Weekend Trips You Can Drive To

Local travel + hiking

If we have two or three days off, we leave early the first day we have off and drive to our destination.

Once we get to the destination, we set up camp and explore the rest of the afternoon. On the first day’s afternoon, look for short hikes or familiarize yourself with the destination and plan the next day’s excursion. Then you have a full day or two to explore, depending on your time off.

Drive home early on the last day of your trip so you have time to unpack and relax before heading back to work.

4. We Camp All the Time

Camping is budget-friendly.

In 2021, we finally invested in our dream camper – the Aliner. It has literally been a game-changer in how we camp and travel. It truly has become our tiny home on wheels. Most places we camp cost $20-$40 a night.

5. We Bring Our Food

Bring your own food.

We bring all of our food, water, and snacks. Bringing our own food saves us so much money.

We might spend $50 on groceries for a weekend camping trip. And honestly, we usually just bring whatever we have from home and eat that.

Looking for easy camping meal inspiration? Check out 15 easy and gluten-free camping ideas (all of our favorites)!

6. We Do Free Outdoor Activities

Sunset watching is romantic and free!

Hiking is free. Mountain biking is free. Taking pictures is free (after investing in the equipment). Driving back roads is free (minus the gas). Watching sunrises and sunsets are free. Roam and explore the woods. Jump in the lakes, creeks, and rivers, and have fun!

“All good things are wild and free.” – Henry David Thoreau 

Free outdoor activities are a great way to keep travel expenses to a minimum, entertain yourself, and explore.

7. Cost of a Typical Weekend Camping Trip

Below is a simple breakdown of the cost of a typical weekend camping trip.

  • Camping fees – $20-40/night
  • Food – $50
  • Gas – $150-175 – pricing depending on the weekend and what the world is doing. We usually buy a tank of gas going and a tank coming home.
  • Highway tolls – $20

A weekend camping and hiking trip in Oklahoma and Arkansas costs us less than $300.

The most expensive thing we pay for is gas.

The breakdown above is how we keep our travel expenses to a minimum. As you can see, a long weekend costs as little as $150 per person round trip with this style of travel.

Do you live in Oklahoma or Arkansas? Check out these 27 Easy Road Trip Ideas. Keep it simple and go! Most of the parks are free to enter if you are already camping in Oklahoma. In Arkansas, state parks are free to enter.

You don’t have to have an RV or camper – you can always car camp or sleep in a tent.

When we lived in Colorado, we did the same things, except we camped on BLM Land in Utah and Colorado, where camping is free.

Final Thoughts

Traveling locally helps our dollar go further. We can travel more often and do trips multiple times a month. We aren’t spending tons of money on airplane tickets, hotels, or restaurants, and we are having just as much fun. Most importantly, we aren’t accumulating debt to travel places and we are still having wonderful experiences.

These cost-cutting strategies and travel tips are a lifestyle (and so easy to do). Plan your next trip close to home if you want to travel more.

We hope this article inspires you to explore more places locally. Enjoy your home state and neighboring states.

Ashlee + Pablo

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Ashlee Fechino

Ashlee Fechino is an outdoor recreation and travel writer sharing the best-kept secrets that aren’t in your typical guidebook. Her goal is to inspire people to travel with a sense of adventure by sharing hidden gems across the U.S. and beyond. She is married to an expat Argentine, Pablo. They camp in their Aliner often and love wandering the world. Follow their latest adventures on Instagram @thehappinessfxn.


  1. Marianne on March 31, 2022 at 8:46 am

    Absolutely LOVE this! We have been doing a little more local travel in the last couple of years, and are having soooo many amazing adventures. As a family, we are slowly getting into camping, and are thinking of getting small camper as well. While going abroad is nice, we live in Canada and our own backyard is gorgeous.

    • Ashlee Fechino on April 6, 2022 at 12:11 pm

      Hi Marianne! Thank for sharing. Everything we see about the Canadian wilderness is just incredible. I bet you will fall more in love with camping after you get a camper. We used to tent camp and after getting the Aliner – camping feels like our little house on wheels. Thanks for commenting. Happy adventuring!

  2. Susan on March 27, 2022 at 11:23 am

    I love this! Local adventures and camping are go-to’s for me too. There’s so many awesome places to explore once you start looking! I would love to have a camper someday, but for now I do tent camping.

    • Ashlee Fechino on March 29, 2022 at 4:04 pm

      Hi Susan – thanks for reading our article. We love hearing that you like to travel locally. You are so right – there are many awesome places to explore locally once you start looking.

  3. Sarah on March 27, 2022 at 1:16 am

    Great ideas, I love camping adventures. I also house sit internationally, that’s another great way to be able to afford to travel so much especially if you love pets.

    • Ashlee Fechino on March 29, 2022 at 4:03 pm

      Hi Sarah! What a great idea! I’d love to hear more about how you plan house sitting out. Cool share.

  4. simplyjolayne on March 26, 2022 at 6:32 pm

    There are so many tips for planning travel that makes it easier to afford. My biggest tip is to start a vacation fund…today.

    • Ashlee Fechino on March 29, 2022 at 4:02 pm

      Hi Jolayne – great advice! Thanks for adding that.

  5. Erin on March 26, 2022 at 4:09 pm

    Ashlee + Pablo, Looks like an amazing trip! Thanks so much for sharing!

    • Ashlee Fechino on March 29, 2022 at 4:02 pm

      Hi Erin! Thanks for stopping by and commenting. We appreciate you!

  6. Krista on March 26, 2022 at 1:51 pm

    Lots of great tips here! Eating at restaurants all the time while travelling is so expensive, so I often bring my own food where possible as well.

    • Ashlee Fechino on March 29, 2022 at 4:01 pm

      Yes, Krista! Eating in restaurants DOES get expensive. We loved reading you try to bring your own food as well.

  7. Megan on March 26, 2022 at 1:10 pm

    Love this article! We have put a lot more local plans in our upcoming travel and I’m so excited to see more of what’s nearby. We don’t do a lot of camping (kids make it a little more work!) but I’d actually love to try camping more if it means we can travel more!

    • Ashlee Fechino on March 29, 2022 at 4:00 pm

      Hi Megan! Thanks for reading! There are so many neat things to do close to home (in most places). I know you live in CO, just a little drive and there is something to see every weekend. Maybe as the kids get older you can enjoy camping. Have a great week! Safe travels.

  8. Linda (LD Holland) on March 26, 2022 at 10:35 am

    Some great tips to help people travel for less. We too love to head out for local day trips with our cooler packed for the trip. There are indeed so many outdoor experiences that are free. And help us to slow down and enjoy the moments.

    • Ashlee Fechino on March 29, 2022 at 3:58 pm

      Hi Linda! Thank you for stopping by and reading our article. We love hearing that you bring a cooler too!

  9. Lasma on March 26, 2022 at 10:10 am

    These are great tips and I love the photos of the article! I think doing what the locals do is always the best decision!

    • Ashlee Fechino on March 29, 2022 at 3:58 pm

      Hi Lasma! Thanks for reading and commenting on our article. You are so right!

  10. Burt Randall on March 12, 2022 at 1:54 pm

    This is a great article, informative. Have FUN camping, Ashlee + Pablo !!

    • Ashlee Fechino on March 14, 2022 at 12:41 pm

      Hi Burt! Thanks for reading and commenting. We appreciate you!