Exactly How We Afford to Travel so Much (Hint: Travel Cheap & Local)
How do you afford to travel so much?
We get this question often, and we’re spilling the tea. The secret to traveling more often is to travel like a local! In this article, we’re sharing exactly how to travel cheap, more often, and like locals so you can explore more and make the most out of your time off.
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How to (Seriously) Travel Cheap and More Often
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 a great appreciation for seeking fulfillment outdoors through an active and healthy lifestyle hiking, camping, and road-tripping close to home. Pablo and I currently live in a city and take every chance we can to get out and explore off the beaten path.
We believe 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. We are here to show you how to make the most out of your adventures!
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.
Keep reading to learn precisely how we travel more often!
Road Trip + Travel Close to Home
Look for local places to explore and road trip close to home.
Pablo and I 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 our house.
Our reasoning – it is easy to road trip somewhere for 2-3 days if the drive isn’t too far.
How to Plan a Road Trip
Planning a road trip doesn’t have to be complicated, and it is a great way to budget travel!
Below are some easy ways to plan a road trip.
- To 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. I read somewhere that since the pandemic, 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.
How We Travel More Often
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.
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.
Shop Camping Gear (We Love)
We Bring Our Food
Pablo and I never eat out. EVER. We bring all of our food, water, and snacks.
Bringing our own food saves us so much money.
Shop Camp Kitchen Essentials (We Use)
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.
We also always bring a few Good to-Go meals for emergencies or if we are feeling too lazy to prepare food after hiking all day.
Looking for easy camping meal inspiration? Check out 15 easy and gluten-free camping ideas (all of our favorites)!
Do Free Outdoor Activities and Travel Cheap
Hiking is free. Mountain biking is free. Taking pictures is free (after investing in the gear). Driving back roads is free (minus the gas). Watching sunrises and sunsets are free. Roam and explore the woods! Jump in the lakes, creeks, 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.
They are also great for entertaining friends and family on trips and saving everyone money.
Shop Best Hiking Gear!
Cost of a Typical Weekend Camping Trip (How to Travel Cheap)
Below is a simple breakdown of the cost of a typical weekend camping trip (in 2022).
- 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 (in 2022) 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.
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 on How We Afford to Travel So Much
Traveling locally helps our dollar go further. So, 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! AND, most importantly, we aren’t accumulating debt to travel places and have incredible life experiences.
We have so much fun exploring locally.
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!
Thanks for reading.
Ashlee + Pablo
You might also like…
- How to Make Delicious (and Easy) Camp Coffee
- 15 Easy Gluten-Free Camping Meal Ideas to Make for Your Next Adventure
- 10 FREE Apps for Outdoor Trip Planning: Plan Epic Hiking, Camping & Road Trips
- 2021 Aliner Ranger 12 Honest Review (This is Our Camping Rig)!
- 25 Best Amazon Camping Gear Must-Haves
- Everything to Know Tent Camping for Beginners
- Primitive & Dispersed Camping on BLM: Camp for FREE!
- 30 Items to Create a Simple DIY Camp Kitchen
- 5 Best Places to Camp Along the Arkansas Buffalo River (Ozarks)
- Adventure Travel Photography Gear to Take Stunning Photos
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We’d love to hear from you!
What are your thoughts on traveling locally?
How do you afford to travel cheap and more often?
Tell us your favorite places to adventure close to home. We would love to hear!