GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. — Throughout November, we’re ON YOUR SIDE helping you survive the squeeze with ways to save amid all the inflation. Traveling continues to get tougher as the cost of essentials continues to climb.
We spoke with two Michigan-made travel bloggers about ways to plan your next vacation on a budget.
Jessica Bassett of Byron Center is behind the travel blog “Mom in the Mitten” and she said, “With all of our beaches and state parks and with the national parks of Sleeping Bear Dunes and all the waterfalls up North,” there are plenty of ways to travel on a budget.
“A big way to save is by taking day trips and if you can eliminate that overnight stay at a hotel,” she said.
This is easy to do living in West Michigan, she says, because “there’re so many state parks within a half hour or 45 minutes that you can go visit all of these different locations and you’re not having to spend that $150 on a hotel.”
A state park pass is just $12 if purchased while renewing your car tabs with the Secretary of State.
Also, if you have a fourth grader, you’re eligible for a free National Parks and Federal Recreation Lands Pass through the federal Every Kid Outdoors program.
Bassett put together a blog post detailing how you can take a winter getaway to Northern Michigan for a family of five for under $350.
Still, not every trip can be pulled off in just one day.
Bassett suggests that, “if you do want to make it a long weekend, you can bookend a one-night hotel stay with two full days of travel,” adding that for any trip longer than two nights you should “look into getting an AirBnB or whether you jump on VRBO. It’s just a huge cost saver to go that route because then you have a full kitchen.”
That’s to help cut down food costs.
As a mother of three, Bassett also says driving is another way to save.
“That definitely makes it a lot more affordable than flying especially with a family. Once you get five people on a plane, it gets pretty pricey.”
Shalee Super writes the “Shalee Wanders” travel blog and said, “The nice thing about being outdoors and things like sight-seeing and hiking and scenic drives is most of those are free besides the gas money.”
She’s originally from Mecosta and is now living in the state of Wyoming. She has tips for traveling on a budget internationally, and says you should start with changing the way we typically think about buying airfare.
“We’re kind of taught to take our vacation days first, then pick our destination, then start looking at flights,” said Super. She said this will leave you locked into whatever pricing is available for that time period.
Instead, she said, “Do it backwards. I always look to see a destination first that has the cheapest flights during a specific week. I know that I want to travel in the spring but not quite sure what days – look at flight prices first and look at the best week for the most affordable rate and that can save you hundreds, sometimes up to $1,000, just on flights alone.”
While the flight may still cost you a pretty penny, Super says you can find other ways to save.
“Bali’s actually one of the cheapest countries you can possibly travel to. The big expense to Bali always come from airfare,” said Super.
She’s speaking from experience, because it’s a trip she took, this year.
“So, seven nights in a bamboo villa, that’s in the middle of this gorgeous rice field, that includes a private pool was $32 a night. So, when you look at what you can get – in the states you just can’t get anything anywhere for $32 a night. Instead you’re look at $200 a night," Super said. "So, when you kind of reallocate your budget and you look at going to Bali, it’s probably going to be about the same price if you were going to go to LA just because of how expensive LA is.”
Find more details on how Super planned her trip to Bali on her blog.
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