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How to Embrace the Spirit of Travel When You’re on a Budget

How to Embrace the Spirit of Travel When You’re on a Budget

Whether embracing travel from home or traveling on a budget, here are some inexpensive (and free) ways to heighten your travel spirits.

Be Proactive

Join an Online Community

Discussing your travel ambitions with other travelers is a great way to ignite passions. Whether participating in travel-related Twitter chats or joining communities on Reddit and YouTube, you’re bound to find a travel community on the web.

Start Planning Your Travels Now

Maybe you don’t have the means to pack up and travel right this minute but doesn’t mean you can’t start planning now. Research your dream destinations, start pricing flights and look at lodging. Put a real date to it and commit to traveling.

“To embrace the spirit of travel, the most important thing a person can do is to prioritize traveling,” said Angela Maschio, of The Boho Backpacker. “So many people make excuses about why they can’t travel—it’s too expensive, they don’t have enough time or they have no one to go with. Once you dedicate yourself to making travel happen and create goals with travel in mind, it’s so easy.”

People planning

Create a Vision Board

The point of a vision board is to physically bring your dream to life: vision boards are a visual way to display your bucket list. Rather than listing items in a notebook, gather photos of dream vacations, attractions and excursions and place them on a poster or bulletin board. Boards can be cool home decor or desk decor, so your bucket list will always be front and center.

In Your Day-To-Day

“Use vacation days at work strategically, cook new recipes from desired travel destinations, save some of your paychecks each month for a travel fund, try solo travel and take weekend trips,” Maschio said. “It’s important to find inspiration and learn from others on blogs, podcasts and social media, but don’t let that inspiration become an unattainable reality.”

Listen to Podcasts

Listening to podcasts is a great way to indulge in travel conversations in your everyday life whether you’re cooking, cleaning, working, driving or working out. Believe it or not, there are podcasts available for every type of traveler: budget travelers, Disney lovers, outdoor adventurers and more.

Read Travel Novels

Grab a book—or e-reader—for a good, travel-related read. Books are a great way to escape reality, and many reads offer plenty of travel inspiration. Some of our favorites include Paulo Coehlo’s The Alchemist and Jonathan Raban’s Hunting Mister Heartbreak.

Person Reading
(©Ben White/Unsplash)

Follow Travel-Related Instagram Accounts

Most of us can relate to endless hours of scrolling through our Instagram feeds liking posts, so why not follow travel bloggers and travel publications for inspiration? Instagram even allows users to follow hashtags, so you can follow #Travel or #Italy, for example, and you’ll see content related to those tags directly on your feed from a variety of user accounts.

Watch Films, Documentaries and TV Shows

Another inexpensive way to indulge in travel is through television and film. Movies like Away We Go, The Darjeeling Limited, and the Indiana Jones series are great places to start. If you’d prefer to binge TV, shows like Parts Unknown and Bizarre Foods may do the trick. If documentaries are your thing, queue up A Map for Saturday, which explores solo travel in Australia, Thailand, India and more.

Get To Know Your City

Research Local Tourism 

Open your browser, search the name of your city and type the word “tourism.” There are probably sites filled with things to do in your desired city—shopping, children’s activities, museums, spas, nightlife, arts, camping, special events—the list goes on. Really take time to explore your city, its history and its biggest attractions. Your inner-adventurer will thank you.

Bike sharing
(©Charlotte’s Got a Lot)

Take Advantage of Public Transit 

One costly factor of travel is transportation. Jennifer McKee, a former Charlotte editor, recommends going green.

“Reduce your carbon footprint and embrace green travel by taking advantage of your city’s light rail system,” said McKee. Explore the neighborhoods of your city and get a different perspective on how that city ticks. “Also, bike shares are increasing in popularity. Charlotte currently has four. You can download an app on your phone and pick up a bike from dozens of locations around the city.”

If you’re traveling on a budget in NYC, Lois Levine, a former New York editor-in-chief, recommends mass transit.

“Mass transit in NYC is the way to go: subways are clean, efficient and easy to find. Buses, too, though, not being underground, they tend to be slower,” said Levine.

Research Free-Admission Attractions

As you get to know your city (or one you’re visiting) our editors specifically recommend visiting local attractions and museums, which often offer free admission on select days. We have extensive guides to free things to do in Chicago, New York, Las Vegas, Philadelphia, Boston, and other cities.

“Many museums and attractions have ‘free’ days, where there is no cost for admission,” said Michelle Glicksman, a former Phoenix editor-in-chief. “The day varies by the locale, but always check to see if what you want to visit offers a ‘free’ day.”

As for New York freebies, Levine also had a few recommendations: “For Broadway shows, the TKTS booths in NYC allow you to buy discounted theater tickets simply by standing in line for 1-3 hours before the shows, and many museums in NYC offer free admission on Tuesday evenings.”

Spend a Day in a Local Park

If hiking has been on your mind, head out to your nearest park. Many parks offer trails for both runners and walker. Some parks even have paddle boats and kayaks, so you’ll get a little taste of water sports close to home.

Woman in a crowded park
(©Alex Blajan/Unsplash)