5 Ways To Vacation on the Cheap

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Being broke (or just thrifty) shouldn’t keep you from heading out on a well-deserved vacation. Whether you’re looking for a weekend getaway or a month-long adventure, here are 5 ways to help you save cash on your next holiday.

Sleep Cheap

For most travelers, the bulk of their vacation budget goes towards their accommodation. Find a cheap (or better yet, free) place to crash for the night, and you’ll save a ton of cash. Before you set out on your next holiday, send a shout-out to your social media contacts letting them know you’re looking for a low-cost place to lay your head – you just might get lucky and score an invite to stay in a spare room or an unused cottage.

If you’re ok with sleeping on a stranger’s couch, check out CouchSurfing. It’s a thriving online community where travelers and hospitable people connect, matching up couchsurfers with hosts who are willing to put up a traveler for the night (or two) in a spare room, on an air mattress, or on the couch. Best of all, it’s free – the idea is to promote goodwill, friendships and cultural exchange through the simple act of letting a stranger crash on your couch for the night. And yes, there’s an app for that.

Eat Cheap

Next to the cost of hotels, dining out while on vacation can literally take a bite out of your travel budget. Skip the fancy restaurants and check out some authentic local food – independent diners and food trucks are usually much cheaper than chain restaurants, and the food tastes a whole lot better. Remember to check for online coupons to score discounts and 2 for 1 deals on everything from coffee to dinner theatre tickets.

Drive Someone Else’s Car

No, we’re not suggesting you ‘borrow’ your mom’s minivan or hot wire your neighbors’ car to use on your next road trip – there’s legit companies that actually connect willing long-distance drivers with vehicle owners who want their ride relocated.

Known as driveaway or vehicle delivery services, these companies match pre-screened drivers with cars that need to be moved long distances, making this a great way to score a cross-country road trip. The drivers usually pay only for the gas, and on high-demand routes the gas might even be included along with a small salary. Hit The Road and DriveAwayUSA are just two of the companies that can hook you up with a low-cost cross-country road trip.

Travel In An RV

Traveling in a recreational vehicle (RV) can be a great way to save on your next vacation. These homes-on-wheels usually come fully equipped with everything you need – beds, bathrooms and kitchens, letting you save money on hotels and restaurant meals. While RVs have a well-deserved reputation as gas-guzzling behemoths, the high price at the pump means savings on virtually all other aspects of your holiday. Want to go ultra-cheap? Sleep in your rig at WalMart – seriously. Most stores in this megachain welcome RVers to park overnight in the store lots, making for a free (albeit sometimes loud) night’s rest.

Be Flexible

If your holiday dreams involve booking flights, a hotel or a car rental, being flexible about your travel dates will help you land the lowest prices. Most airlines and other travel-related services offer deep discounts during off-seasons, so if you aren’t picky about when you vacation, chances are good you’ll be able to find great deals.

By following these 5 simple tips, you too can enjoy a great vacation on the cheap!

About the writer:

Jax Bell is a proud WalMart camper, having logged thousands of miles traversing the country in a vintage VW campervan. When she’s not on the road, you can find Jax at the local independent coffee shop, planning her next cheap vacation.


  1. CouchSurfing Ive never heard of that before, what a great idea. I didn’t know about Walmart and the RV’s either, great news, thanks .

  2. We bought a small camper for that very reason! We love it! We have never slept in a Walmart lot, but we stay at state parks and the rates are usually $20-$30 a night.

  3. Great tips! I enjoyed the travel with an RV tip. It would be fun for the kids too.

  4. Enjoyed this post…some really great ideas. Have seen the RV’s parked at Walmart!
    We always had a really big breakfast…then an early lunch/dinner…where you can have dinner at lunch prices. Then just a snack at night! Works!

  5. Great ideas! Never heard of the driveaway services to move vehicles – but it makes sense. Gotta check that one out!

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