It’s almost Spring Break time! Many of you have already made travel plans, but what if you are trying to get out of debt? How do you justify a spring break vacation while you are shoveling yourself out of a financial mess? Think about adventure ideas that you can do either from home or inexpensively so that you don’t go backwards on your debt reduction plan. Honestly, the idea is that you spend less now so that you have the freedom to travel and adventure debt free later on. What can you do that is affordable yet fun? First you have to think outside the box. Here are my favorite ideas for an inexpensive spring break:
Camping – when I was growing up, my dad raced snowmobiles, so we stayed in our camper all year. If you have one, think of it as an option in cold weather as well as warm. Here in Wyoming it will still be fairly cold in March, but if you live where it’s warmer, you could tent camp too. Go out and see what the forest is like as it’s waking up from winter.
Hiking – take day trips to hike local trails. A Wyoming day trip is anywhere you can get to within 3 hours, but we’re used to having to drive longer distances to get places. Look for the best trails in your area, maybe the ones that you normally overlook because you like to go to new destinations. Pack a lunch and spend the entire day, then go home to enjoy sleeping in your own bed. Part of the reason we want to try to do a lot of outdoor activities is because we are enjoying the first taste of spring, and it’s affordable to play outside. And this helps us to feel like we’ve had a vacation.
Do an historical road trip – look up local historical sites, read about them, then do a history tour. In Wyoming we have the Oregon trail, Fort Bridger, the Lewis and Clark expedition, and much more. All states have cool historical sites to check out, and often when we’re travelling we don’t take the time to stop and read about them as we drive past them.
Do a “shop hop” – set a small budget, then go check out your locally owned small town shops. See what you can find at the local fly shop, or sporting goods store. Because you set a small budget it forces you to look at all the cool little small things in these stores. Like hiking socks, fly line, water bottles.
Spend one night in a hotel within a few hours from home. Those places that are close enough to home that we usually just cruise past them. Go out for dinner, see the local tourist spots. Take your bikes and find local bike trails. Get a hotel with a pool and spend the evening swimming.
Try a new sport. Rent mountain bikes, fat tire bikes, or paddle boards for just one day. We try new things when we are on vacation, think about new things you can try close to home. This also gives you a chance to see if you really like something before you invest in new gear for yourself (after you’re debt free of course). We all know that person who bought a boat, or mountain bike, that they thought they would love but never use.
The only part I remember of the movie “Yes Man” is where they walk into an airport and buy a ticket to somewhere, totally unplanned. I love the idea of finding a last minute plane ticket to wherever you can go for a really good deal and just going for it. I recently got an e-mail from Frontier Airlines advertising cheap flights. If you don’t care where you go, buy the cheapest flight you can get and spend a couple days exploring someplace new. The deals I looked at were out of Denver, all between $39 and $54 one way. There are many places you can fly to, but here’s a partial list of places listed that I figured I could find adventure at: Dallas, Kansas City, St. Louis, Las Vegas, Phoenix, Minneapolis, Salt Lake City, Houston, Memphis, Nashville, San Antonio. Find a good deal on a hotel for just a couple of nights, remember we’re doing inexpensive trips, not full blown vacations. We also aren’t planning on being in the hotel much anyway because we’re going out exploring, so as long as it’s clean and safe it’ll do. Grab lunch at a local grocery store because you’re going to be out having fun all day. I’m not partial to Frontier, check out all the airlines as well as sites such as Cheap Tickets. Be open minded, all of these places have cool things to see and do.
Visit your local Chamber of Commerce and get tourist information. Go and see whatever you can do in a day trip, but do something different each day. Plan a baking day at home on one of your first break days, then take the stuff you make out for treats while you are exploring. Do some photo shoots with different outfits, have some fun with it. Take your kids dress up boxes, then let them dress however they want to because they have better imaginations than we do. You’ll get some great photos, find fun things to do close to home, and again, get to sleep in your own bed.
Find a one day class you can take together. Ideally close to home so that you only have the expense of the class. Think fly fishing, rock climbing, dutch oven cooking, photography, fly tying, jewelry making, trail running. This is a good time to do something you’ve seen advertised locally but usually don’t have the time to fit in.
Go to your closest campground with a dutch oven meal and your mountain bikes. While your dinner is cooking go for a bike ride, close to the campground so that you can keep a close eye on your meal. Again, we don’t usually stay at campgrounds just outside our home town, so it might be unexplored territory for you.
Living on a budget doesn’t mean that you can’t adventure. What it means is that you may have to come up with new ideas for fun. Chances are you will come up with ideas that are more fun than the traditional Spring Break anyway. What are your best inexpensive Spring Break plans?