|CONFESSION: This photo is from last year but that cactus still exists. so...|
Vacation can mean a lot of things, but to us it means getting on a plane and staying away from home for at least a week (though it would be splendid to eventually increase that number to double digit days of vacation). Vacation also means indulgence, and if you read the previous post you know that my indulgence is also a bit delusional, i.e. it involves lots of exercise, visiting a grocery store, and finding as many free/dirt cheap events and excursions as possible. But back to the point. wait. what is the point?
Ah yes. Vacation minimalist style. Here are our top 6 suggestions for cutting corners and allowing yourself to vacation as much as possible within limits of course, we still have to maintain relations with our family and friends, and a job. duh.
- Before the vacation it all starts with priorities. We want to travel therefore we save up for it, instead of spending money on eating out, movies, and other American culture necessities, we save up for trips - planning well in advance so that we know how much money we will need and reminding ourselves, every time we are tempted to overindulge in the extras of daily living, that a penny saved is a penny earned. or whatever.
- Cheap flights. Not quite yet an extinct idea. We recently traveled on Spirit airlines, bare minimum tickets (no checked baggage, peanuts, sodas or leg room. seriously.). But since airfare can chew into your budget immensely, and I have short legs, it pays to shop around and be patient for low fares. Also, when sitting on your (delayed) flight, thirsty, and suffering from salt withdrawal, remind yourself that it will all be worth it when you get to your exotic destination, like South Carolina.
- Staying in a hostel. Okay, we admit it, there may be a slightly negative connotation with this option, but having both stayed in them we strongly disagree. Besides the fact that it will encourage you to get out of your room and explore the city you may be visiting (that's pretty much the whole point of going there, i think), it is a much more cost effective option. Be adventurous, stay in a hostel and really indulge yourself in the culture of vacationing. so exotic.
- Skip the week long vacation. I know I said at least a week, but sometimes just a few-days-get-away is enough to recharge and refuel so that you can get back to regular life with more zest and pip and zeal and maybe even... a tan.
- Experience the culture of wherever you go. Ditch the tourist traps and go for what the locals do. This has been made much easier with the advent of blogs. Do a quick google or pinterest search to find what exotic South Carolinians think is the best museum, the best historical sites, the best restaurants etc. and do those things (or at the very least pick from that list of things you would like to do). Maybe you really want to go to those commercial sites (usually they surround food) and that's okay too. But plan ahead and budget out what your priorities are.
- BUDGET! ARGGGG!!! Okay so $1000, including airfare, hotel, food and excursions. That's maximum. Usually it would be nice to keep that number under $600, but it is only realistic if you are incredibly savvy or if you know people with extra rooms in every exotic place you would like to travel to (also you have to feel okay with mooching off of said persons). Perhaps this seems easy to you, and if so kudos! If not I challenge you to indulge in a minimalist vacation for yourself! P.S. If you are a part of an average American couple this can be easily saved up by:
- Not going out to eat for lunch for 6 months
- Give up your starbs coffee for 5 months
- No new clothes (Gasp!) for 6 whole months (that includes dry cleaning)
- Just plain not spending excess money (pay your bills and grocery shop. how do we even survive?)
So since we are desperate for more vacations, we will continue our minimalist lifestyle, shunning our friends offers to hang out, selling all of our possessions, and of course working and saving our money. We're kidding of course, we only shun our friends 6 months out of the year.
Brian and Josey