Having no plans or liquid cash when the burning heat wave hits your open window on the first free Saturday that is summer really sucks. It sucks hard especially if your summer plans don’t include some adventure or traveling. You want to do stuff, get out, and just generally enjoy the magic that is a warm summer day.

Whether you want to ride down a mountain road with all the windows down, glide your hand along the cool currents of air that caress your arms, or sit amongst the roses in the botanical gardens, you don’t need money to do all of those things. And even if you need a little money, sometimes the investment is worth it.

Here are 8 ways you can save money while getting your travel on this summer.


1. Visit Stuff Around You

If you live on a solid piece of land connected to other pieces of land, there is cool stuff near you. It could be gorgeous gardens in the city (great for a change of pace), a forest full of edible plants that could tell you a little bit more about the flavor in your neck of the woods, or  show you how secretly awesome your local art/history museum is! Plus, if you’re lucky, one of the 6,624 states parks in America could be right around the corner.


2. Make a Fort in Your House #noboysallowed #allthewine

Rainy days suck, and if the rain is coming down sideways, long walks in the rain to the library or tea house might not seem so tempting. A day spent in a fairy light lit pillow fort binge watching Miyazaki films with a small fish bowl of wine will relax your body and mind. Soft lighting, great movies (or bachelorette podcasts while painting), and some comfortable forting/hiding in your blankets surrounded by the soft flickering glow of candles will rejuvenate your soul for the next week. Sometimes you have to forsake the world, collect yourself, and evaporate into your own little world for a minute.


3. Roadtrip

One of the cheapest ways to feel the sun on your skin and just get out of your life for a second is to drive away. Sometimes it is so tempting to drive away forever, start a new life as a beach hermit in a cave somewhere tropical and covered in fruit trees. However setting a destination can give you the same escapist, accomplished feeling, while still keeping your regular access to shampoo and food. There are a plethora of budget friendly things to go see on a road trip: water parks, camping on the beach, or a majestic national park full of wildlife, hot springs, or crystaline cave systems with dewy dripping walls.

Off season travel can save you even more money, and help you escape the crowds. In the heat of the summer sun, climbing up a mountain will sweat rivers down your back. However, off season the chill of the morning will shade some of the sun’s aggressive rays, offer better microbrews when back down the mountain, and give you the opportunity to run through wide empty streets without a crowd of tourists right behind you.


4. Offseason International Exploration

Off-season travel can save you cash and hassle. Wouldn’t it be great if there were no tourist in gorgeous tourist locations? Off-season travel will get rid of terribly pesky clouds of tourists and help you see the places you just have to see. Whether it’s mouth numbing kava on the shores of fiji, mowing through carciofi alla giudia (fried artichoke) while running through the streets of Rome, or exploring the glowing white architectural wonder that took six centuries to build in the hyper-chic Milan. Everywhere has an ‘off-season’ when air travel and hotels are cheaper. If your heart yearns for a place that you’re not sure you can afford, stretch your dollar (or just leave more money for food and shopping) and go off-season.


5. Volunteer Abroad/Internship/Travel Free

If you are literally broke, like no money, it doesn’t mean that you can’t travel. You could get a job in a foreign land, or take advantage of an internship abroad. Not only is it an immersive experience in a foreign country, it’s also a resume builder. Whether you want to find a volunteer program through your school, au pair, work at a resort, or start your career in a foreign country. There is something a little more enveloping about a country when you live like one of its citizens.


6. Kill it on the Public Transit System

Public transportation is not only cheaper, but safer, and is perfect for a solo traveler. Whether you want to use Amtrak’s extensive train network, fly, or use the Greyhound, consider booking in advance. Google flights is really easy to use (round trip flights to paris at 600$ is hard to beat), and the Amtrak does reward people who book early with a lower fare. Plus, you can’t beat the cheapness and safety of opting out of the leading cause of death in America (driving). It’s way better to watch the country fly past, take a nap, eat a snack, or watch a movie than it is to chain yourself to the wheel and bust out 2,000 miles.  


7. See the friends who scattered to the winds

Go see your friends who have scattered to the winds. Not only do they offer a fabulous couch to crash on, but they are your favorite person ever who also happens to know the city that you want to see. Taking the time to enjoy your fabulous friends who have been lost to you for what seems like an eternity. That roommate from college getting her master’s in Italy, fly over and see her. Your high school bff in the Bay, sleep on her floor and eat every barbeque bao you can find. Friends are a wonderful way to see the world, and I’m sure they’d enjoy a taste of home, and a taste of friendship.


8. Eat like a Local

Eating like a local will save you mountains of money, and offer a more authentic experience. While backpacking across thailand, a full meal at a street stall is way cheaper than a Big Mac. This means you’ll be able to get better adventure fuel at a more economical price. Save your pennies for spring rolls instead of subway. Eating like a local will save you big bucks, whether you’re in the bay mowing through dollar tacos, minding your money while in Milan, or are ready to eat the freshest fish from markets in Abu Dhabi to the seafood snack stalls in Algarve. Eating like a local can be the funnest part of your trip, don’t ruin it (or your budget) by eating only the familiar.


Mary Grace is a magical unicorn of a human being based out of Boise, Idaho. She loves everything that moving between the top of the mountain and the bottom. Email or tweet @ her anytime.

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