The Short List: A Budget Traveler’s Necessity
No matter the scenario, there’s something about finding a hidden gem that excites me. A good clearance sticker genuinely leaves me little-to-no purchasing choice, even on something as simple as a box of crackers (I speak from experience as I bought clearance crackers mere hours ago). That little wholesome feeling of getting your money’s worth really drives my money consciousness… and unconsciousness. Within our relationship I have the unique combination of money-saver as well as money-spender. After all, you have to get a good deal while you can, right? (if you’re in marketing, now’s the time to give yourself a pat on the back)
We’ve all seen the advertisements for a cheap trip and tried an email subscription or app promising discounted flights, but they often result in crazy travel routes or pack-your-bag-right-now timelines. That’s definitely not to say they don’t have their relevance or are scams. They can definitely result in something amazing, it just doesn’t work out for us the vast majority of the time. As much as we’d love to be able to pick up and head out on a whim, or fly off on a Thursday to return on a Tuesday, it’s unrealistic with our careers and general lifestyle. If that does work for you, I’m jealous!
Therefore, we have a short list (albeit constantly growing and changing) of various locations throughout the world that we’re interested in visiting.
Anytime we see something on social media, in a publication or online (do any of you play Worldle?) we add it to our Google Sheet list.For us, this list has really become a home base for our travel planning. Even if we venture outside of these destinations for our final trip, it gives us somewhere to start looking when concocting our next adventure.
If you’re feeling overwhelmed about the innumerable places you could potentially go, I would highly recommend starting your own list! Think through the details you’d like to know when looking for a location: things like air temperature, water temperature, weather patterns, exchange rates, average flight cost and general attractions. Don’t worry, it’s all a lot easier to find than you’d think! Our Google Sheet (feel free to copy this sheet for yourself) utilizes multiple tabs to collect a wide range of data, helping uncover the best time for you to travel. Often, this ends up revealing “peak season” and what makes the “off season” so undesirable. Here’s where the twist comes in…
if you’re on a budget, you don’t want to travel during peak season.
That’s right! While peak season can boast the best weather and ideal conditions, it often draws larger crowds resulting in higher travel demand and raising prices overall. Even in locations without a date-defined peak season, generally ideal conditions create the same effect. If the downfalls of off season are too unfortunate (Rainy season? Too hot? Is there a seasonal attraction?), the best time for you to visit will be the week or two flanking the perfect conditions of peak season. It’s here that you’ll experience similarly favorable conditions with cheaper prices and reduced crowds – the perfect travel trifecta.
But some of those bigger trips, the **insert catchy term here**, can still drain some funds regardless of how cheap the off season gets. Unfortunately, these take-it-or-leave-it trips might not be high on the realistic scale. But that doesn’t mean they shouldn’t be on your list! Leave them there as a benchmark. And who knows, sometimes deals do come out of nowhere.