6 Budget Vacation Ideas for the Penny Pincher...

Budget vacation ideas are a welcome to anyone who needs to get away and no more so than to the penny pinchers among us. Everyone needs vacation time to relax and get away from it all, but how do you travel when you're on a budget? You would love to explore places you've never seen before but airfare, hotel rooms, and car rentals are not penny pincher friendly. Don't let that stress you out because guest blogger Nan Gibbons from EatBreatheBlogis back with us today to share 6 Budget Vacation Ideas for the Penny Pincher...
Budget Friendly Vacations...
Let’s get one thing straight -- you totally deserve to stay in the Presidential Suite at the Plaza, being waited on hand and foot by a team of minions who answer to your every beck and call. However pleasant (or morally depraved, depending on your karmic level) that little fantasy may be, the harsh reality is that in today’s tough economy, luxury travel is just that: a luxury. But don’t freak out just yet; the good news is that you can still have an outrageous vacay without maxing out your credit cards.

1. Stay-cation...

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Keep the party close to home -- and your wallet cheeks clenched tight -- with a stay-cation in your city. Not only will you save big bucks on transportation costs, if you book during the week or off-season, you’ll usually get a discounted rate. Negotiate for a room upgrade or a deal when you book; it never hurts to ask.

2. House Swapping...

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One of the best ways to have a legendary -- yet cheap -- vacation is by swapping homes. For example, call up your college buddy from Chicago and ask to trade spaces for a few days. That way, you’ll have a comfy base so you can explore the many Chicago attractions, eat out and enjoy life in the big city while saving money on hotel costs. Plus, you won’t feel bad about mooching off of your friend if they’re mooching off of you at the same time -- it’s a win-win-win situation! Once you've tested the house swapping waters, you can also plan a larger swap with couples around the globe using verified sites like Home Exchange or Home For Swap

3. Creative Vacation-themed House Parties...

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You really need a break but your boss won’t let you take any time off? Vacation in your backyard! If you’re longing for the tropics, bust out a lounge chair, put some reggae on the iPod and mix yourself a drink while basking in the sun. If camping is your thing, pitch a tent and roast some marshmallows over a fire pit. What do vacations on the beach and the slopes have in common? They’re both super fun -- and really expensive. Mix it up by throwing an indoor beach party in winter or a summer ski party. Decorate the house with dollar store finds like hula skirts, leis and cheesy sunglasses. In summer, invite your ski buddies over for some air-conditioned fun, complete with fireside lounging and hot cocoa.

4. Couch Surfing...

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It's pretty lame to go halfway around the world -- then stay in the same chain hotel that’s down the street from your house. For an authentic travel experience, go CouchSurfing. This worldwide network is the online dating service of travel. Search members' profiles until you find someone, somewhere, who looks interesting, and then invite them to stay with you or vice versa. Voila! You’ve got an instant new friend with benefits -- vacation lodging benefits, that is. The CouchSurfing site verifies members, so you don’t have to worry about being a guest at Charles Manson’s house.

5. Volunteer...

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To mix worldwide travel with service, and save a few bucks, consider volunteering with an organization that pays for your travel. Most such organizations require you to have specialized skills or training, such as Geekcorps or the Financial Services Volunteer Corps, which places IT or business professionals in developing countries.

6. Visit Friends and Family...

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Perhaps the simplest -- and cheapest -- budget vacation is visiting friends and family. Think of it this way: You’ve got a place to stay, built-in tour guides that know the area... and they pretty much have to say yes when you ask. Just be considerate; someday you'll have to repay the favor.

Whether you are looking to explore new places in your own city and state, travel abroad, or just across the country there are always great budget vacation ideas you can find to fit your personality and needs. We're sure those friends from your college years would love to see you again and help out their penny pincher pal who is looking to have a fun budget vacation.

Nan Gibbons is a licensed nutritionist and personal trainer who owns her own fitness company in Southern California. Her proudest accomplishment is being the single mom to her three-year-old son, Reid. In their free time, Reid and Nan enjoy spending time at the beach, playing with their lab mix Cody, and embarking on new cooking and fitness adventures! You can find out more on twitter (@healthnut2011) or read her lifestyle blog EatBreatheBlog.

Have something to write please contact me at Diana(at)allwomenstalk(dot)com, I look forward to hearing from you!

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