Each year at vacation time most of us either drive or fly to a familiar tourist destination, stay in a tourist hotel, eat tourist food, do tourist activities and in one or two weeks return home feeling like a tourist. There’s nothing wrong with this. Millions do it every year.
But why not get off the beaten path of the madding crowd and experience something untraditional? There are countless lands to explore and numerous ways to do it if we have the wandering spirit to search and learn. And, most of these excursions are less expensive than the accustomed trip.
Swap your home with another family in another area. This is particularly feasible if you live in a tourist destination. Search on line and newspapers for people willing to do this. Details are easily worked out via email or phone and often no money changes hands. If a trade can’t be worked out offer to rent the property. Shop carefully and request pictures.
Bed & Breakfasts are delightful places to stay especially in Europe for a reasonable price plus enjoy a home cooked breakfast to start each day. Prices will vary, you may have to share a bath and a deposit will probably be required. Many people say this is the only way to travel and savor the culture.
Elderhostels are the choice of many over the age of 55. There are more than 8,000 elderhostels in all 50 states and more than 90 countries. People from all walks of life gather together to experience educational tours, learn, exchange ideas and explore the world at a reasonable cost. Cost will vary depending on where you travel. These are not for profit tours with teachers and guides who know the countryside and culture.
Volunteer and vacation. If you like the idea of going somewhere and helping others make a better way of life this may be for you. Most of the time you travel in groups making discounts easier to obtain. At home and abroad you spend time volunteering on various projects such as rebuilding homes in New Orleans or planting trees in the Amazon jungle. But there’s always time for fun along the way. Get more information from the United Way or Red Cross.
Trade your hotel keys for RV keys. With the price of gas this is not as doable as it once was but more young people are buying RVs where it once was reserved for the 60 plus crowd. The larger the family and the longer the trip the more you can save by foregoing hotels and preparing your own meals in the RV or at the camp site. The work you do can offset the gas cost. If you’re not sure you want to take the plunge and buy an RV many are available to rent.
If you’re seeking to reflect on your inner self, rooms at monasteries and spiritual retreats may be rented all over the country. Most are inexpensive, some only require a donation. You may also be asked to participate in some of their activities and help with chores but it’s not necessary to share their beliefs. Experience the quiet amid beautiful settings.
Break the hotel habit and seek the road less traveled. Untraditional vacations may be just what you’ve been longing for.
Have you ever taken an untraditional vacation and saved money? Tell us about it!