I have this problem where whenever I read about or see a photo of any destination in general, I want to go there immediately. It’s a problem because I usually can’t afford there, especially not right away. This results in a very long bucket list and endless pennies pinched. When I take larger trips, meaning further and for longer, I save up for them for months. I would like to think that a lot of people are in the same boat as me with this. I believe that travel is one of the best, most rewarding things you could spend your money on. That being said, I also believe you don’t have to spend a ton of money or travel very far to indulge your travel bug.
Personally, I try to take one or two dream vacations a year, and then go on smaller trips in the months between to satiate my wanderlust. I do feel some pressure to keep up with my fellow travelers, but unfortunately, for right now it’s just not something I can feasibly do. So here’s what I’ll be doing in the next couple of months to keep my travel bug at bay, and things that you can do as well, if you’re looking for budget-friendly ways to seek out some adventure:
- Exploring my own city: Chicago has so many different neighborhoods and attractions, I feel like I’ve just barely scratched the surface. I want to explore the different cultural areas and check out museums I haven’t visited yet. And, if possible, I want to plan a little staycation at one of the great boutique hotels.
- Take a Friday after-work through Sunday night trip: I budget my paid time off just like I budget my money; saving it for larger trips to faraway places. It is entirely possible to fit a fun vacation into 36 hours, as long as you plan accordingly. The key is to choose a destination with minimal travel time to maximize your time exploring.
- Drive to the nearest State or National Park for a day of hiking: I’ve been to Matthiessen and Starved Rock State Parks in Illinois and Kettle Moraine State Park in Wisconsin, and am dying to cross more off my list. Wherever you live, there’s bound to be a State or National Park within a short(ish) drive that you could easily explore as a day trip.
- Have a spa day: It’s not for everyone, but for me, a spa day is one of the best ways to relax and get away from the stress of everyday life. The best way to do it is to visit a hotel spa and stay to take advantage the pool and steam rooms and room service.
- Drive or take an Amtrak Train to another city in your area: As I said, there’s no need to travel very far to find a worthwhile destination. Last month we drove the 3 hours to Galena, IL and had a wonderful, relaxing getaway. It’s absolutely possible to enjoy a nearby locale for a weekend away.
If all else fails, you can find me making a pillow fort at home with my favorite travel books or movies, dreaming and scheming for future trips.
What are your favorite budget-friendly ways to indulge your wanderlust?