7 Ways to Travel for Less in 2018

| Posted by Arlo Bush

At Northern Fir, we believe in the power of mindful travel and how intentionally planning our getaways usually results in more fulfillment at the end of the day. When we focus on cutting the small costs in our life, we have room for the adventures that could be life changing. The company we keep and the places we explore write the pages of our human experience and lay the groundwork for generations to come. Our stories, connections, and legacies are what we leave behind when the end of the road draws near. Each one of us has an opportunity to see the world in a new and invigorating way, and when we are thoughtful and intentional about how we choose to experience the places we visit, we have more time to soak up the uniqueness of the place and its people.


This new year is full of endless possibilities to explore, whether that be in your hometown or thousands of miles away. However, traveling can get expensive, especially when we want to go abroad, but not every trip has to cost thousands of hard earned dollars. Ease your mind of the financial stresses that weigh heavily with these quick and easy tips to travel for less in 2018:

1. Put aside a set amount from each paycheck toward a travel fund. 
  • It’s an oldie but a goody. Saving is an obvious tip for being able to travel more, but too often, we feel the pressure of paying bills, rent, mortgages, or car payments before treating ourselves to a little getaway. The mental benefits of traveling are boundless, and you may find that the feelings of getting away from your daily grind are just what you need to bounce back to full speed.
        • Here is an example: What if you saved about $6,000 by putting away $500 per paycheck over just 6 months, this could pave room to take a 4 month road trip around the United States and Canada! Now, that’s a little extreme for some because it requires quitting a job (unless you are remote!), selling almost everything, and leaving your living situation; however, it shows that it is possible to save quite a bit in a short amount of time if you really set your mind to it and believe in the benefits of a nice, long sabbatical.
        2. Dust off your old sleeping bag, and get outdoors. 
        • Websites like FreeCampsites.net and AllStays offer thousands of free and low-cost campsites beckoning you to explore more outdoors. State and national parks tend to fill up in the spring, summer, and fall seasons, but most of these parks are surrounded by Bureau of Land Management lands and U.S. Forest Service lands that are free for the public to use. Keep in mind that these spots usually don’t come equipped with amenities, but roughing it is half the fun! Bring your mountain bike, Kammok, and hiking boots, and spend a day exploring nearby trails with your loved ones or by yourself.
            3. Earn free travel miles by signing up for a credit card. 
            • While the idea of this trip is to be taken on budget, not create debt or break a budget, there are dozens of options out there that will you earn you free miles, but the Northern Fir favorite is the Capital One® Venture® Rewards Credit Card. Each time you spend, you will earn points that will contribute to free miles to anywhere you want to go! You will earn double the miles per dollar on every purchase, plus there aren’t any blackout dates. There are more options to choose from, so have a look, and sign up today to start earning those much-needed vacation miles.
                4. Meal prep for your road trips. 
                • Don’t make the common mistake of stopping at a gas station or fast food restaurant each time you get hungry or thirsty. Meal prepping before you hit the road can save you time, money, and future medical bills. If you are taking a longer trip or don’t plan on bringing an ice chest, then have a look at REI or other outdoor stories for dehydrated foods that you can quickly prepare with hot water. Packit Gourmet does not disappoint for a quick and easy meal on the go! Also, don’t forget to bring extra water jugs and that pocket stove - it’s handy and lightweight and will come in good use for those roadside meal stops.
                    5. Use apps like Gas Buddy to find the lowest gas prices if traveling by car. 
                    • Gas prices fluctuate, especially after unexpected natural disasters like the hurricanes we experienced mid-2017. Download the free Gas Buddy app to find the cheapest gas nearby, and save on every gallon. Saving a few cents may not feel like much, but those costs add up and could end up giving you just enough to buy yourself a nice dinner instead of eating those (questionably tasty) dehydrated foods.
                        6. Pack mini liquors in your carry-on because those drinks won’t be cheap! 
                        • This is a well-known trick to saving money at the airport. If you plan to have a couple stiff ones before getting on the plane, go ahead and pack some mini liquors in your carry-on so you’re not spending an arm and a leg on drinks (you can find this perfect little solution at Weathered Coalition). This is both cost-effective and a good conversation starter with your air mates. Bonus tip: share with a new friend, and your flight will be much more enjoyable.
                            7. Micro-investing is also a sure way to mindlessly save. 
                            • With just a few cents on every dollar you spend, your investments could grow to a point of earning you real money. Apps like Acorns and Digit will take small increments each time you spend and invest them for you, making your life just plain easy.

                              There you have it, just a few simple tips that could set you up for your next big trip. It is innately human to be curious about the world around you. Even if your dreamcation is setting up a tent in your own backyard, being conscious of your spending habits could save you enough to get one of those really nice down sleeping bags that will allow you to camp all year round! And, who knows, maybe that night under the stars will spark a newfound energy to road trip to one of your nearby state or national parks. Is it the planning that’s keeping you up at night? No worries, friend. Team over at Pack Up + Go or Rooted Method will do all that hard work for you.

                              Traveling reminds us that we are still alive and ignites the possibilities of our imagination with each new place we lay our eyes on. Getting behind the wheel to set off on a road trip or buying a plane ticket to endeavor to the other side of the world has long been a daydream for many. Global connectedness is not just something that exists on social media. For those who travel, being a global citizen runs as deep as the cells that give us life. No matter if you plan to explore near or far, you will find hidden gems almost anywhere you look. Now go find your next adventure! Of course, remember to keep your beard handsome with Northern Fir!

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