tips

No Money? No Problem. Check out these cool destinations near you and start planning!

Since I was a child I’ve been consumed by Wanderlust. The internet has only made this feeling worst, and being a poor college student definitely doesn’t help my situation. I’ve travelled throughout California, explored my home state as much as possible, and saved up to spend plenty of time on the east coast. I’m not even done exploring the United States, and I still have 195 more countries to go!

I’ve been keeping a list of places I plan to visit and I’ve realized that all of these locations are spread out all over the world… therefore if you wanted to see at least ONE of the beautiful places on this list, it might actually be possible without you having to break the bank.

If you do have the money to travel outside of the country at this very moment, get going! What are you doing here? There’s a whole world out there you lucky sun of a gun!

For the rest of us, like myself, here’s a couple of realistic travel options, near your current city, and what the cost might look like:

 

1. Canola Flower Fields – Yunnan, China

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If you happen to live in Hanoi, Vietnam you are just south of some of the most beautiful flower fields and waterfalls in Asia.

  • Travel Cost: Flying from Hanoi, Vietnam to Kunming, China (closest airport to Luoping) will cost you about $410.00. Keep in mind you will have to travel into Luoping County by either renting a car or taking public transportation.
  • Hotel: Several of the hotel websites are completely in Chinese, making it difficult for me to figure out pricing. After translating some reviews one customer mentioned staying at a hotel for 120 Yuan a night (about $19.79 USD).
  • Food: Due to exchange rates, the American dollar goes far in Asia. You should be able to purchase a days worth of food for under $10.00.
  • Total Cost: 5 Day Trip to the Canola Flower Fields from Hanoi Vietnam will cost you about $580.00.

 

2. Antelope Canyon : Page, Arizona

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Itching to get away from LA for a weekend? Check out these amazing geological transformations in Arizona.

  • Travel Cost: Driving from Los Angeles, CA to Antelope Canyon Page, AZ is going to cost about $70.00 in gas – one way. Driving time will take you about 8.5 hours, depending on traffic.
  • Hotel: An overnight stay in Page is going to cost you anywhere from $40.00 a night and up. Check out tripadvisor.com for hotel rankings.
  • Food: Page is a relatively small town. Food prices are average, expect to pay $8.00 and up per meal.
  • Total Cost: 3 Day Trip to Antelope Canyon from Los Angeles will cost you about $350.00.

 

3. Haiku Stairs of Oahu: Oahu, Hawaii

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If for some reason living in the beautiful city of Honolulu just isn’t doing it for you anymore, take the wondrous hike up Haiku Stairs

  • Travel Cost: From Honolulu to Kaneohe it will be about about a 20 minute drive. Gas shouldn’t be more than $5.00. A flight into Honolulu from Los Angeles is going to cost you at least $600.00 depending on how early you purchase tickets and the time of the season.
  • Hotel: Luckily visiting the Haiku Stairs doesn’t require an overnight stay. It’s a free hike you can complete in about 4 hours. Keep in mind police try to steer people away from hiking. Don’t be surprised if you’re shut down.
  • Food: There’s a small place called Dean’s Drive Inn nearby which offers burgers for $3.00 – $4.50! Woah.
  • Total Cost: A trip from Honolulu to Haiku Stairs will cost you about $12.00. This doesn’t include flight cost for those of you who don’t live on the Island, but it is something fun – and cheap – to do!

 

4. Mendenhall Ice Caves – Juneau, Alaska

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Getting bored in Anchorage? Good thing you live near some of the most amazing ice caves on earth.

  • Travel Cost: Driving from Anchorage to Juneau is not a short drive – 21.5 hours! Luckily gas is cheap in your neck of the woods. A one way trip will cost you about $60.00
  • Hotel: An overnight stay in Juneau can go for $70.00 and up
  • Food: Since most restaurants specialize in seafood, expect to pay $25.00 for a meal, unless you choose to enjoy a sandwich from a local cafe (8-10$).
  • Total Cost: 3 Day Trip to the Mendenhall Ice Caves from Anchorage will cost you about $480.00

 

5. Mount Roraima – Venezuela, Brazil and Guyana

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Living in the beautiful city of Sao Paolo, Brazil puts you next to some of the oldest geological formations on the planet. Take the time to go check them out.

  • Travel Cost: Flying from Sao Paolo, Brazil to Caracas, Venezuela (the closest airport to Mount Roraima) is going to cost you: $800.
  • Hotel: Luckily, you wont have to be dealing with hotel cost. The trip up to the top of the mountain is all camping and hiking which will take you about 3 days. Supplies, food and gear will be about $250 depending on how much gear you already own.
  • Food: You’ll be bringing your own food to make. This trip requires plenty of pre-planning. Websites have suggested purchasing all your food beforehand in Santa Elena.
  • Total Cost: 4 Day Trip to Mount Roraima from Sao Paolo, Brazil will cost you about $1,100.

 

Not Completed!! There is still a huge chunk of the list to do!

Keep in mind:

The more people you travel with, the cheaper your trip becomes. You don’t need to be a math professor to know that dividing gas between 4 people instead of 1, makes a huge difference. The same thing goes for food and hotels. Plus it is much safer to travel as a group then to travel alone.

Always overestimate how much money to bring with you. When I calculated the total cost for the trips I made sure to overestimate by at least $20.00. That’s nothing. You should really be bringing extra cash with you just in case something happens. It will make you feel much more confident traveling if you know all your bases are covered.

RESEARCH, RESEARCH, RESEARCH. I cannot tell you how important this is. I have saved hundreds of dollars, simply by doing research on coupons, purchasing tickets early online and reading reviews from other travelers. It makes a difference. Don’t let people make money off of your failure to plan.

If you’re driving, be aware of the car you’re taking. I’m sure your rust bucket has been there for you through thick and thin. Mine has too. That doesn’t mean I’m going to drive several hundreds of miles, and hope that my car doesn’t start having problems on the way there. If you have had car issues in the past or feel hesitant to take your vehicle on a long trip, rent a car. Don’t risk it. If you happen to have bad luck and break down on a dark cold road in the middle of the night, waiting for triple A, you are really going to regret bringing the rust bucket.

Renting a car sound like too much? Check out Greyhound, Megabus or any other public transportation options. Megabus can offer some great deals if you purchase your tickets ahead of time. Other countries, such as Europe, have amazing public transportation, that allow you to move from country to country in a breeze.

Talk to the locals. People from the area know the cool facts: who offers the best food for the best price, and locations the tour guides wont show you. You will be surprised how much you can learn from someone in a conversation over some lunch. Do not stay in your bubble. Encourage yourself, and your friends, to understand the amazing area you’re staying in and the history behind it.