1. Keep it Cheap and Tropical
Let’s start with an easy one, and add a little twist. You could watch for flights going to your favourite (close-by) tropical destination on your favourite travel search service (like Skyscanner or Momondo) and grab that deal as soon as it hits you.
So now that you’ve got your ticket to [your favourite close-by tropical destination], where are you going to sleep?
Many of these destinations happen to have burgeoning house-sitting communities, which would be an incredible opportunity to save some of that hard-earned cash for adventures and meet some new friends and get some local insight.
Ask your friends where they’re going on their winter vacation, then don’t go there.
If your budget is on the lower end of the spectrum, like mine, services like Couchsurfing or StayDu are here for us! Alternatively, Airbnb is a fine option, and can be both lavish and budget-friendly if you’ve got a bit a money to spend on accommodation.
2. Find Off Season Rates
Ask your friends where they’re going on their winter vacation, then don’t go there. All jokes aside, off season travel is an inexpensive way to explore distant lands. For finding off season rates, look no further than this handy “How to travel in the off season” infographic which nicely lays out all seven continents, several popular (to visit) countries, along with their respective off-season months. It also importantly notes that there is no off-season in Antarctica.
One of the best parts of travelling off-season, is that everything is cheaper. This gives everyone an opportunity to upgrade their accommodation - if that’s your thing - and splurge on that activity package. Coming in a close second is the lack of other tourists you’ll have to deal with. Explore the destinations with ease and pride, knowing that you’re slightly more clever than the tourists who were here three short months ago.
The downside is that often, many businesses that are open in the busy tourist season will be closed, or on a very limited schedule, so you may not be able to get the full experience. But as many great explorers know, away from tourist areas, you’re always sure to find an authentic experience.
If you need more info on how to find said deals, check out How to Travel in the Off Season will get you started.
3. Chase the Sun on a Roadtrip
Although this one may seem like the easiest option for many of you, pity us folk in Eastern Canada, dealing with the harsh, humid -40°c white-out-ice-stormy-9-month-long winters. Alright, they’re really not all bad if you like cross-country skiing in the park, playing hockey with your neighbours, drinking hot chocolate, eating poutine… OK but don’t let me oversell you. That last part is only true on the days you can go outside.
If you have your own vehicle, it’s easy enough to drop down below the border and head South to a warmer climate (North if you live in the Southern Hemisphere).
If you are without your own vehicle, you could try digital hitchhiking, or ridesharing, or, if there are more than two in your crew, try renting an RV from an owner, or relocating one through a service like Apollo.
Lately, there’s been a lot of fuss over a very primitive form of transportation - busses. Believe it or not, people are still regularly taking busses to get places, and (believe it or not) buses often are a very affordable way to get where you’re going. One stand-out service in this field is Busbud. Enter your details, and search for the cheapest fares - just like a flight search engine. Combine this with your very own unique, private campsite through HipCamp, Gamping, or CoolCamping and your four-day staycation is all set!
Planning Your Own Inexpensive Vacation
As you know, the ideas discussed here have been purely hypothetical, but they are very plausible and realistic. The point was to inspire you to find your own affordable vacation for your own winter getaway. Are you inspired yet?
There are so many resources integral to planning a successful and affordable vacation, it’s hard to say which you should try first, but the list below is a great place to start.
Reddit - Shoestring
We talk about Reddit a lot here, as it’s one of our favourite resources for almost everything. /r/shoestring offers an ongoing conversation, rich with experiences and valuable tips, for even experienced adventurers and travellers.
Although it was built for digital nomad types, NomadList offers an impressive user-sourced collection of rich data about hundreds of popular destinations, including cost, weather, air, fun, and safety, among many more details. It’s a huge help if you want to find out more about a specific destination, or find your next home-base based on your own criteria.
GoHobo Adventure Directory
There are almost fifty resources for you to explore, from ridesharing to housesitting to yard-camping to purveyors of error-fares, where you’ll find $200 return tickets across the globe. As they say, the world is your oyster (don’t quote me).
Inexpensive vacation ideas await!
Have we inspired you to book your winter vacation? Got any inexpensive winter vacation ideas to share?