A few months ago, Jeff and I started talking about going on vacation. Specifically, we started talking about going to Iceland.
We spent weeks daydreaming and researching. We read articles, watched videos and monitored flight prices with various airlines. We found a great tour package and set a big, but achievable, savings target.
But when we finally sat down to book it in June, we hesitated.
Something felt off. We decided to sleep on it.
The next day, we pulled the plug on Iceland 2018. And after exploring some options, we came up with a more budget-friendly vacation plan.
Love travel but not sure how to fit it into your budget? Here are three tips for planning a budget-friendly vacation that you’ll totally enjoy.
Why we changed our vacation plans
The simple answer: it came down to money.
Iceland is very expensive. In fact, there were three specific, money-related things that prompted us to put Iceland on the back-burner for now.
- The Canadian dollar has been awful — and most sites offering flights and tour packages to Iceland are priced in USD.
- Fuel and food are very expensive in Iceland.
- Concerns about our budget. $5K would not leave us with much wiggle room. What if we missed our flights? What if gas ended up costing more than expected? What if one of us got sick while traveling? Our budget wouldn’t have even come close to helping cover any of these things.
A more budget-friendly vacation
If you follow me on Instagram, you already know: we’re going to Prince Edward Island.
Instead of flying across the ocean, we’ll zip across the Confederation Bridge and spent a few days in September exploring all the beautiful things the island has to offer.
The thing I am most excited about is our accommodations – we’re staying in a TreePod! It should be a lot of fun.
It will also be much more affordable. Here is our rough budget:
3 tips for planning an amazing, budget-friendly vacation
Going from eight days in Iceland to four days in Prince Edward Island is a big change.
That said, through this experience, I learned a lot about planning a budget-friendly vacation. These three tips aren’t travel hacks by any means, but rather, things that made it possible to travel and still make progress on paying back debt.
- Plan for the budget you have
We could have made Iceland work, but our budget would have left no room for error. Planning a budget-friendly vacation means we can spend less time worrying about the what-ifs and more time enjoying the break.
- Consider a shorter period of time
Just because you have a week off doesn’t mean you need to travel the whole time. We are both off for the entire week, but we’ll only be away for a few nights. Not only did this make our trip more affordable, but it will provide an opportunity to ease back into real life after the fact.
- Consider a local option
By opting for a neighbouring province instead of a different country, we won’t need a rental car. We can pack as much as we want without having to worry about baggage fees and we won’t need international plans for our phones.
Of course, the trade off is that we won’t see the same things in Prince Edward Island that we would in Iceland but that’s OK. The island, like most local destinations, has a lot to offer, too. The key is being open to different experiences.
Added bonus: staying local means we’ll be supporting the local economy, which is a big plus.
Abandoning our plans and choosing a more budget friendly vacation was not an easy decision to make, but it was the right one.
Iceland will still be there when our travel budget is bigger. Until then, we will enjoy these little getaways when we can.
Where is your favourite budget-friendly travel destination?