As an entrepreneur or small business owner, you know the importance of saving money whenever possible. However, that doesn’t mean you should deprive yourself of some important downtime. So, stop telling yourself you can’t afford a vacation. Traveling doesn’t have to cost thousands of dollars, or even hundreds of dollars to be a memorable experience. What’s more, traveling is actually good for your health. To plan a weekend trip that won’t bust your budget, keep these tips in mind, brought to you by Wild Bum.
Establish Business Procedures
It’s the classic business owner’s nightmare — you leave town, only to have things fall apart when you aren’t there to do anything about it. If this scenario is holding you back from making your getaway, there is a simple solution: a formal operating agreement. ZenBusiness explains that this document establishes policies for making crucial legal or financial decisions. It lines out who handles what responsibilities if trouble arises. While it won’t prevent hiccups from occurring, it ensures there is a process for addressing them if and when they do. Have duties spelled out so you can take a break from your business without worrying what you’ll come home to.
Skip the Hotel
Even a cheap hotel can approach $100 a night, and often, the experience isn’t nearly as comfortable as you’d like. Instead of booking a hotel room, book a room through Airbnb or VRBO, rent a rustic cabin, or pack the tent and sleeping bag for a night of camping. If you dry camp rather than stay at a campground with facilities, you can enjoy a night’s sleep without spending a dime.
Drive, Don’t Fly
The best destination for a weekend trip is a place within driving distance of your home. You’ll save money, and for trips of 400 miles or less, Via Magazine says getting behind the wheel might be faster, too. Search for destinations two to six hours from your home for a trip that’s close enough to be convenient, but far enough that it feels like a getaway.
Leave the Dog
As great as sharing adventures with our four-legged pals is, pets make travel complicated. Not only do you have to find pet-friendly places to eat and sleep, but also you’ll likely pay extra for pet-friendly lodging. You also won’t be able to use public transit, which means searching for parking and paying meters instead. Unless you’re heading for a camping trip, leaving your dog with a sitter for the weekend may be more affordable and less stressful for your pet. When you choose a pet sitter or boarder over a kennel facility, your dog will get to spend the weekend in a relaxing home environment.
Bring the Camera
You don’t need to spend money on overpriced souvenirs to capture the memory of a fabulous weekend away. Pack a digital camera so you can snap photos of your travels — Travel and Leisure will teach you how to get great ones. If you want a physical keepsake, a printed and framed photo beats a gift shop T-shirt any day.
Pack a Picnic
Eating out for three meals a day adds up quickly. Restrict dining out to one meal per day and prepare your own food for the other two. That doesn’t have to mean eating sandwiches in the car. You can pick up local ingredients and a bottle of wine for less than you’d spend at many restaurants.
Take Self-Guided Tours
Anticipation is half the fun of traveling. Research your destination in advance to pick out all the sights you want to see and then plan your own self-guided tour. If you need suggestions, stop by a visitor information center upon arriving. Community calendars are another great source for learning about local happenings, many of which are free.
Search for Online Deals
Once you have an itinerary for your trip, search online for opportunities to save money. With sites including Groupon, you can find discounts on restaurants, spas, wineries and all sorts of fun things to do. You can learn more about how Groupon and other travel deal sites work at the Travel Channel.
A weekend getaway may not offer the same degree of relaxation as a two-week tropical vacation, but even a couple of days away can lower your stress and satiate your thirst for adventure. And, if you have a little extra cash to spend? Pick one thing to splurge on during your weekend trip, whether that’s a couple’s massage, a great meal out or the attraction you’ve been dying to visit. When it’s in the budget, there’s nothing better than treating yourself to something special.