So, I am temporarily limited to low budget travel due to buying a car, repaying student loans, and being between teaching contracts for the summer.
I have a hard time with sitting still on my weekends and summer vacation, and an even harder time staying in one place.
So, due to the purchase of a new car, student loan repayments, unpaid sick leave this winter, and being between teaching contracts (unpaid!) this summer, Summer 2012 is going to be the summer of super low budget travel.
So, if you’re like me, and saddled with some nice student loans to repay, and “I was silly and didn’t think of consequences in my early 20s” debts to repay, listen up! There are ways to find new places, experience new things, and spend little money.
1. Play tourist in your own backyard. I don’t mean dump a truckload of sand next to the pool, add an inflatable palm tree, and play some Cuban beats. I mean jump on Google, and see what there is nearby, off the beaten track. As a native of Quebec’s Eastern Townships, I’ll admit I’m loathe to go to tourist traps like waterslides, the zoo, and certain festivals. But, I HAVE discovered some awesome nearby places to hike, kayak, go fishing, and camp for free.
2. Drive an hour or two. I know my own backyard pretty well, but I rarely ever visit my neighbour. For me, recently having moved to the city of Laval, the Laurentians is terra nova for me. We often hit up all the tourist traps in our own city or region, know the places several hours away, but miss the in betweens. A lot of this blog this summer will be focusing on my ongoing discovery of the Laurentians of Quebec.
3. Find travel buddies. I love travelling solo, believe me. I prefer it, even. I backpacked Europe on my own in ’06, and lived in a Cree community in Quebec’s Far North for a year solo. But, as far as summer budget travelling goes, 5 people significantly lowers the cost of gas, food, and accomodations. Doesn’t mean you have to stick together as a pack when you arrive at your destination. You can always agree to split on gas to get there and back, and strike off on your own once you reach your road trip’s destination.
4. Camp. Camp with no services, and you’ve cut down your budget significantly. Don’t have camping equipment or the money to get equipped? Ask around. People have basements and garages just full of retired or neglected camping equipment they’re only too happy to lend out if you’re willing to dust if off yourself. If you have the time and a car capable of making the journey, Quebec’s James Bay region campgrounds are free (Donations suggested).
5. Look for unique experiences. River surfing! Whitewater rapid inner tubing! Backwoods camping! I had the chance to chaperone a field trip for the high school I work at to La Mauricie National Park last fall. A post on the canoe camping experience at the park is forthcoming, but head over to their website and check out how much canoe rental and a couple of nights primitive, waterfront camping costs. Cheap!
So, hopefully these suggestions get your brain going for the summer, fellow low budget travellers. And welcome to my blog!