Affordable ways to travel solo

By | May 18, 2016 | Travel

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We must take adventures to know where we truly belong |The Momiverse

When I was 27 years old (long before kids), I left my government job as a city planner and started working as a program manager for a non-profit organization that allowed me to travel to rural areas in the 11 western states including Hawaii and Alaska. While I traveled extensively as a child with my parents and even lived overseas, I had never traveled alone before. I was thrilled at the idea of traveling to some of the most beautiful places in the country – on my company’s dime!

Traveling to rural areas fed my need to be outdoors in places that not only had beautiful scenery, but allowed me to hike and fly-fish – two of my favorite hobbies. And the icing on the cake was that my work allowed me to help rural communities with housing and environmental issues.

Now that I’m a mom of two busy boys, I juggle the same demands faced by moms all over the world – finding balance with competing priorities. Like all moms, I make breakfast; pack lunches; drive the kids to school; drive home; exercise (or even skip exercise if I have a project due); fire up the laptop and work in my home office; pick up my boys from school; drive home again; help with homework; make dinner and/or take the kids to sports practices; go through the bedtime routine with the kids (my favorite time of the day, because I get to cuddle with my boys); and then get back on the laptop and work until my own bedtime.

With husbands also working long hours or traveling frequently for work or moms being single parents, this routine can be stressful, draining, and unhealthy if we don’t factor in any Mom-ME time. My husband knows how important this down-time is to my sanity and does his best to factor this into our lives. After all, “Happy wife, happy life,” right?” {And it goes without saying, you should encourage your husband to have time to himself as well!}

Happy wife, happy life | The Momiverse

Here are some affordable ways you can travel solo:

Ask for travel related gifts. Rather than receiving the same ol’, same ol’ on Mother’s Day, birthdays and other holidays, ask your family to help you plan a getaway. This can include gift certificates or gift cards to hotels, spa treatments, tours, and activities.

Boost your budget. Give up something so you can afford to travel or shop while you’re away on your trip. I’d gladly give up a Starbucks habit or a new tech device (don’t we have enough already?) just to afford to travel solo. Be creative. I’m sure there are “things” in your life you really don’t need and you could apply that money toward a trip. Prepare yourself financially for travel.

Plan accordingly. When thinking about dates and times, avoid traveling during the busy season when prices are higher and schedules are busier. This shouldn’t be too difficult, since you’ll most likely have family plans during the holidays, spring break, and summer break.

Keep a watchful eye. Subscribe to travel deals and search websites for special offers. Subscribe to Yipit for notification of daily deals in the regions you want to travel. If you can be flexible, sometimes you might be able to find a screaming deal at the last minute. My favorite websites for last-minute travel deals are Groupon and Travelzoo.

Keep track of your reward programs. Use credit card points, frequent flier miles, or hotel points for hotel stays and flights. Seriously, people, one or two nights isn’t going to be the end of the world. You’ll still have plenty of opportunities to travel as a family. Smartphone apps like AwardWallet, TripIt and MileBlaster can help you keep track of frequent flyer miles and hotel points.

Look for discounts. Use daily deal websites like Groupon, LivingSocial, and Travelzoo to purchase hotel stays, spa treatments, sight-seeing tours, restaurant meals, or adventure activities. Businesses often offer steep discounts, but pay special attention to the expiration date and whether it fits your schedule.

Consider being a tourist in your own state. If airfare is a hindrance to traveling solo, then considering staying at a nearby resort or one within reasonable driving distance. Traveling less than two hours by car to a beautiful place for a quick weekend (or weekday) getaway can feel like a world away to a mom who needs rejuvenation.

Build your confidence. Traveling alone is thrilling, but you might be anxious if you’ve never done it before. If you’re nervous about traveling alone, my friend Julia Rosien of GoGirlfriend shares advice on seven tips that make solo travel simpler, safer and more fun.

Photo source:   Lower Blue River, Colorado by The Momiverse

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Charmin Calamaris

Charmin is a wife, mom of two boys and creator of the Momiverse. The Momiverse is an online magazine for busy moms (is there any other kind?) dedicated to helping moms make time – and take time – for themselves. She traded in her career in land use planning and environmental policy to become Chief Executive Navigator of the Momiverse. You can connect with Charmin in her "online office" on Twitter or Facebook.

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