In the new show George Goes Everywhere, George Igoe explores different cities while sticking to a $100 budget. Sounds impossible, right? He ventures to places like Savannah, New Orleans, Boston, and New York City, checking out these locales’ unique art, history, food, nature, and culture. George ends up finding hidden gems, like the American Prohibition Museum in Savannah, and comes up with some great suggestions, including an app that allows you to find day-of tickets to shows and events for significantly discounted prices.
I was inspired by George’s take on traveling, as I too share the travel bug and cannot wait to travel now that we’re coming out on the other side of COVID. Travel can seem challenging to execute financially, but as George shows, not impossible. To get the feel for navigating new cities, you can start out by finding affordable experiences around your own city. For example, I recently visited Los Angeles’ beautiful Descanso Gardens and spent the entire day there. For just $15, it satisfied my desire to spend time in mother nature and to be transported to a different place. It was perfect for both my psyche and my modest budget.
One way to save money traveling is to visit places where you already know someone. Lodging costs in cities can be a fortune, so if you can reduce or eliminate this altogether, then you’re getting somewhere…literally! Make a list of people you have been wanting to see and where they live and go from there. Perhaps you can even make a trade where you stay in their home and they in yours for a window of time. It’s a win-win.
Are you going to be traveling alone, or with others? Oftentimes, the benefit of having a great travel companion isn’t just the fun of exploring a new city together, but also sharing the costs in the endeavor. Splitting a hotel room or Airbnb, or even slashing costs on tours, is always a solution to finances holding you back from your dream trip. If there’s somewhere you’re dying to go, put it out there — you’re bound to connect with somebody who would love to share this experience with you.
Finding work that allows you to travel is also a great way to venture into uncharted territory. I’ve been fortunate to have some incredible opportunities working in the design world and spending time in cities that I’ve always wanted to see. Make a list of your skills and passions — is there a way to make money doing what you love while spending time in a different place?
Ask yourself what you are looking to get out of the travel experience, as that will serve as your guiding force on how to allocate your budget. For example, if your aim is to meet new people and have a change of scenery, then look up events in that city that cultivate interaction, like a sporting event. There’s an app I love called Gametime which has day-of tickets to sporting events, and concerts at significantly discounted prices. I’ve used it to catch Lakers games and score stageside seats for spur-of-the-moment shows. Other apps can help you stick to your budget while traveling, such as Tripcoin, SplitWise, or TrabeePocket.
Once you get to your destination, be open to experiences you wouldn’t normally think of trying. That’s half the allure of travel, isn’t it? George tries out some pretty wild things in the cities he visits, like going to Mardi Gras World and getting a behind-the-scenes look at the parade floats. You too can find some very interesting staples of local history that cost little to nothing. As is life, the experience is what you make of it.
It goes to show that when you get creative and also leave a little room for improv in your day, you can allow yourself some very cool adventures without exceeding your budget. Now you’re ready to rock ‘n’ roll and have a great time!