As valuable as travel can be, many people feel they cannot afford it. However, there are ways to travel on a budget and still have fun.

Many people are passionate about traveling. Travel, whether it's domestic, international or around our region, can be an invaluable way to experience other places, meet new people and get a sense of history.

• Stay close to home. Individuals and families traveling on limited budgets can save money and still have fun by staying close to home. The closer your destination to your home, the less costly your trip will be. By visiting destinations that are within driving distances, travelers can save money on the cost of airfare, which is typically among the most expensive components of traveling. Road trips also afford travelers flexibility that might not be available to travelers who are traveling abroad. That flexibility can make road trips more fun than more structured vacations.

• Plan stops along the drive. If you do decide to forgo airfare and drive, be sure to map out your route to include points of interests that you may pass. This may also include a re-routing your planned drive to make sure you have the time to spend at unique and “must see” locations.

• Choose affordable destinations. Overseas travel is not necessarily more expensive than domestic travel. Certain destinations are ideal for bargain hunters year-round. Research affordable destinations through travel agents, friends and the internet or use the "deals" sections on travel websites.

• Bring along or cook some of your meals. Food is among the most costly expenses for travelers. Money can be saved by cooking some meals or bringing pre-packaged meals. In the world of more and more home rentals, it is easier than ever to cook on vacation. Doing so saves money on dining out, and travelers can experiment by talking to locals and cooking dishes native to the places they're visiting to have some fun in the kitchen.

• Travel during the offseason. Avoiding certain destinations during the height of their tourism seasons is another great way to save. The cost of lodging and airfare peaks during tourist season, but travelers willing to travel during the offseason can save substantial amounts of money. In addition to saving money on lodging and airfare, travelers who plan their vacations during the offseason may also save money on local attractions.

• Do your homework regarding your destination. Thanks to social media and the internet, travelers can now learn as much as they want to learn about a given destination before they ever visit it. Such websites can be invaluable resources to travelers who want to enjoy their vacations and do it on a budget. They are great tool to research affordable tourist attractions and restaurants, even looking for free activities. Such research can be fun and make for more enjoyable trips.

Travelers who must travel on budgets can still have fun and make lasting memories on their vacations.

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