My Secrets To Enjoying Unexpectedly Extreme Cheap Skate Travel

If you want to go fast, go alone.

If you want to go far, go together.–African proverb

10509679_10204682674124685_4537211730364252991_nI like going fast, and I’m a huge fan of traveling alone, but when a dear friend invited my little family to use her empty condominium in Manzanillo, Mexico cost-free, I couldn’t resist.  I hadn’t traveled with my grown daughters in almost ten years. This was a golden opportunity.

We planned to cook meals at the condominium to stay on budget and to stay healthy. The biggest splurge would be on the jungle horseback riding trip I’d buy the girls for a belated Christmas present. I made the brilliant decision to book it online, using a company with great reviews on trip advisor.

What possibly could go wrong?

That online transaction completely cleaned out my bank account. The phone number and email address for the company didn’t work, and the windstorms interrupted my phone connection repeatedly so that I couldn’t make a thorough report to my bank or authorities for three days. Once my complaint got through, all access to my funds were cut off until the matter could be sorted out.

10968517_359062167611160_2607567521168045191_nI half-hoped that there had been a misunderstanding, that maybe I’d accidentally bought a horse that would be waiting in my yard when we got back to Alaska.   

No such luck.

After the initial shock, I made the conscious decision to not let ruin our time together.  And you know what? It turned out to be the best trip ever.

Here’s are my secrets to enjoying  unexpected extreme cheap skate travel.

Keep great company.

I felt like I got to know my daughters in a new way, and without distractions. No television. No radio. No internet. It turns out, they’re wonderful travelers, picking up  language quickly, trying any and all food available, tipping generously, and rolling with the unexpected.  They were attentive and considerate, and adorable enough to net us a great table everywhere we went.

photoEnjoy good books.

I read seven, including Dominick Dunne’s  Justice, Comedy Writing 4 Life by John Vorhaus, Family Furnishings by Alice Munro, and Far Outside the Ordinary by Prissy Elrod to name a few. The sun and balcony became good friends to me.

Embrace the added exercise when forgoing taxis for long walks.

Exercise sharpens the mind, and gave me time for candid talks with my daughters, and time to sort out my thoughts when I walked or swam alone.

I returned to Alaska having strengthened my relationships with my daughters, exercised, read, and slept better than I have in ages. It was like I’d gone to a poor person’s spa. There was no horse on my snowy lawn when I got home, but there was a renewed excitement to lead my pedestrian life.

Not too shabby, I’d say.
What are your tips for enjoying budget travel? Leave a comment below.

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