Ten ways to have a healthy and budget-friendly vacation

*Editor’s note: This information was published in the July 2021 issue of Heartfelt Magazine, CHM’s monthly magazine that provides CHM membership-related tips and tricks, medical advice from doctors, testimonies from CHM members, and more. Please refer to the CHM Guidelines and applicable web pages for the most up-to-date information regarding CHM membership, sharing eligibility, and ministry news.*

What do healthy and budget-friendly vacations have in common? It’s possible to have both! Here are tips for a trip that won’t stretch your budget—or your waistline:

  1. Book a rental property with a kitchen or a hotel with free breakfast. Cooking while on vacation is an ideal way to save and to eat healthy foods. There are numerous websites where you can book inexpensive vacation homes or apartments. Also, many quality hotel chains offer free breakfast (and free parking).
  2. Visit a local farmer’s market or supermarket. Farmer’s markets are a common sight in cities and towns during warmer months. If you’re vacationing off the beaten path, you’ll still save big and cut calories by buying meal ingredients and healthy snacks at a local supermarket.
  3. Walk, hike, or bike—or all three. In many cities, group walking tours are free or “pay what you like.” Don’t want to lug your bike around? In many popular vacation spots, you can rent or even share bikes for a nominal fee.
  4. Get a national parks (“America the Beautiful”) annual pass. This pass is valid at more than 60 U.S. national parks and is about $80 (discounted for seniors and free for disabled persons, military, and 4th graders). You’ll save money even if you visit just two to three national parks in one year. (And national parks provide plenty of opportunities for exercise.) See Dr. Jacobson’s article on page 4 for more info about national parks.
  5. Use public transportation: buses, trains, trolleys, and sometimes even funiculars and gondolas.
  6. Travel during the off-season (or “shoulder” season). Note that different destinations have different off seasons, so there are deals to be had at almost any time of the year.
  7. Get a multi-attraction pass (available in most major cities) or visit museums on “free days” (usually once per month).
  8. Use a travel aggregator website to bundle your flight, hotel, and car rentals. Some examples are Expedia, Skyscanner, and Kayak.
  9. Bring your own snacks (or breakfast). This works particularly well for road trips and can be a great way of getting lots of fiber by eating cereal, granola, etc. for breakfast.
  10. Last but not least: Make a budget and stick to it! Have a spending plan for each category, such as transportation, food, dining out, attractions, and souvenirs. Pay with cash or your debit card as often as possible so that your vacation doesn’t “follow you home.”
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