5 Tips for Planning an Affordable Day Trip

Going for a daycation is a simple solution for people who want to have a quick break without breaking the bank. A lot of the times, there are people who want to travel but complain about the price and the feeling of being held back due to money. It’s hard to part with something that you’ve worked so hard for.

But life should be enjoyed, you weren’t born to work every second of the day. You need to live and have adventures. An adventure doesn’t need to be a week long trip, a day is all you need, even a trip out to McDonalds could be seen as an adventure… when you’re with the right people.

Having an adventure does not need to be an expensive expenditure, the simple fact is you do not need to be rich to travel.

Let’s repeat that: You do not need to be rich to travel.

There are plenty of ways to travel on a budget (and for free) — you just need to be willing to get creative. If you haven’t had the time or the money for a proper summer vacation, consider a daycation. Here are five ways to help you plan an affordable day trip this summer.

1. Don’t Travel Too Far

Photo by Leah Kelley on

People are always surprised when they learn how many amazing things are close to where they live. It wasn’t until last year that people saw how much beauty their home area had and decides that staycations were the new vacation.

Whenever I plan a day trip, I try to limit myself to about an hour’s drive – the closer the better. But I have driven up to three hours (so six hours total) for a day trip, which when broken up and with short stops at places worked quite well. It’s all down to what you feel comfortable with – are you use to driving long distances? Would you prefer to get a train? Or is there something that is actually within walking distance? You might find that revisiting the same place that’s just up the road makes for a brilliant adventure everyvtime you travel there.

If you are a morning person then the best thing that you can do is start your morning off as early as possible. Have everything ready the day before so all you need to do is roll out of bed with make yourself a cup of coffee (or in my case tea). And then make sure you won’t be too tired the next day. You can have a full day of exploring, but obviously if you have work the next day, you don’t want to tire yourself out.

2. Get Up Early

Photo by Josh Hild on

This was mentioned briefly above, but when it comes to travelling, the best thing that you can do is get up early and make the most of your day. Like did you realise that by 8:00AM the day is already a third over? Don’t sleep your trip away!

Not everyone is a morning person, but sometimes having that little bit of excitement can help you get up early. So if you can, get up with the sun, or ever better, try to get up before the sun so that you can avoid all that traffic and enjoy driving on the quiet roads.

You can even find yourself enjoying a stunning sunrise on your journey somewhere along the way.

Getting up early can be a really big help in winter though, when the days get a lot shorter. If you really want to make the most of your day, then get up early, even if it’s dark, and get out and before the day is over! Just make sure that you’ve got all your day trip essentials packed, ready for you to leave as soon as you get up.

3. Pack Plenty of Food and Drink

Photo by Rachel Claire on

What better way to save money then bring your own food and drink? This is the perfect way to ensure that money isn’t leaking out of your pockets. Since not many people use cash, it can be easy to wave your card and forget about how much you are actually spending, meaning that you’ll spend more then you realise.

Creating a picnic to last you for the day is something that is easy to sort out. Just spend a little time the day before preparing everything so that in the morning you are ready to go. I always say to pack a little bit extra, an extra bottle of water, drink, fruit snacks… there’s nothing worse then getting a headache when you still need to drive home and you don’t have something to munch on…

Plus a nice little bonus to having your own picnic is that you can eat and drink whenever you are ready…. have you found the perfect picnic spot? Then stop the car and set up your picnic area. Perhaps you’ve brought some camping chairs or a picnic blanket. You can sit outside and enjoy the scenic view, and eat at your own pace.

4. Go to the Lesser Known Places

Photo by Gabriela Palai on

Some of the best day trips that I’ve had are the ones were we just pick an area and drive around. We’ve found so many amazing forgotten places, the ones which aren’t at the top of a google search and are normally a lot less busy with a lot of history. Some might only be a place you can spend an hour or two exploring, such as Valle Crucis Abbey, Haughmond Abbey, even the Roman fort in Wall…

My dad and I will always go in the car and look out for brown signs on the road (these are tourist information signs in the UK) and if they sound interesting we just follow the signs. We’ve had countless great adventures, found ourselves at the top of some stunning hills with breathtaking views, in areas that we never would have gone to if we hadn’t decided to follow signs for places that we never would have found before.

5. Ditch the Plan

Photo by Taryn Elliott on

Being flexible in your travel is the often the best way to have an adventure. My sister and I love planning our holidays months (and even years in advance… currently hoping to go to Disney Orlando in a couple of years if all is well). But we know that often the best thing to do when you get to your destination is ditch the plans.

I know I’ve probably been stressing to be prepared but sometimes you need to throw the plans out of the window and grab an opportunity when you see it. The same sort of idea behind my dad and I following the brown signs. You need to be flexible and you need to just go with the flow.

That castle you might be on the way to see will still be there another day, that waterfall you want to look at isn’t going anywhere… but that cheese festival that only happens once a year is something that you won’t want to miss. So always be on the look out if you are planning to have a day out.

Seize the day as they say, and go have fun with your day trip. Wherever you end up, whatever you end up seeing/doing you’ll still have a great time. So my advice to you at the end of the day, is just be prepared for everything. Take those waterproofs, extra food, a map and just go out in the day with the idea of having the best day trip ever.


2 thoughts on “5 Tips for Planning an Affordable Day Trip

  1. Those tourist place signs are so cool! I hope other countries do that too. Another great way is to interact with the local people, the cab driver, the shopkeeper. That’s the problem with google maps. We no longer ask for directions from people and miss the advice they can give for a better trip. They really know the hidden gems of the places and can tell you which place to better visit and which one can be ditched.


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