Hey guys! My name is Meghan and I am an outdoor/lifestyle model and content creator based in Vancouver, Canada. I’ve been self-employed for almost two years now (which is crazy to even think about!) and before that, I went to school full-time and waitressed at a restaurant. Back then, I saved every single penny that I made and put it towards trips that I would plan 6 months to a year in advance. During the summer months when I wasn’t in school, I traveled to Europe, southeast Asia, Australia, and New Zealand. It was always (always, always!) worth skipping meals out with friends, not going out on the weekends, and being more of a minimalist when it comes to shopping in order to save money for traveling.

Fast forward to today, and not a whole lot has changed with my mentality on traveling. I do, however, travel a lot of the time for work, but I still save most money I make from working with brands and put it towards future travels. It’s funny how being on Instagram and posting outdoor-related content, people always assume I live this “luxurious travel lifestyle”—but in reality, it’s not all that glamorous. Over the years, I’ve learned to save money and travel more often through cost-saving metrics like sleeping in the car instead of a hotel or by making PB&J’s for dinner instead of eating at a restaurant.

I have put together some tips and tricks that can help YOU #getoutthere on a budget, so you can experience this big beautiful planet of ours, too!

  1. Car Camp! When I first heard people car camped on road trips, I definitely wasn’t up to try it. But, it can save you a WHOLE lot of money that you could be putting towards other travel expenses like gas money, flights, food, etc. Whenever I car camp, I like to use my inflatable sleeping pad or a mattress that fits in the back of my vehicle. I find it most comfortable to sleep in a SUV/van/large sedan if possible, especially if the back seats can lay down flat. Also, make sure to bring a pillow from home or a camping pillow like this one, as well as a warm sleeping bag. I tend to do a lot more car camping in the spring and summer vs. winter, as it gets extremely cold where I live and in the areas I travel to. So, where do you park, you might ask? I like to park at rest stops off the highway. Use apps like iOverlander and Park4Night to find free camping spots. You can also visit campgrounds, especially if you want to shower! 
  2. Shower On The Road! I try to shower as often as possible because I hate feeling dirty, so I make time to shower everyday or every other day when I’m on the road. I like to shower at community recreation centres, gyms, or even campgrounds. The drop-in fee is usually $5 or less and I find that most often you get to shower for an unlimited amount of time.
  3. Make Your Own Food! Instead of spending $10, $15, or even $20 on a meal while traveling, try buying a bunch of groceries at Walmart, Target, Aldi, etc. My go-to snacks on the road are apples, bananas, baby carrots, pre-cut broccoli, rye crackers, hummus, peanut butter, nuts from the bulk section, protein bars and candy (when I feel like a treat!) Personal favorites of mine include granola with almond milk for breakfast, veggie hummus sandwiches for lunch, and lentil pasta with pesto on my camping stove (which is portable and makes my life so much easier)  for dinner. Don’t forget your dishes and cutlery, though!
  4. Use Travel Apps + Websites! If you’re planning to take a trip somewhere further away and need to book a flight, I absolutely love using apps or websites that save you money on flights, accommodations, and car rentals. When I’m booking a flight, I love to check prices on Skyscanner, Flytrippers and KAYAK—these companies scan all flights to show you the best deals for your destination. Google flights is also great, as it compares all airlines, so you can choose what’s best for you. When I am looking for accommodations, I use Booking.com 95% of the time to find cheap motels or hotels, or sometimes I check Airbnb to find affordable apartments (which usually come with a kitchen, thus making meals easier!)
  5. Buy Affordable Clothing + Gear! When I first got into hiking and camping, I was shocked by how much outdoor apparel and gear cost, especially being someone who didn’t own a single thing for the outdoors besides a raincoat. I couldn’t justify spending $400+ on a down jacket, so I began scouting every outdoor store you can think of to find a better deal on gear. I absolutely LOVE the “used” section on the REI website, which sells gently used gear at a quarter of the original price. You can get apparel from big brands like Patagonia, Marmot and The North Face for under $100! Also, Facebook Marketplace is amazing for clothing and gear as well. Whether you’ll be skiing in the sunshine this winter, or heading to a beach in the tropics to escape the cold, don’t forget to check out Sunglass Warehouse for super affordable yet high quality shades for your next adventure!

If you’ve made it this far, I hope this helps you and inspires you to #getoutthere without breaking the bank on your next trip! If you ever need any other tips/tricks or advice on traveling, don’t hesitate to message me via Instagram @meghanorourkee!

With love,