So You Think You Can’t Afford a Vacation?

Affordable Vacation for FreelancersFreelancers need vacations, there’s no doubt about it. Someone’s got to keep the freelancing edge sharp, right? Vacations are essential if you want to avoid burnout, keep feeding your creativity, and stay connected with your loved ones.

But freelancers often hesitate to go on vacation for various reasons. Freelancers usually have tight budgets and, let’s face it, vacations cost money. There’s airfare or other transportation, hotel, food and shopping costs to think of.

Besides, freelancers don’t have paid vacation days. No work, no pay. So vacations end up costing us a lot more money than the cost of the vacation itself.

If we skip work for two weeks, that’s two weeks of income we have to forego. Or we need to make up for it somehow, by doing two weeks worth of work in one week. Either way, we pay in the form of time, energy or money.

But because taking a much-needed break is not only healthy, but vital for freelancers, I’ve compiled some types of vacations freelancers can afford.

5 Affordable Vacation Ideas for Freelancers

Here are five inexpensive vacation ideas that you can still squeeze into your summer:

  1. Staycation. This is the most affordable kind of vacation because you don’t pay for travel and lodging. You stay in your very own home, but go on “vacation mode.” Stop cooking your meals. Most of all, stop working (Note: This may also be the most challenging type of vacation for freelancers, because the temptation to check your email and respond to client phone calls may be too much to bear). Instead, explore your city or town. Go to the usual tourist spots. Pretend you are a tourist and discover what’s remarkable right outside your doorstep. Invite friends over for a dinner party or movie marathon. Splurge on house cleaning service to take care of the mess the next day. Hang a hammock in your backyard and spend entire days reading books and sipping iced tea. Or simply use your time off to immerse yourself completely in a hobby or volunteer work. The point is to not have the usual responsibilities and simply have fun for a few days… without leaving home.
  2. Friend-cation. Do you have friends and family in far-away places whom you’ve always wanted to visit? Now’s the time to do it! By staying with friends or family, you save on accommodation costs. You’ll only have to cover your transportation. Your hosts may even offer to show you around and feed you home-cooked meals. This is the perfect way to catch up with family and old friends, and create new memories. Don’t abuse their hospitality, however. Treat your hosts to a nice dinner, and/or cook and clean for them while you’re there. Be sure to return the favor and offer to host them in your own home, if you can.
  3. Group Holiday. Vacations can be cheaper if you split the cost with other people. Gather a group of friends and plan a group get-away. If you travel by car, you can chip in for gasoline and save tons on travel costs. Find a lake house to rent for a week or so. Buy groceries and spread the cooking tasks amongst yourselves. Your individual cost for this vacation is sure to be very low.
  4. DIY Cheap Vacation. If you’re patient and persistent enough to do your own research, you can put together your very own budget vacation. Use the Internet to find the best deals on airfare and hotels to the most affordable destinations (for example, depending on where you’re coming from, you’ll usually get the most bang for your buck in Asia and the Caribbean). Backpack your way through Thailand, for example. This vacation is sure to be within the most budget-strapped freelancer’s reach, and lots of fun too. It’s best for the adventurous type.
  5. Go Back to Nature. If you’re the outdoorsy type, a frugal vacation you can take is to go camping. Pack your camping gear (borrow them if you don’t want to spend the $$$ to buy your own) into your car and drive to a camp site. It usually takes just a few dollars to have access to washrooms and electricity. Or go completely back to nature and channel your inner survivor.

What’s Your Next Vacation?

Whichever type of vacation you decide to take, remember to not make it a working vacation. The more you forget about work for a while, the more refreshed and recharged you will be when you get back.

What type of vacation did this post inspire you to plan?

Whatever it is, hurry, Fall is fast a-comin! Before it gets too cold, go ahead and have at least one vacation.

Tell us about your vacation plans below.

Image by bhanu.t