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Thanksgiving, Buy Nothing Day and Budget Travel

Thanksgiving is more than just one of the most busy holidays for travel in the United States. It’s more than just the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade, and more than an excuse to overindulge on great comfort food. Thanksgiving is, for many of us, a time to step back, take a breath, and appreciate our good Turkey says, "Buy Nothing on Thanksgiving Day, especially not turkeys!" (sage, via flickr)fortune. Sitting at our dining table, joined by our beloved families  — sometimes we forget how truly lucky we are. How ironic, then, that the day after Thanksgiving is Black Friday, the official start of the Christmas shopping season. Gifts, stuff, things, presents…sure, they’re nice, but we don’t really NEED them, the way we need happiness and love to thrive. This is why Buy Nothing Day is also the day after Thanksgiving. Since Black Friday is one of the ten busiest shopping days in North America, Buy Nothing Day is certainly more theoretical than literal at this point. However, to celebrate this underappreciated holiday, The Vacation Gals would like to focus on the ten best of our budget travel pieces. After all, the best vacation we take are about the travel experiences, not how much we spend on them. And aren’t our most treasured life experiences what we’re most thankful for? The Vacation Gals like to think so.

10 Best Budget Travel Posts of The Vacation Gals

Top Free or Cheap Things to Do in Denver – Great free things to do in Colorado’s Mile High City abound; this is an outdoorsy city in an outdoorsy state, and the best budget-friendly vacation activities reflect that. From hiking on over 850 miles of off street bike paths to touring the US Mint (might as well see where that money you’re not spending is made), these cheap or free Denver activities are fun and interesting.

How to Have a Budget Vacation in High End Santa Barbara – One of the premiere travel destinations along Santa Barbara CA Doesn't Have to Mean Luxury Travel (Jennifer Miner)California’s Central Coast, Santa Barbara is famously swanky. But it’s also a college town, with the cheap eats and cultural attractions that thrive in such places. A budget travel experience is easy in a beachy place like Santa Barbara, California.

Cheap East Hampton Vacation Activities – The Hamptons are notoriously fancy; the east end of Long Island fills up with the upper crust of New York’s metropolitan area every summer. From a tour of Jackson (“Jack the Dripper”) Pollack’s house and studio, to beaches, to the Children’s Museum and Fisherman’s Fair, there are lots of entertaining, family-friendly cheap East Hampton activities that won’t bust your travel budget.

Sitka, Alaska Travel Activities – Southeastern Alaska’s Inside Passage is one of my favorite recent travel destinations, and about as far from the Hamptons in the US as possible (literally and culturally speaking). Sitka is one of the 2010 “Dozen Distinctive Destinations” and is also home to the smallest of the US National Parks. The temperate rain forest — Tongass National Forest — and the Sitka Alaska has Budget Travel Friendly Activities (Jennifer Miner)incredible Russian-American history make Sitka absolutely fascinating to fans of nature and American history.

Tips for Finding a Cheap Hotel in Aspen – Like the Hamptons and Santa Barbara, Aspen is renown as a luxury travel destination. But cheap lodging is not out of the question; here are some tips for looking slightly farther afield and finding relatively cheap hotels…even during peak ski season.

Budget Travel – Free Stuff to Do in Aspen – After finding affordable lodging, continue the trend and engage in some free activities in the beautiful Colorado mountain town. Summertime in Aspen has free concerts and festivals, and the hiking trails are always open.

Saint Paul Winter Carnival Events – Yeah, we know, Minnesota is cold in January! Nevertheless, the St Paul Winter Carnival brings everyone outside to enjoy the festivities. Watch Canadian Maple Taffy be made in front of your eyes, go ice skating,  be Orlando Theme Park Family Vacations on a Budget (Jennifer Miner)amazed by some fabulous ice sculptures, and soak up that famous Minnesota Nice. The atmosphere is fun and friendly, despite the….slight chill in the air.

Twin Cities Free Attraction – Como Park Zoo and Conservatory – When Minnesota’s warm, of course, it’s a great state to visit. The Como Park Zoo and Conservatory in Twin Cities is free, which makes it a big plus for budget family travel. Como Town, located inside the park, is an inexpensive, seasonally open amusement park.  It’s a fun, cheap way to spend an afternoon with kids in Minnesota.

Cheap Orlando Vacation with Last Minute Travel – There’s a wide range of lodging options in Orlando, from theme park resort properties to dodgy motels with few amenities. Last Minute Travel works out well for budget family vacations in Orlando, Florida; the Omni  Orlando resort is great for children and their parents alike, and is but one of over 15,000 hotels in over 1,500 destinations on last Minute Travel’s roster.

Best Free or Cheap Things to do in Los Angeles – Los Angeles is one of the most popular travel destinations in North America, but fan favorites like Disneyland and Universal Studios Hollywood can be deleterious to a tight vacation budget.  These five best free or cheap activities stretch travel dollars and make an LA trip more interesting.

Other articles for Buy Nothing Day worth a read:

Jessie at Wandering Educators: Top 10 Tips for Integrating Buy Nothing Day into Your Travels

MJ at Traveling with MJ: 30 Free Things to Do in Santa Barbara

Beth at Wanderlust and Lipstick: 6 Tips to Make Solo Travel Cheap

Wil at Spot Cool Stuff: Cool Ideas for Short Term Work Abroad

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6 Responses to “Thanksgiving, Buy Nothing Day and Budget Travel”

  1. 1

    [...] Jennifer at The Vacation Gals:  Thanksgiving, Buy Nothing Day and Budget Travel [...]

  2. 2

    WHAT great resources you’ve listed for us – THANK YOU! i esp loved visiting the st paul winter carnival – the ice sculptures were amazing.

  3. 3

    [...] Thanksgiving, Buy Nothing Day and Budget Travel [...]

  4. 4
    Wanderluster says:

    Love this roundup! Thanks for sharing!

  5. 5
    Luxury Hotel Aspen says:

    I find your post very realistic and very attractive. Traveling is my hobby and now I am very happy with it. Sorry I can’t show off the story.

  6. 6

    Great list of resources. From California and I have got to say living in states where the outdoors is your playground is amazing. Sacramento offers rafting down the river. Lake Tahoe is great for hiking and mountain biking. San Francisco is amazing for site seeing but you’ll be lucky if you can escape the city with no spending. Santa Cruz has the boardwalk, surfing, skin boarding, ocean kayaking. Traveling to new places, its always fun to find out what the locals do for cheap entertainment. After all, its their back yard. :) Thanks for the tips

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