How To Plan a Budget Friendly Trip

Plan a Budget Friendly Trip With Me!

In this blog post, I’m going to show you (step-by-step) exactly how I plan a trip when on a budget! Saving up is the first step, or you can plan and save what you know you will need for sure! But… you never truly know! For this blog let’s assume I am going to Wilmington, North Carolina. Let’s say I plan to save at least $2,000.

Wilmington NC – 2017

Step 1: Pick a Place, How Much You Want to Spend & What You Want to Do

For this blog, we’re going to choose Wilmington, North Carolina. Why? Because I have been and I fell in love with the pace! The beaches are so nice and clean (three to choose from!) and there a quite a few things to do there! For the amount, we would like to take since this is budget-friendly we are saying $2,000 which is very savable for the average household (but for sake, let’s say it is a couple’s trip and not 4 people as I have no experience in planning family trips) I believe. What do we want to do? Well obviously visit the beaches they have to offer, go sightseeing, shopping, whatever there is to do and see. I’m a history buff so museums are a must!

Step 2: Find a Hotel

Finding a hotel is always first on my list. Keep in mind that you may have to switch hotels just in case you find the one you chose originally is nasty… Also ask yourself, “do I want to pay more for the hotel? Or have more money to spend on other things while there?”! The date I searched for was August 6th of 2021. Hotels I found with prices per night:

  • Courtyard Marriott Carolina Beach Ocean Front – $549 (assume tax)
  • Baymont by Wyndham – $169.00
  • Beach House Inn & Suites – $214 (for something decent)

Step 3: Research

My next steps include researching and typing out/ writing out everything there is to do along with prices next to the listed items. This is honestly the fun part, especially if you’re a planner! Some people like to go with the flow but I am not one of them. Plus I like to also take into account emergencies, etc. What I also like to do during this step is also write down the local restaurants I would like to try, So what I found was:

Activities/Places to Go/Do

  • Battleship NC – $14.00 for each adult total – $28.00 (plus tax TAX in NC – 5.25 %)
  • Arlie Gardens – $9.00 for each adult total – $18.00 (Assume there is tax on everything)
  • Bellamy Mansion Museum – $14.00 for each adult total – $28.00
  • River Front Park – FREE
  • Jungle Rapids Family Fun Park – (ALL-IN) $53.99 for each adult total – $107.98
  • Visit Wrightsville Beach – FREE but may have to pay for parking (estimate $10-20)
  • Visit Kure Beach – FREE but may have to pay for parking
  • Visit Carolina Beach – FREE but may have to pay for parking
  • Old Wilmington City Market for shopping

Places to Eat Locally

Step 4: Budget & Plan

Friday August 6th –

  • Hotel (two nights) – $338 We chose Baymont by Wyndham
  • Lunch Time 12 pm after check in we will eat at Ann Bonny’s Bar and Grill – May spend $50
  • 2 pm – Battleship – $28.00 (assume tax for everything)
  • 6 pm – Visit 1 beach: Kure Beach – Parking may be $10 for 2 hours
  • 8 pm – Dinner at 1900 Restaurant and Lounge – May spend $70

Saturday August 7th –

  • 8 am – Have Breakfast
  • 10 am – Bellamy Mansion Museum – $28.00
  • 12 pm – Lunch at Front Street Brewery – May spend $60
  • 2 pm – Old Wilmington Market/Shopping – May spend $100
  • 3:30 pm – Pack some dinner for a picnic at the beach
  • 4 pm – Visit Carolina Beach – Parking may be $20 for a little while
  • 9 pm – Back to hotel

Looks Like We’re Spending One More Day Monday August 8th –

  • Pay for another night for hotel room – $169.00
  • 8 am – Have breakfast
  • 11 am – Arlie Gardens – $18.00
  • 12:30 pm – Lunch at a fast food joint – May Spend $20
  • 1 pm – Visit Wrightsville Beach for a Beach Day – Parking may be approx. $20.00
  • 6 pm – Go to Apple Annie’s Bake Shop – May spend $30.00
  • 7 pm – Eat late dinner (if haven’t) at hotel with what you packed

If We Went By Schedule –

If we went by the schedule/timeline we would have spent at least: $961.00. Remember we have $2,000 saved! And so we may even spend more than that honestly (sorry if my math is wrong) so we can assume we have at least $800 leftover. What do we do with that $800? Put it towards gas (you do the math, keep distance in mind from starting point to end, and remember you may be driving as well to get to places you wanna visit while there.) I would keep $300 away just for emergencies!

Step 5: Pick a Date and Save

Now that we have everything figured out we can now save money after picking the date! Save accordingly.

Final Thoughts

I enjoy planning trips! I hope that this helped you in planning your trip or I hope you save this for future references! Maybe you can even visit Wilmington, North Carolina soon and use this as a guide! If you would like here is the link to their visitor guide: CLICK HERE. Thanks so much for reading and I hope all of you have safe travels! Please comment below if this is how you plan or add anything you would like! Do you plan differently? Please share in the comments! For more like this consider following my blog and following me on Instagram.

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