Bucket List Travel Experiences That Won’t Break the Bank
“What would you do if you won the lottery?”
Ask anyone this question, and travel more will likely be high on the list. And usually, we’re not talking about just any old trip. When money isn’t an issue, many travelers dream about having big, bold, bucket list adventures.
Big trips like a safari in Africa, chartering a private yacht, or hiking Machu Picchu may all seem inaccessible for most travelers. While these bucket list experiences also come with big price tags, there are ways to book these fabulous adventures on a budget.
I’ve spent the past two decades working in the travel industry, helping people experience exotic destinations. I’ve learned what’s worth splurging for, and where you can save along the way.
Here are a few accessible ways to book a big, bucket list adventure this year!
Safari in Africa on the Cheap
An African Safari is perhaps the quintessential luxury trip.
For the past 100 years, safariing in Africa has been all about taking travelers into some of the most remote corners of the earth for a wildlife adventure, with careful attention to creature comforts and luxury in the wild.
Between private guides, charter flights, and luxe accommodations, the price of a safari can quickly reach $10,000 per person or more. But there are ways to have an amazing experience in Africa on the cheap.
One of my favorite operators in Africa is a company called African Latitude. African Latitude has spent decades establishing strong relationships with local Maasai communities near Kenya’s Maasai Mara, which is the wildlife-rich northern tip of the Serengeti ecosystem.
In addition to viewing big game and enjoying a classic wildlife safari, on these trips, priced from $2,500 per person, you’ll also have an opportunity to walk through Maasailand, meet locals, and camp along the way. Because you are camping in lightweight camps (though supported by a fabulous team that sets up camp, prepares meals, etc) the price point is much lower than a traditional luxury safari.
If you’re interested in a safari in Botswana, check out Footsteps in Africa. This collection of safari camps and lodges operate in the same areas as the ultra exclusive safari operators, yet are a fraction of the cost. Expect to pay between $200 – $300 per night vs. over $1,000 per night from other safari properties in the area.
Cost-Effective Ways to Charter a Private Yacht
I must admit that chartering a boat is at the very top of my personal bucket list. But with prices in the range of $15,000 for a fully crewed seven-night journey in the Caribbean, this isn’t a trip to be taken lightly.
Fortunately, there are ways to bring the price down.
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First of all, consider traveling during off-season (May to October), when rates are literally half of what they are in the Caribbean’s peak season (January to April).
During the off season, the water is perfectly warm and the nights are refreshing and cool. Be sure to pay attention to hurricane season, which picks up towards the end of summer. Caribbean islands like Aruba are outside of the hurricane belt so a good option for September or October.
Next, consider booking a bareboat, also known as a yacht without a full crew. Bareboat rentals come with a captain and chef, but nothing else. Food, drinks, mooring fees, fuel, and national park fees can all be paid directly on site. This can bring the cost of the charter down by nearly half.
Finally, for the true budget traveler, consider getting a seasonal job in the Caribbean working on one of these ships or for a yacht charter company. Sites like Sail Caribbean list open opportunities to work on boats in the Caribbean and beyond.
Even with little to no sailing experience, you’ll find job opportunities for photographers, social media experts, internships and medical opportunities for registered nurses or those with medical experience, and more.
Budget Views of Machu Picchu
Watching the first rays of morning sun hit the ancient city of Machu Picchu is an iconic travel moment, to say the least. But an all-inclusive tour in Peru, including visiting Machu Picchu, typically costs several thousand dollars.
If you’re on a budget, consider flying into Cusco, the main gateway into Peru. Once there, you can easily book a tour with a local tour company. It’s possible to book a two-day tour to the ancient city for as little as $100 if you book on site!
Condor Travel, a Peru-based tour company, has a fabulous reputation as a safe and reliable operator in Peru. Contact them on their local Peru number upon arrival to learn more about tour options. Machu Picchu Viajes Peru is another great option. You can stop into their office on the Plaza de Armas in Cusco to learn more about tour options.
While you’re in Peru, also consider organizing tours to Lake Titicaca and even the Amazon for a complete Peru experience.
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This year, don’t let your budget get in the way of making your travel dreams a reality.
With a little extra research and by thinking beyond traditional tours, you can save money and see more of the world than you ever thought possible!