Frugal Vacation

Greetings from Ohio!

Today two friends and I set off on a 4700 mile round trip to the Grand Canyon. We are currently 300 miles in near Columbus, Ohio. It is certainly great to have two other drivers to take the wheel when you are tired. Looking at the odometer, we are holding steady  at about 28 mpg. This is thanks to a bit of hypermiling, keeping tire pressure up, drafting, and not speeding like a crazed maniac.

We will stop in st. Louis tonight, the first of nine nights. Most would assume a trip like this to set a person back a few thousand dollars. This would be a sensible assumption if we ate out every meal, stayed in fancy hotels and participated in the typical tourist-y type attractions many travelers take part in.

This is not how we will be traveling this week. Instead we are equipped with a cooler full of food and water, and will be enjoying living like locals instead of tourists. We could go on bus tours through various cities and eat at the best local restaurants. In the long run, we would only be taking more experiences like this from our future selves. By enjoying the simple pleasures of traveling to new states, seeing the new mexico desert and the snow-capped Rockies, we are keeping in mind that increased spending does not equal increased happiness.

There is an idea that seems to contribute to this bizarre behavior of needing to blow $3k on a week-long trip to have fun. The idea that if you are not surrounded by luxury, you must not be enjoying yourself. This leads people to extend their mandatory working years so they can have a cushy lifestyle during travel.

I have set out this week to destroy this myth about luxury contributing to happiness. I have brought with me only what could be fit into a 16 inch backpack. Food, water, toiletries, clothes. If I manage to live out of a backpack for nine days while spending a few nights in a car, then we can all start living a life of greater leisure knowing how easy it is to afford it.

I will be sure to have an update on this little experiment when I return, until then, enjoy the sunshine!
-Money Mechanic