Ever see those ads that urge you to use your home equity to pay for a vacation?
One look at the continuing foreclosure crisis in the U.S. should explain why that’s a very bad idea.
As professional travel photojournalists, we’re often asked about the best way to pay for travel and we always have a short answer: Save.
That’s how we’ve traveled to every continent except the Antarctic and Australia.
But these are lean times everywhere for many travelers — including us — so we have some more short-term advice: Think big; spend little.
We think big by keeping a “bucket list” of the top 10 places we most want to travel, when time and finances allow.
We spend less by taking day trips, half-day trips, or other quick getaways.
This is how we de-stress. It’s also how we boost our creativity and productivity. Even a few hours away from work can open one’s mind to new ideas (for work) and new approaches (for work), beyond all the non-work benefits.
We can be at a romantic hotel overlooking the Pacific in a couple of hours, spending less than $100 a night.
Or we can be hiking next to majestic waterfalls in an hour, for less than the cost of a tank of gas.
And a couple of hours at our city’s waterfront is free. (There’s always lots to see on the Columbia and Willamette rivers, and along waterside walkways. In warmer weather, we can rent two kayaks for an hour for only $20.)
We’ve lived in all kinds of cities on three continents, and we’ve always explored our home base as if we were visitors.
Farmers’ markets or arts and crafts markets are always a big draw for us, whether we’re shopping or not.
Art galleries and public art woo us too, because we can indulge our passion for art without breaking the bank.
We depend on public parks and urban walks for exercise, window-shopping, and appreciating architecture and nature in the city.
A romantic getaway for us means walking in every city we visit, exploring neighborhoods and seeing how other people live and work.
On this Memorial Day weekend in the U.S., we’re taking a four-day, mini-vacation by staying at home, and enjoying the very best of our city.