The Frugal Frolicker Creed

Lindsay’s Rules for Optimal Adventure Travel

Research like crazy, but don’t plan like crazy

I like to know exactly what my options are when I travel – where can I go, what can I do, what special events are going on, etc. So before any trip, I do extensive research on my destination(s). I’ll read guidebooks cover-to-cover and spend my nights scouring the web for more detail. I will know so much about the place that it’ll feel like I’ve already been there.

But then I take the opposite approach once I arrive. I try not to plan too much in advance aside from an approximate route to follow. All that research I’ve done will allow me to easily fill in the blanks as I travel depending on how I feel on a given day.

Time is money. Be frugal with it!

If I have limited time for a trip, the research phase will also include figuring out how to maximize efficiency and save time whenever possible. I will prebook accommodation so I’m not having to waste time stumbling from hostel to hostel upon arrival, looking for a bed. I will research train schedules and bus schedules and figure out how best to get from A to B. I’ll know exactly how to get from the airport or train station to where I’m staying. See all this time I end up saving? That’s time that instead I’ll spend laying on the beach or ogling cathedrals/temples – or BLOGGING!

Lake Argyle Ord River Gorge hike
Looking over Lake Argyle, Australia.

Be especially frugal with accommodation

As a champion of budget travel, I can’t justify spending more than the bare minimum on accommodation. Just give me the cheapest bed in town, so long as it’s not infested with bed bugs or tarnished with horrible reviews on hostelworld. When given the choice of a dorm room with varying number of beds, I always go with the room with the most beds (it’s the cheapest option).

I mean yeah, a cushy bed in my own hotel room sounds lovely – but I don’t travel to hang out in nice hotel rooms. I’m going to be spending as little time as possible at my accommodation, so I’m not willing to pay too much for that.

Solo travel trumps group travel

The single most FAQ I get whenever I announce that I’ll be traveling is: “Are you going alone?!”. Yes, yes I am! And here’s why it’s actually NOT that crazy:

  • I can do whatever I want, whenever I want. Selfish traveling for the win!
  • If I feel like socializing, I can easily meet fellow travelers at hostels and bars. If I don’t, I can easily keep to myself.
  • It forces me to navigate uncharted territory myself, which leads to more growth and a better connection to a place. This growth just doesn’t happen if I have a friend or a tour guide plotting my next move.
  • Travelling alone is much cheaper than booking organized adventure tours. Make your own adventure!

Hiking in Australia
Hiking in Queensland, Australia.

Always make the effort to go off the beaten track

Obviously there are many things worth seeing/doing that are overdone, overcrowded, and overhyped – they must be popular for a reason, after all! But don’t limit yourself to just the most popular attractions. It’s far more adventurous to go off the beaten track, away from the tourist traps. There’s something immensely satisfying about feeling like you’ve stumbled upon something ridiculously cool that most other people have missed.

Lindsay Buckley is the photographer and travel blogger behind Frugal Frolicker. She's a New Yorker currently based in Sydney, Australia, documenting outdoor travel experiences Down Under and beyond. Follow along with Lindsay's travel photography on Facebook and Instagram, and be sure to sign up for the monthly Frugal Frolicker newsletter!

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