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4 Vacations You Can Actually Afford

Vacations were never a big tradition in my family. Sure, my pops would take me and my brothers camping pretty regularly, but the big extravagant Disneyland/Cabo/Paris thing never happened for my family. Which is fine, because for the life of me, I can’t understand why anyone would want to take their kids to Paris in the first place. Having to figure out where you’re going in a foreign city is bad enough without little Timmy whining about there not being a McDonald’s in sight. So really, the best vacations are those you can take either alone, with friends, or with a significant other. And what better time to do that than your twenties? Oh, that’s right. You don’t have any money. Well lucky for you, neither do I, so I’m gonna share some vacations that I’ve either taken or am planning to take, to let you know that all hope is not lost for the paid time off you’ve accrued.

1. Baseball Stadium Trip

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If the title doesn’t speak for itself, it’s like this: start in whatever city nearest to you has an MLB team. Then drive north, south, east, west, whichever direction will lead you to the most major league parks in the shortest distance. For example, if you’re in Texas, you could do Minute Maid, Rangers Ballpark, Kauffman Stadium, Busch Stadium, Miller Park, Wrigley, Comiskey Park, and maybe even Comerica Park if you still have money or are willing to risk your life in downtown Detroit. The point is, unless you live in Montana, there are a lot of ballparks in reach. Grab three friends, hop in a car and go. Depending on how much money you have, you can stay in a hotel, a motel, camp, sleep in your car, or pay Crazy Terry playing the lute outside CVS to show you where the best crash spots are in the city. Also, invest in plastic flasks. I haven’t paid for a ballpark beer in two years thanks to those things. They were made for sneaking booze into cruises, but they work just as well in your back pocket when you’re going through security. Trust me, if you’re going to five different games, you don’t wanna pay for beer.

2. Vegas

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Seems obvious when it comes to the whole “vacation” idea, right? The thing is, though, a lot of people our age haven’t had the joy of experiencing Vegas because they assume they’ll need thousands of dollars to do it right. False. Now I’ll admit, living in LA, I have a little better access than most of you. If I left right now, I could be checking in at the Imperial in less than four hours. And that’s if I drove. Hour and a half if I catch a $150 flight. But that’s me. For you, you’re gonna have to weigh whether paying a little extra for flying is worth not having to smell your friends for 20+ hours (by the way, the answer is, yes it is). You don’t even need a car in Vegas. Once we park, the car doesn’t move until we check out. It’s all walking and cabs from here. Another important frugal Vegas piece of advice, don’t get multiple rooms, and don’t stay at fucking Caesar’s or something. This isn’t a beach vacation where you’ll spend a lot of time in your room lounging around. Your room is for three things, storing your shit, passing out, and having sex with bachelorette party attendees while the rest of your friends are passed out. So get a room at Imperial Palace, and then gamble at all the nice places. That way, if you lose, you just lose, but if you win, you could get comped a room at the place you almost overpaid to stay at.

And for God’s sake, don’t stay at the Palms. It’s so far off the strip, it might as well be in another fucking city.

3. Camping/Backpacking

Les Stroud, host of the TV show  "Survivorman", is photographed at his shelter after his seven days of survival at Pond Inlet in the Arctic

If you’ve never been on a real backpacking trip before, DO NOT volunteer to go with a bunch of your wilderness-loving friends who are doing a week-long trek, and are planning on summitting a 14,000-foot mountain. That is a recipe for disaster for you. Instead, round up some of your more inexperienced buddies, grab one guy who’s been there/done that, and do something easy. Let him plan it for you. If you don’t have one of those friends, you could Google what type of pack to rent, and supplies to bring and do it all yourselves, but if you attempt something too intense, there’s a great chance you’ll be torn apart by wolverines or fall off a waterfall. Or both. Guides are actually not that expensive if you shop around, so if you don’t have a Les Stroud in your group, just pay the extra and get the guy who will already have your route planned and can tell you exactly what to bring. He also makes crazy delicious trail mix, and you’re gonna want some of that.

4. Greece

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Okay, so you know how Greece was once a superpower because of their control of the sea trade? Well, they’re not a superpower anymore, but they still bring in a shit ton of boats. So here’s what you do, go to your nearest Atlantic port city. Get a sailor drunk and find out which ship is headed for Greece. Then, stow away between the containers. Have you seen those Maersk ships? They’re fucking massive. They’ll never find you on there. Once you get to Greece, just hop off, dodge the Molotov cocktail being thrown by a crazy nationalist, and you’re on your way. Historical landmarks, temples, architecture, it’s all there. Sure, you’ll have to get arrested for something minor every night so you’ll have a safe place to sleep, but it’ll be so worth it. I mean, you’re in the birthplace of democracy, man. How much better could it get?

So yeah, I’m not saying these trips are free or anything, but neither is going to the same bar every weekend, and you still manage to spend way too much money on that, don’t you? If you and your friends save up for six months, you could easily swing one of these excursions. Plus, it’s these kinds of trips that bring out the best stories. The craziest times I’ve had with my group of dudes has been New Orleans, Vegas, and a shitty beach town in Florida, respectively. You’re not gonna get a Vegas-level story to tell at your regular bar if all your stories happened at your regular bar, my friend.

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Randall J. Knox

Randall J. Knox (known colloquially to his friends as "Knox") left his native Texas a few years ago, and moved to Los Angeles in his '03 Buick Regal named LeRoi to write movies with his jackass college buddies. His favorite things in life include bourbon that's above his pay grade, mix CDs, and Kevin Costner films. He isn't sure what "dad jeans" are exactly, but he knows he wants a pair.

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