Is being able to travel important enough to give up that new iPhone or a Radiohead concert?

Photo: A.K. Photography / Feature: Torley

Would you give up getting your hair cut, walk or take the bus to work, or limit yourself to one happy-hour beer per week to save for vacation?

In this economy, travel has taken a beating. It is often the first thing to go when budgets must be tightened.

But a family in Charlotte thinks that getting away is priority-numero-uno. So they grow their own vegetables, use old-school rabbit ears and a digital converter box on their TV, and drop off their trash instead of paying for pick-up.

They also search out free community events, and when they travel, stay in condos instead of hotels. Condos tend to be both cheaper and allow for cooking meals on the home-away-from-home front.

Plus, once on the road, you can always go the timeshare route for a freebie, if you can handle a nice big sales pitch. And BootsnAll Travel recommends the time-honored tradition of hanging out at your local port (no, not for prostitution purposes). Apparently, boat crews are often looking for a helping hand, and you can build up those muscles in the process (hey, a two-for!).

Personally, I plan to spend a lot less while traveling than I would living in Fairfax. At $1,000 in rent a month, plus general high cost-of-living, Marin, CA certainly ain’t a cheap place to settle.

Moving out of my pad also produced quite a few articles of clothing and shoes that went for sale in the front yard, along with finding their way into consignment stores. Oh, and I can’t forget the many books I bought for school that hadn’t been touched in a year – yep, you guessed it, now on the shelves of used bookstores and Amazon.

What are some things you have cut back on so that you could continue to travel? Share your thoughts below.

Community Connection

Check out Tim Patterson’s diatribe on how to travel the world for free and Ernesto Machado’s musings on how to figure out when budget travel becomes exploitation.