For active travelers, there are plenty of pitfalls in getting the best vacation for your dollar–know the scams and pricey options before you plan your next stay somewhere nice.

If you’re the type who is always planning the next vacation getaway, then you already know how much gas, airfare, hotel stays, and travel expenses will be. Active travelers, however, can often miss the “hotel for the rooms” when it comes to great deals that will backfire and may even sabotage future travel plans.

Travel planning for the long game

Trade the hotel for something thrifty

Save that money for you and your honey bunny by camping, renting an RV, or renting out your own apartment while you’re off exploring the countryside or a tour of breweries upstate. Plenty of people want to visit your area while you’re off taking a needed 3-day getaway.

Some of my best 3-day getaways included something as simple as my backpack, a hiking trail, and exploring the wilderness…mountainous regions like Colorado are GREAT for this!

Don’t just be a tourist…travel like a local.

long term travel planning

While they may be nice, avoid overpriced culinary delights and tourist-trap amenities by researching what the locals eat and drink, and staying off the beaten path of the larger city stays. Farmer’s and outdoor markets and local cafes are always better than big chain cafes and hotel restaurants. Not to mention they support local businesses.

Don’t buy just because you’re there

Downtown Aspen Colorado | Winter Wonderland

A timeshare property seems like a great investment if you plan on vacationing every year at destinations that appears perfect for families or couples. When you’re listening to the pitch for timeshare promotions, the fees can even seem affordable.

But consider all the travel and places you could be experiencing away from the timeshare-heavy destinations. By diversifying your places of stay, you’ll save plenty of money as well when you avoid hotel-priced meals and tourist-trap money holes that you’ll later regret.

You won’t always have Paris

national parks packing essentials

For couples, take that affordable trip now before you have kids to think about! Two plane tickets are one thing, but five tickets cut into any budget! Couples (young or old) who love to travel can do so on a shoestring budget, but everything from souvenirs to dessert costs extra when the kids are in tow. If that’s the case, consider a packing for a National Parks road trip.

Related reads: 10 Tips for Happy Family Travel, 9 Great Budget Destination Ideas Close to Home, and The Best Places to Take a Family Vacation in the USA.

Travel within the states can be done for cheap, but travel outside the country will add up too quickly, even with one child. Your best bet is to save for travel when the kids are a little older and they’ll remember everything about Southern Europe or Eastern Asia rather than the stories you tell them.

Whichever way you pack your bags, there are plenty of opportunities for individuals, couples, and families who have the travel bug. Travel doesn’t have to be a once-a-year planned getaway, but if you just can’t stand “standing still” on long weekends, get out there and make your path! You’ll be better for it.