If you think it’s impossible to go on a trip on a budget, think again. Obviously, there’s nothing that can be done about the cost of plane tickets (or gas if your trip is a drivable distance from home). It’s an unfortunate truth, but it’s just something that has to be worked around. Knowing that plane tickets would cost me $850-$900, I made it my goal to spend under $1,000 in Omaha, whether the Gamecocks went two-and-barbecue or won another national championship (which would extend my stay here considerably). Here’s an itemized list of my non-airfare purchases thus far:
2 packs of honey roasted peanuts: $1.00
1 Dasani water bottle: $1.19
1 steak dinner at The Drover: $28.75
Current Total Cost: $30.94
How am I able to do this trip so cheaply? Well, if you saw my post a few days back on getting to Omaha, you know that I was able to use my network to find free lodging as long as I’m here, saving me $150-$200 per night. Winning!
“That’s great, Randall,” you may be thinking, “but what about getting to the stadium? They don’t let people sleep in the press box.” Well, my gracious host lent me a bicycle to get me to the stadium, about 3.5 miles from his home. Unfortunately, the hills were absolutely killing my legs (Omaha is a shockingly hilly city), but I willed myself to make it without passing out. After two days of this arrangement, my mother called because she was worried about me riding through an unfamiliar neighborhood with a computer on my back, saying she thought I might get robbed or killed or beaten or that my lunch money might get stolen. So she sent me money to pay for a cab to and from TD Ameritrade every day. So I am now spending money on transportation, but technically it’s not my money. Winning!
Food is another cost that I’ve been able to keep under control. In an effort to keep costs down (and an effort to trim a few of the unwanted pounds that currently encircle my waistline) I’ve been surviving on about 1 1/2 meals per day. I skip breakfast and nibble on whatever my hosts have laying around the house for lunch, since I don’t want to take much of their food. I try to get to the press box by 2:00 every day (on days when the stadium hosts two games, the first one starts at 4:00 local time), and snack on whatever delicious pretzels, popcorn, trail mix, etc. is there for us. By 6:00, dinner is served, and I’m usually able to sneakily obtain seconds, and sometimes even thirds. Winning! I decided to treat myself to steak last night since it was my second trip to Omaha and the only place I’d ever eaten out here was IHOP. Not kidding. I figured it was worth it, especially with my costs so masterfully contained thus far. And it may have been the best decision I’ve made since I’ve been here.
So don’t ever come crying to me that you want to go somewhere but don’t have the money to make the trip. Because I guarantee you do. You’ve just got to have a little creativity.