Photo belongs to D.J. Perry. djperry2 on Instagram.

What do you do when you have an awesome trip planned with lots of cool stuff you’re looking forward to and something happens that wrecks your budget? That’s what happened to us. We have been planning a big, amazing trip, to multiple states, that we were super excited about. Then life happened, as it so often does. So this is written from experience.


We could have canceled our trip, and the people we were meeting up with would have understood, but we decided to do something different. We postponed that trip by a few months, kept two (cheap) destinations, and added a new place we’ve never been. Instead of visiting Dollywood now we’re going to finally see Helen, Georgia. My German roots are rejoicing! This place has been on our radar for years, but we have never been. I honestly don’t know why.

We found lots of free and inexpensive things to do in the area and our campsite is only $12.50/night, thanks to Passport America. We’ll be eating at the campground almost every night, but at least we get to go camping. Right? That’s the important part. Our kids aren’t even disappointed because they’ll still get to see their grandparents and uncle, plus experience something new.

If this happens to you, pull up Passport America’s map and see if any places stand out. Look into those places to see if they’re affordable and offer things you’re interested in. If not, move on to the next place that piques your interest. There are so many different places to check out you shouldn’t have any problems. National and state parks are also great and may be cheaper, so look into them, too.

By being open minded, we found other places that aren’t feasible right now, but we will be visiting them as soon as we can. These include Cherokee, North Carolina and New Tazewell, Tennessee. Neither one is very expensive, but we want to be able to really enjoy our time in these places.

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Absolute worst case scenario, head into your backyard and enjoy a staycation. Find some local places you’ve never been and explore your own hometown. We’ve done that and enjoyed it just as much as going several hours away. Plus you may make a new friend or two who may enjoy camping with you on your next excursion.

So be open minded, don’t limit yourself, and see what possibilities pop up. You never know, your improvised trip may be a lot better than the one you had planned! So, get out there and try something new!

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Happy camping!


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