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My friends and I took a trip for less than $200 and here’s what happened

Two years ago, while I was still in high school, I went on the best vacation of my life. My two friends and I decided to take a road trip from our hometown, San Francisco, to Joshua Tree. Our only problem was money. After all, we were three broke high school students working minimum wage jobs during the weekends. Yet we still managed to have a magical, life changing spring break. 

For our housing, we found a unique, inexpensive Airbnb which was only $60 a night. We were only staying for three days, so this meant that we only paid $20 each. The Airbnb was a magical, Scamp caravan in the middle of the desert. It had its own little kitchen, a little bathroom, an outdoor shower, a single queen bed and a hammock. 

Blonde Hair Blur Daylight Environment
Sebastian Voortman / Pexels

I didn’t even have to pay for any gas since none of my friends knew how to drive. Therefore, I drove the whole 7.5 hours to Joshua Tree and they split the cost of gas, which ended up being around $60 for the total trip. 

Our food was also relatively cheap because we decided to cook in the Airbnb instead of eating out at restaurants. Prior to starting our road trip, we gathered food from our homes and went grocery shopping for the rest. We bought all the road trip essentials such as PB&J, bread, bananas, and other snacks. We also bought rice, beans and chicken to cook while we stayed in the Airbnb. 

When we finally got to Joshua Tree all of the sightseeing was free. We went to Salvation Mountain, Slab City and East Jesus all of which were free of charge to explore. We also walked downtown and went window shopping. At the end of the day, my friend would cook in the tiny RV while my other friend and I laid in the single queen bed watching her. Then, we took our meal outside and ate while watching the sunset. We then spent the rest of the night swinging in the hammock, talking to one another and listening to music. 

Anete Lusina
Anete L?si?a / Unsplash

The night sky itself was enough to amuse us. The lack of light pollution opened up a whole new sky for us. I remember one night we laid in the sand and watched the sky for so many hours looking for shooting stars while asking each other philosophical questions about the meaning of life or simply asking each other questions about our future. I got to know my friends on a much deeper level that night. 


That spring break was life changing because I got to see that company is all that matters, as cliche as it sounds. My friends and I did not need a lot to be entertained and happy. We just needed a new scenic view, warm weather and each other. We spent less than $100 each for three days of pure bliss. To this day, we remember this trip so fondly, even more so than the new trips we have taken that have been more expensive than this one. So if you ever want to take an inexpensive vacation, gather your closest friends for a road trip, book a cheap Airbnb in a nearby scenic location, bring some food, and you’re set. 

Mariana is a Sophomore at the University of Iowa majoring in Communications and minoring in Psychology. Asides from being a member of HerCampus, Mariana is also a member of SCOPE and has her own show with KRUI, the University's student-run radio station.
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