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Saturday, October 18, 2014

The Secret to an Affordable Painting Trip

'Chamisa Impressions'               8x10             pastel     plein air         ©Karen Margulis
available for purchase $150
I am always looking for tips that make travel more affordable. The more I can save the more I can go! I got lucky on my recent trip to Abiquiu and the Richard McKinley workshop. Not only did I save money by sharing a rental car with a great new friend (Thanks Kris!)....we discovered how to save a lot of money on essentials...making this workshop trip more affordable.

The secret is Shop Smart....any discount or big grocery store will do.  We were able to stretch our food budget by stocking up on breakfast and lunch items. Since meals were not included in the workshop we were on our own. In the end we only had to purchase dinner each night.

Breakfast on the Go!
We knew we were going to an area that only had one convenience store, one restaurant and a pizza place. Limited options.  We decided to stock up before we left Santa Fe. We were going to go to Whole Foods which is great but can be pricey.  We settled on Walmart since they have good food prices and other essentials. I spent $50 and had plenty of breakfast, lunch and snack items. (I even brought snacks home...I had no time to snack!)  Here are some of our tips:
  • Water: you need to drink a lot of water on a painting trip. We saved money and space on water bottles by purchasing a jug of water and a cheap funnel to fill a couple of bottles each day.
  • Coffee:  a lot of hotels have individual coffee makers in the room. The coffee isn't always good but it is the lack of enough sugar and half and half that I miss. I bought some sugar and some Mini Moos half and half containers. They don't need to be refrigerated. Coffee was so much better!
  • Breakfast: We bought individual serving size oatmeal cups. All we had to do was heat some water in the coffee maker. Add a banana (and some powdered donuts) and we had breakfast!
  • Lunch: We bought peanut butter and jelly, bread, chips, apples and other goodies for lunch. I also bought some baggies, paper towels and plastic silverware so each night I could make a nice lunch. 
  • Wine Time: we had to go back to Whole Foods for the wine because our Walmart wasn't a Super Walmart. But overall we got everything we needed and more at our Walmart stop!
The Walmart stop is great if you have to fly to a location and can't bring all of the food and drinks with you. When I travel by car we do the same thing but sock up before we hit the road!

How do you save money when traveling? Feel free to share by commenting below!

****I'd like to add that we chose Walmart but I realize that many people do not like it and choose not to shop there. The point of this post was to share how we saved money by purchasing food to fix in our motel rooms. Any grocery store will do the job!


robertsloan2art said...

Well, I went on a lot of road trips and got grocery food instead of fast food for pretty much every meal. The other thing we did usually was camp instead of using motels. Camp grounds are usually cheaper and may have amenities like showers and rest rooms. There are even some free camp grounds, though those you may have to drive up to a rest stop from it for those amenities.

I've roughed it many times for other reasons and usually sketched while I camped. I'd love to go again someday, especially with a group of artists. There's usually good painting opportunities right at the camp ground anyway, you're outdoors in the wilderness and might get in a plein air first thing as soon as there's light - while whoever in the group cooks best is fixing pancakes on a griddle... some really good memories in this!

If you do use a motel, share it with friends, pack as many into the room as you can. It's not home, it's not normal life, it's better to relax and remember what it was like to be twenty and not worry so much about solitude. You'll have plenty of that after the trip is over. Life can get very simple on a trip and a lot more fun than you expect.

Chris Lally said...

Great tips! Thanks!