How to Travel Up North for Less than $100


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My dad and I on our first trip salmon fishing trip up north. We slept in our Astro Van most trips

When I talk to someone in Michigan about going up north and they mentioned that they have never been I am pretty surprised. They usually tell me it’s too expensive. This state is pretty amazing to never travel up north. I have been going up north with my parents since I was a little guy. As soon as I got my first vehicle I was traveling up north many weekends out of the year. I found a way to do it very inexpensive.


Now this article may not be beneficial to everyone. If money is not a factor then this article is not worth your time. This is mainly for the single guy who wants to go up north fishing, hunting or anything else outdoors. The more humans you’re paying for, obviously, the cost goes up. You can still use some of these tips to get up north but your cost will be probably more than a $100 dollars. If you’re going up with friends and split the cost, the price of the trip drops even more.

Here are some tips you can use to go up north for less and still enjoy the outdoors in Michigan.

  • Food
    • Instead of paying at a restaurant for food, bring your food for the weekend. You will be saving an average of 25-50 dollars depending on what you eat. You have to eat regardless so you might as well pack for the weekend. Going out to restaurants can get expensive. I like to bring snacks like granola bars and cliff bars. I also eat a lot of sandwiches and drink a lot of water. I might spend 10-15 bucks on all this stuff at a store near my house.
  • Gas
    • If you average 60-65 MPH on the highway, your car will eat 20-30% less of your gas meaning you will spend less. If you speed up north your vehicle will consume more gas. By speeding your only saving yourself 20-40 minutes depending on distance. It’s usually not worth the extra cost.
    • If you head up north with buddies, this will save yourself a ton of money. If I am driving I usually fill my truck up before I meet up with my buddies. Therefore, I pay for the gas that I used for my daily life and we will be using fresh gas. After the trip is over I stop by the gas station before I get home. Then I know the exact cost of the gas that we used and can split it evenly with who ever went up north. I hate it when people throw me money at the end and not knowing if it was too much or to less. I hate it when I jump in a buddy’s vehicle and they fill up right away. Then we fill up right before we get home. This mean I just filled up my buddies’ truck for their personal use from the days before the trip.
  • Forget the Beer and liquor
    • Some of you may have just dropped your jaw and wonder how could I say that. However, you don’t need alcohol to go up north. This just adds extra cost to your trip, which is pretty much a waste. I have nothing against drinking and enjoy a frosty beverage from time to time. However, I like to keep my cost down on trips. Here your saving 10-30 dollars depending on how much you like to drink. Staying out of the bars will also save you a ton of money. Again, though, there is nothing wrong with going to the bars if you don’t mind spending more than $100 dollars on a weekend.
  • Lodging
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      Camping during an outing

      If I am traveling by myself, I usually don’t spend much on lodging. I will either sleep in my truck or sleep in a tent on state or federal land. I have slept all over the state in random places. I have slept on piers, in Wal-Mart parking lots, state land and also on my boat in the river that cost me nothing. For state land, all you need is a permit from the state. This only works if you’re willing to trade comfort for savings. This might not work if you if you need comfort (I don’t blame you). If you are willing to trade comfort, you can save 45-100 dollars and more.

    • If I head up north with buddies, I usually will splurge a little bit and stay at a comfy motel or a cabin. It also depends on if the price is right and if the weather requires me to sleep inside for the night. Of course, you would split the cost of the lodging for this as well.


  • Gear
    • Screen Shot 2016-02-13 at 12.06.02 PMIf you have all your equipment and license already, your gear cost should be very little. Bait should be the only thing you need if your fishing. This can be a deal breaker though if you need specific lures and any other gear for the outdoors. This would be the most expensive part of your trips if you need gear.
  • Cans
    • If you’re somewhere there is going to be a lot of drinking, don’t be afraid to pick up cans. When I was younger I was continually picking up cans. Sometimes I paid for my gas to get up north and back. Some fishermen are super lazy and leave cans all over the place. You would be amazed how quick it would add up. Also, if you attend some sort of outing and a bunch of cans is getting thrown out; don’t be afraid to claim them. I once attended an outing a long time ago where I paid for my gas, the campsite, and my bait for the weekend in just the cans that were going in the garbage. Not only are you making your money back but you are cleaning up the environment. How cool is that?

You will be amazed how quick your money can be spent if you don’t pay attention. If you pay attention to what you are spending money on you will be able to save on your trip. If you follow these tips you can save a lot of money.

If you chose to go up north with buddies do not be a freeloader. Share the cost of everything. If you’re on a buddies boat, make sure you chip in for gas if you want to be invited again. If you stay at a buddies place, make sure you help out where you can and bring some food for yourself. If you can’t afford to do something with your friends be up front about it.  Being a freeloader will guarantee never to get invited again.

My life has since changed since I was a young guy. I make a little more money then back when I was just starting to drive. However, I do still use these tips to save money. The less you spend the more times you can go up north in the future. The less you spend the more you can do with your money. People often refer to me as cheap. However, I like to adventure as much as I can and wasting less money means more trips. This little system has created a fun life for me. I hope it creates future trips for other people that may not have a lot of money.



If you have any other ideas to save money while on trips, feel free to share them in the comments below. We would love to hear them.

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Some of my favorite pictures from the past week:

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One thought on “How to Travel Up North for Less than $100

  1. Pingback: Great Lakes Edge Top 5 Articles for 2016 | Great Lakes Edge

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