Travel Tips: How to Save While Traveling
Different Ways I Afford My Trips
Ever since I became an avid traveler, I have been asked countless times how I afford my travels. Since I love to travel so much and I am sincerely passionate about seeing the world, I make sure to spend and save my money wisely. Before I dive into how I save money to travel, I just want to let you all know that I am not super wealthy; I don’t have an insanely high paying job; my parents DO NOT pay for me and I don’t get free trips randomly thrown at me! I am constantly working and sacrificing a lot so that I could travel the world without becoming broke.
If you are looking to start traveling or are searching for ways to travel more, I am more than happy to share how I make my travel dreams a reality. I also want to note that when you are truly passionate about something and want it to happen, the universe will do anything to make sure it becomes your reality as well; not just in the travel sphere, but anything else you dream for in life.
Check out the many different ways in which I have saved money to make my travel dreams come true! Please also note that I am understanding that everyone in this world has different life and financial situations and not everything I mention below will be feasible for each of you, but I sure do hope that some of my tips and advice could be of help for the future!
Start By Saving on the Small Things:
One of the first ways to begin saving to travel is to take a step back and save on the small things. When you have some down time, jot down all of the unnecessary things you spend money on. Here are some questions you can ask yourself?
- Do I need to buy Starbucks, Dunkin Donuts or XX coffee every morning when I could just purchase an affordable coffee maker and brew a cup at home?
- Is it necessary to go out and buy lunch every single day when I could pick up items at the grocery store and make my own lunch?
- Do I really need to go out in the city every weekend when I could have my own girls’/guys’ night at my place?
- Could I find an affordable restaurant with authentic food instead of going out to dinner at an expensive steakhouse with moderate food?
- Do I really need XYZ? Is it a necessity or could I wait to buy it another time?
Begin by Going Local:
Maybe right now you have a lot of expenses such as student loans, a high rent or mortgage, grad school, marriage, pregnancy or you may even be looking for a job or starting a business. If traveling far isn’t feasible for you right now, it is so important to know that there are many places to explore locally! Some great ways to find different adventures close to you is by doing a simple Google Search or even looking on Pinterest! If you read my blog post from a few weeks ago, I took a day trip to explore Mystic, Connecticut. Prior to going there, I looked on Pinterest and found different restaurants and beaches to explore!
Find a Travel Agency or Program that Accepts Monthly Payments:
Paying for a trip in full could be a lot, so some ways to make it easier to pay it off is by finding a travel agency or company that offers a monthly payment plan leading up to the departure date. (SitInMySeats Travel offers great packages if you want to travel solo, with a significant other or a group of people.)
Track Your Flights:
One thing I am very cautious about when I am booking a new trip is the flight costs. I think it is SO annoying that flights are one of the most expensive parts of a trip because you are literally sitting like a sardine in a tight space with very small food options for hours! I will not (and I repeat, WILL NOT) book a flight unless I know I am getting the best deal and let me tell you, I have gotten some amazing flight deals from my past trips. Some great deals that I’ve gotten was a round trip, nonstop flight from Newark to Keflavík, Iceland for $300 through WOW Air; a round trip flight from JFK to Cape Town, South Africa with a layover in Johannesburg for $600 through South African Airways and a round trip, nonstop flight from JFK to Palermo, Sicily for $900 through Meridiana Airlines/Air Italy (mind you, it is rare to find a nonstop (even 1 or 2 stop) flight for under $1,000 to Sicily)!
Below is a list of websites and apps I use to track flights and costs. The great aspect of these platforms is that you could easily plug in the dates you are looking to travel and the app will put in a price tracker for you. The platform will let you know when there is a flight deal going on and whether or not you should book right away or wait for a deal. It will also predict when prices will go down!
Stay in an Airbnb Instead of a Hotel:
Another big expense when it comes to traveling is staying at a hotel or resort. Even though you could easily find cheap or inexpensive hotels, especially if you look on TripAdvisor or even if you do a Google Search, there are still many ways where you could cut costs on accommodations. If I am not finding deals on Booking.com, Expedia, Kayak, Trivago, Orbitz, Priceline, HotWire or a specific hotel’s website, then I am definitely booking my stay on Airbnb! Other ways you could save money is by CouchSurfing – where you could rent out someone’s couch for the night. Another option is to stay in a hostel, which honestly isn’t for me, but if you are someone who doesn’t mind staying in a small room with strangers, then it is a great option! (Both CouchSurfing and staying in a communal hostel are also an awesome way to meet people while you travel!)
Airbnb is a great site that operates as an online marketplace for people to lease or rent someone’s home. Even though there are expensive Airbnb options, overall, you could find accommodations for half the cost of staying at a hotel. My first Airbnb experience was when I went to Iceland with friends. Iceland is a pretty expensive country; so staying in a hotel in Reykjavík wasn’t feasible for my friends and I at the time. Instead, we found an Airbnb 10 minutes outside of the city in a town call Hafnarfjördour for less than half the cost. It was awesome! I am also excited to be staying in an adorable woodland Airbnb when I travel to Austin, TX for a conference in September.
Utilize Groupon to Find Deals on Excursions and Restaurants:
I LOVE using Groupon to find deals on different activities whenever I travel! This amazing e-commerce marketplace is a great way to find deals for local restaurants, shows, excursions and outdoor adventures. You could even find deals for local nail and hair salons, stores, gyms and so much more!
Split Costs with a Friend:
Journeying with another person could also help you save money while you travel. Instead of paying full price for a hotel room or Airbnb, you could split the costs with that person and it will end up being half the price for you both! Also when you go out to dinner, you could split meals, drinks, etc. Sometimes a tour or travel company will also give you a discount if you have a certain amount of people in your party when you go on an excursion!
Travel Off Season:
One of the best ways to save money is by traveling off-season. I know this isn’t always open for everyone, especially my teacher friends, but if you have the option to travel during a non-touristy season, then I highly advise you to do so! During a specific destination’s “off-season”, you could find cheaper plane tickets, hotel rooms and activities! Also when you plan, please keep in mind that every country has a different off-season. It is all about doing your research on the prospective destination and going from there.
Utilize Points and Air Miles:
Some great ways to gain reward points is by staying at the same chain hotel or flying the same airline. These reward systems are great to utilize because you could gain a free overnight stay and get major discounts off of flights! Other ways to earn travel rewards is by getting a travel credit card! Here is a great article I found on Nerdwallet that goes into all of the best travel credit cards of 2018.
Create a Budget While You Travel and Stick to It:
Before you head out on your next adventure, create a budget that you will stick to during your travels. Whenever I am about to leave for a trip, I usually take some time a week prior to leaving to look over my itinerary, research the menus of where I am going to eat and predict how much I am going to spend on the extras. Sometimes it is hard to stick to a budget and you get caught up in spending some more money on those extra excursions, but certain ways to even it all out is by spending less on souvenirs, going to more affordable restaurants, etc.
Some other ways to afford travel is by looking for a job in the travel industry, freelancing for a travel company or media outlet, enter into a contest (you could find a lot of these on social media) or conduct your own trip or retreat so that you could get paid to travel!
I hope you all found this article super helpful when trying to plan or save for your next travel adventure. Like I mention above, the ways I save to travel may not be feasible for all because I understand that everyone’s life and money situations are different. If you have any questions or would like to comment below on some ways you save to travel that I didn’t touch upon above, please feel free to do so! You could also send me an email at TAYLORL.DEER@gmail.com or reach out to me via social media firstname.lastname@example.org.
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