One of the most asked questions to me - how do you afford to travel?
I am a believer that we give value to what matters to us and because of travel matters to me - I give value it in small and big ways. This has allowed me to travel frequently than most. However, as much as I have traveled, I would love to increase the frequency in the coming years, so the first half of this year is a lesson in discipline to pay off debt and save.
1. Travel budget. I have a travel line item in my monthly budget so I can set aside money that only gets used for travel.
2. Make credit card(s) do the work. If you are going to have a credit card, might as well make it work for you. I earn miles on my credit card that I use for flights, attractions, and hotels. I try to accumulate my miles to use towards international trips. I save an average of $1,500 by using miles.
3. Travel in off-peak seasons. Even with miles, it is best to travel off peak. The flights and hotels are cheaper. Travel to Europe is about fifty percent cheaper between October and December compared to the summer months.
4. Go where the deals take you. This is great for domestic trips and if your schedule is flexible. I have a bucket list of place I want to visit stateside. if I find a great deal that works with my schedule, I take advantage of the deal.
5. Start planning early. Sounds simple enough, right? Planning early makes a huge difference. Next year, I want to visit Southeast Asia for at least three weeks. My current travel budget won't cover the trip. I started planning this year. I know what the trip will cost; how much I need to save and what adjustments I need to make to my finances to afford the trip.
6. Hotels. An expensive line item in travel is the accommodation. Unless I am traveling with friends I can split accommodation costs with, I tend to go for average; clean and safe hotels. No need for a four or five-star hotel when I get need the room to sleep in.
7. Make the sacrifice. I am prepping for a month in Europe and another month in Asia sometime in the next eighteen to twenty-four months. I am making the sacrifices like packing lunch, spending freeze on no essentials; limiting those fancy lattes to once a month; cutting cable and hulu to save up for the trip.
8. Find the second stream of income (if you can). I have the print shop which brings in a few extra dollars every few months. Everything I make from the print shop fewer expenses of running the shop goes towards travel.
9. While traveling - consider doing more on the free things. During our Highway one road trip last fall, we tried this out, sticking to mainly free attractions. Ninety percent of our itinerary were free things - We did not feel like we missed out on anything. It was one of the best trips to date.
10. Go with friends. The benefit of traveling with a group, you can split expenses for accommodation and commute (even food, sometimes). Having someone to split the cost with making it less daunting.
Now over to you, any tips for traveling without breaking the bank?