People often tell me that they really wish they could travel more, however, they can’t afford it. But the truth is—you don’t have to be wealthy to travel. You just need to prioritize it.
There are plenty of ways you can save money to travel that won’t significantly impact your quality of life. You’ll still get to do the things you love to do and have many of the things that are important to you.
You will have to prioritize though. Here are the top ideas to easily be able to travel more.
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Skip That Coffee
There’s a Starbucks on almost every corner in many places, so it’s easy to just run in to grab a cup of joe. And in most places, you don’t even have to run in—you can sit in your car and order exactly what you want.
As much as you may love coffee (or tea), the costs add up. Your venti soy latte with an extra shot can cost more than $6! And the scones look awfully tempting so the next thing you know, you easily could be dropping around $10 a day at Starbucks.
Instead of spending $200 a month or more, try making coffee at home. Sure, it’s not quite as good maybe, but you can work to perfect your skill. Or, maybe get coffee at Starbucks (or your favorite coffee shop) once a week as a special treat on Fridays. These smaller costs add up quickly and just think what you could use the $1000 or so you could save over six months for on your next trip!
Go Road Tripping
When I think about travel, I generally think about my bigger international trips. But, you can travel domestically, often saving on airfare at a minimum.
Taking a road trip is often much less costly, just for the airfare savings alone! No need to rent a car (as you’re taking your own!) and often no need for public transportation costs, depending where you’re going.
Or, consider taking long weekend trips. It’s a great way to explore your country and to scratch that travel itch while saving money doing so.
Handle the Prep Yourself
When you live in a culture where everything you could possibly need is just out there waiting for you, it’s easy to jump all in. Don’t want to cut up that pineapple? For nearly twice the cost, you can buy pineapple cut up for you. Don’t feel like making a salad? You can get that too.
We can buy beautiful cakes ready-made and pastries of almost any kind. Sometimes it’s a lot easier to buy than to make, like making croissants, donuts, and puff pastry. Other times, it’s something we could easily make if we wanted to, like cookies and brownies.
All of these convenience costs do add up, though. Sometimes it’s a matter of determining the value, or the cost, of your time. And maybe at times, it is worth buying something ready-made. However, if you take a look at your shopping list, you can probably find some easy ways to cut back on your food budget that wouldn’t hurt and would let you funnel that money to saving for your next travel adventures.
Start a Side Hustle
Another way to be able to travel more is by making more money. One way to do this is by starting a side hustle. What’s a side hustle? It’s something you do in addition to your full-time job (or multiple part-time jobs) to bring in extra money.
What are some of the things you really enjoy doing, either in your job(s) or in life. Do you love throwing events and parties? Are you great with numbers and analysis with spreadsheets? Or, do you enjoy writing and research? Make a list of all of the things you enjoy doing and note those that you feel you’re experienced with and are good at. Then, consider how you might spin up a side gig to do it.
As you may guess, I’m passionate about writing. I love it and used to write just for the sake of writing itself. So, I decided to start up a copywriting side hustle. I have since added offering social media management, and SEO (Search Engine Optimization), as those are things I do with this blog that I enjoy and have had some success with. And for that matter, I started this blog! At first, it was to enjoy writing but I’m now working to shift it to be more of a business. A second side hustle!
You May Also Like How to Find Side Hustle Ideas to Travel More
Once you see some success, you may want to make it into your full-time job (or your primary source of income). Or maybe you don’t want to. Try some different things to see what you enjoy and what you’ll feel comfortable with being more than a hobby. If it takes the joy out of doing it by trying to earn income from it, move on to something else. There’s no shortage of great ideas and many established companies started as side hustles.
Host a Dinner Party
I love dining out, especially going to dog-friendly restaurants and bringing my pups with me. It’s a lot of fun for me and for them. But, dining out can be expensive. Especially if you do it several times a week.
Instead of dining out, consider dining in. Host a dinner party with some friends or do a potluck where everyone shares a favorite dish. It’s a good way to get creative and to get to know your friends better while saving money to travel more. Saving doesn’t have to feel like a painful choice. And it can look the same as your “regular” life while making some practical choices.
Dine in twice a month instead of eating out and you could save $100 – $200, or even more. In the course of a year, this could be a trip or two, depending on where you go and for how long. Just think of where that $2000 could take you.
Go to Inexpensive Places
Going to Paris is going to cost you a lot more than visiting Medellín, Colombia. If you want to travel more, take into account the cost of the places you want to go. If you can, try to distribute it.
When I started traveling more, I started branching out on the places I visited. Instead of going to Europe every year, I added in South and Central America, Asia, and Africa. Sure, there are areas in Europe that are less expensive than others, so you can balance this. But overall, costs in Europe are higher than in many places in the world.
Not only does this approach help you save in cost, but you can see so much more of the world if you’re open it. Check out some lesser-traveled destinations! It’ll open your eyes to the rest of the world that you may not have thought about visiting.
Plan the Trip Yourself
You can save a lot of money planning your own trips instead of using travel agents or going on group tours. And when you plan a trip yourself, you can tailor it to exactly the things you are interested in and would most enjoy.
With group tours, you are paying for the convenience of someone else planning the trip for you as well as guiding you while on the trip. You may be doing things you’re less interested in because it’s part of the package, and you’re paying for those things. Sure, it takes more of your time to plan out a trip yourself, but in my mind, it’s worth it. I get exactly what I want!
With travel agents, it really depends. You generally pay something for their service, but not always. And some travel agents are better than others. If you find a great one, they not only listen to your needs but may know about some insider tips or deals that you may not find on your own. At a minimum, I’d do a quick check of costs for things like airfare and accommodation to see how it stacks up to what you can find before you book anything.
I have used a travel agent and I have gone on a group tour. So, I’m not against either. I have just found that if I want to save money so I can travel more, it’s often better to do the legwork myself.
Try Your Hand at Travel Hacking
Travel hacking is essentially using airline miles to travel and generally includes careful credit card usage. There’s much more to it than this, but at a high level, this is what travel hacking is.
So, you might take out a credit card for the 50,000 miles bonus you can get on a certain airline. Then, you may use that card for all of your spendings to get more miles. And when you book your trip, you’d use that credit card so you not only get the actual miles flown with the airline but the cost of the trip in miles as well.
Some people get really into this, determining the true value of those miles and calculating the best options. But, even if you just get a couple of credit cards that either provide miles for your favorite airlines and hotels, or you get a card that provides cash back to be used for travel, you’re ahead of the game.
Now, there may be a cost for the credit card, so that’s something to factor in as well. And this option should only be for people who can manage their credit well. If you’re going to run up large balances due to having the extra credit available, you’ll want to think twice about this option to travel more.
Travel on the Shoulder Seasons
Did you know that the time of year you travel to different places impacts the cost? If you’re going to travel during peak season, which is very popular for tourism, you’re going to pay a premium on all of your travel costs. Your airfare will be higher, your hotel or accommodation will be higher, and many of your costs to see things will be higher.
Give it a try! Do a quick Google search for a destination you’re thinking about traveling to and check when the peak times are to go. Then, pull up Kayak or Skyscanner and check out airfare costs during that peak time and at an off time.
There may be exceptions, particularly if where you are going doesn’t see high levels of tourism. But generally speaking, you will find the peak times are much more expensive.
The same goes for accommodation. I have played around a bit in Airbnb when I’m looking to book trips to get a feel for the premium on apartments. And I have seen the same for hotel rooms as well.
So, I’m not suggesting you travel during the off-season (unless you want to!) You may not want to go to Norway in December unless you really love the snow. But, if you go a month into the off-season, you can get some great deals. Added bonus—less tourists!
Travel at Off Times
Another trick for finding good airfare is traveling at off times. For example, take a “redeye” flight that goes overnight and you might save money. Or travel mid-week as costs sometimes are lower on a Wednesday then over the weekend when most working people want to travel.
Also, take a look at the cost for a non-stop flights vs. a flight with one or even two stops. If you have the time, you can save money by exploring flight options that may be considered less desirable. There’s “convenience tax” of sorts, often for the more desirable flights.
Set Up a Travel Savings Account
The only real way to save money for travel is by actually doing it—making sure you save the money. The best way to do that is to create a travel savings account. This way, you can keep track of what you have saved towards trips.
Another great idea is to set up a direct deposit amount that feeds money directly from your paycheck to this account. Maybe it’s only $25 a pay period in the beginning. If it’s pulled directly from your paycheck, you won’t feel the pinch as much as it’s not money you have available to spend. Now, I don’t mean to not pay your bills, so you want to determine an amount you can afford on a regular basis.
Then, whenever you get raises, bump up the direct deposit amount. When you pay off a bill or find a way to reduce a regular expense, bump up your direct deposit. Before long, you’ll have a nice little nest egg that you can use for travel that didn’t feel all that painful to accumulate.
Create a Plan
Though you may be a spontaneous person, you’ll maximize your vacation time at your job with a little bit of planning. Many people don’t travel more because of the cost of travel, or the time. So, take time out of the equation by planning for it. When you have a trip booked, it’s harder for your work issues to take precedence.
And, when you do some planning, you can actually reduce your expenses while traveling. If you’re on a budget and want to spend a certain amount of money for your trip, planning for the activities you’ll do will help you to budget. Figure out how much you want to spend on accommodation and food.
Maybe you can save money by renting an apartment and cooking food for some meals. I don’t mean every meal, of course, but breakfast, before you head out to explore, can help reduce expenses. And you can search for restaurants beforehand to stick to a budget. If you want to choose a place until you’re hungry, you have a greater chance of overspending.
Not only does a little planning help you to validate your budget, but it can also help you to stick within the budget you set for your trip. Keep some flexible time open on your schedule to just wander, but when it comes to cost items, give it a little thought to prioritize so you have an amazing trip.
How You Can Travel More
There are so many wonderful ways to travel more without feeling much of a pinch in your life. They may take a little extra work, cutting back, or just some creativity, but they’ll be well worth it when you’re on your adventure!
Do you have other ideas for ways to travel more! If so, leave me a comment below! I’m curious to know what ideas you’ve come up with.
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