Do you find yourself saying or thinking – “I wish I could travel more but I just can’t afford it.” Well, I hope to change that!
For those that know us, often associate Matt and I with traveling. We have travelled alot during these past 1o years and have loved every minute of it! The one question that is often asked is – How can you afford to travel so much? Normally, I would just laugh it off and mutter something about taking alot of unpaid leave from work, but this time around I want to go into the actual “how” we are able to do what we do for less money than you might think. Let’s get started!
Below is the FB Live video of the topic. You can watch the video and/or scroll down to read the written content.
Prioritize experiences over “stuff”
After one holiday season over 10 years ago where Matt and I both got each gifts that neither of us wanted or needed we made a pact that we no longer will get each other physical gifts and put all our potential gift money towards travel. For example, instead of that palm pilot that I had gotten Matt, we would return it and spend it towards a trip to London instead! Hmm.. palm pilot(for those that don’t know what a palm pilot is, you can read about it here .. haha) or .. London .. tough call!
Now that you have a bit more money than you normally would, that will help cover the costs of all your future travel adventures!!
Airfare is by far usually the most expensive cost of your travel budget. What if I tell you that you don’t have to pay for airfare? Would your mind be blown? Well, hold on to that mind because I am here to tell you that you can get away with not paying for airfare. I would say that almost all our trips have been paid via credit card points or miles. Before I move forward there is one HUGE and NECCESSARY caveat to this. You must have NO CREDIT CARD DEBT in order to use this method. If you are not paying off your bills in full every month, do not do this, as the interest would be worse in the long run. Okay, now that I have gotten that out of the way, we can proceed 🙂
Many credit cards, or all credit cards usually offer some kind of bonus points/miles for signing up for the card. Most of usually ignore these things and go on with everyday business. I know because I was one of those people and still am to a certain extent. Matt, has taken on the task and most of the interest of how to get the most points out of a card. I won’t go too much into this since there are endless financial blogs and information on how to beat the system and gain credit card points. I will add some of the links below!
The general gist is – be strategic with how you use your credit cards. Get the credit cards that offer you the most initial bonus points and also keep in mind what will give you extra points when you use the card. An example of this are the credit cards that will give you 2x the points on dining. To me, these points did not seem important to me until I realized those 50,000 bonus/miles points I just received for signing up for the credit card will be more than enough points to get me to Paris (btw, it took about 30,000 miles to Paris) – after that, I was completely onboard! Think about what I just said, Paris for $100 in taxes! What are you waiting for!?!
Helpful links about how to maximize the use of credit card points/miles:
After airfare accomodations tend to be the next expensive on the list. There are a wide variety of type of accomodations according to your lifestyle preference.
Airbnb : In recent years, we have been using Airbnb when it is available and we have not regreted it. I find that it is significantly less than a hotel equivalent and more importantly the areas where the airbnbs are located are usually more residential opposed to hotels which are mainly in the more commercial, less neighborhood oriented locations.
Hotels: We have also paid for hotels with points in the past. We do not do it as often as we do with airfare, but it is definitely an option that you could look into. Many hotels (mainly the nicer ones) also will offer deals where if you stay a certain number of nights you get a night free. Keep an eye out for savings like these.
Friends & Family: Of course, the most economical would be to stay with friend and family. Just be sure to take your host out for a nice meal or send a care package afterward thanking them for their hospitality!!
House swap: This is something that I have never done, but I am always intrigued by it. I’m just throwing it in here as an option too! Let me know how it goes if you try this route, I would love to know more about it!
My last tip revolves around one of my favorite things on earth – food! Most of my vacations revolve around food or nature. I definitely splurge on food, but one of my most favorite things to do when I travel is also a big money saver! When I travel, one of the most important things for me to do is to try the local food. What better place to look than the local markets ? My food tip is to find a local market, if you are lucky they will have a farmers market! Once you go to the market, cheese shop etc.. .. buy whatever looks interesting to you. In southern france, we bought fresh goat cheese, dried sausage, a fresh baguette, olives and fruits every morning. It was not only amazingly delicious, but it cost next to nothing! I felt like I was eating like a queen in my hotel room with a good bottle of wine while Teagan slept at night. This is a great tip for those traveling with kids. I never felt bad about being inside when I had good food to munch on. I was quite content. I recommend it for you too.
I hope you found some of these tips useful. If you have any questions or comments – please let me know, I would love ot hear from you! Til then ..