Have you ever had spare change and an empty gallon bottle and thought “I could start saving money”?
Have you taken a mason jar and labeled it with a place you’ve always wanted to visit?
What about taking your bill money to pay for that Bali trip with the girls?
And, ever wonder how other people travel so much in a year?
Never mind anyone else. This message is for YOU!
There are no tricks (maybe a few) that will help you travel AND save money. Not just save money FOR traveling because I know we have lives, responsibilities, and commitments outside of travel.
But, we’re entering 2020 with a prayer and a plan to save more than enough to travel and live! Because: THIS IS NOT IT:
Returning home to eat ramen and peanut butter sandwiches once you’ve accomplished your goal and taken the trip. And, in no way am I judging you.
I’m here to tell you that you don’t have to save money to travel and then be penniless afterward. When you travel you should always have a game plan because it’s possible to travel AND continue to save.
Eureka, right? Here I’m going to bust some myths about traveling and saving money. You’re not foolish at all for trying to do both.
Myth #1 You have to spend a fortune to travel.
Saving Before Your Trip:
The days of having to be rich to travel are over. You too can travel and here’s how.
Go to your bank and set up a transaction to allocate a percentage of your paycheck in a travel savings account. Use those funds when booking and planning your trip all the while paying your bills from your regular account and saving a bit of money for a rainy day.
Even if you save small amounts (5-20% of your paycheck) bi-weekly or each month, the end goal will always be that dream trip. And, having some cash waiting for you upon your return.
Pause: If you’re living from paycheck to paycheck, then maybe saving a percentage of your money may be difficult. A possible strategy could be to save your $1 or $5 bills in a jar or bucket. You do you and not worry too much about how fast or slow you’re saving compared to the next person.
Check with your bank or credit card issuer to see if they provide incentives for your trips. Spending on your debit or credit card could give you points or rewards toward travel. If you’re not sure, ask a financial advisor at your bank.
When you book your flights, try not to be so linear. Choosing a flight with a layover might be cheaper than a direct flight. If dates aren’t a factor then choose dates that are the least expensive.
Now after you book your flight, search for a place to stay for optimal savings. I’m not saying stay in a sh*thole location, sleep on a mattress on somebody’s floor, or be uncomfortable. Your hotel or Airbnb should have the minimum; a bed, a refrigerator, a microwave and/or a full kitchen.
Sometimes, staying outside of the city might be cheaper than staying in a busy strip or downtown area. If you choose to stay in close proximity to tourist attractions and public transportation, you’ll save on those expensive taxies or Uber rides.
Ever heard of frequent flier miles or big chain hotel perks (i.e. Marriott Hotels)? Welp, it’s time for you to take advantage of those perks in 2020.
Myth #2 Some locations are too expensive to enjoy.
Saving During Your Trip:
Create a budget and make a plan of how much you want to spend, including saving for emergencies. And, most all, stick to it.
A good idea to keep up with your budget is to find ways that won’t break the bank. For example, it might be great to stay at a resort and around the area for safety purposes, but for your pockets, save your coins and choose non-resort accommodations. To clarify, you can still be safe and secure outside of a resort.
Now, let’s talk about free. Did somebody say free? Finding fun and FREE activities sounds like a good time. Don’t you agree? So, take advantage of free activities in your desired destination and save your money for other once-in-a-lifetime experiences.
Now, let’s talk lodging. If you booked a hotel suite or an Airbnb, head to the nearest market and rack up on some groceries. Nothing beats cooking for yourself with local ingredients. It’ll definitely save you a day’s worth of money on food.
It would also be cheaper if you are within walking distance of some major attractions and activities. Soak up the community and local culture by walking around and getting to know a city through your feet. You can even take public transportation.
Also, avoid the impulse to buy food or drinks while out window shopping or sightseeing. Carry a water bottle and some snacks to curb any thirst or hunger. If you decide to dine at restaurants, look for the specials. Traveling in countries like Spain, you can get a three-course meal for less than 10 euros.
Lastly, if you plan in advance and book a trip for more than a few days, then you can find ways to volunteer your time or work to gain some extra cash while on your trip. There are Facebook and online groups where you can find opportunities to make some extra spending money. [We’ll discuss at a later date].
Myth #3 “It should be a while before your next vacation.” said [insert hater’s name here].
Saving After Your Trip:
Haha…(*insert eye roll*)
This is what you are planning for…
Imagine you look at your account after you’ve touched down from your trip, and you’re shocked. You still have money left over to pay up those bills and then some.
Remember those frequent flier miles and chain hotel perks we mentioned before? Yeah, those. You’ve created a system of financial responsibility, savings, and travel. You have racked up some points from your trip and traveling hasn’t put you in a hole.
Doesn’t that sound like a dream? Well, it doesn’t have to be. Prioritize differently and stopping calling yourself broke (another conversation for another day).
Leave behind that nonsensical mentality and do you!
Yes, you can travel again!
Yes, you CAN AFFORD IT!
Yes, you can save money for other purchases!
Yes, YOU CAN!
Myth #4 There’s no myth #4, we’re professionals over here.
Money, Money, Money
Look at you, a professional money saver. Stack up those racks! With so many travel opportunities, incentives and offers available to you, there shouldn’t be any excuse for you not to travel this year.
Face your fears head-on and take the steps to see what it’s like to get out of your comfort zone. Create a budget and stick to it. Find your perfect deals. Take advantage of public transportation.
It will be so much easier now for you to save for your first and next trip and imagine what wonderful opportunities they will hold. Money ain’t a thing. Right?