Let’s be honest, traveling isn’t the cheapest hobby. If you are like Chris and I, then chances are you have a decent paying job for a 24 & 26 year old that allows your to have a modest lifestyle in Middle Class America. For most of my life, I put my value in things like the trendiest of clothes, technology and overpriced house decor. The last 1-2 years or so of my life has helped me realize how disposable trends are. Don’t get me wrong, I enjoy shopping, but I realized that it is all about moderation and not impulse buying. As we continue to travel, we have harvested some unique and some easy ways to help save money. Here are 5 ways that you can save money for your next trip:
1.STOP SPENDING MONEY ON THINGS YOU DON’T NEED
Christopher and I get asked ALL the time how we manage to afford to travel often, and it’s not on luxurious paychecks. Our secret? We just don’t spend our money as much. Instead of going out all the time and shopping frequently, we just halt and carefully spend our money. I used to buy new clothes, jewelry and/or shoes on a weekly basis, now I just buy things when I need it for work or just need it in general. Our leisure money is valuable that we don’t want to waste it on brunch every saturday or on drinks on friday, we take that money and invest it on experiencing the world. Don’t get us wrong, we still dine around Dallas and attend sporting events and concerts, we just do so conservatively.
2.BE FLEXIBLE WITH YOUR TRAVEL DATES, TIMES & LOCATIONS
If you have strict dates in which you want to travel to a specific country, finding deals aren’t easy. Flight prices fluctuate multiple times in a day. Not only that, but prices will vary greatly depending on what day and time you leave and how long you stay. Same with locations. Depending on where you fly from, can have a great impact on pricing. There are so many places I want to travel to, but I keep my options and time frame flexible. This helps us keep costs down while still allowing us to checkout a destination or two without breaking our bank.
3.GET A CREDIT CARD THAT BENEFITS TRAVELING
Let me say this loud and clear- CREDIT CARDS ARE YOUR FRIEND. Yes, you read that right, but there is an obvious catch. Firstly, don’t spend what you can’t afford. Meaning, don’t purchase first class tickets if you can’t pay for them. Our chase sapphire credit card is our best friend for traveling because we get a great ROI (Return on Investment) with our continued purchases. We book everything with our card, not necessarily at once but usually flights first. As you make purchases, you gain points and as you get points, you increase your rewards that you can later redeem in booking flights or other ways. If you’re going to spend money, which we all do, might as well snag a credit card that gives you something in return. There are so many travel related credit cards out there. Find the one that’s right for you and use it to your benefit as an investment.
4.SAVE YOUR CHANGE
So for last decade, I have put all of my spare change, cash and coins, to the side and tucked it away. I used to take my change to Coinstar, but I started getting tired of giving them my money. I realized that you could go to the bank, get coin wrappers and the bank would give you cash for coins without keeping any of your money. Chris and I don’t carry cash often, but when we do, it’s inevitable we get spare change. We tuck that spare change away and a week out from a big trip (usually international trips) we exchange our coins for cash and use that cash to exchange for currency of the country we are visiting. From personal experience, you might surprise yourself with how much spare coins and dollar bills you accumulate. In one year, we easily save a few hundred dollars and that money travels with us. Though we use our credit card while abroad, sometimes you need spare change.
5.GIVE UP HOTELS AND RESORTS
First off, hotels and resorts are wonderful and there’s nothing ‘wrong’ about staying at one. However, if you are trying to save money and would like to have an authentic experience while on a trip, give them up. AirBNB is my preferred lodging choice because I personally enjoy the experience so much more than staying at an over priced hotel. In our recent trip to Europe this past May, we were gone for 10 days and spent less than $500 on lodging. That’s less than $250 per person for 10 days. That’s less than $25 a night per person. The best part? We got to know 2 of our hosts, talk with them and learn about local places to check out. We got to live authentically and immerse ourselves in the culture of where we were. Again, it’s SO affordable. If you want to save more money, checkout hostels and couch surfing. If you’re okay with sharing a room with others, you’ll save more money and get other unique experiences.
About 2 years ago, I realized something. I realized that I’d rather invest in life changing experiences instead of full shopping bags. I realized that traveling gave me life long memories that I will never forget. I realized that money is the result of hard work and rewarding myself with new and exciting opportunities far outweighed living a luxurious lifestyle to impress peers. Traveling has impacted my life in a way I never thought possible. It opened my eyes to the world and not just in Dallas, Texas. To travel is to learn about life, cultures, people, experiences, the unknown and so much more. Traveling is something that makes me a more grateful by opening up my eyes to this big, beautiful earth. In return, I truly believe it continuously makes me a better human.