How to Afford Travel

Budgeting? It sucks. Traveling? Worth it.

I am 25, single, and moving out within the month. I’m in debt from my student loans, I have a dog, and I support myself fully. I pay for my phone, car, groceries, etc. And I still make traveling a priority. While yeah, I can put extra money towards my student loans instead of traveling, I know I’m going to have that burden no matter what. I would rather pay the minimum and live my life.

I know I am privileged because I do have a college degree and a good job. I know it’s also easy to say well, make traveling a priority and you can figure it out. But honestly, it’s the truth. My first trip by myself I went to DC on a whim. I found my plane tickets by going to and putting in the cheapest location for the time I had off work. DC was the cheapest and I bought roundtrip tickets with a checked bag for $170. I have learned some things since then. My upcoming trip to Boston? My ticket was $130. My one way trip to Paris? $200. Barcelona to back home? $250. A cruise around the Mediterranean for 7 days including food and drinks? $600. ALL of my housing accommodations in Iceland? Less than $500 for 7 days/ 7 nights.

Great Falls Park in Virginia and Mayan Sanctuary in Isla Mujeres

You’re probably wondering how. First with flights, if international, fly out of Canada or Chicago. You’ll save yourself around $1,000 bucks. Flight to Paris from Detroit? Last I looked it was $800 one way. Paris from Toronto? $200. Iceland from Chicago? $350.

Second, hotels. Look for the sites where you don’t know what hotel you’re getting. I usually use Priceline express deals or Orbitz secret deals. They give you a price, a location, reviews, amenities, etc. but don’t tell you where it’s going to be. I just booked a 4 star hotel in Chicago during Lollapalooza and saved over 50% of the room rate if I would have booked through their direct site. (Also there are tricks to find out what hotel it actually is. Open up another browser to their direct site, not the deals site, pick your location, amenities, how many stars, etc. Usually only one pops up and viola, that’s your hotel.

Third, cruises. My friend Lauren introduced me to this cruise line that has insanely CHEAP accommodations. Why so cheap? It’s a Spanish speaking cruise line. I am going with 3 other American’s and our cruise is through Europe. I’m currently learning a little bit of Spanish through DuoLingo but honestly, I’m excited to relax and learn.

Before I tell you how I save, try this. For a month write down everything in your phone you spend money on. At the end of the month look back and see how many times you spend a dollar here and 10 bucks there on random things you don’t actually need. You will honestly be surprised.

Okay, now how I do it.

Well for one, I gave up fast food and name brand groceries. I cook for myself for almost every meal. I stopped drinking at bars and paying for my friends drinks or food (which I only did occasionally but still). I save up in advance for any known occasions where I will need to buy gifts or I buy the gifts in advance. Example, I have a Bridal Shower coming up and last time I got paid I put away money for the present. I also use Digit and Acorns to force me to save money. I only get paid once a month so right after I’m paid, I pay all my bills, put aside food and gas money, put aside travel money, and then whatever I have left I try not to spend. Whatever is left, more travel money or savings.

I don’t live a glamorous life. I drink my off brand coffee that I bring from home instead of Starbucks. I offer to DD for my friends. I sell clothing, trinkets, and old electronics online. I am constantly trying to minimize what I own so I really try not to spend a lot of money on extras. If these are the small sacrifices I have to make so I can see the world, so be it. I would rather travel than have material goods.

Now if only I can find a job where I can be remote… Hello Nomad lifestyle. #FutureGoals