Creative Ways to Save Travel Money

Dust off that Piggy Bank.

Out of sight, out of mind.

Saving money for travel, the age old dilemma. “How can you afford to travel so much, you’re so lucky!” First of all, it’s not luck. Here’s how I do it.

Apps!

The first way I save moola for my explorations is by using different apps geared towards saving money. Digit and Acorns are my favorites. They are different apps, same premise. They round up money or take out a recurring amount of your choosing, and put it in a separate account. Acorns invests it into low risk or high risk stocks, etc – depending on what you choose. Over time, you will have some extra funds to put towards whatever you choose!

A literal piggy bank

Second way I save money, my piggy bank. It’s in the shape of a French Bulldog, but you get the point. I’m a bartender and I always pay for everything with cash, once a week I empty my change out into this little dude. I also have an empty candle jar I cleaned and I put all my tips in here. Every two weeks, I go to the bank. If I don’t see it, I don’t spend it!

Credit and rewards cards

To find the right card for you, I would highly recommend doing some research. Best way to find the card for you is without a doubt is through The Points Guy. I have the Chase Sapphire Preferred and I love it. I use my points to either pay off my balance or book more travel. You get 3x the points on travel and your points are worth more when you book through the site. It’s kind of free money. I booked four flights from Detroit to Jordan for my friends and I on my brand new card and got roughly $600 in cash back. That was basically my flight paid for.

NEVER PAY FULL PRICE

If you’re paying full price for a flight, you’re helping people like me score it for cheaper. I check different sites and different airports before I book anything. Check out my resources page for more information.

Side hustle

I put this one last because realistically, people don’t want to do this. No one wants to pick up a second job, work online at weird hours, or work odd jobs for extra funds. But if you have the heart for it, there are endless opportunities. There are so many freelance sites to check out if you have any skills. Fiverr, Upwork, Freeelancer, Craigslist, PeoplePerHour, etc. If you don’t have any marketable skills you can easily pick one up by taking some free online courses or you can apply for little jobs online. Teaching English, ghost writing, etc. If you need help, shoot me an email and I’ll help you find something.

Saving money for travel isn’t as hard as everything thinks. I also still have a social life even though I save my money. I still go out, just don’t drink a lot (or at all). I still have a gym membership, I just make sure to get the most out of it. I make my coffee at home, I cook a lot, and I grocery shop the cheapest way possible.

Everyone deserves to travel and I’m here to help you find a way.

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 skyscanner.com 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.

water
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