Updated: Aug 5, 2020
I know you probably think travel bloggers just have money growing on trees and travel whenever they like to but the reality is they save up to travel just like you! Saving up to be able to travel can be done and this week 4 travel bloggers will be sharing their personal ways they save to be able to travel frequently around the globe on part 3 of the "Saved UP & Well Traveled" series.
Be sure to check out part 1 and 2 so you can get 8 additional ideas of ways to save to be able to travel. We have an advantage with the American passport of getting into so many countries (aside from during the pandemic). The world is too big not to explore so scroll down and see exactly how these four bloggers save up to be able to travel.
I am strategic when it comes to travel. Though I have a bucket list, I’m flexible enough to let timing and dictate when and where I go. For instance, I use Google flights to research destinations in advance to ensure that I go at the right time. Even though Santorini is popping in July doesn’t mean I need to go in July, if it’s half price in April. I also prioritize travel over material possessions, so I’m very intentional. If I know I want to go to Bali in December, I probably don’t need the latest Jays. Some of it is discipline. Since this is the lifestyle I want, I’ve got to cut here and there to make sure I can swing a trip when I want one. Though it may sound cliche, “timing is key”! People often end up overspending on vacations (especially abroad), because they decide on a location and book it without doing research. Every destination has high and low seasons. I use Google to determine when these seasons start and end for each destination I’m interested in and then, I start plugging dates into Google Flights. The thing about Google Flights is that it will give you full transparency on when flights are cheaper or more expensive. For instance, you may save $200 dollars or more just by leaving on the 24th instead of the 21st of a month. You normally wouldn’t know that. Google Flights takes out a lot of the guesswork. I’m always flexible. I know that I’ll eventually visit every place I’m interested in visiting, but it may be cheaper to go to Barcelona in March than in June, so if that’s the case, I’ll be willing to adjust my schedule to align with when prices are the cheapest. This strategy has helped me save a lot of money, once I realized that there wasn’t a set price for a particular destination. Prices are all seasonal and fluctuate. That may mean that you’re not going to to Bali when everyone else is there, but it’s totally worth it. I prefer traveling to destinations during off season, but when the weather is still good. Again, Google is your friend here. Remember, chase prices, not destinations.
Some of the ways I save for travel is to pay myself first - I put aside 10% from each paycheck in a travel savings account, use a points credit card and monitor secret flying, Skyscanner and Google Flights.
I belong to a credit union (MCU) so I have it set up for them to automatically deduct it from my paycheck so I don't have to think about it. As for credit card, I use a Citi Mastercard, for $1 spent at supermarkets and gas stations (on up to $6,000 in purchases per year) and 1 Thank You point per $1 spent on all other purchases. Rewards are rounded up to the nearest 10 points on every purchase.
To monitor the flights for Google flights and Skyscanner, I schedule alerts for the dates I want to travel (always flexible) and the money I want to spend and I'm on secret flying daily.
Some ways that I save on/to traveling is cruise rewards programs, eating more at home (buying bulk grains &flours), utilizing coupons and most importantly, cut down/do my own self maintenance, shop sales...I enter a-lot of sweepstakes and contests I actually won a trip to Brazil before the pandemic. My family and I did mostly cruises and he is a part of the casino Royale program and they sent him at least 3 free cruises a month (we just pay port fees which depends on which ports but are never more than 150)...he gambles but not a lot because we stick to our budget...also with the free cruises we were able to make it up to diamond status which has perks like happy hour for free drinks which saves us about $700 because we used to get the drink package.
I save for travel by saving consistently in a travel fund and using those funds to take advantage of flight deals, travel hacks, and low cost destinations.
What's a Travel Fund? A travel fund is a separate checking or savings account created solely for the purposes of travel. As a recovering overspender, I changed the GAME for myself by creating a travel fund. Instead of dipping into other money, I was able to for the first time save for all my travel expenses like airfare, accomodations, souvenirs, shopping, and excursions in one account! If you want more steps on how to get started with your travel fund, check out my blog post here. I highly recommend opening your travel fund in a Charles Schwab High Yield Checking Account - with no monthly fees, no foreign transaction fees, and free ATM withdrawals around the world, it's the perfect account for all your travel savings. Get a free $100 bonus when you use my link here.
How do I plan to travel for cheap? With travel funds in tow, I save for travel by using these funds to take advantage of flight deals and travel hacks. I typically like to begin planning my travels at least 5 months in advance, which gives me plenty of time to save, plan, and prepare. I love using Google Flights, Skyscanner, and Scott's Cheap Flights to research and book low cost flights around the U.S. and abroad. I've easily saved hundreds of dollars in plane tickets by using these sites and planning ahead. For accomodations, I tend to use Airbnb, Booking.com, and Hostelworld depending on the type of vibe I wish to experience. Travel hacking is another way I save on travel so check out my recent blog post here to learn more.
Where can I travel for cheap? Finally, I save for travel by researching and traveling to low cost destinations in the U.S. and abroad. I define affordability based on the average price of a 3-star hotel or higher in the city center, cost of major attractions, currency exchange rate (if applicable), and price of dinner for 2 adults. Some of my favorite affordable U.S. cities are Austin, Chicago, New Orleans, and Atlanta. All of these cities have great food, amazing music scenes, plenty of Black folk, and lots of things to do without breaking the bank. When traveling abroad, I've loved my affordable adventures in Guadalajara (Mexico), Cartagena (Colombia), Martinique, and Antigua - all of which are 5 hours or less in air flight time from my home in NYC.
I hope you took something from this blog and jot down a few more ways you can save on your list. Be sure to join us next week while 4 more Travel Bloggers tell us the way that they save to be able to travel.
If you'd like to contribute to this ongoing series and share ways you save to travel please email me at email@example.com