How Do You Afford To Travel So Much??
Today’s post is a bit of a different one to normal. Rather than my usual adventures, I wanted to address a question I get asked quite a lot: How Do You Afford To Travel So Much?
By no means am I professing to be some sort of jetsetter, but I do really enjoy travelling. I probably average 7-10 trips a year, and many people ask me how I’m able to do this.
First of all…I work hard for my money. I am not a full time blogger (not yet anyway) so I have a day job as a Project Manager. My company gives me 27 days a year of leave and believe me, I make the most of them. Plus I’m definitely not on a CEO salary, I have managed to make my money work for me since my first graduate job.
Here are some of they key things I do to make my trips possible:
How Do You Afford To Travel?
1. Plan Ahead
I mentioned that I am a Project Manager right? Well those skills come in handy when I’m planning my trips. Taking the time to plan trips means that you can find the best available options for your travels. Whether it’s comparing accommodation options, or using sites like Hopper to find the best time to book tickets, planning makes all the difference.
That’s not to say that last minute trips are off the table though. Some of the best and most affordable trips I’ve taken were booked last minute (my trip to Lisbon for example). But in general, I find I get much better deals when I plan ahead.
2. Stay Flexible
You will often get really great deals if you have some flex around the dates you can travel, and even better if you’re flexible about the location.
You can find amazing offers too if you are open to exploring different countries. Yes I know, it’s not very useful if you have a specific reason to travel somewhere such as for a wedding or to visit family, but if you are open to other locations you can benefit from flash sales and other money-saving promotions.
#RLWLTip – If you use Skyscanner to find flights, check out their “Everywhere” search function. When searching for flights, put in your local airport and dates, and instead of searching for a specific city, use “Everywhere” to get suggestions and pricing for potential destinations!
Also think about the timing of your trips. Flights and accommodation are often wayyyy more expensive during the school holidays. It may therefore be a good idea to avoid those times if you can. Even something like Valentine’s Day – if you want to have a “bae-cation”, why not travel and celebrate a week earlier or later? Your bank account will thank you (although “bae” might not!)
In the famous words of Britney Spears, you better work b****! And more than that, if you’re working like a dog and then subsequently spending all your hard-earned cash on all sorts, that’s not going to help get those passport stamps is it? You’d better look into saving those coins – and if you’re looking for ways to make the most of what you have, check out my post on 6 Tips for Dealing with Money.
Travel is often seen as something for those with a ton of disposable income, but it’s not limited to them. Saving a bit each month could be the key to getting yourself to the crystal clear waters of whichever tropical paradise you choose. And this brings me to my next point…
4. Work Out Your Priorities
This may actually be the most important point. Everyone has things that are important to them. These things usually take priority when it comes to spending whatever cash we have available.
For example, if you’re a massive foodie, you may decide to spend hundreds of pounds/dollars/*insert your currency here* on meals at Michelin star restaurants. Or you may be obsessed with horses (I’m thinking of you, Lauren) and spend your cash on riding lessons, stable fees and whatever else horse people spend money on haha.
The point is you will spend your money on whatever is important to you. Therefore if travel is a priority you will – in fact, must – make sure the funds to support it are secured before other things that are lower down on your list.
For example I probably spend most of my money on travel; shopping as another example is lower on my list, So you won’t find me spending copious amounts on designer gear when I can use that money to take my a** to the Bahamas! Obviously this is based on where I am in life at the moment, I don’t have kids yet so my money is spent on me! 😀
In essence, work out your list of priorities and where travel fits in for you.
5. Travel Smart
Now this is key. How many of you would buy something major like a car, or a house, or even an expensive handbag without first shopping around? I mean, if you have Beyoncé money then fair enough, do you boo! But I assume if you did, you wouldn’t be reading this.
So before and during your trips I would absolutely recommend shopping around and comparing on various travel-related products and services. Here are some of the top ones that spring to mind:
Ditch the credit card fees:
- Do not, I repeat, do not use your normal cards abroad. I personally do not believe in paying unnecessary fees for such. Either get currency before you go (I personally don’t ’cause I don’t do cash, honey) or get a credit card that doesn’t charge you fees for use abroad. I use the Halifax Clarity credit card. They don’t charge any fees for use abroad or to withdraw cash while you’re there! Their interest rates are really high though, so I always pay off the full balance every month.
Rethink Package Holidays
- Be sure to compare the cost of package holidays with the cost of booking everything separately. Although sometimes it works to book hotel and accommodation together, quite a few times I have found that it made more sense to book the two separately, and I could get a nicer hotel for less.
- Although I’m not as enthused as I once was about Airbnb, I have to admit that they are pretty good for budget travelling (without suffering). I personally don’t do hostels, just not my cup of tea, but renting a private room/apartment for a trip has worked really well for me. Of course, safety is key so I tend to stay in hotels if I’m travelling by myself. Obviously do what feels right for you.
Avoid Last-Minute Airport Buys
- Try to avoid buying anything at the airport if you can, as it’s almost always massively overpriced. Use lists to make sure you’ve bought and packed everything before you leave home. I’m sure no one wants to buy a travel adaptor at the airport for three times the price because they forgot to bring one (doh!) #beenthere
And that’s it, my tips on how I afford to travel so much. Do you guys have any other tips? Let me know in the comments below!