I’m pretty sure I get asked on a daily basis how I’m able to travel so much since traveling is so expensive. Sometimes I cringe, but often I smile and start spilling the beans on how to catch the best flight deals. Trust me, there are so many travel hacks, but the question is are you willing to be proactive to get what you want. The reality is, we are the only ones that hold ourselves back from opportunities, which is why being intentional with the things you love is important. Mindset is also key to getting what you want. If you are on a budget and want to travel more often, here are 5 ways you can afford traveling this year.
1. ASSESS YOUR PERSONAL FINANCES
If you long for traveling more than you currently do or at all, it is imperative that you take control. This means creating transparency wherever possible by putting yourself in the driver’s seat of your personal finances. It also requires that you take inventory of your income, expenses, assets and debt. Doing this might be difficult, but you have to get real with yourself to see how your spending habits match up to your income.
Once you log your income, assets, and debt, you should take the opportunity to cut costs by any means necessary. Sound pretty cutthroat right? It is, but it isn’t. Unsubscribe from your monthly-unused subscriptions such as Netflix and find free alternatives, call your service providers to see what they can do for you and get rid of some expenses altogether. Remember it’s all about freeing up money so you can allocate towards your travel fund.
2. LEARNING TO PLAN AHEAD
I’m completely aware that all of us are not planners, but as a person who travels often on a budget, planning is crucial. For example, if you know you have a vacation coming up in the next few months, start saving your money in a travel savings account. Now that you’ve got your budget together you should be able to estimate how much you can save. This savings account should not be attached to your checking account. In fact, it should be in a separate institution altogether. This allows you to not dip into the account when you’re saving for your upcoming trips.
In terms of planning, you should also create a travel budget with the days, activities and potential expenses. This allows you to get a snapshot on how much money you should potentially bring to your trip. Doing this ahead of time saves you from overspending because you have an idea of what you can and cannot afford.
Another great tip, especially if you’re traveling domestically is to use websites such as LivingSocial and Groupon to purchase activities and deals ahead of time. There should be no shame in your game. After all, you’re saving money and you can stretch your dollar a lot more by doing this.
3. PRIORITIZING WHATS IMPORTANT TO YOU
Lodging can be the second most expensive part of your travel budget. In many cases, it doesn’t have to be if you prioritize what’s important to you. Most people think they need to stay in the most expensive hotel. Again, we’re hitting a mindset thing. Luxury travel accommodations are always nice, but if you’re traveling for the experience and on a budget, what’s the point of paying for a hotel you are hardly ever going to be in. Prioritization also means sacrifice! I’m not saying sacrifice your safety, but you can’t have it all if you’re on a budget. Put your money towards the things you enjoy doing such as excursions.
I highly recommend using Airbnb as your housing accommodations. It’s usually cheaper than a hotel plus you can learn from your host a thing or two about the area you are exploring. If you haven’t tried Airbnb I highly suggest you do. I’m going to throw in a $40.00 off your first booking coupon here. Cha Chinggg! Are you convinced yet?
4. TAKING ADVANTAGE OF FLIGHT DEALS
If you are not subscribed to the Flight Deal Newsletter get to the website now. This website gives you the tea on airfare deals that are coming out of your city. They even walk you through how to get this deal. A lot of the times they put you on to flight glitches that happen often with airlines.
Here’s a perfect example, the other day I was minding my own business on social media when someone posted about a flight glitch to go to NYC to Singapore for $320. That is an absolutely steal!!! Tell me when are you ever going to find a deal like that? Just saying! Sign up for the Flight Deal Newsletter and I promise you won’t be disappointed. You’ll definitely start saying hello to more travel.
The only caveat is that you have to take advantage of the flight deal as soon as possible. It usually increases when people start booking their flights. It shouldn’t be too much of an issue if you’re constantly feeding your travel savings account with coins little by little.
5. USING YOUR CREDIT CARD POINTS TO YOUR ADVANTAGE
If you’re not using credit card points to help you get flights for free you are losing my friend. Let me tell you there are soooo many credit cards that give you bonus sign up points for airline tickets. This means when you spend x amount of dollars in x amount of time they’ll add additional points for you to travel.
The credit card hack requires that you spend on it so can get those points. Now, I want you to be financially responsible therefore you will not spend money you don’t have. Instead, you will pay your everyday purchases and monthly expenses on the card. Then the cash that you have to cover those expenses will be used to pay on the credit card. The best part of this is, you get the points towards your travel and your bills are paid in full.
Personally, I’m a proud American Express Delta SkyMiles member. I’ve gone to LA for only $1.24 after my points covered pretty much all of the flight. I also enjoy all the other perks that come with the card such as priority boarding, access to their airport lounges and more. I love American Express, but this is not the only credit card with perks. If you’re in the market for a travel credit card check out creditcards.com. The website will give you the details on the best travel credit cards on the market.